Water activities and water sports are all about mediation, mental wellbeing, physical fitness, socialization, exploration, adventure, and fun, but with the right gear.
Submerging yourself in water without the right gear decreases your body temperature.
For this purpose, comes the exposure suits – drysuits vs wetsuits. Both help in maintaining the body temperature by reducing heat loss during any water sports.
The next concern is the selection between drysuits and wetsuits. Here, we take a deeper look at their capabilities and do a factor comparison of drysuits vs wetsuits.
This guide helps you to rule out which exposure suit is best for you during different water sports like swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, surfing, paddleboarding, and much more.
Drysuits mostly come in neoprene, nylon, and rubber material, provide insulation during severely cold weather and in freezing water.
They come in loose-fitting that allows you to wear extra thermal layers underneath.
Drysuits are meant to keep your body completely dry during any water activity with their special material, neck and wrist gaskets/seals, waterproof zipper, and some also come with waterproof socks.
The drysuit works by trapping an insulating layer of air between your body and the suit to keep you warm underwater. You can also add or less the air with inflator valves as you go deep-down or during ascent, respectively.
On the other hand, wetsuits give you thermal protection for normal to cold waters. They come in the skin-tight fitting.
They work on the principle: “the best source of heat is your own body”. A wetsuit uses the body heat underwater.
Let’s start with the overall structure of the wetsuit. The suit is made with a special closed-cell foam material that filled and trapped thousands of tiny gas bubbles in it.
Thus as you submerge in water, the material allows some water to come in and fill the space between the inner layer of material and your body. This thin layer of water warms up with the help of your body temperature (the heat source) and keeps you insulated during your dive.
Drysuits vs Wetsuits according to Different factors
Maintain Body Temperature
Drysuits use air for thermal insulation. While on the other hand, wetsuits use a thin layer of water that is warmed with body heat for thermal protection. You can wear undergarments for adding more thermal insulation under both suits.
However, drysuits offer more room to wear more thick thermal layers for extreme weather and water condition.
Keeping Wearer Dry
Drysuits keep the wearer’s body, completely dry. On the other side, wet suits couldn’t do this. So, drysuits win the hearts of those who run from taking baths or drying off their body. Because you are dry enough to get straight back in their car after any water activity.
Drysuits work best in extremely cold water temperatures i.e. >7 degrees celsius. As even the thickest wetsuit won’t be good enough to keep you warm, dry, and safe in extremely cold waters.
Mobility & Flexibility
Drysuits are generally much bulkier, and thus, don’t allow much mobility as compared to wetsuits. But, advanced drysuits such as SUPSkins’ drysuits function just like a sport-fitting wetsuit.
Wetsuits’ skin-tight fitting allows more mobility and flexibility for the wearer. You can move your body parts easily, quickly, and comfortably with wetsuits.
As you go deeper into the water, a wetsuit compresses, and loses its natural buoyancy, and insulating capacity. Here comes a drysuit! It allows you to add air from the inflator valves to compensate for the increased water pressure, underwater.
Cost and Resale value
Generally, drysuits are much more costly than wetsuits. But some manufacturers come with some budget-friendly drysuits that cost the same as higher-end wetsuits.
The lower price doesn’t compromise the quality and its long-term value. Drysuits often retain their value for resale. But on the other hand, wetsuits are more likely to deteriorate and not good enough for resale, after a few years.
As we know that drysuits typically come at a high cost because of their complex and long-lasting structure. Some of them even come with a lifespan of up to 15 years. They are more long-lasting as compared to wetsuits. But both need proper care and maintenance.
Different Water & Weather Conditions
A drysuit wins the battle to be able to use in different conditions and atmospheres as compared to a wetsuit. A drysuit allows you can add or subtract undergarments concerning varying water & weather situations.
You can use them round the year and it could be your aqua-fellow from tropical coasts to icy cold waters.
Protection against Abrasions
As per physical protection, a wetsuit keeps the wearer more protected from scratches and cuts while swimming in open water. Because natural open water comes with stones, logs, or sticks, thus, a wetsuit is a perfect fit as compared to a drysuit.
The only maintenance a wetsuit needs is proper rinsing after each use, nothing more than it. A drysuit need not only proper washing but also:
- Replacing seals
- Looking for leaks
- Replacing boots or socks
- Replacing zipper, when required
The 15-20 years lifespan of a drysuit can offset its maintenance cost. They are perfect for almost 100 dives a year, but with proper care.
A wetsuit can serve you for five years. Thus, a drysuit may be less expensive in the long run. Moreover, they are good to be resale.
A drysuit feels bulkier as compared to a wetsuit. But, once a wetsuit loses its natural buoyancy as going deep down in the water, you feel more overweighted due to wetsuit compression.
This is not in the case of a dry suit, as it allows the diver to the amount of pressure required for maintaining buoyancy.
Ultimately, it’s your personal preference to choose between drysuits vs wetsuits, as per your need.
It’s recommended to first make a thorough research about the water activity, its level, water conditions, and the climate situation.
Check also: Best Drysuits for Kayaking in 2022
She started BeachXplore as a traveling blog covering particularly amazing beaches which she was lucky to visit and research about. Here you can find her writings on the best beaches, guides on beach wear, items, and more.