Before any kayaking trip in a temperate or cold region, it’s important to do your research to find the best drysuit for kayaking. A drysuit is a full-body piece of clothing designed to keep warmth in, while simultaneously allowing internal moisture to escape and sealing external water out.

While drysuits are unnecessary in tropical weather, freezing weather and strong waves can make for a dangerous combination if you’re far from land. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we can guide you through a wide selection of the best drysuits available to make your purchase simpler and your kayaking experience safe, warm and dry.

For more of out top kayaking gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: 

Sea Kayaks | Sit on Top | Tandem | Canoes | Inflatable Kayaks

Paddles | Seats | PFDs | Dry Bags | Anchors | GPS

Wetsuits | Drysuits | Gloves | Shoes

Fishing Kayaks | RodsReels | Rod HoldersFish Finders

SUPs | Inflatable SUPsPaddles

 

 

 

 

QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST DRYSUITS FOR KAYAKING 

  1. Stohlquist Amp
  2. Level 6 Emporer
  3. Stohlquist EZ
  4. Kokatat Front Entry
  5. Kokatat Hydrus 3L Meridian
  6. Stohlquist Shift
  7. Kokatat Radius
  8. Kokatat Idol
  9. Crewsaver Cirrus
  10. O’neill Boost

 

 

 

KAYAKING DRYSUITS REVIEWS

STOHLQUIST AMP

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Comfort

WOMEN’S VERSION: Stohlquist Women’s Amp

MATERIAL: 4 Layer Twin Sensor, Laminated Nylon Shell

FIT: Relaxed

FEATURES: Masterseal entry, relief zippers, Cordura-reinforced knees and seat mesh drainers, waterproof fabric socks, UV-resistant knees, neck, wrist, reflective accents

WARRANTY: 3 year limited

PROS: Price, relaxed fit for layering

CONS: Lacks durability of Goretex

 

 

 

LEVEL 6 EMPORER

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: All Around Kayaking

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Cordura seat and knees

FIT: Relaxed

FEATURES: Bi-layer Cordura seat, knees, elbows, and forearms, adjustable waist, double tunnel waistband, neoprene ankle, wrist, and neck gaskets, rear entry, relief zippers, integrated socks, fleece pockets, emergency whistle, taped seams

WARRANTY: Limited lifetime

PROS: Great drysuit for all four seasons

CONS: Slightly bulky and warm, rear entry

 

 

 

STOHLQUIST EZ

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Freestyle Kayaking

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: 4-Layer Twin Sensor

FIT: Relaxed

FEATURES: Waterproof cross-chest entry, relief zippers, neoprene neck gaskets, articulated armored knees, reflective accents, adjustable cuff covers, fabric dry socks

WARRANTY: 3 year limited

PROS: Easy chest entry, armored knees for freestyle kayaking

CONS: Lacks durability of Gore-Tex

 

 

 

KOKATAT FRONT ENTRY

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Longboat whitewater kayaking

WOMEN’S VERSION: Kokatat Front Entry

MATERIAL: Gore-Tex

FIT: Medium

FEATURES: Specialized sleeves for mobility, reflective highlights, front entry for pit stops, integrated Gore-Tex socks, reinforced knees and seat

WARRANTY: Limited lifetime

PROS: Durability of Gore-Tex, latex gaskets prevent leakage

CONS: No hood

 

 

 

KOKATAT 3L HYDRUS MERIDIAN

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Cold days

WOMEN’S VERSION: Kokatat Hydrus 3L Meridian

MATERIAL: Hydrus 3L

FIT: Medium

FEATURES: Front entry zip, relief zipper or rear drop-seat for women, Hydrus 3L socks, adjustable waist, reinforced seat and knees, latex and neoprene gaskets, self-draining chest pocket, key lanyard

WARRANTY: Limited lifetime

PROS: Highly breathable, durable, and warm

CONS: Neck gasket is snug

 

 

 

STOHLQUIST SHIFT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: All day excursions

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: 3-Layer Rampart

FIT: Snug

FEATURES: “Stand-by” mode, relief zipper, latex gaskets at neck ,wrists, and ankles, Gripp-Loc spray skirt, removable hood, internal elastic suspenders prevent bunching, Cordura-reinforced knees and seat, chest pocket with headphone port, reflective accents

WARRANTY: 3-year limited

PROS: Front entry Simple Captive Zip, “Stand-by” mode for ventilation at rest stops

CONS: Lower mobility and flexibility, snug fit means no layering

 

 

 

KOKATAT RADIUS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Kayaking in Variable Weather

WOMEN’S VERSION: Kokatat Women’s Radius

MATERIAL: Gore-Tex

FIT: Relaxed

FEATURES: SwitchZip for two-piece functionality or relief, removable, stowable hood, dual adjustable overskirt, latex gaskets

WARRANTY: Limited lifetime

PROS: Comfort and versatility

CONS: Price

 

 

 

KOKATAT IDOL

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

BEST FOR: Freestyle whitewater kayaking

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Gore-Tex

FIT: Medium

FEATURES: SwitchZip for two-piece functionality or relief, dual adjustable overskirt, self-draining, zippered sleeve pocket with key lanyard

WARRANTY: Limited lifetime

PROS: Very durable

CONS: Price, no hood

 

 

 

CREWSAVER CIRRUS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Staying warm on a budget

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: Unspecified 3-layer breathable fabric

FIT: Medium

FEATURES: One-piece fleece, taped seams, front entry, reinforced knees, abrasion-resistant seat, Glideskin neoprene neck and cuffs, comfort latex socks, internal braces

WARRANTY: 1 year limited

PROS: Price, comes with one-piece fleece and drybag

CONS: Lacks durability and breathability of Gore-Tex

 

 

 

O’NEILL BOOST

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon

BEST FOR: Whitewater on a budget

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

MATERIAL: PVC-backed nylon

FIT: Relaxed

FEATURES: Latex ankle and wrist seals, built-in suspenders

WARRANTY: 1 year limited

PROS: Price, relaxed fit designed for additional layering

CONS: Weight, PVC-backed nylon lacks breathability

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST DRYSUITS FOR KAYAKING

PICTURE
KAYAKING DRYSUIT
BEST USE
FIT
WARRANTY
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
KAYAKING DRYSUIT
BEST USE
FIT
WARRANTY
PRICE
RATING
Stohlquist Amp
Overall
Relaxed
3 years
$$
4.7
Level 6 Emporer
Overall
Relaxed
Lifetime
$$
5.0
Stohlquist EZ
Overall
Relaxed
3 years
$$
4.0
Kokatat Front Entry
Breathable
Medium
Lifetime
$$
5.0
Kokatat Hydrus 3L Meridian
Breathable
Medium
Lifetime
$$
3.0
Stohlquist Shift
Breathable
Snug
3 years
$$
3.0
Kokatat Radius
SwitchZip
Relaxed
Lifetime
$$$
5.0
Kokatat Idol
SwitchZip
Medium
Lifetime
$$$
5.0
Crewsaver Cirrus
Budget
Medium
1 year
$
5.0
O'neill Boost
Budget
Relaxed
1 year
$
3.8

 

 

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HOW TO CHOOSE  THE BEST DRYSUITS FOR KAYAKING

MATERIAL

Drysuits are almost always made of either nylon or Gore-Tex. Sometimes, the nylon is coated or laminated with a hydrophilic substance to repel water. Gore-Tex is highly durable, and while more expensive than other fabrics, is definitely worth the money.

Many suits will offer Cordura-reinforced knees and seat, soft latex and neoprene gaskets around the neck, ankles and wrist to prevent chafing, or even a proprietary fabric on the interior of the suit for added comfort. Consider the climate and intended use when shopping for a drysuit.

 

FIT

Like all pieces of clothing, drysuits are made to fit snugly, loosely or somewhere in between. If you enjoy whitewater kayaking in late fall or early spring when the daytime temperatures are still low, you might consider buying a drysuit that offers a loose fit and ample room for warm, long sleeve layers underneath.

If you don’t anticipate needing extra layers, perhaps opt for a suit that fits more snugly to eliminate excessive bulk.

 

BREATHABILITY

We covered materials above. While staying dry and warm are the main reasons for wearing a drysuit, thicker, water-repellent fabrics are less breathable than thinner, uncoated fabrics. However, Gore-Tex, in addition to being durable, is one of the most breathable fabrics available.

Sweating underneath your clothes in a cold environment can be dangerous as it leaves you wet and prone to hypothermia. Breathable fabrics were developed to overcome this problem, which can present challenges in nearly all sports, from mountaineering and long-distance running to snow-skiing and kayaking.

 

ENTRY TYPE

Up until recent years, there have been two types of drysuit entries, back entry and front entry. The first uses a zipper down the back of the suit, the second, down the front of the suit. While they each have their benefits, front entry suits will typically offer a relief zipper which makes pit stops a breeze.

The third entry type, SwitchZip, was developed by Kokatat. Their drysuits can be completely separated in the middle and function as either top only, bottom only or full drysuit when fused.

 

FEATURES

Make a list of wants and needs before you shop. If comfort is very important to you, choose a drysuit with mesh draining areas, and adjustable wrist, ankles and waist cinches.

If functionality is more essential, perhaps for an activity like fishing in the early morning hours, gear pockets, loops, reflective trim may rank higher on your list of desired features. While some drysuits come with built-in socks, you will need to find kayaking shoes and kayaking gloves, as they will not be included in your purchase.

 

WARRANTY

Warranty may be more important to some users than others, depending on their choice of activity. Fisherman and whitewater kayakers will damage or wear out their suits faster than the casual kayaker.

A drysuit will most likely be the second most expensive purchase you’ll see apart from your kayak. So, a lifetime warranty will come in handy if it should ever need to be replaced.

Top 10 Best Drysuits For Kayaking – Best Kayaking Clothes for Men and Women – Kayaking Outfits for Summer and Winter – What to Wear When Kayaking Outdoors

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