Best Kayaking Drysuits of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

best kayaking drysuits
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When going kayaking, you probably don’t want to get wet! This is especially true whenever you’re kayaking in water temperatures that are under 70 degrees.

You may be able to withstand it, but it won’t be comfortable or safe for long kayaking trips.

Drysuits are a great way to still enjoy your favorite outdoor recreation without needing to worry about being wet the whole time.

To find the best kayaking drysuits for your needs, you’ll need to check out our reviews as well as our accompanying buyer’s guide.

This guide is sure to help you figure out what types of features, sizing, and material you want to go for when selecting your next kayaking drysuit.

Let’s get started!

Comparison Chart

O’Neill Men’s Boost 300g Drysuit

Stohlquist Amp Drysuit with Tunnel Drysuit

GUL 2018 Dartmouth Eclip Zip Drysuit

Crewsaver 2018 Atacama Sport Sailing Drysuit

Stohlquist EZ Drysuit-Mango-L

Best Kayaking Drysuits: A Review

1. O'Neill Men's Boost 300g Drysuit

The first kayaking-friendly drysuit that we’ll take a look at today is the O'Neill Men's Boost 300g Drysuit, a mid-range drysuit equipped with many useful features.

The brand is known for making many high-quality goods that can be used for a variety of water sports.

Product Highlights

This nylon drysuit from O’Neill is one of their more popular drysuit options.

It is primarily crafted from a three-layer breathable nylon shell, and it has a horizontal back zipper closure for you to get in the suit through.

The Boost Drysuit has a neoprene neck seal that is very durable, as well as more flexible latex wrist and ankle seals that do not restrict your movement.

The drysuit also has both removable leg cinches, as well as internal suspenders.

Both of these can help to ensure that your drysuit gives you the fit that you are looking for.

The Good

The fit and size of this kayaking drysuit are perfect for layering up to stay comfortable in cold conditions or for wearing clothes underneath that you want to be after you are done kayaking.

The suit is not too oversized, but it gives enough room in the shoulders, elbows, and other important areas to layer up with thermals or other clothing underneath as needed.

While some suits get too tight in these high mobility areas, this suit does not suffer from that problem.

The Bad

This suit uses a neoprene neck seal because of the comfort that neoprene can provide, but this neck area can also stretch out over time.

When all is said and done, water may leak in around the neck seal if you are fully submerged, but this is unlikely to happen until the suit is very worn in.

The amount of water that could leak in this area is minimal.

That said, it is still worth noting for those who cannot afford to have any type of leaks.

For most kayakers, though, this will not be a major issue.

PROS

  • Ridged, easy-to-use zipper
  • Flexible latex seals at wrists and ankles
  • Comfortable fit
  • Internal suspenders keep everything in place
  • Reliable brand and construction

CONS

  • Neck may need to be trimmed for comfort
  • Water can leak in if the neck is not maintained properly

2. Stohlquist Amp Drysuit with Tunnel Drysuit

The next kayaking drysuit to consider is the Stohlquist Amp Drysuit with Tunnel Drysuit.

This mid-range drysuit is from a brand known for its incredible watersports products.

Product Highlights

The mid-range Stohlquist Amp Drysuit is a relaxed fit, completely waterproof drysuit that can easily be used by kayakers in a wide range of scenarios.

Stohlquist used their amazing four-layer Twin Sensor material on this drysuit.

The Twin Sensor material has multiple types of fabrics and treatments on it.

That is to ensure the suit is waterproof, durable, and breathable.

The zipper for entry on this drysuit is a cross-chest entry zipper; these zippers are very easy to secure on your own, and they are less likely to move than straight zippers while you are kayaking.

The seals on the neck and wrists are made from latex, and there are adjustable wrist over-cuffs made from neoprene for a complete seal.

The suit has attached drysocks, reflective panels, a built-in tunnel, reinforced knees, mesh drainers, and a zippered arm pocket to give you everything that you might be looking for in a drysuit.

The Good

One of the most standout features of this kayaking drysuit is the unique four-layer Twin Sensor material that Stohlquist created to use in their drysuits.

The internal fabrics are durable nylon shell fabrics; these synthetics are one of the top materials used in drysuits.

This fabric has a number of DWR and waterproof, breathable treatments to ensure that each layer has a purpose.

The end result is a fabric that gives you the best protection and comfort that you could ask for in a kayaking drysuit.

The Bad

The biggest problem that people have had with this drysuit is that the latex neck is very tight when you first get it; this is a very common problem with latex neck holes.

With this type of neck hole, you need to get help stretching it to fit at first.

In some cases, you can easily trim the neck hole so that it still gives a tight, waterproof seal while also being more comfortable to wear.

While this can be frustrating to figure out, a tight neck hole isn’t necessarily a terrible thing.

 

PROS

  • Sturdy suit
  • Lots of useful features not found in other drysuits
  • Breathable
  • Easy to layer with undergarments
  • High-quality material and seals

CONS

  • Neck seal needs work to fit right
  • Limited color options
  • Unisex sizing

3. GUL Dartmouth Eclip Zip Drysuit

Now, it’s time to find out what the GUL Dartmouth Eclip Zip Drysuit can offer to kayakers.

This affordable drysuit has a great balance of features and price for those who want something more entry-level.

Product Highlights

The GUL Dartmouth Eclip Zip Drysuit is a unique option that is going to be great for those who want to give drysuits a solid try without having to spend too much money on their first one.

This suit is made from a three-layer fabric known as GCX3.

The fabric is waterproof, breathable, and very durable, thanks to its internal construction and treatments layered on it.

The neck and wrist seals are made from neoprene for a very soft and comfortable fit, and the seams are all 100% waterproof and heat-taped to prevent any easy rips or tears.

The zipper on this is a cross-chest aqua seal zip with a Velcro zip guard to prevent it from being damaged or accidentally opened while you are adventuring.

Finally, this drysuit also has latex socks, a zippered arm pocket, adjustable internal suspenders, and reinforced knee panels.

The Good

This suit has incredible durability, whether you will be in or out of the water thanks to the layered fabric construction and the reinforced seams.

Also, whether you plan to use this suit a few times weekly or every few months, you’ll get a great amount of use out of it.

Finding a durable drysuit for kayaking at this price point can be difficult; this suit balances needs and costs very well.

The Bad

The attached socks on this suit are okay for casual usage, but they aren’t really thick or insulating enough to be your only form of protection when dealing with cold water temperatures.

As with most kayaking drysuits, the feet will be better protected if you layer the attached socks up with a rock boot or similar foot protection.

PROS

  • Comfortable fit; articulated arms
  • Reinforced seams
  • Extra support in knees and drop seat area
  • Waterproof and completely sealed cross-chest zipper
  • High durability level
  • Great value

CONS

  • Need to supplement with better socks
  • Neoprene seals not preferable for everyone

4. Crewsaver Atacama Sport Drysuit Front Zip

Crewsave is a well-known brand making high-quality and functional products for sailing and other water recreation, and this is another quality product from them.

The Crewsaver Atacama Sport Drysuit Front Zip is a unique, entry-level option that can be great for kayaking enthusiasts who haven’t tried a drysuit before.

Product Highlights

The Crewsaver Atacama Sport Drysuit is a front, cross-chest zipper entry drysuit that has a lot to offer kayakers.

The drysuit has internal suspenders, articulated limbs, and an elasticated waist to ensure the drysuit stays in place while still providing mobility.

The Atacama Drysuit is crafted from three layers of breathable fabric and is sealed with Glideskin neoprene wrist and neck seals to keep the water out in a comfortable way.

Finally, the zipper on this drysuit is a flexible and watertight type that will not easily come open while you are kayaking.

The Good

The fit and finish of the fabric for this suit are incredible for the price that it is available at.

The three layers of fabric are treated to ensure that you will be comfortable and warm, and a lot of considerations were put in to make sure that the fit would be good for all movement.

When kayaking, you want to be able to move and roll with ease, and the way this suit fits ensures that you can do just that.

The Bad

This suit has neoprene seals for both the neck and the wrists. Neoprene seals are common on drysuits, but they aren’t always completely watertight.

That is because neoprene seals have more stretch than other types of seals, and the only way to truly “seal” them is to get into the water and push all the air out of the drysuit.

Since most kayakers are not trying to submerge themselves fully, they can get a small amount of leakage.

Still, the neoprene seals are more comfortable than other types of seals, and they keep out most water.

Seam sealer can be used to ensure a completely dry fit.

PROS

  • Comfortable fit
  • Includes free fleece undergarment
  • High-quality materials, seams, and seals
  • Perfect for kayaking and other water recreating

CONS

  • Neoprene seals not ideal for everyone
  • Sizing limitations for very tall people

5. Stohlquist EZ Drysuit

Finally, we will cover one more great option from the well-loved brand Sothlquist.

The Stohlquist EZ Drysuit is a mid-range option for those who want to stay comfortable and dry on their next adventure.

Product Highlights

Stohlquist’s EZ Drysuit is made from their well-known and loved four-layer Twin Sensor fabric.

This fabric offers high levels of waterproof and breathability through the coatings used on each of the four layers and linings.

In addition to hydrophobic and DWR coating, there is a laminated membrane to ensure water does not seep through the fabric.

The EZ Drysuit also has a super stretch neoprene neck gasket as well as a cross-chest zipper entry that is waterproof.

The seat and knees are both reinforced with cordura and mesh drainers.

The suit is attached to fabric drysocks, as well, so you can use this drysuit right away.

The Good

The best part of this EZ drysuit is just how easy it is to put on and wear!

In addition to the zipper being very easy to use with the included zipper lube, the overall design of the drysuit ensures that you can move your limbs around as much as possible when you are wearing it.

The suit leaves room for you to layer up underneath of it, and it also gives you the ability to sit in your kayak comfortably while wearing the suit.

The Bad

The size chart makes it easy to find the right size, but for some people, there wasn’t a size that would accommodate their exact measurements.

In particular, the drysuit was too short in their legs or too tight across their backs.

Unfortunately, this can happen when you are looking for a standard-sized option.

In those cases, it might be best to look for a drysuit that is available in a custom-sized option so that you don’t have to deal with these problems.

PROS

  • Highly recommended brand
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Unique, durable fabric
  • Flexible; allows for mobility
  • Great for water sports and recreation

CONS

  • Sizing issues for some people
  • May need to trim or stretch the neck seal for comfort

Kayaking Drysuit Buyer’s Guide

If you’re not yet familiar with kayaking drysuits, how they are used, and why they are important, it will be helpful to look over this buyer’s guide.

The guide walks you through key features of a kayaking drysuit that you should be looking for, and the explanations should help you to determine if each of those features is important in your search.

By the end of using today’s buyer’s guide, you should be able to picture exactly what your next kayaking drysuit will offer!

1. Front Entry, Rear Entry or Switch Zip

All drysuits will have some type of zipper for you to get in and out of the suit easily, and the zipper placement will differ depending on which suit you choose.

The most common zipper placements are:

  • Front zippers
  • Rear zippers
  • Switch zippers

Each type of zipper has its own pros and cons.

Front zippers tend to be the most popular type of zipper since they are effortless to get into on your own, and the zippers don’t dig into you when you are sitting down.

Still, rear zippers have their uses, as having a zipper in the back can be safer for preventing any water from piling up and sneaking into the zippers.

Switch zippers are very interesting. This zipper is located between the back seat and your waist when you are sitting in your boat.

With a switch zipper, you can zip the suit into just a dry top if you prefer, and that makes your drysuit more versatile.

2. Material

The materials used to make a kayaking drysuit are very important. The right materials need to be chosen to ensure that things are waterproof, durable, and breathable.

Many different types of waterproof materials are used to make drysuits, but some are going to be better than others for your own needs.

Drysuits are commonly made from specialty nylon fabrics like Gore-Tex. These materials are very breathable while remaining waterproof so that you do not get damp underneath the suit.

Gore-Tex is known to be more breathable than standard nylon, but they are both great for keeping water out.

The drysuits you look at may also have some areas like the knees and elbows where there is extra material.

This material is added to these areas to increase the durability of the drysuit.

These areas of the suit will bend and move a lot, so the additional strength is beneficial.

3. Size

Drysuits are often made in different sizes for men and women. However, some suits are designed to be more unisex.

Depending on your measurements, you might be comfortable using a unisex design or a design that wasn’t intended for your gender.

The key is that you make sure to follow any drysuit manufacturer’s dryers guide to ensure that you get the right fit.

Drysuits should fit comfortably and not be too tight since you may want to layer your drysuit with additional insulating layers for colder conditions.

If possible, trying on a drysuit before buying is always a good idea.

4. Fit/Comfort

Drysuits might not be the most flattering look that there is, but you are buying a drysuit for the comfort and protection that it offers.

The fit and comfort of a drysuit are essential. You want to be sure that the drysuits you look at will offer you enough moveability and comfort.

When you sit down, are you comfortable? Can you easily paddle in the suit?

Are you able to reach around as you might need to?

Can you do full turn over if needed in the suit, or would it be restricting?

If a suit is too small or restricted in some areas, it’s going to be hard to kayak in.

Similarly, suits that are too big may simply be bad at keeping the heat in as well as something that fits better.

Consider the fit and comfort of all kayaking drysuits that you consider.

5. Warranty

Like any other product, a kayaking drysuit can have some errors or tears that cause it to be unusable.

Even the best manufacturers will have a low failure rate, so buying from a supplier that offers a warranty on the drysuit can be a good idea.

Warranties will allow you to get your drysuit repaired or replaced for a specified amount of time, and this means that any potential problems can be easily resolved.

No one wants to have to deal with a warranty replacement or repair, but having the warranty available to use this way is better than being stuck with an unusable drysuit that will need to be replaced completely at-cost.

Kayaking Drysuit FAQs

1. Do You Get Wet While Kayaking?

Generally speaking, yes, you are going to get somewhat wet while kayaking.

There are several ways that water might get to you while you are kayaking, such as:

  • How you hold the paddle may push water at you.
  • The type of paddle you use may trap water and then fling it at you.
  • If you don’t have a splash guard in your lap, water may come inside.
  • The water may get rough at times, splashing water.

While getting a little wet won't be an issue, getting wet with cold water or sitting in a puddle of water on long kayaking trips will be uncomfortable for anyone.

Depending on the weather conditions, time of year, and how long you will be kayaking for, you will want to determine how dry you want to stay while kayaking.

There are a few ways that you can change up your kayaking setup to ensure that you do not get as wet, including:

  • Bathing Suit or Water Repellant Shorts: If you will kayak in warm water and just for a short time, wearing some type of fast-drying bottoms, like a bathing suit or kayaking shorts, is a great way to keep your lower body comfortable without wearing a full drysuit.
  • Adding Splash Guards on Paddles and Splash Skirt to Kayak: Adding these splash protections will help ensure that you do not get water running down your arms as frequently while also helping to keep water out of your kayak altogether.
  • Wear a Drysuit: If you’ll be in cold water conditions or go on a longer kayak trip for which you want to stay completely dry, the best thing to do is wear a kayaking drysuit that will keep all water off of your body even if it gets into your kayak.

2. What Clothes Should I Wear for Kayaking?

When you are going kayaking, you need to dress for two main things.

First, you want to dress for sun protection. The sun reflects off of the water and will be a high-risk factor.

Second, you want to dress for the water temperature rather than for the air temperature.

If the water will be lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the air temperature is 90 degrees or higher, there is a good chance that you will want to wear some type of drysuit pants or wetsuit.

Dressing in layers, particularly for the top half of your body, is always a good idea if you aren’t sure what to wear for you to remove layers easily if you need to.

Generally speaking, you should also avoid cotton. That is because it can and will trap in water, which will make you feel wet and uncomfortable.

If the water temperature and air temperature are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can get away with wearing fast-drying layers that will protect you from the sun.

If either water or air temperature drops below this, you will definitely want to be wearing either a wetsuit or drysuit with layers to ensure that you stay dry and warm while out on your kayaking adventure.

Wetsuits and drysuits are great base layers regardless of the conditions, and they can even be layered with other garments to make the perfect fit.

There is no single right answer about what to wear since what you should wear will depend on many external factors, so make sure that you consider the varying conditions before you get dressed for your next adventure.

3. Do I Need a Drysuit for Kayaking?

While kayaking, drysuits are never a requirement since you can use either a drysuit or a wetsuit to build up your protection even in the coldest conditions.

Drysuits, though, are a popular option since they are the best option for keeping truly dry whenever you are kayaking.

Whether you will kayak fishing or kayak camping where you will be on the water for hours, there are many benefits to ensuring that your body stays completely dry throughout the adventure.

That said, there are also times when you won’t mind getting a little bit wet, and you will only want drysuit pants rather than a full suit; that is ok, too.

In winter conditions, wearing either a wetsuit or drysuit with the appropriate layers is a must to keep you from becoming hypothermic.

Staying dry is a must in those types of conditions!

Ultimately, drysuits are not a requirement for kayaking, but many kayakers use them because of the comfort and warmth they provide.

4. Is a Drysuit for Kayaking Worth It?

If you ever plan to kayak in cold water conditions or the winter, investing in a drysuit is absolutely worth it.

In these conditions, your body needs to be kept warm and dry to be able to kayak safely, and a drysuit will make setting up the right clothing layers very easy.

For kayakers who don’t plan to be in cold water conditions, dry suits can still be beneficial.

Drysuits are great for all kayakers who plan to be in the water for extended periods or are tired of feeling damp while in their kayak since drysuits eliminate this problem.

Additionally, they provide a layer of protection from other conditions such as sun and wind that can be a problem while you are kayaking.

Drysuits are great for many reasons, and they can be a wonderful addition to any kayaking gear closet.

5. Do You Wear Shoes When Kayaking?

Yes, you should wear shoes when you are kayaking as you never know when you might need to traverse rough terrain such as rocks or shells when getting on and off of your kayak.

While you can certainly wear normal shoes when kayaking, regular shoes tend to become very uncomfortable once they are wet.

For those who aren’t worried about their feet getting wet but want to make sure that they dry out quickly, wearing water shoes or sandals is a good idea.

Both of these shoes can dry quickly and provide some stability on rough terrain, but they aren’t overly clunky or uncomfortable.

If you will be in cold water conditions or getting in and out of the kayak frequently, it is best to wear a completely waterproof and insulated boot instead.

These boots can be part of a drysuit or an added layer, but keeping your feet both warm and dry in these conditions is a must.

Just as your clothing for kayaking can differ depending on what conditions you will be kayaking in, the shoes can also vary.

Final Verdict

Today, we’ve learned a lot about how to choose the best kayaking drysuits and which drysuits fit the bill to be the very best options on the market in 2020.

Among all of these options, though, the Stohlquist Amp Drysuit with Tunnel Drysuit simply stands out as superior to the other options in several ways.

In particular, it has so many features that kayakers are often looking for, including tight seals around all openings, internal structure, highly durable seams, and the best material on the market today.

With all the features found in this drysuit, it is well worth its price point at the mid-range of the market for kayaking drysuits.

Another great option is the Stohlquist EZ Drysuit, which is from the same brand as our top choice.

This drysuit offers the same great fabric as the Amp Drysuit with just a few fewer features, making it a more affordable option from the same great brand.

All-in-all, it is up to you to determine which type of drysuit will fit your kayaking needs, but the tips and advice laid out today should make that selection easier than ever before.

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