Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

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DuraMike
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Location: Arizona

Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

Post by DuraMike »

Hi All, What do you folks recommend for warmth, wet or dry suit? Or is there a rule of thumb for you where you switch from one to another? Here in Arizona, the water in the rivers below a dam is often 45 degrees F or so pretty much year round. The air temperature can vary greatly with the season from freezing to 100+

JohnSand
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Re: Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

Post by JohnSand »

My paddling is generally flat water, though I do sail a canoe and other open boats in winter. I only wear a wetsuit when I can do so comfortably. I understand that it is more safety conscious to dress for the water temp, but I won't go out if it means overheating. A compromise is a short suit, or sleeveless.

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gbellware
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Re: Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

Post by gbellware »

I was a reluctant adopter of dry suit technology. Safety aside, I don't mind being cold and I HATE to be too warm. So I avoided a full dry suit for the longest time. What a mistake! Modern goretex suits are, in my experience, very comfortable...breathable and warm in air temps down to freezing and not too hot for me even with the sun shining and upwards of 75F air temp. And the safety margin my suit provides in the event of an unplanned swim is remarkable/comfortable in water temps as low as I ever encounter. There are lots of good suits out there, I use a Kokatat Meridian, but there are a few choices for goretex suits and my only experience is with Kokatat. Hope that helps,
g
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

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JohnSand
knight of the folding kayak realm
Posts: 272
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:08 pm
Location: Long Island NY

Re: Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

Post by JohnSand »

Good information Gbell, thanks for the review.

weekdaypaddler
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Re: Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

Post by weekdaypaddler »

I've been in the water there just below the dam when it was 100 degrees out and the water was so cold it took my breath away. How to dress all depends on how long you might be in the water. For example: I'm in Northeast PA and practice recovery in moving water below freezing. I wear a wet suit with a hood, booties and neo gloves. The thing is that I'm not in for more than 10 or 15 minutes.

mje
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Re: Dressing for the water temp: Wet suit vs Dry suit

Post by mje »

The traditional wisdom has always been to dress for the water temperature. Being too hot is uncomfortable, and can be dangerous in extreme circumstances, but being too cold can incapacitate and kill you very quickly. What seems like pleasant water temperature can drain your body heat and your energy very quickly. I had a couple of experiences early in my paddling career that convinced me of this. I bought a set of “fuzzy rubber” gear, and a spray jacket and pants with rubber gaskets.
Michael Edelman
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