Choosing your drysuit…

Staying on the water? Here is what to look for when choosing a drysuit…

November is here. Water and air temperatures are dropping. You want to keep paddleboarding, diving, kayaking and sailing, so it is time to get serious and get a drysuit.

There are two main types: diving drysuits and surface drysuits. Both are designed to keep you dry(!), but a diving drysuit is also built to deal with the pressure variations at depth and features inflation and exhaust valves to control buoyancy during dives. But whether staying above or below the water, when choosing a drysuit there are many key factors common to both types that need careful consideration:

Drysuits are typically made from neoprene or a thinner, breathable membrane, like Typhoon’s TX-4 fabric. Both provide a physical waterproof barrier, but neoprene suits often provide better insulation while membrane suits tend to be more breathable. Deciding on the right one for you will depend on what you are using it for and the water temperature (think time in the water and activity level).

Good quality and properly fitting seals at the wrists and neck keep the water out! Generally, there is the choice of latex (sometimes silicone) or neoprene – both have advantages and disadvantages. Latex seals are often easier to get on and off but offer little in the way of thermal protection and can tear quite easily. Neoprene seals are tougher, and warmer, but can be a challenge to get over your head.

There are two things to consider with zippers – position and material. A zip across the front makes a drysuit super easy to don by yourself, while you will need a buddy to zip you in with a back mounted one. Zip position can affect range of movement – so be sure to try both, and with any other kit you might use. Zips can be made of metal or plastic. Plastic zips can be easier to open and close, but a well-maintained metal zip is still very easy to use. But quality is key here – it is the zip, along with the wrist and neck seals, that separates you from the water!

Fit and sizing
A properly fitting drysuit is crucial for comfort and functionality. It should fit snuggly enough with the appropriate base layers/undersuit, but still allow for complete manoeuvrability and flexibility to enjoy whatever it is you are wearing it for. If you wear a drysuit all year round, like many divers do, then it is best to size it for winter thermal layers, which will be thicker and bulkier.

Durability is essential as you do not want to be replacing your drysuit very often. For high wear areas, such as knees and seat, look for reinforcements to extend the life of your suit.

Boots or socks
Drysuits come with attached boots or integrated socks. Having boots attached means you do not forget them (!) but does mean that you cannot change them easily should you want something more heavy-duty for a more rocky entry point. Whichever you choose, make sure they fit into any chosen footwear.

Drysuits vary significantly in price with quality. But remember, it is an investment in keeping you out on (or under) the water, enjoying doing what you love when you otherwise might have to stay shoreside.

Our advice is to do your research, seek advice from fellow watersports enthusiasts and get the best you can afford.


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