Before revealing the best kayaking drysuits, let us first understand why a kayak drysuit is crucial in the first place.
Kayaking has gained immense popularity in the United States as it became the number one paddling sport surpassing canoeing. According to the Outdoor Foundation, around 10.3 million Americans participate in various kayaking activities every year.
While recreational kayaking secures the first spot with 8.1 million participants, tour kayaking and whitewater kayaking attract 2.4 and 1.9 million every year. Although kayaking is a fun way to explore nature, it is also a dangerous sport involving accidents and fatalities.
In a study conducted by a research firm, kayaking fatalities occur due to various reasons, including insufficient skills, weather conditions, or high waters. However, the most significant cause is improper thermal protection, significantly when below 45°F.
The National Center for Cold Water Safety lays down five golden rules, explaining how cold water can be dangerous and why you need a kayak drysuit or thermal protection to save your life.
This article will help you find the 10 best kayaking drysuits that will keep you warm and help you get the most out of your kayaking adventures.
Best kayak drysuits at a glance – Top 5 pick
- Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Meridian Drysuit – Best Overall
- Ocean Rodeo Ignite 2.0 – Best Premium kayak drysuit
- Gill Men’s Protection (Dinghy) – Best Adjustability
- O’Neill Men’s Fluid Neoprene kayak Drysuit – Best Value for money
- O’Neill Men’s Boost Drysuit – Best Budget-Friendly
There are so many reasons why we choose the Kokatat Meridian as our ultimate kayak drysuit. It’s incredibly breathable, comfortable, and keeps your body safe and dry. In short, the Meridian will help you get the best safety features without hindering your kayaking experience.
The Meridian features a front-zip design, allowing you to get in and out with minimal fuss. The three-layer Hydrus fabric offers a perfect blend of waterproofing and breathability to keep you comfortable even during extended kayaking sessions.
Besides offering a comfortable fabric, the Meridian employs high-quality latex wrist gaskets and neoprene cuffs to prevent water from getting inside your drysuit. We tested these gaskets in extreme conditions and were surprised by their performance throughout our kayaking adventure.
The Meridian also has various additional features, including a waterproof chest pocket, adjustable overskirt, and a relief zipper. You also get reinforced seat and knee patches and a drawstring waist adjustment for a comfortable fit.
- Reinforced patches
- It comes with a convenient front-zip design
- Excellent breathability and waterproofing
- High-quality latex gaskets
- Adjustable overskirt
- Waterproof chest pocket with zipper
- Limited color options
Overall, the Kakatat Meridian is a highly practical and feature-rich kayak drysuit that scores high on comfort and practicality.
If you are looking for a premium kayak drysuit that offers a complete solution for all your kayaking needs, the Ocean Rodeo Ignite 2.0 is worth considering. The Ignite 2.0 is a cross between traditional weather gear and thermal protection. In short, you can use this kayak drysuit in various weather conditions without losing functionalities.
The Ignite 2.0 has a captive zip system that keeps you dry on all fronts. The drysuit also features adjustable seals, allowing users to use the gear in different modes.
For instance, the dry mode lets users seal the neck, ankles, waist, and wrist to prevent water from entering their suit. This mode provides maximum protection and water sealing, helping you stay dry during your kayaking adventures.
Likewise, you can use the standby mode by removing the neck seal. The Ignite 2.0 comes with a wader belt that prevents water from entering your lower suit in the standby mode. However, it would be best to use the dry mode when facing extreme water conditions.
The Ignite 2.0 impressed us with its functionalities. However, we did miss a breathable lining, as sweat can make you feel uncomfortable after prolonged usage.
- It comes with two modes
- The Ignite 2.0 features a wader belt
- Adjustable neck seal
- It comes with integrated knee pads
- Versatile storm collar
- Adjustable cinch cuffs for ankles and wrists
- It comes with an internal dry pocket
- Lacks breathable lining
Overall, The Ignite 2.0 is an excellent choice for kayaking enthusiasts as it packs dual functionality in one drysuit.
If you are looking for a kayak drysuit that scores high on adjustability, look no further than the Gill Men’s Protection drysuit. This drysuit is perfect for extreme weather conditions, and you can get excellent protection during your kayaking adventures.
The Gill Men’s drysuit features premarked cuffs and collar and comes with adjustable braces to offer a secure fit. Additionally, the design adjusts to your body measurements, keeping you comfortable and dry, even in severe water conditions.
We liked the build quality, and the high-quality neoprene material feels robust and breathable. Additionally, the 4-layer design with an outer nylon layer prevents degradation from environmental elements. The PU-coated overlay is an added charm, and the reinforced seat and knees increase durability.
However, we did miss a relief zip and removable feet after wearing this kayak drysuit for some time. In short, you might feel uncomfortable if you are planning a long kayaking session.
- You can customize the fit according to your preference
- Durable material with a 4-layer design
- The outer nylon layer enhances durability
- Adjustable cuffs and leather collar
- It comes with premarked cuffs for ease of use
- Flexible waterproof zips
- No relief zip
- Not ideal for longer kayaking sessions
Overall, the Gill Men’s drysuit is an excellent choice for kayaking enthusiasts looking for an adjustable kayak drysuit.
If you have a budget concern but still want to get an excellent kayaking experience, the O’Neill Men’s Fluid is worth considering. This kayaking drysuit features a comfortable design with high-quality waterproof seals and a loose fit for layering.
The O’Neill Fluid comes with neoprene construction that keeps you dry in all conditions. The ultraflex material also enhances movement, and you will have no issues while paddling through your kayaking course. The upper portion allows users to wear undergarments without any discomfort, even during extended kayaking sessions.
One of the most significant advantages of this kayak drysuit is its waterproofing solution. For instance, the fluid seam welding prevents water from entering your suit, keeping you dry at all times. The blind-stitched interior is sturdy, and you will never feel any irritation from the silicone-based urethane.
We tested this drysuit for many hours and had no issues with its performance. The zipping system is also well-designed on this drysuit, making it effortless to get in and out of the drysuit. However, we would have loved some pockets for emergency storage.
- Excellent seam welding with blind-stitched interior
- It features an excellent zipping system for effortless in and out
- High-quality neoprene material enhances movement
- It comes with watertight seals on the neck and cuffs
- Value for money
- No dry pockets
Overall, the O’Neill Fluid is one of the best value-for-money kayak drysuits and is undoubtedly worth considering.
Finding a reliable drysuit on a budget is challenging as you have to keep in mind performance and functionality without compromising the overall experience. We thought finding the perfect blend of performance and functionality would be impossible until we landed on the O’Neill Men’s Boost.
The O’Neill Boost is a surprisingly comfortable and functional drysuit that keeps your body dry and insulated in cold conditions. You can get this kayak drysuit in different sizes, making it an excellent choice in the budget category.
The trilaminate nylon construction ensures durability, and the rugged shell prevents water from entering the suit. The waterproof seal on the ankles and wrist is excellent, while the neoprene neck portion keeps you comfortable throughout your kayaking sessions.
The O’Neill Boost also has integrated suspenders that keep your suit in place. These suspenders enhance movement and aid versatility by partitioning the top and bottom parts without compromising the waterproof seals.
However, we did have some issues with its breathability, but considering the price point, we were more than happy with its performance. Additionally, most budget options fail to match the comfort level of this drysuit, making it a standout product in the budget lineup.
- Excellent build quality that enhances durability
- Available in different sizes
- Excellent comfort and functionality
- It comes with integrated suspenders
- Waterproof ankle and wrist cuffs
- Decent breathability
- No dry pockets
Overall, the O’Neill Boost is the best budget-friendly kayak drysuit that scores high on comfort and versatility.
Kayaking is very popular among juniors aged 6 to 17 years in the United States. According to Statista, around 2.26 million youths participated in kayaking activities in the year 2020. Since these numbers speak volumes, parents have to be more careful with the equipment they provide to these junior paddlers.
The Gill Junior drysuit is the perfect drysuit that ensures the safety of younger kayakers. It features a high-quality nylon fabric that provides excellent wind and waterproofing without compromising breathability.
The front zipper system makes it effortless to get in and out, and the internal adjustable braces keep the suit intact, even in rough conditions. The latex gaskets and the ankle covers prevent water from getting inside the drysuit, keeping junior kayakers safe and dry throughout their kayaking adventures.
The Gill drysuit also features reinforced knee and seat panels that enhance durability. However, dry socks and a relief zipper would have made the drysuit more versatile as juniors may feel uncomfortable after extended kayaking sessions.
- Elasticized waist keeps the suit in shape
- The front-zip entry makes getting in and out of the drysuit convenient
- It comes with reinforced knee and seat panels
- Excellent wind and waterproofing
- Internal adjustable braces
- High-quality nylon fabric
- It lacks a relief zipper
- No dry socks with the pack
Despite missing out on a relief zipper and dry socks, the Gill Junior drysuit offers excellent protection for younger kayakers and is undoubtedly worth considering.
Gore-TEX fabrics feature excellent water-repelling treatment that can keep your body safe and dry in any condition. The Kokatat Men’s Idol drysuit is a testament to Gore-TEX technology as it keeps kayakers safe and dry even after extended kayaking sessions.
The Kokatat Idol features an excellent design with a separate top and bottom. This design allows kayakers to use it as a drysuit or standalone pants if the weather is warmer. In short, you will have a versatile garment that enables you to configure it according to your needs.
We tested this drysuit for hours during our kayaking sessions and found no issues with the company’s claims. The Idol kept us comfortable and dry, and thanks to the breathable design, we didn’t have any problems with the drysuit’s functionalities.
The strategic zipper system is a boon, especially if the weather is unpredictable. For instance, you customize the kayaking experience according to your needs and configure the drysuit to match the conditions. However, the premium price tag may deter some buyers, but if you want a 100% guarantee of dryness, the Kakatat Idol is a worthy shot.
- It comes with the SwitchZip technology for enhanced versatility
- Adjustable overskirt
- 100% dryness guarantee
- It features a zippered sleeve pocket
- Excellent durability
- Easy to maintain
- A bit expensive
- No hood
Overall, the Kakatat Men’s Idol is a perfect choice if you are looking for a Gore-Tex kayak drysuit.
Kayaking sessions can extend for hours and expose you to unpredictable weather conditions. While the thrill of adventure is more crucial for kayakers, a comfortable drysuit will enhance that experience.
The Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Swift is a perfect blend of comfort, functionality, and efficiency, keeping you comfortable throughout your kayaking session. This kayaking drysuit features a 3-layer shell that employs a waterproof coating to repel water.
We loved the latex construction on the ankles, neck, and wrists, enhancing the comfort level during extended kayaking sessions. Likewise, the loop and hook cuff on the wrists and ankles prevents water from entering your kayak drysuit, increasing comfort levels.
The front zipper system makes entry and exit effortless, especially when the weather is unpredictable. Additionally, the drawstring waist helps you get a better fit and allows you to customize your drysuit according to your preferences.
- Excellent comfort and breathability
- It comes with a 3-layer waterproof nylon shell
- Latex construction on ankles, wrists, and neck
- Front zipper system for effortless entry and exit
- It features an adjustable drawstring waist
- Durable material
- Some people may dislike the built-in socks
Despite mixed responses about the built-in socks, the Kokatat Me’s Hydrus Swift will keep you comfortable and dry throughout your kayaking sessions without breaking your bank.
Kayaking has gained popularity among women as many participate in this outdoor sport throughout the year. While most manufacturers focus on kayak drysuits for men, Kokatat ensures that women have the perfect gear for the job.
The Kokatat Women’s Hydrus Swift leaves no stones unturned to offer the best kayaking experience to female kayakers. The Hydras Swift features a 3-layer fabric construction that enhances durability and waterproofing without compromising comfort.
The Kokatat Swift comes with a front zipper system that allows effortless entry and exit. We gave this drysuit to one of our female kayakers, and she was more than happy with this kayak drysuit. The latex neck gasket keeps your neck comfortable even after extended kayaking sessions.
This kayaking drysuit also features latex ankle and wrist gaskets with adjustable cuffs to get better waterproofing. However, the single-suit design may not be as practical as other designs.
- Excellent comfort and waterproofing
- Front zipper system for effortless entry and exit
- Latex gaskets for ankles, wrist, and neck
- It comes with adjustable cuffs
- High-quality 3-layer fabric
- Easy to maintain and use
- Lacks inbuilt socks
Overall, the Kakatat Women’s Hydrus Swift is one of the best drysuits for female kayakers.
10. NRS Extreme SAR Drysuit
Neoprene can handle different environmental elements without degradation, so drysuit made out of this material score high on durability. The NRS Extreme is a high-quality kayak drysuit made from durable neoprene material.
The NRS Extreme comes with latex wrist and neck gaskets that enhance waterproofing capabilities. You also get adjustable outer cuffs to prevent water from entering the drysuit, keeping you dry and comfortable throughout your kayaking session.
Other features that make the NRS Extreme practical are built-in dry socks and a relief zipper. Furthermore, the reinforced seat, knee, and elbow exteriors enhance performance and durability, even under extreme weather conditions.
- Latex wrist and neck gaskets
- Adjustable cuffs
- Built-in dry socks and relief zipper
- Reinforced elbow, seat, and knee exteriors
- Excellent comfort and breathability
- Durable construction
- No hood
Overall, the NRS Extreme is a complete performer and will suffice the needs of every kayaking enthusiast.
How to choose a Kayak drysuit – Buyer’s Guide
Here are the things you need to consider before choosing a kayak drysuit.
Since manufacturers use different techniques and blends of materials to enhance the comfort and functionalities, it can be challenging to pick one over another. However, nylon-based or Gore-Tex materials offer the best experience, and it would be best to look at these materials in your kayak drysuit.
Since kayaks have different types, the design of your drysuit must complement your kayaking requirements to get the best experience.
For instance, the Gill Dinghy offers scores high on adjustability, making it a perfect option for sit-on-top kayaks. Likewise, the Kokatat Men’s Idol will be excellent for whitewater kayaking. In short, it would be best to choose a design based on your kayaking adventure.
One of the most significant aspects of choosing a kayak drysuit is its fit. In short, a drysuit that fits perfectly will offer better comfort, even for extended kayaking sessions. Although most drysuits are true-to-size, it is always wise to check the size chart to get the best fit.
Temperature knowledge can help you pick the right drysuit as you can assume which drysuit will suit the conditions. For instance, the Ocean Rodeo Ignite 2.0 features a perfect blend of traditional drysuit and thermal protection. Likewise, you can also pick the Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Swift as it offers a 3-layer design.
Other drysuits like the Kokatat Men’s Idol Gore-TEX Pro can be used as standalone pants if the weather gets warmer. In short, it would be best to keep an eye on the temperature before making a purchase.
Zippers and seals
Zippers and seals are crucial for any drysuit to prevent water from entering it. Many manufacturers use latex gaskets for ankles, wrists, and the neck. Zippers are also vital for waterproofing, and some drysuits come with a relief zipper for convenience.
Kayak drysuits come at different price points, and kayakers can choose based on their preferences. For instance, if you are looking for a budget-friendly option, the O’Neill Men’s Boost Drysuit will suffice your needs.
Likewise, the Ocean Rodeo Ignite 2.0 and the NRS Extreme SAR Drysuit will be perfect if the budget is not a concern.
Best kayak drysuits – Final Thoughts
Kayaking has evolved over the years, and manufacturers are working hard to provide the best drysuits in every price category. Kayak drysuits can enhance your kayaking experience by keeping you comfortable and dry.
Hopefully, our guide has helped you pick the right kayak drysuit, allowing you to enjoy your favorite sport comfortably and safely. Remember, kayaking can be dangerous, and being prepared is one of the best things you can do.