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A Review of the Best Drysuits for Kayaking – 2018

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Best Kayak Drysuit

Kayaking is all fun until you are cold and wet. To stay out in the water longer, you will need the proper gear especially if you are kayaking in cold water. 

A drysuit is essential kayaking gear that has become very popular over the last few years. It's complicated picking the right one since because they can be expensive, and it can be difficult to figure out which one is best for you. Thankfully there have been many advancements made recently and now there are many drysuits that fill almost everyone’s needs. 

Here, we review the Top 10 Best Drysuits for Kayaking.

3 Reasons Why You Need a Kayak Drysuit

A drysuit is designed with unique material that uses air and the multiple layers for insulation. It keeps external water out while allowing moisture from the inside to seep out. By being able to wear layers of insulation, it slows down the loss of body heat. When you want to be comfortable and safe in the water, a good drysuit is a must.

1. It Prevents Hypothermia 

Did you know that hypothermia causes 75% of kayakers' injuries and deaths? 

Being wet and cold leads to hypothermia. It happens when your body cannot maintain its core temperature at the ideal level of 97.7 to 99.5. This leads to severe exhaustion and loss of motor coordination. Once your core temperature decreases if you do not find shelter or a place to warm your body back up death is likely. 

2. You Kayak in Cold weather

In the spring and early summer, you will find that even though temperatures are high, the water is still very cold. This is one of the many times when you will need a high-quality drysuit.

3. If You Capsize 

You may argue that since you have never capsized before, you won’t need a drysuit. But just because it has not happened, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. You need to be ready for when it does happen because it will. 

Features to Consider in Drysuits for Kayaking 

Construction Materials

The material of your drysuit affects its performance, feel, and durability. Gore-Tex is a common material used by many manufacturers, there are also many other laminates and coated materials used. 

kayak drysuit material

Gore-Tex is still a laminated material which is commonly known as Teflon or by its real name; polytetrafluoroethylene. This means it has a waterproof outer fabric and a breathable interior fabric. This keeps liquid water out but allows water vapor (sweat) and some body heat to pass through.

Other laminates are a cheaper alternative to Gore-Tex. They provide similar performance, but they are a little less breathable than Gore-Tex. Coated materials include layered fabrics with a waterproof coating on the exterior shell. They are the cheapest, least durable, and ideal for occasional use. 

Size

You will need to find the right size drysuit which fits you correctly. This is because a suit that’s bigger than you can cause issues should you need to swim away from your capsized kayak. The extra fabric will be baggy and will drag you down which is very bad in the water.

To get the right size, you should get the same size as your shirt but consider what the manufacturer intends in their sizing. Remember to leave enough room for the layering. 

Men's drysuits are cut differently from women because of the relief zipper. Remember to pick the one that is designed for you; you will thank us later. 

Entry System

You can choose from rear entry, front entry, or a switch zip. A front entry suit will have the zip across the chest while a rear entry will come with its zipper across the back. A switch zip runs across the waist and separates the top from the bottom. 

How to Maintain a Kayaking Drysuit  

You must take special care of your drysuit to keep it in good shape. 

  • Always ensure you have replaced torn gaskets and socks before your next kayaking trip.
  • You should clean gaskets after every use. 
  • Do not use chemicals and sunscreen on latex gaskets as they will damage the material.
  • Do not force your head through a gasket. Instead, stretch it before you wear it with something bigger than your head the night before you go out kayaking.
  • Do not force, bend, or crimp a drysuit zipper. They are expensive to replace.
  • Rinse your drysuit in fresh, clean water. Do not add any cleaning chemicals like bleach or laundry detergents. If you need to clean it thoroughly, use a product recommended for drysuits.
  • Always air dry your garment. Do not leave it out in the sun or a hot car.

10 Best Kayak Drysuits in 2018 

1. Stohlquist Amp Drysuit with Tunnel

Stohlquist Amp Drysuit with Tunnel Drysuit

The Stohlquist Amp Drysuit gives you lots of incredible features to make your kayaking trip safe and comfortable. With a four-layer twin sensor shell merged with a tunnel, this drysuit performs very well. It is waterproof yet breathable thanks to the DWR treatments and nylon shell fabrics. 

You get a MasterSeal across the chest, front entry system. It also comes with a relief zipper, and a durable Cordura reinforced seat. With the Duraseal wrist gaskets and latex neck, you can count on being dry even after hours of kayaking in cold water. It has dry socks and articulated knees for even more comfort. 

This suit comes in three sizes and two colors. We are sure you’ll find the one that fits right for you. 

PROS

  • Relaxed fit 
  • Relief zippers and Cordura reinforced seat 

CONS

  • Not available in medium and large sizes 

2. Stohlquist Waterware Ez Drysuit

Stohlquist Ez Drysuit

This is another of Stohlquist drysuits for kayaking. It can pass for a semi-drysuit since it has a neoprene neck gasket. It provides a much more comfortable feel than latex, but it will not be a good fit if you are facing out rough waters. 

You can count on the nylon shell which is a 4-layer twin fabric to keep you dry and comfortable inside and out. The front entry system is MasterSeal waterproofed so that water will not enter through the zippers. It also has UV resistant latex wrist gaskets as well as durable fabric socks. 

If you don’t plan on being in choppy waters, this drysuit is an affordable choice over the Amp Drysuit. 

PROS

  • DWR finish (Microporous/Hydrophobic coating, laminated membrane, and nylon tricot lining) 
  • Universally sized fabric socks 

CONS

  • Black color does not have reflective panels 

3. Gul DARTMOUTH Eclip Breathable Drysuit and Undersuit

Gul DARTMOUTH Eclip Breathable Drysuit & Undersuit 2018 - Black/Red XL

The Gul Dartmouth is a unique drysuit that utilizes three layers GCX3 fabric for exceptional waterproofing while remaining breathable. It has neoprene protection as well as heat taped seams to keep it 100% waterproof. With the contoured body panels, it reduces windage and minimizes the chances of catching the suit fabric on anything. 

Gul’s Entry Zip system makes it entirely effortless to get in and out of your suit. It has the halo zip entry system that is flexible to offer you less hassle when wearing it. The Velcro zip guard protects the YKK Aquaseal waterproof zip at all times when in the water. 

You will like the comfort of the cuff seal and Glideskin. All these features contribute to keeping you dry during your kayaking time. 

PROS

  • Flexible Halo zip entry system 
  • Three layers of waterproof fabric

CONS

  • It is a bit heavy 

4. Gul Code Zero Stretch U-Zip Drysuit

Gul Code Zero Stretch U-Zip Drysuit with Pee zip + FREE UNDERSUIT GM0368 Sizes- - Large

Gul continues to impress us with the distinct collection of drysuits. This particular model; the Gul Code Zero utilizes the GCX4 shell which is four layers of waterproofing fabric. Like the Gul Dartmouth, it benefits from contoured body panels that help keep the chance of snagging on the sides of your kayak to a minimum. 

It is a model you will enjoy wearing since it has a horseshoe zip system along with Glideskin neck and cuff seals for effortless wearing. Not only that, you get latex socks that seal comfortably, relief zipper, and Cordura reinforced knees. It has internally adjustable braces for the ankles as well as a waterproof zip-seal pocket. 

Overall, it is a durable premium quality drysuit. 

PROS

  • Four waterproof layers 
  • Simple horseshoe entry system 

CONS

  • Neoprene neck can let water in 

5. Kokatat Hydrus 3L SuperNova Angler Paddling Suit

Kokatat Hydrus 3L SuperNova Angler Paddling Suit - Men's

Kayak fishing means that you will need to reel in fish some of which can sometimes end with you in the water or at the very least very wet. It can be a messy affair when getting back into the kayak. To stay dry and warm, grab the Kokatat Hydrus 3L SuperNova Angling Paddling Suit

Kokatat is a renowned drysuit brand that specializes in only the best items. This suit features a Hydrus 3L material that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. It is ideal if you do not sweat a lot as it is not as breathable as Gore-Tex and can become uncomfortable if you do sweat a lot. 

It has a DWR coating, latex wrist gaskets, and a neoprene collar that is cinch-adjustable. It also offers a waist drawcord to keep your garment together thus you can cast unimpeded. 

PROS

  • DWR waterproofing with soft polyester interior 
  • Front entry system for quick wearing

CONS

  • It is not ideal if you sweat too much 

6. Kokatat Men’s Gore-Tex Meridian Drysuit

Kokatat Men's Gore-Tex Meridian Drysuit

If you are looking for a high-end kayaking drysuit, Kokatat gives you their Meridian Drysuit cut to men’s sizes. It has a 3-layer Gore-Tex body lined with nylon. It is your ideal pick for whitewater kayaking and sea kayaking. It is durable and breathable even if your body sweats a lot. 

The overskirt comes with neoprene band grips that are adjustable with hook and loop closures. It is complemented by latex gaskets and neoprene collar and cuffs. As well as built-in socks and a relief zipper. For the ultimate comfort, this drysuit has cut underarms and factory sealed seams. 

This truly is a premium drysuit so be prepared to spend more on this suit. 

PROS

  • Three-layered Gore-Tex Pro Shell
  • Waterproof Optiseal zippers 

CONS

  • It is a bit pricey 

7. Kokatat Women’s Hydrus Swift Entry Drysuit

Kokatat Women's Hydrus Swift Entry Drysuit

Kokatat also has drysuits for ladies with their exclusive Hydrus 3L for Women. This drysuit comes at an entry-level price, so you have no reason to not have one. It features Kokatat’s exclusive three-layer fabric that is waterproof and breathable. It uses a 330 denier Hydrus material on the knees and seat to ensure it lasts in good condition. 

The neck, wrists, and ankles all feature latex gaskets. They not only seal out water but also improve durability since latex is sturdy and resists wear and tear. 

Whether you have kayaked all your life, or a beginner, you will feel satisfied with the Kokatat Hydrus 3L for women. 

PROS

  • Three-layer Kokatata proprietary Hydrus fabric 
  • Micro-porous middle layer 

CONS

  • It does not have pockets 

8. Kokatat Gore-Tex Expedition Drysuit for Men

Kokatat Men's GORE-TEX Expedition Drysuit-ElectricBlue-M

The Kokatat Gore-Tex Expedition is a high-end drysuit. It uses the Evolution 3.21 nylon oz. with three layers of Gore-Tex. It is your go-to when kayaking in the coldest months. You will no longer have to suffer lost range of motion as it has a flexible body that allows you to paddle comfortably. 

You will like that it has the latex gaskets utilizing Gore-Tex to make the ultimate seal. With the help of Paclite technology, you have a hood that comes in handy to protect your head from direct water splashes. It also has a Cordura reinforced seat and knees to ensure the wear-prone areas are protected. 

Overall, the Kokatat Expedition is a high-performance drysuit that is more expensive that an entry level drysuit.

PROS

  • Gore-Tex 3-layer design 
  • Optiseal zipper technology 

CONS

  • It comes at a higher price 

9. Kokatat Gore-Tex SuperNova Paddling Suit

Kokatat GORE-TEX SuperNova Angler PaddlingSuit

Kokatat is without a doubt a brand that sets the standard in drysuits. This SuperNova Angling model uses a Gore-Tex membrane instead of Hydrus material. It is another of Kokatat’s high-end models utilizing three membrane layers that are entirely waterproof and breathable. 

The latex wrist gaskets have adjustable cuffs, and it integrates Gore-Tex in the socks. This bodysuit gives you a waterproof nylon front-entry system. It is comfortable to wear as it runs from the right shoulder so you can zip it up yourself. 

If you want a durable and lightweight drysuit specifically for fishing, this is the model you want to have. 

PROS

  • Tightly woven 3-layer Gore-Tex fabric
  • Waterproof front-entry 

CONS

  • It does not have a hood

10. Level 6 Emperor 3.0 Ply Drysuit

Level Six Emperor 3.0 Ply Drysuit, X-Large, Blaze Red/Charcoal

The Level 6 Emperor Drysuit is a brightly covered suit that you can wear if you are into night kayaking and/or fishing. It has all the features you would like to see in a drysuit and more. The waterproof membrane is lightweight and breathable. Its durability comes from the Cordura panels on the knees, elbows, shoulders, and forearms. 

The waist is a unique part of this drysuit as it features a dual-cinch system and an overlapping double-tunnel. This ensures your kayak will remain dry. You will love the latex neck plus the flexible socks. Not forgetting, it has a TIZIP relief zipper that is very convenient. 

PROS

  • It has an inner key pocket and a whistle 
  • It has fleece-lined pockets 

CONS

  • Only two color options 

Final Thoughts: 

There you have it. We have covered the Best Drysuits for Kayaking. Now you can stay out longer without the risk of hypothermia. These drysuits are all from high-quality brands. They are all fully waterproof designs that are breathable and windproof. 

Our top-quality and most durable model is the Kokatat Men’s Gore-Tex Meridian DrysuitIt is great in all aspects including the three Gore-Tex layers that allow the best performance in sea and whitewater kayaking.