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Full neoprene wetsuit
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Damien T
(dteney) - F

Locale: Somewhere in the Alps
Full neoprene wetsuit on 10/23/2009 08:23:13 MDT Print View

Hi all,

I used my packraft a lot this summer, in warm weather, but things are getting less practical now that the temperatures are colder. I just thought about using a thick neoprene suit for keeping me warm even when wet.

You can get used 7mm diving suits (which are usually fine for swimming in waters down to 50°F) for less than 50$.

Has anyone already tried this, or have some insight on how it would perform for paddling ?


Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Full neoprene wetsuit - Bad idea! on 10/23/2009 09:04:46 MDT Print View


The neoprene is cut to keep your arms along your side (normal diving position). Correct paddling requires that your upper arm rotates across your body. A dive suit's arm rotation resistance will quickly fatigue you.

If you want to use a neoprene suit, then purchase a Farmer John style. It allows the required arm mobility. You can use a rain top in combination with the Farmer John but this allows copious water flushing during a swim. It is much safer to couple your Farmer John wet suit with a semi-dry or dry top. Sierra Trading Post has the Extrasport dry tops and semi dry tops on sale. Read the reviews to appreciate the product’s value. The semi-dry top gives you the most flexibility for packrafting because you can ventilate the neck when are walking with your packraft.

Edited by richard295 on 10/23/2009 10:09:55 MDT.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
wetsuit, option to consider on 10/23/2009 09:24:47 MDT Print View

A wet suit meant for swimming, AKA triathlons might be much better than a dive suit. They're expensive but an older used one can be had cheaply.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: Full neoprene wetsuit on 10/23/2009 19:19:39 MDT Print View

Richard's got a good point about a dive suit's cut.

Maybe you could buy a used dive suit and modify it by removing the arms?

Packrafting is pretty wet, but it's sort of chest down wet as you are often sitting in a puddle and it's the legs and butt that get you cold. That's why Farmer John with paddle top is good. So long as you are not swimming you should stay more comfortable than you'd think without the arm insulation.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Full neoprene wetsuit on 10/23/2009 19:27:27 MDT Print View

I've spent a fair number of days paddling in both wet and drysuits, as well as swam hundreds of miles in trisuits.

1) Wetsuits are miserably uncomfortable to wear all day...especially for multiple days.

2) Dive wetsuits don't allow proper upper body mobility for paddling, exacerbating #1.

3) Tri Wetsuits don't have a nylon exterior and would abrade quickly at contact points like the seat.

4) Drysuits rock. ;-)