Making a decision between a wet suit vs dry suit can be difficult. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In this article, we will discuss the differences between wetsuits and drysuits, so that you can make an informed decision about which type of suit is best for your needs, especially for water activities like kayaking.
Key Difference: Dry Suit vs Wet Suit:
The main difference between a wet suit vs dry suit is that a wetsuit keeps you warm by trapping water next to your skin, while a dry suit keeps you dry and prevents water from entering.
Wet suits are made of neoprene, which is a type of synthetic rubber that is resistant to both cold and heat. Dry suits are usually made of Gore-Tex or other waterproof materials.
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With that in mind, let’s look more closely at wet suits and dry suits, and when to use them!
What is a Wetsuit?
A wetsuit is a type of clothing that is worn while swimming, surfing, or engaging in other water-based activities. Wetsuits are made from a variety of materials, including neoprene, Lycra, and spandex.
The material type can depend on brand, as well as how cold of water you’re expecting to be in, or the season. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer you’ll be, in cooler water temps.
Neoprene wetsuits are generally used in cool to cold water temperatures, whereas Lycra wetsuits are typically used in warm water temperatures. Spandex wetsuits are usually only worn in very warm waters, as they provide little to no insulation, mostly just sun protection.
They are designed to provide insulation and protect the wearer from the cold water. Wetsuits are available in a variety of styles, including full-body wetsuits, shorty wetsuits, and spring wetsuits.
When to use a wetsuit:
If you’re swimming in water that is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you will likely need a wetsuit to keep you warm. Wetsuits are great for surfing, swimming, kayaking, or almost any other water activity, as they provide protection from the sun, wind, and waves.
Our Top Wetsuit Pick
This wetsuit can come in a men’s or women’s option, and you can choose whether to get a full body or a shorty wetsuit. It’s reasonably priced, and will keep you warm for most water activities.
You may also be interested in: Best Wetsuits for Kids
What is a Drysuit?
A dry suit is a type of clothing that is worn while swimming, surfing, or engaging in other water-based activities. Drysuits are made from a variety of materials, most often nylon. The key point being that it’s a waterproof shell that is extremely durable and abrasion resistant.
They are designed to provide insulation and protect the wearer from the cold water. Drysuits are mostly classified as light duty or heavy duty. The heavier duty, the thicker the material, and there will be less movability. But it will also keep you warmer.
When to use a dry suit
Dry suits are typically used in cooler waters, for diving, or for on the water activities where you want to stay dry. Dry suits are great as they keep you dry and prevent water from entering. This is especially important in cold water, as it can lead to hypothermia.
Dry suits are more often used for diving, because they can be inflated while diving to help reduce the feeling of the increased pressure, whereas wetsuits will compress.
Dry suits seem to be less commonly used than wet suits, but will keep you dry and there are definite times when a drysuit is better than a wetsuit. They also tend to be more expensive than a wetsuit.
Dry suit for swimming:
While dry suits are not as common for swimming, they can be used. They provide more buoyancy than wetsuits and will keep you dry and warm. However, they can be more difficult to move in and are typically more expensive.
Our Top Drysuit Pick
O’Neill Men’s Boost 300g Drysuit
While this dry suit is more expensive than the wetsuit above, it will keep you completely dry in the water. Make sure to wear thermals or other warm articles underneath to ensure that you stay warm.
Wet suit vs dry suit situations:
With all of this in mind, there are different situations for using a dry suit vs wet suit. So let’s look at which is better for certain situations.
If you’re kayaking in warmer water, a wetsuit is typically all you need. However, if you’re kayaking in colder water or whitewater, a drysuit may be a better option. A drysuit will keep you dry and provide more insulation against the cold water.
You will want to have kayaking gloves to make sure the water doesn’t get in at your wrists as well, especially for colder water.
If you’re surfing in warm water, a wetsuit is all you need (if you even need a wet suit). If it’s colder water, a wet suit is also probably your best option. Just make sure to get a thicker one, to help further insulate.
A dry suit isn’t really made for going through waves like that, and may hinder your moving, especially as you’re swimming out to the next wave.
In general, if you’re swimming in open water, a wetsuit is the better option. They provide buoyancy and some insulation against the cold water.
However, if you’re swimming in very cold water or whitewater, a drysuit may be a better option as they will keep you dry and provide more insulation.
Ultimately, either of these will work for swimming. It just might take more time to get used to wearing a drysuit for swimming, as they are harder to move around in.
As stated above, a dry suit is much better for diving than a wetsuit. The dry suit will keep you dry and provide more insulation. It can also be inflated while diving to help reduce the feeling of the increased pressure, whereas a wetsuit will compress to your skin, giving the exact opposite feeling.
Which is Better? Dry suit vs wet suit
Now that we’ve looked at the different situations, you might be wondering which one is better overall. In general, wetsuits are typically better for swimming in open water. They provide buoyancy and some insulation against the cold water. However, if you’re doing activities on the water like kayaking, or are heading diving, a dry suit will be better.
So it really just depends on what sport you’re planning on doing for which will be best for you!
Can I use a wetsuit for diving?
A wetsuit will work for diving, but a drysuit is better as it will keep you dry and provide more insulation.
Can I use a drysuit for surfing?
A dry suit can be used for surfing, but may hinder your movement as you’re trying to swim through the waves. A wetsuit is typically better for surfing.
Can I use a drysuit for swimming?
A drysuit can be used for swimming, but they are harder to move in and not as common. Wetsuits are typically better for swimming.
Hopefully this has answered all of your questions about whether your next purchase should be a wet suit vs dry suit! Now it’s time to get out on the water and enjoy your next adventure without being cold.