Wetsuit vs Drysuit

2 years 4 months ago #30561 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
If a dry suit gets torn then loss of insulation is only half the problem. The other issue is that the suit takes on water. Very hard to pull yourself out of the water with 50 pounds of water stuck in each leg.

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2 years 4 months ago #30565 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit

zachhandler wrote: If a dry suit gets torn then loss of insulation is only half the problem. The other issue is that the suit takes on water. Very hard to pull yourself out of the water with 50 pounds of water stuck in each leg.


Ahahah, zach, good point but just in case someone comes across this and takes the hyperbole at face value: You would need around 6 gallons of seawater in each leg to have 50lbs of water stuck in each leg. A torn drysuit is going to take on water, but likely not too much more than your insulation soaks in, which if you're wearing proper insulation layers, should not be too much. A burped drysuit is not a rigid structure like a boat so while it will fill to a certain degree if ripped, there should really be no reason for it to gush in and fill anywhere near that level. Take a garbage bag squeeze all the air out of it and tie it off; then rip a hole in it while submerged underwater, the garbage bag doesn't just fill completely with water.

A related common misconception is that a torn drysuit will fill with water and sink. Even if the entire volume of the drysuit fills with water, because the density is the same it has no effect on the bouyancy of the drysuit in water; a torn drysuit completely filled with water will not suddenly become an anchor dragging you to the bottom.

A very common misconception about wetsuits is that the water trapped and heated by your body is what keeps you warm. It is actually the air bubbles in your neoprene foam that insulates you in spite of any water that may enter, not working in conjunction with it. You want to minimize the amount of water in your wetsuit as well.

I have both wetsuits and drysuits, both have their pros and cons in different uses especially cost/temperature driven.

I've not experienced a full blowout in a drysuit,only leaks, with about half a cup of water in each leg, so if someone can comment who has had a full on tear I would appreciate it, but given the above principle I'd be surprised if they had gallons of water rush in.

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2 years 4 months ago #30567 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
About 15 years ago I spent an afternoon in a drysuit teaching myself to roll a kayak. I was probably out there 3 hours. I was thrashing around pretty good and did lots of wet exits. I don’t know where the leak was (probably a gasket) but by the end of the session there was not just one gallon but many gallons of water in each leg. It was like having my feet in concrete buckets as I was trying to get out of the water. I suspect all the movement while I was in the water created some sort of pumping force.

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2 years 4 months ago #30568 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
Zach,
Thanks for recounting your experience with the drysuit. Is that the experience that swore you off them for good?

I want to preface by saying I mean no offense and I only ask because since you were teaching yourself to roll maybe it was very early in your paddling/drysuit experience, but is it possible your drysuit was not fully burped? Just to cover the bases. I mean like walked in and almost entirely submerge yourself in water and burped the air out before you started your session.

If the leak wasn't big enough for you to locate I'm really surprised that much water would've accumulated. Did you notice the leak and you kept practicing or the gallons of water entered all at once?

If this is the concern/dealbreaker you can buy a drysuit without built in socks. The Patagonia drysuit(technically it was closer to a semi-dry paddling suit with neoprene neck gasket) I had came with ankle gaskets, but except for the cheapest model I believe the vast majority of Kokatat drysuit models come standard with socks, but you can custom order the other models without the built in socks. The ankle gaskets would allow you to drain out the water if you find gallons of water accumulated without needing some kind of acrobatics to get the water to your wrist/neck gaskets.

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2 years 4 months ago #30569 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
And at the risk of sounding like a Kokatat salesman(I have no affiliation and think wetsuits and drysuits each work better in different situations), although I should really be getting a commission for this advertisement(I would definitely not be unhappy with a free suit, Kokatat!), have much more of a "tailored" fit in my experience, so while your mileage might vary with the off the rack sizing you will find that there is really not enough room for many gallons of water to fit in the drysuit legs with you in it, as compared to other baggier cut drysuits.

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2 years 4 months ago #30571 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
HangTen I think we we agree that wet and dry suits are both viable options for ski paddlers with benefits and disadvantages that one has to be aware of.

Sounds like your legs fill your kokatat which is great. But not all people at a given height are going to have legs the same volume. There are 6 foot guys out there with tree trunks for legs and others with tooth picks. They both buy the same size drysuit, so there is potentially a lot of room in the legs.

I did do a web search for “flooded dry suit” to see if I was in fact the only person to have this happen. There are many accounts of flooded dry suits making it extremely difficult or impossible to get out of the water. The wikipedia article on dry suits suggests a knife would be usefull in that situation:

“A flooded suit may contain so much water that the diver cannot climb out of the water because of the weight and inertia. In this case it may be necessary to cut a small slit in the lower part of the leg to let water drain out as the diver rises out of the water. This will take some time, and agility will be seriously compromised. The damage should not be difficult to repair if the slit is cut with reasonable care.”

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2 years 4 months ago #30572 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
Bloody hell, reading all these posts makes me realise there's a whole other world of truly cold water out there and also makes me even more thankful that I live and paddle where I do.

The maximum that I wear even in mid-winter here in Cape Town is a double-layer of long-sleeved wicking shirt with a long-sleeved wind cheater on top... I wear wicking leggings - but that's just habit to keep the sun and bluebottles off.

Respect!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Pelle

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #30573 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit

zachhandler wrote: I did do a web search for “flooded dry suit” to see if I was in fact the only person to have this happen. There are many accounts of flooded dry suits making it extremely difficult or impossible to get out of the water. The wikipedia article on dry suits suggests a knife would be usefull in that situation:


Zach, definitely agree that there are tradeoffs, but just trying to better understand(not criticize or discount) exactly what happened in your case and how much of a concern flooded legs to the point of being unable to climb out of the water is when paddling, so people(myself included) can make educated decisions.

When you google search "flooded dry suit", the search results that come up all pertain to diving dry suits. Diving drysuits in design and use are different from paddling drysuits. Diving drysuits are stiffer and rather than burping with diving drysuits you actually add air from your regulator as you descend through an injection valve to counteract the suit squeeze at depth; this combined with the very deliberately slow ascent to prevent the bends even if your diving suit tears I believe are factors that would result in much much more water being in the diving drysuit once you reach the surface to the point of being unable to lift yourself out of the water.

I have had trouble finding any accounts of catastrophic failure of paddling drysuits resulting in flooding to the point of being unable to lift yourself from the water. If someone can find an account or has another first hand experience please chime in. From the accounts I've read it seems that catastrophic failure generally occurs before your session when you're putting the suit on and if it starts leaking during a paddle it's not gallons of water rushing in, but definitely want to correct any misconceptions I might have.

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2 years 4 months ago #30575 by zachhandler
Replied by zachhandler on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
Intersting - i have never been in a diving wetsuit.

Regarding my own experience with water intrusion while rolling a kayak it came in slowly over the course of hours. Hard to notice where it was leaking when upside down in cold water clawing frantically for the surface.

My first surfski was the original v12 which had the metal andersen bailer. I had already cut myself a couple of times on it remounting in rough water. So that made me decide at the time to go wetsuit rather than dry suit.

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2 years 4 months ago #30576 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
For sure. Just to confirm, you fully burped your suit before your session? Once out of the water did you check the suit to see where the leak was coming from or straight into the garbage bin?

Given the widespread use of drysuits in other types of kayaking including expedition/touring kayaking where you're dealing with rocks/shrubs I'm surprised there is no mention of the flooding you describe.

I shot an email to the folks at Kokatat; will report back with what they say marketing or otherwise.

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2 years 4 months ago #30582 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
davgdavg & hangten, as far as I can see, you both contribute valuable info to the forum and I'd like to keep it that way. Can I give you each other's email addresses so that you can have a go at each other directly rather than on the forum?

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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2 years 4 months ago #30588 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
Robin,
Thanks for stepping in and moderating. I for one am not having a go at davg or anyone else. Correcting misinformation(mine or others) especially when it comes to safety is my way of contributing for the questions I've posted on the forum. There is no ego or brownie points on an internet forum.

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #30590 by robin.mousley
Replied by robin.mousley on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit

Thanks for stepping in and moderating. I for one am not having a go at davg or anyone else. Correcting misinformation(mine or others) especially when it comes to safety is my way of contributing for the questions I've posted on the forum. There is no ego or brownie points on an internet forum.


Thanks for that. I think part of the problem is that the term "misinformation" means different things to different people and it *could* have been read that you were accusing him of lying, hence an understandable strong pushback.

Unfortunately emails/chat systems/forums do lend themselves to misunderstandings of this nature.

As a general comment, not directed at anyone in particular, I find excluding sarcasm or insulting language is most effective, especially when backed up with sources. I learnt some big lessons on Facebook after being chided by friends for coming across as arrogant. Me, arrogant? Yes, in fact I was being arrogant and it showed in the language that I was using.

The moment you respond in kind, you've effectively lost the argument. The admin person has the most effective tools in any case, see below.

I hate banning people and I've only done it twice in the ten year history of the site. I'll go to almost any length to prevent going that far, but it is time-consuming!

Thanks guys!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
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The following user(s) said Thank You: supsherpa, HangTen

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2 years 4 months ago - 2 years 4 months ago #30594 by davgdavg
Replied by davgdavg on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit

robin.mousley wrote: davgdavg & hangten, as far as I can see, you both contribute valuable info to the forum and I'd like to keep it that way. Can I give you each other's email addresses so that you can have a go at each other directly rather than on the forum?

HangTen wrote: Robin,
Correcting misinformation(mine or others) especially when it comes to safety is my way of contributing


A. Robin, I appreciate your comments and humor. As with anyone, I don't like to be continually misquoted and have it pretentiously, smugly, and arrogantly insinuated that the facts I bring to a discussion are incorrect. This is especially true when coming from someone whom I and others, as far as we can tell, has NO ocean paddling experience, yet is a know it all on all aspects of everything. Of course I am admittedly being petty, and I pettily engaged him in this thread, instead of letting his personal grudge go.

My apologies to you for that. Luckily its a public forum and everyone can read every word in this thread and the "smallest wave you can surf downwind."

B. I seem to recall a similar situation just a week or two ago, with a common denominator involved. Curious...

Until there is a forum with an ignore function, I will make it a point to actively ignore, and would hope he can do the same with me. That should clean things up, at least between him and I :)

Cheers,

--David

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2 years 4 months ago #30595 by HangTen
Replied by HangTen on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit
Davg,
I will give you the same advice I apparently already gave you on the other thread. If you feel that someone else is wrong, then present facts that actually demonstrate that instead of getting upset or resort to namecalling. Apologies if I came across as arrogant, but incorrect information is incorrect.

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2 years 4 months ago #30597 by davgdavg
Replied by davgdavg on topic Wetsuit vs Drysuit

HangTen wrote: Davg,
I will give you the same advice I apparently already gave you on the other thread. If you feel that someone else is wrong, then present facts that actually demonstrate that instead of getting upset or resort to namecalling. Apologies if I came across as arrogant, but incorrect information is incorrect.


Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I rest my case.

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