fbpx

Wet Suit vs. Dry Suit: What Is the Difference?

Are you the type of person who loves spending time in the water? Maybe you’re a surfer or a scuba diver, or you enjoy taking a dip in the pool on a hot day.

Whatever your aquatic activities may be, you’ve probably wondered at one point or another: should I be wearing a wet suit or a dry suit? On the surface, it may not seem like there’s much difference between the two.

But when you take a closer look, you’ll see that some key distinctions make each type of suit better suited for different activities. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at wet and dry suits: what they are, how they work, and the key differences.

So, whether you’re a beginner just dipping your toes in the water or a seasoned pro looking to stay comfortable and safe in any aquatic environment, read on to find out everything you need about wet and dry suits.

wet suit vs dry suit

Is a Dry Suit Better Than a Wetsuit?

There are a lot of things in life that can be compared to one another. Choosing between a dry suit and a wet suit is one of them. Both have unique benefits that can make a difference in your diving experience.

Here’s a look at the key differences between wet and dry suits to help you decide which is right.

What Is a Wetsuit? 

A wetsuit is a type of clothing designed to give you thermal protection in a closed cell foam material. It is made of neoprene, which is a type of synthetic rubber.

Wetsuits are usually worn in cold water, as they have a thin layer that helps to insulate your body by trapping your body heat and preventing you from losing heat. But they are not waterproof, so they will not keep you dry if submerged.

You need a skin-tight fit to ensure the water can’t get in and cool you down too quickly. If you wear a loose-fitting wetsuit, it may make you cold. Wetsuits are more athletic and less bulky than dry suits and are ideal for cold water surf sports.

What Is a Dry Suit?

From the name itself, a dry suit is intended to keep you dry while you’re in the water and are ideal for all water temperatures. It uses a waterproof and airtight zipper closure system and seals at the wrists, ankles, and neck seal.

This suit completely covers your body so that no water can get in. Dry suits are made with waterproof fabrics such as neoprene, polyurethane-coated nylon, or Gore-Tex.

They usually have a layer of insulation, such as polyester fleece, to keep you warm in colder water. When the weather is extremely cold, think drysuit for SCUBA divers, kayakers, rafters, canoers, and other boaters who may need to enter extreme cold conditions.

They are also used by people who work in or around water, such as marine biologists, oceanographers, and offshore oil rig workers.

Wet Suit vs. Dry Suit: Which One Should You Buy?

When choosing between a wet suit and a dry suit, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. Both have unique benefits that can make them appealing for different situations.

To help you make the best decision, we’ve put together some factors to consider when choosing between a wet suit and a dry suit.

1. Mobility

You need to consider how much mobility you need in your suit. A wet suit will be the better option if you need a lot of freedom to move. Wet suits are more body-hugging, which gives you a wider range of motion.

Dry suits can be more constricting, as they are designed to keep water out. This can make it difficult to move around in them.

2. Insulation

While wetsuits and drysuits can provide some insulation, dry suits will be better at keeping you warm. This is because they are designed to be airtight and keep all the water out.

They use the trapped air to insulate your body and keep you warm. Wet suits, on the other hand, are not airtight. They allow water to enter the suit, which can make you colder.

3. Lifespan

If you want a suit that will last you a long time, you should opt for a dry one. Dry suits are made with tougher materials that can withstand more wear and tear.

They are also less likely to get damaged by sun exposure and salt water. Wet suits, on the other hand, are more susceptible to damage and need to be replaced more often.

4. Value

You also need to consider how much you are willing to spend on your suit. Dry suits can be quite expensive, so a wet suit may be better if you are on a budget. Wet suits are less costly and can still provide warmth and protection.

5. Conditions of Use

Another essential factor to consider is the conditions you’ll be using your suit. A dry suit will be the better option if you need a cold-water suit. With its thermal insulation and waterproofing, a dry suit will keep you much warmer in cold water than a wet suit.

But if you need a suit for warm water, then a wet suit is the way to go. Wet suits are designed to keep you cool in warm water by allowing water to enter the suit. This can help regulate your body temperature and keep you cool.

Can You Swim in a Dry Suit?

You can swim in a dry suit, but it is not recommended. Dry suits are not designed for swimming and can be quite dangerous. A drysuit has bags of air trapped in it that help keep you buoyant, and maintaining neutral buoyancy can be tricky.

If you swim in a dry suit, these airbags can escape and leave you sinking. In addition, dry suits can constrict and make it difficult to move your arms and legs. This can make it hard to swim. If you need a suit for swimming, you should opt for a wet suit.

When Should You Use a Wetsuit?

Wet suits are most commonly used for watersports such as surfing, wakeboarding, and kayaking and can also be used for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving in warm water.

Wet suits are worn by people who work in or around water, such as lifeguards and sailors. They help protect against hypothermia and sun exposure.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Wetsuits?

It is important to clean your wet suit regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria. You should rinse it off with fresh water after every use. You can also soak it in a mild solution of soap and water. Be sure to rinse it off well afterward. You can also use a commercial wet suit cleaner.

To clean the inside of your wet suit, you can turn it inside out and rinse it with fresh water. You can also use a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris. Be sure to rinse it off well afterward.

You also have o let your wetsuit dry completely before storing it. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria.

Are Semi-Dry Wetsuits Good?

If you want to get the best of both worlds, you can opt for a semi-dry wet suit. Semi-dry wet suits provide more warmth than regular wet suits but are not as constricting as dry suits. They are also less expensive than dry suits.

So if you need a suit for cold water but don’t want to spend much money, a semi-dry wet suit may be the best option.

Are You Supposed to Wear Anything Under Wetsuit?

No, you should not wear anything under your wet suit. Wet suits are designed to fit snugly against your skin. Wearing anything underneath will make it more difficult to put on and take off your wet suit. In addition, it can also cause chafing.

If you need to wear something under your wet suit for modesty, you can opt for a wet suit liner. Wet suit liners are thin, skin-tight shirts that can be worn under your wet suit.

Final Thoughts

Wet and dry suits are great options for protecting yourself from extremely cold conditions. But which one you choose depends on various factors, such as the conditions you’ll be using it in, your budget, and your personal preferences.

A dry suit is the way to go if you need a suit for extremely cold water. But if you need a suit for warm water, then a wet suit is the better option.

No matter the suit you choose, be sure to take care of it. Rinse it with fresh water after every use and let it dry completely before storing it. This will help prolong the life of your suit and keep you safe while using it.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube
Articles » Gear Tips » Wet Suit vs. Dry Suit: What Is the Difference?

Come Join Our Tribe!

FREE access to our private group + helpful tips & advice

No thanks, I'm a lone wolf