Dry suits are essential for cold weather paddling. A dry suit will help to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable when temperatures drop.
Safety should be your number one concern. Paddling in the cold increases risk. A dry suit helps minimize risk in the event of a swim or rescue. Wearing a dry suit could save your life or the life of someone in your crew.
Choosing a dry suit involves three considerations:
- Zipper Placement: Front zip or rear zip.
- Socks: Latex or fabric socks
- Fabric: Lightweight nylon, mid-weight polyester, or heavyweight nylon
Rear zip suits are preferred by most paddlers because the zipper runs across your back and doesn’t add any bulk around your midsection. Rear zip suits are just about as comfortable as a dry top. Front zip suits are easier to put on for people with limited flexibility but the added bulk of the zipper which runs across your chest makes them a little less comfortable. The Arch Rival dry suit is available in both front and rear zip. The 7Figure, Shawty women’s suit, and Devil’s Club dry suits are only available as rear zip suits.
Latex socks vs fabric socks is a bit of a controversial topic that mostly comes down to your preference. Latex socks are made from the same material as neck and wrist gaskets. Latex socks fit better in shoes but aren’t quite as warm as fabric socks. Fabric socks are a little bulkier than latex socks but are a little warmer and don’t slip around inside a shoe as much as a latex socks when hiking. The Arch Rival features latex socks. All other dry suits we make feature fabric socks. Latex socks can be changed out for fabric and vice versa for a reasonable fee.
The face fabric of a suit is what you see and feel on the outside of the suit. We use three different styles of fabric across our dry suit line. The Arch Rival is our lightest dry suit. The Arch Rival uses a plain weave 181g/m² nylon face fabric that offers a great balance of value and durability. The 7Figure and Shawty use a 215g/m² polyester. Polyester doesn’t absorb water so it stays light, drys fast, and breathes better. The Devil’s Club Dry suits uses super rugged 251g/m² taslan nylon designed from the ground to be the most durable dry suit built for paddling. All 2018 IR Dry suits use Devil’s Club fabric in seat, knees, and socks areas for maximum durability.