For ocean explorers that aren’t held back by a little cold water, drysuits are an excellent way to keep your body warm and comfortable in the coldest of waters. There are two layers to these suits- the first hugs your skin much like a diving wetsuit, and the second layer fit a little bit looser and cinches at the neck and cuffs to ensure that no water enters.
Unlike wetsuits, these are made to keep water from ever touching your skin. Plus, the layer of air that stands between you and the water is heated by your own body heat to keep you comfortable when the temperatures plunge. Not only are these products great for ocean exploration, but they can also be used when engaging in outdoor activities in the snow and ice all while keeping your body nice and warm without a lot of extra bulk.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research
Front zipper pocket
Fabric dry socks included with purchase
Top 10 Picks
1. Stohlquist Ez
Front zipper pocket
Fabric dry socks included with purchase
Some users claim the neck gasket fits a little too tight
Stohlquist is one of the most prevalent names when it comes to these types of products, and users love how effective they are at keeping them warm when the temperatures plummet around them. This option is made from high-quality waterproof materials and has a few extra features that are helpful in many situations.Read more
The outward appearance of this design looks very sharp, and it is offered in two colors: mango and black. The mango design has black accents on the sleeves and on the knees, and the black option is accented by sharp red stitching.
The neck and cuffs around the ankles and wrists are made from a durable layer of neoprene that feels soft against the skin. The outer shell is composed of nylon fabric that has a thick Hydrophobic coating. The front of the unit also has a pocket that runs from hip to hip that is used to store necessary items.
It is offered in sizes that range from small and run all the way up to extra large. Many users find that this product is pretty true to fit and love how the fabrics offer them a full range of motion while engaging in activities without feeling too tight or constricted.
This particular brand is going to set you back a little bit of money. While it isn’t the most expensive option out there on the market, it does pack a punch of a price tag. However, past users have raved about how great and effective this product was on their outdoor adventures, making it well worth the price tag.
If you are in the market for something that not only looks good but is also incredibly effective at keeping you warm in colder climates- this is going to be your best bet if you are willing to dish out the extra money. You could also check out swim parkas here, for those colder days.
2. Scubapro Evertech
2 Large side cargo pockets
Boots included may not fit ideally
This is another great option for those that are looking for something that won't attract too much attention and is also incredibly effective at keeping you warm. It is easy to take on and off thanks to the diagonal front zipper. This drysuit is best for serious scuba divers who want to invest in one great suit that will last them for the rest of time.Read more
The state-of-the-art suit brings you a futuristic style that is available in only one color, black. There is a diagonal zipper along the front of the suit and a neoprene neck collar. The logo is present on the right arm, but not obnoxiously. Other than that, there are a few S’s present, but demurely.
This suit is composed of top-of-line materials to allow your perspiration to be absorbed and disposed of without allowing any water to enter. The suit itself is made from nylon, PU, and nylon trilaminate. The seams are sealed to keep out water and the neck collar is made from neoprene. The neoprene collar is great for divers as it helps to keep the hood in place. The boots are attached to the leg on this suit and are semi-rigid. You can easily walk over shells and uneven terrain with this suit.
The smallest size that this suit is available in is a Medium. The largest size is a 4XL, and of course, all sized in-between are available as well. One of the difficult things with this suit is coordinating your boot size with the size of the suit. The manufacturers do not modify their product, but they suggest taking it to a drysuit store to modify it.
This suit is expensive. It is mainly for scuba diving and will give you all the confidence in the world to explore the sea. The suit comes with a 2-year warranty and is made from strong materials that will last you a very long time.
Considering the great features that are offered with this suit, such as the materials, the two cargo pockets, diagonal front zipper, and many more, this suit is well-worth its price tag. This is an incredibly strong and durable suit and is constructed for divers. If you aren’t a serious diver or are looking for something a bit cheaper and casual, this is not the suit for you.
3. O'Neill Boost
US Navy approved
Some have discovered that it has a tendency to leak
O’Neill has been in the business of making really great outdoor gear since their beginnings in 1951. They started out making gear for surfers, so they know a thing or two about crafting gear for cold water and cold weather.Read more
This model is offered in just one color: solid black. It has white accents along the sleeve, and the classic O’Neill logo printed on the sleeves as well as along the ankle. There are no other colors options available in this design other than black.
The materials used for this model are constructed from nylon that is coated with a waterproof substance that is also wind resistant. It sits loosely on the skin so that you will always have maximum flexibility and movement while you are out on the water.
The size range for this model ranges from extra small all the way to extra large. They provide an easy to read sizing chart that uses the measurements of your body to indicate which size is right for you. If you are between sizes, it is better to go a little bit bigger so that you aren’t hindered in your movements.
This model runs right down the middle of the road in terms of price. It isn’t the most expensive model available, but it is far from being the least expensive. If you were looking for something from a trusted company that has a long line of trusted customers behind them, and you are willing to pay a little bit more- this is a great value.
Some athletes just want something that is simple, won’t stick out in a crowd and is incredibly effective at keeping them warm in cold waters. This will be an excellent addition to your next outing when the temperatures begin to plummet.
4. Stohlquist Amp
Additional zippered pocket
Neoprene coated cuffs
Some feel the neck gasket fits too tightly
Stohlquist makes this list yet again with their innovative Amp design that is posed to be a little bit more casual than some of their other products. It is offered in two bright colors to ensure that you will never be overlooked and is a lot easier to put on than some of the other options out there on the market.Read more
There are two different color choices that users can select- orange and red. Both colors are incredibly bright and they are punctuated by sharp black accents along the cuffs, neck, and waist. Like any good Stohlquist design, it also has a function zippered pocket that runs from hip to hip.
The chest and cuffs are accented in latex materials that are coated in comfortable neoprene that shapes easily to the shape of your body without running the risk of hindering movement. It also has a seat and knees that are padded with Cordura to add a little bit more support when the waters become rough.
Finding your right size might be a little bit more difficult than some of the other designs, because it is only offered in small, extra large, and extra-extra large. Almost 90 percent of users found that the fit they selected fit their body just as they expect. If you are ever in doubt, it is better to go one size up because you can always adjust the cuffs to fit your body without sacrificing movement.
The price tag found on this design is going to sting a little bit. It is considerably more expensive than the EZ design, but it also offers a lot more protection from the cold, and it also is a little bit more practical and stylish. If you were looking for something that will last through all of your extreme cold water adventures- this is going to be worth the hefty price tag.
If you are in the market for something that is functional, comfortable, and will make you look like a professional athlete while out there on the water- this is a really great product, if you can swing the price.
5. Hollis NEOTEK
Fits tightly to skin
Additional pockets on the thighs
Many size options available
Some found the velcro on pockets began to tear after only a few uses
We are going to take a brief break from keeping water completely off of your shin to offer you something called a semi-dry suit. These products fit tight like a wetsuit (which many users actually prefer), and they also work to keep your body warm while in cold water. They don’t, however, keep your skin dry, which is why some users prefer the original loose fitting style. This design is really easy to pull on and is constructed from comfortable neoprene.Read more
This model only comes in one color- black. It has a lot of sharp white accents along the seams, as well as the Hollis logo printed in white letters on the front of the breast. It has the addition of two large pockets located on the side of the thighs to place all of the gear that you will need while you are out there.
There are two distinct layers of fabric that work in tandem to keep you warm while out on the water. The base layer is composed of Lavaskin- which is a material that is designed to keep you warm and maintain body heat while in cooler climates. The top layer is made from incredibly thick neoprene that is very flexible as well as resilient.
The good news is that Hollis offers a myriad of sizes to ensure that you get the best fit right out of the box. Sizing options include small, medium, and large. The extra large options range all the way up to 3XL. Short options are also available in most sizes.
While it doesn’t fit or behave the way like the traditional style, the cost runs pretty much the same. This isn’t the most expensive model out there on the market, but it isn’t the least expensive either. If you want something that is effective and fits like a glove- this is well worth the price tag.
For adventurers looking for something that will keep them warm even when swimming in incredibly cold waters- this unit is going to be your best bet. Your skin is still going to get wet, but it won’t feel cold.
6. Crewsaver Cirrus
Comes with an additional carrying bag
Easy to equip
Some users have found a little water penetrates through the zipper
Crewsaver is an excellent way to to get out there in the cold without adding any additional pressure to your wallet. The exterior shell is made from multiple layers of high quality and waterproof materials that are perfect for keeping warm without weighing you down too much.Read more
There is only one color option available in this model: solid black. The breast and the arms are accented with sharp red fabric, and the logo of Crewsaver runs along the front in white block letters. It also comes with two roomy pockets that are located along the top of the thighs for easy access to additional gear.
This model comes with a base layer that is made of fleece and designed to keep the body dry and comfortable. On top of the fleece is multiple layers of nylon that are taped at the seams to ensure that no water penetrates through. The neck is composed of flexible neoprene so that it is comfortable and effective at keeping water out.
There are only two size options available for this design- small and medium. If you are unsure of your fit, it is always better to go one size up from what you would normally wear.
The best feature about this product is the incredibly reasonable price point. This is one of the more affordable options out there, but keep in mind that even the least expensive design out there is still significantly more expensive than a wetsuit.
If you don’t want to pay the hefty price tag of some of the higher end designs, this is an excellent place to start. It is incredibly affordable and will keep you high and dry when you want to stay warm out there in the elements.
7. Ocean Rodeo
Sharp exterior design
Option to unzip the neck for ‘stand-by’ mode
Many size options available
Runs a little large
Ocean Rodeo brings a little bit of style to these products. Instead of looking like one solid piece of material, it is designed to look like a separate shirt and pants, all while keeping you warm and dry. It is composed of high-quality materials that are easy to put on and will feel light and comfortable.Read more
The design of this is what makes it stand out from the rest of the pack. The pants are light grey in color and they come down long enough to ensure that no water can penetrate via the bottom. It has a black top with an orange undershirt and sharp orange accents along the seams. The design makes it possible to zip up the neck to keep yourself 100 percent dry, or wear the neck unzipped for what Ocean Rodeo calls ‘stand-by mode’.
Ocean Rodeo uses Ventor fabric that is incredibly breathable and warm, but it is also incredibly lightweight. In fact, the weight of this model is one of it’s best features. Ocean Rodeo uses materials that are cut in such a way that it will not make you feel like you are being hindered by excess and bulky fabrics.
Another place where this unit really shines is the available sizes. There are so many options that are available that you are sure to find one that fits your body type perfectly. Sizes include extra small and work their way all the way up to extra-extra large. There are also options to upgrade some designs to ‘king’ models, which are slightly longer and bigger.
The price of this design will cost you a good deal of money. It is one of the most expensive designs to make this list. However, if you wanted to ensure that you got something that is incredibly effective, and also makes you look good while you are at it- this is an excellent deal.
For those that want to stay warm and dry while out there in the elements, but also want the option to breathe a little bit by unzipping the neck, this product will be a welcome addition to your next cold water adventure.
8. SEAC Warmdry
Includes storage bag
Some find the neck to be a little tight
Boots could have a bit more traction
If you're looking for a quality suit at a great price that will serve you well in moderately cold waters, this is a great option for you. The style of it won't make you stand out and the attached boots can be turned inside out for quick drying. Just be careful with the sizing, as it has been said that it runs a bit small.Read more
This suit is available in black with red accents. The logo is printed across the chest and the arm in white. The suit doesn’t really stand out, which is favorable for some and doesn’t allow much room for personal style.
This suit is made 4mm neoprene and features a spacious accessory pocket on the outer thigh that is made from bellowed 1,000 denier nylon. The thickness of the neoprene is ideal for waters from about 50 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The tight wrist closures and taped collar work together to keep water out. The attached boots are semi-rigid and great for walking along shells or uneven surfaces. For serious divers, some felt that they would prefer more tread on the boots.
The smallest size available is a Small and the largest size available is a 3X. A couple of reviewers have commented that it fits a bit tight and if you are unsure or in between sizes, to order up. The size of the boots is also correlated with the suit and should (hopefully) fit most.
For this price and quality, this is a great buy. If your usual water temperatures are moderate, the 4mm neoprene will be great. However, if you tend to encounter colder bodies of water, this will not be the right suit for you.
Coming in at a great price and with durable qualities, we couldn’t exclude this one from our list. To add a little bit more sweetness to the deal, this suit also comes with a hose and straps, a hood, and a fabric storage bag.
9. Body Glove
Addition of PSI hose
Easy to put on
Keeps users incredibly dry and warm
Limited size options
Body Glove offers users a type of product that is a little bit more lightweight than many of the others out there on the market, but this feature comes at a price. This is one of the more expensive models to make this list, but it is also one of the lightest.Read more
The outside of this design comes in one color- solid black. There are no pops of color at the seams or anywhere else on the unit for the exception of the logo that is printed in white block letters across the body. It has one large pocket that runs along the side of the thigh and is able to be zipped closed.
The exterior of this product is composed of a series of polyester and nylon materials. Where this product really shines is the addition of a 250 PSI hose that is used to pump air right under the exterior shell to create a layer of warm air between you and the cold water.
There aren’t a whole lot of sizing options offered with this design, unfortunately. Sizes include small, medium, and extra large. If you feel that you are on the fence of what size to get, it is better to get a size that is just a little bit bigger to avoid an uncomfortable fit that limits your movements.
If you expected something that has a pressure hose that is used to blow air into it would be incredibly expensive, you would be absolutely right. The cost of this design is far more than many others out there on the market, but users like its innovative design and it’s durability so much that they all feel it is well worth the padded price tag.
If you are in the market for something that is a little bit different that is designed to keep you just as dry as if you were standing on land- and you had the extra money to spend on its high price tag- this will be a great addition to your next nautical adventure.
10. Level Six Emperor 3.0
Easy to put on
Level Six makes a great option for cold weather adventurers that is offered in many fun and unique designs that you might not find elsewhere. It is made from quality materials that will be able to stand up to incredibly harsh weather and waters and offers a few additional features that most users will really appreciate.Read more
The look of the outside shell is probably something you haven’t seen before. It is offered in two distinct colors options that include red and yellow. Each color is accented with charcoal grey panels that serve to be very slimming. There is a heavy duty zippered pocket that runs along the front from hip to hip that is perfect for storing additional gear.
Instead of using neoprene for the neck and wrist gaskets, Level Six utilities latex. It has additional padding around the knees and the elbows to prevent excessive wear that could potentially lead to leaks. It has a 3-layer exhaust system that is incredibly lightweight and breathable, but also 100 percent waterproof.
There are a lot of sizing options offered by Level Six so that you can be sure that you get the exact right fit for your body. Sizes include extra small and work their way up all the way to extra-extra large. They also have a detailed sizing chart so that you can be sure you know exactly what size you will need to buy.
The price of this unit is a little bit on the expensive side and leans to be one of the more expensive models out there on the market. It does, however, come with the benefit of a 1-year warranty in case anything goes wrong with it out in the water.
If money is no option, this is a really great option for outdoor adventurers that don’t like to be hindered by a little bit of cold water. Plus, you can get out there knowing that it has a 1-year warranty and a line of very satisfied customers behind them.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There is nothing wrong with orange exterior shells because it means that everyone will see you and you will be a little safer in case anything goes wrong. However, there is a fine line between wearing something that is brightly colored in order to stay safe and a traffic cone. We tried to shy away from designs that were a little too abrasive on the eyes. We liked designs that used bright colors in moderation and took protective measures into their hands by putting reflective tape along seamlines. At the end of the day, how it looks is not the most important aspect of this type of gear, but everyone wants to look their best, whether they are out for a nice dinner with their family or barreling through whitecaps on a kayak.
This was one of the most important aspects that we considered, because if it isn’t made from waterproof materials, then it is just an expensive rubber suit filled with water. Neoprene and latex are to of the top materials to keep your eye on when selecting a design that works for you. These materials are the best of the best when it comes to blocking out water, but they are light and comfortable enough that they won’t hinder flexibility or range of motion. While materials such as canvas that is coated with waterproof materials might also be effective, they can often become incredibly heavy and weigh you down a great deal.
It might not seem like an important aspect- but if it doesn’t fit right, it isn’t going to be very effective at keeping out water. Plus, if it is too small it might hinder your full range of motion and hold you back from performing at your best. If it’s too big, it might not be great at keeping out water because it doesn’t seal completely, and it will become too bulky and heavy. We liked companies that had a wide array of different sizes that included sizes for the shorter as well as the taller outdoor adventurers. We also really liked it when companies offered a detailed sizing chart so that you can find your measurements and pick the right size for you.
We already warned you that these products boast a pretty high price tag, but we wanted to make sure we selected products that were still within the realm of reason. Most of the products that we selected had a price tag the ran right down the middle of the road– meaning they weren’t the most expensive out there but they weren’t the most expensive either. We also wanted to make sure that we included a few lower-priced options like those from Crewsaver. These products wear a lot different than wetsuits, and it would be a shame if you spend your hard-earned money on one of the higher-end models only to find out you don’t like how they feel when equipped. The Crewsaver options were priced significantly lower than many of the other options, but they still used high-quality materials such a fleece and neoprene to make for a comfortable and durable fit.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If the company that offers the gear that you want provides a measurement chart- be sure to check your measurements. Sure, it might be a pain to try and find that old cloth measuring tape at the bottom of your sewing kit, but it will be worth it in the long run. It is also worth mentioning that if you feel like these types of suits might not be your cup of tea based on their loose and sloppy fit, you might want to check out semi-drysuits. They don’t keep the water completely off of your skin, but they fit tight like a swim jammer while still keeping you nice and warm as a drysuit.
Be very careful with the zipper of your drysuit. The zipper is the most expensive and difficult part of the suit to replace. After exiting and rinsing the suit, do not drape the suit over a ledge to dry. This can eventually cause damage to the zipper and hinder it from closing correctly. Always hang the suit to dry and store it flat.
Other Factors to Consider
Any sport that involves a dry suit is going to be intense. You want to look for key quality features in the suit that will make it last for a long time. A few examples are reinforced knees and shoulders, a gusseted crotch, and overall strong materials. Whether you are hopping on rocks, kayaking, or diving, there will be obstacles to conquer and the possibility of brushing up against something undesirable. Luckily, most, if not all, of the dry suits these days are made with sturdy materials that are abrasion resistant.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do I need one?
If you love being out in the water in the summertime and wish you could continue kayaking well into the other seasons- it might be a good fit for you. It keeps your body surprisingly warm without adding too much extra bulk, and it keeps cold water far away from your skin.
q: What is the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit?
They both have to do with being submerged in water- but one keeps your skin wet, and one keeps your skin dry. Wetsuits are typically used by scuba divers or swimmers that want to have a thinner layer of fabric that will keep the sun off of their back as well as maintain a little bit of body heat if the water starts to get colder the further down they travel underwater. The later is designed to keep the water off of your back completely and is designed to keep swimmers incredibly warm, even when the temperatures plummet in the water as well on land. Due to the solid designs that require them to cinch tightly at the neck and cuffs while still fitting rather loose- they often are priced a lot more than their wet counterparts.
q: How do semi-drysuits work, and do they really keep you warm?
These products often a nice middle ground between the two, but often still carry a pretty hefty price tag. Some users just do not like the feel of two layers of fabric draped over their body- one that fits tight and one that fits rather loose. To try and accommodate those users, companies have created this type of suit that has a tight-fitting design that you would find on a wetsuit, but it helps maintain body heat to keep you warm even when your skin becomes wet. It manages to do this because the thick neoprene that is used for this type of gear actually holds the water against your skin, and utilizes your body heat to warm the water. It is similar to using a layer of air to keep you warm- only in this case is it a layer of warmed water.
q: How do I wash them?
Unfortunately- this is not something that you are going to be able to throw into the washing machine and call it a day. You want to make sure you clean them after use because oils, dirt, and bacteria can form and essentially hinder the performance on your next outing. To give it a good cleaning, simply rinse off all loose debris with warm water. After that, you will want to wipe it down with warm, gentle soapy water, and then rinse it again. To dry, unzip all of the zippers and hang it upside down in a well-ventilated area. Before you toss it into storage, be sure that it is completely dry.
q: What can I wear them for?
Scuba diving in cold water may be the obvious choice to use this gear for, but it doesn’t just stop there. If there is ever a climate where you feel that it is too cold to get out there, and you don’t want to be held down with a lot of bulky gear- this could be the solution. People that engage in a myriad of water sports such as white water rafting, kayaking, paddleboarding, or surfing. If the water is a little bit too cold, but you still want to get out there, this gear will not only keep you warm, but it will also keep you dry.
q: How does it keep water out?
First of all, the outer shell is made from a completely waterproof material so that water just wicks off of the surface. The other way that they keep water out is by providing a right seal around the neck, wrists, and ankles. They do this by using either neoprene or latex. It should be noted that a lot of users have found that the tight necks often fit a little uncomfortable. That’s why it is important to ensure that you get the right size for you. If you get one that fits too tight, you might feel like it is strangling you.
- 6 Best Drysuits: Our Top Picks, Scuba Blog ,
- https://www.scubadiving.com/drysuits-scubalab-gear-review-2017, Scuba Site ,