Drysuit breathability

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pugwash
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Drysuit breathability

Post by pugwash »

Was lucky enough to get out and do a decent paddle yesterday. I put on a couple of layers - thermal rashie and a warmish top - all under a drysuit. We did about 15k and stopped for lunch. While paddling I was quite warm, but when we stopped quickly got cold, so chucked a storm cag over everything which helped. Paddled home warmed up feeling OK, but when I took off the drysuit I was soaked, or at least the outer layer was. I don’t think the suit is leaking and even if it was I was way to wet, so excuse me for mentioning bodily fluids, but it must have been sweat from too may under layers on an unexpectedly warm day, linked to a decent amount of exercise. The suit is a decade old and this hasn’t happened before so I can only think it has lost or is loosing is breathability. Is there anyway to wash the pores out, so to speak, or is it time for a new one?

Pedro75
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Pedro75 »

I was out yesterday. Typhoon drysuit, thermal trousers/leggings, lightweight full sleeve rash vest. I also got a bit sweaty on my arms but elsewhere fine. I wonder if it was just down to the number of layers you had on and sweat condensing out when passing through the layers without a chance to get out through the breathable layer?
I’m guessing I was in roughly the same area as you. I was off south Cornwall.

Mrstratos61
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Mrstratos61 »

I use grangers products to wash and reproof. By hand in an over bath shower. Palm seti thermals wick very well

Mal Grey
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Mal Grey »

Did you keep the Storm cag on whilst paddling back? If so, this may have impacted on the breatheability of the suit. The transfer of the moisture vapour (its not sweat by the way) formed by your body working, needs a differential temperature/humidity between the inside and outside of the fabric, or it won't breathe. The storm cag may have reduced it. Also, overheating definitely can become too much for them to cope with, you're essentially creating a sauna inside which needs to escape through micro-pores in the membrane and there's a limit to the speed this can happen.

Sometimes conditions are such that dry suits just don't seem to breathe as well; try it another time.

Saying this, mine is less breathable than it was, which I put down to dirt clogging the "pores" of the membrane, as I haven't cleaned it properly for ages. Grangers or Nikwax to clean, then reproof the "DWR" treatment which helps the outer face fabric breathe; if that's wetting out, breatheability is also reduced.

SeaSpirit
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by SeaSpirit »

In my experience, it doesn’t matter whether you are wearing a gore-tex drysuit (as I do) you will still end up with damp base-layers in the mid-rift given a close fitting neoprene waist of the spray deck and a BA on top of that; nothing is going to effectively ‘breathe’ through that combination, especially after a long paddle.
David

ike
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by ike »

I’ve been having the same problem this winter. Wearing Palm’s entry level Cascade drysuit, so not goretex. It was so bad after last week’s 30k sea paddle that afterwards I had to turn the suit upside down to pour out the small puddle of sweat in the legs.

I’ve found there’s a very narrow window when the drysuit works like we’d all like it to. There’s a minimum amount of base layer needed for some thermal comfort in winter, but any sustained effort will tip things over into wetness.

I spent a lot of time yesterday and today researching suits, breathability etc. but am still not convinced a top of the range Kokatat will solve the problem. Am open to suggestions though!

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In Amber Clad
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by In Amber Clad »

I find my Lomo fleece suit does a really nice job of wicking the sweat away from my thermals, even when I paddle for hours.

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Jim
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Jim »

Yes, any of the products marketed for washing breathable waterproofs will work (any outdoor shop will have at least one brand), you may want to re-proof it as well to ensure the water beads on the outside and runs off (reproofer for breathables makes the fibres water repellant, it doesn't fill the pores as a physical barrier). In some cases the washes are just pure soap without bleaching agents etc. and you might find an alternative in the supermarket if you research hard enough, but most laundry detergents are full of extra stuff, like bleach.
May be best to hand wash the suit (some seam tapes don't like machine washing), or if you machine wash maybe use a delicate setting and pop it in a duvet cover so the latex seals are not in direct contact with the drum. I only hand wash my suits now, have fallen foul of machine washing lifting seam tapes on hiking waterproofs so don't risk it with my paddling kit, although it is probably temperature related so cold wash is 'probably' fine.

Gordon Gilzean
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

I have the exact same problem, it was my first drysuit and I done a leak test in the bath when I got it and all was well, first paddle I layered up underneath with cotton t shirts and and light jumper, as you say paddling was fine and I was warm but as soon as we stopped I was freezing and all of my under layers were soaked through, my legs are always dry though, the dry suit may as well have been leaking with how wet I was, my fix to that is I now only wear quick wicking underlayers and a rash T shirt, take a dry bag with a few dry quick wicking tops and change into them when I stop for lunch

seawolf856
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by seawolf856 »

SeaSpirit wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:29 pm
In my experience, it doesn’t matter whether you are wearing a gore-tex drysuit (as I do) you will still end up with damp base-layers in the mid-rift given a close fitting neoprene waist of the spray deck and a BA on top of that; nothing is going to effectively ‘breathe’ through that combination, especially after a long paddle.
That's it right there in a nutshell. I wear a top of the range Kokatat Expedition GoreTex dry suit but if I paddle for long periods even in cold conditions, the layers of neoprene (spray deck waist tube) and foam (PFD) worn over the suit will always prevent it from breathing effectively so I accept that I will still suffer with wet layers underneath. However, I also think I might just be a sweaty Herbert because I do paddle with a couple of other guys wearing the same expensive dry suits and they don't seem to sweat half as much as me!

Beryl
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Beryl »

I’ve taken to wearing a manual lifejacket on occasion and find it doesn’t create condensation problems. However, this time of year I lean towards a BA for the warmth it offers. When I use a spraydeck I have one with the tunnel removed. This traps warmth in the cockpit without condensation in the midriff. Obviously not for extreme conditions, but fine for the civilised kayaking I practise;)
Growing old disgracefully

Sabre13
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Sabre13 »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:57 pm
I have the exact same problem, it was my first drysuit and I done a leak test in the bath when I got it and all was well, first paddle I layered up underneath with cotton t shirts and and light jumper, as you say paddling was fine and I was warm but as soon as we stopped I was freezing and all of my under layers were soaked through, my legs are always dry though, the dry suit may as well have been leaking with how wet I was, my fix to that is I now only wear quick wicking underlayers and a rash T shirt, take a dry bag with a few dry quick wicking tops and change into them when I stop for lunch
Cotton will not keep you warm once wet that is why you were freezing, you also increase the chances of Hypothermia. You need to be wearing merino wool as a base layer as it absorbs your sweat but keeps you warm at the same time. The other option is to buy a Divers undersuit these can be got cheaply of Ebay.

Gordon Gilzean
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Cotton will not keep you warm once wet that is why you were freezing, you also increase the chances of Hypothermia. You need to be wearing merino wool as a base layer as it absorbs your sweat but keeps you warm at the same time. The other option is to buy a Divers undersuit these can be got cheaply of Ebay.
Not to be cheeky I do know this I was just showing the op the mistakes I had made when I first started paddling and how I changed this set up and got it working for me, at the beginning I thought any clothing would work, I don't think merino wool is the only option though, I wear base layers originally bought for under motorcycle race leathers I'm sure they're synthetic, any sport shop sells them and these work really well, a neoprene rash vest works quite well too

ike
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Re: Drysuit breathability

Post by ike »

I’ve come to the conclusion that my expectations for some amount of dryness during the exertions of a Seakayaking trip mean that goretex is required. So I’ve invested a stupid amount of money in a Kokatat Odyssey. Delivery in a couple of weeks. I’ll report back on whether there’s much of a difference.

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