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Dry Suits

A drysuit’s main function is to keep you dry if the worst should happen and you end up in the water, as well as generally keeping you dry, both while paddling and while fishing.  The other great requirement of a kayak suit seems like a contradiction in terms, and that is that it also has to be breathable, as well as completely waterproof, and it is this seeming contradiction that means that dry suits are quite sophisticated, not to mention expensive pieces of kit. The reason they have to be breathable is that when you fish from a kayak a typical trip will be an hour of more strenuous paddling, followed by five or more hours sitting around stationary, followed by a strenuous paddle home, and the suit has to prevent you boiling on the way in and out, as well as keep you warm while you are fishing.

There are a number of different materials available for the socks fitted to a dry suit, but the main choice seems to be between a latex type material, and socks made of the same material as the suit itself.  Latex socks tend to be found on cheaper suits, and although they work well, I have found that they are slightly more likely to get punctured that cloth socks, and I’ve found that in the very depths of winter they tend to be colder on the feet.

The next important area to look at is the material used for the neck and wrist seals. Suits will usually be fitted with either latex or neoprene seals. The conventional wisdom is that latex gives the better seal but is not as comfortable to wear as neoprene. For fishing I tend to go for a neoprene neck seal, as I’m prepared to take a slightly less good seal in exchange for greater comfort.  When it comes to wrist seals then either neoprene or latex can be used, latex being slightly more water proof, but slightly less comfortable.

Once you’ve sorted out what kind of seals you want, then it’s worth spending a moment thinking about the position of the zip, basically there are two options, front or rear entry. A front entry zip, as the name suggest, goes across the chest, and the zip itself can be quite stiff, meaning that movement is somewhat restricted with this type of suit, the big advantage however is they are very easy to get on and off, even if fishing alone.

The other type of suit you’ll find is the rear entry suit which usually has the zip across the shoulders. This is again fairy easy to get into as you just climb into the back of the suit, but it can be difficult to do up the zip on your own. Another thing to think about is how you go to the toilet.

The answer  is to get a suit which is fitted with a so called relief zip, a second water proof zip fitted at waist height across the front of the suit. I have fished in drysuits without a relief zip, and although for budgetary reasons you may be tempted to buy one, I would very strongly recommend you get a suit with a relief suit fitted, they can be retro fitted, but getting one in the first place is by far and away the best option.

Remember to wear layers under the suit, the suit provides protection from the water, but most don’t actually provide warmth, this comes from what you wear under it, and some come with fleece under suits included in the price so check what is on offer.

Recommended book


Discover Kayak Fishing
by Andy Benham

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