What kayak clothing is right for you?

wetsuit

Pros

  • Warm for paddling on a cold day, and gives you some protection if you capsize
  • Inexpensive
  • Tough and reliable. You don't have to worry about a ripped gasket
  • Works well for swimming if it comes to that
  • Can wear a windproof jacket over top to make it warmer

Cons

  • Too hot in warm weather
  • Clammy because it doesn't breath
  • Uncomfortable and will restrict your movement somewhat
  • May not be warm enough for a very cold day
  • Hard to adjust for changes in air temperature, can't layer very well
  • Don't keep your neck and head warm on a cold windy winter day

Dry Top/Dry Pants

Pros

  • Get one with wrist gaskets if you want to avoid water trickling down your arms
  • More comfortable then a wet suit
  • Can layer underneath to adjust for comfort
  • More versatile than a one piece suit. Can take top off when too hot
  • Will keep you dry in most conditions, as long as you don't go for a swim
  • A good dry top is made of breathable fabric so less likely to get wet from your sweat

Cons

  • The cheaper ones don't stay waterproof very long. The fabric is not durable
  • Not good if you come out of your kayak too often
  • Don't give you effective protection for neck and head for the colder days

Dry suit

Pros

  • Comfortable for paddling and you won't loose much heat if you go for a quick swim
  • Great for a longer swim as long as you are wearing enough insulation under it

Cons

  • Neck gasket is not comfortable
  • No protection for the neck and head on a colder day, although if you get one with a hood that will help
  • Being one piece you can't wear top of bottom seperately

Tuilik/Dry pants

  • Excellent neck and head protection to keep you toasty in the coldest windiest day
  • Waterproof hood is perfect for rolling or keeping out the wind and spray
  • Comfortable. No neck gasket, no skirt tunnel around the waist. everything is loose fitting
  • Don't need a separate skirt
  • Less water gets in the kayak from waves, or rolling because there is no opening above the skirt
  • If keeping your hair dry is important to keep you warm you will appreciate the tuilik
  • Perfect for those who want to push their skills and learn to roll, because it allows unrestricted freedom of movement. Makes it much easier to roll and brace
  • Will leak at the waist if you spend too much time swimming