Wetsuit vs Drysuit: Which One Should You Wear?

wetsuit vs drysuit

If you have been doing water adventures such as kayaking and canoeing, I am pretty sure that you have heard this statement already. A lot of people out there, especially those who are new to kayaking, are curious as to whether they have to wear a wetsuit or a drysuit. As I have mentioned on one of my blogs in the past, wearing the appropriate gear is necessary for survival and comfort.


Now, many are bewitched by the fact that wetsuits and drysuits are often confused as the same. No. They are not. Each of these clothing has its own respective uses. I am not saying that wearing a drysuit or a wetsuit wrongly can jeopardize your adventure. You can still paddle with them like you usually do, but the comfort level that you are going to feel is already compromised.

So, do you want to know which of these should you wear on your next water trip? Find out the answer here!

One should know that the original function of drysuits and wetsuits is insulating your body. When you are in the water, it is inevitable that sudden drops in temperature will be experienced, especially if you are going to take a dive. These gears are often used to keep you comfortable even amidst the cold water and air.

Both a wetsuit and a drysuit can be used in different applications. Aside from boating, they can be used to inland surf sports. Lately, these suits have been a staple amenity for river surfing. They are also used by those who are paddleboarding and those who are enthusiasts to wakesurfing in the winter.

At first, you will think that any of these suits can work for you. However, take into account that these items have different ergonomics and functionality. Their construction is not the same as well.

Allow me to give you a brief introduction for each of these water gears.


A wetsuit is typically made with high-quality rubber neoprene. It is specifically designed to keep you to provide decent level of insulation, even if you are wet. But compared to drysuits, wetsuits will never offer waterproof capabilities. Therefore, it is pretty important that you put layers of clothing before the wetsuit so that you won't get chilly at all. Furthermore, you need to find the right fit so that the water won't get you.

Ideally, wetsuits that have a skin-tight construction is the best choice for applications that involve submerging yourself to cold water. If the application requires you to be flexible and athletic (such as surfing), then a wetsuit is the right gear.

A sleeveless wetsuit is great for kayaking in areas where the water is cold, but the air is warm. They can make you feel comfortable while you are cruising around.

See also: Best Wetsuit For Kayaking


Drysuits have been a prized possession for many water adventurers because of their exceptional waterproof capability. That's the biggest perk of having this suit. If you don't want the water get to you, it is proper that you wear a drysuit. It can keep the water away from you. Furthermore, it has a loose fitting, which is pretty similar to those ski jackets.

Many kayakers are wearing drysuits, especially if both the water and air temperatures are cold. They have great insulation as well, especially if you wear other clothing before it. Lately, I have seen people who were using drysuits for their paddleboards. The advent of technology has innovated the construction of drysuits. We have already some drysuit units today that possess the flexibility and functionality of wetsuits.

Key Differences of a Wetsuit from a Drysuit

Key Differences of a Wetsuit from a Drysuit

Aside from these things, there are other factors that you should know so that you can decide which to suit up.


Perhaps, insulation is the most significant factor that can decide which suit you are going to choose. Interestingly, people should know that both the suits can never offer maximum warmth if they are worn alone. What these items do is to ensure that you don't lose heat too fast. Technically speaking, it is easier for a person to put extra layers of insulation to a drysuit than a wetsuit. But if the condition is generally humid, wetsuits are already a decent choice.


Since you are just on your boat, there's no need for you to worry that much about buoyancy. However, this factor plays an important role when your boat gets capsized. Specifically, wetsuits get compressed, the deeper you sink them. Therefore, the buoyancy disappears, the more depth the suit gets into.

Meanwhile, a drysuit is capable of adding air to its system so that it can remain buoyant underwater. Moreover, take into account that wetsuits lose their insulation the more you compress it. On the other hand, drysuits don't.


One of the biggest perks of having a drysuit is its flexibility. Specifically, drysuits can be used in different applications and conditions. On the other hand, wetsuits have limited uses. Just like I said, it is quite tricky to put undergarments of pieces of clothing to a wetsuit. Because of this fact, most of the divers that I know are only using drysuits regardless of the external temperature.

But just like I said, if the condition is just right, wearing a wetsuit should never be a problem at all. You just have to assess the environment and weather before you decide which gear to wear.

Check out how this diver made an exceptional dive with the use of a drysuit!


Wetsuit vs drysuit? Maybe this is not just a question that decides which of them is a better choice. You see, any of these suits are needed to be invested. If you are a fan of kayaking, canoeing, or any watersport, these gears are downright essential. You can't hit the water if you are not equipped with them.

The only thing that you have to learn here is the appropriate application where you are going to use either of these two suits. For instance, if you need great insulation for your body, a drysuit is the best choice. But if you are looking for flexible gear while cruising on cold weather, a wetsuit should be a fine choice. It will be a great thing if you have them both in your arsenals.

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

Check out some of my other kayaking guides and resources!

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