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A drysuit offers full body protection from the elements and a favorite for cold weather sailing!

Sailing Drysuits

Sailing deep into the cold of winter? A drysuit is a must for any dinghy sailor sailing in extremely cold conditions. Waterproof fabric and seals at the wrist and neck mean your drysuit is fully submersible and will keep you warm and dry inside. Layer up with a combination of base layers and mid layers depending on the conditions.

Key Features of a Sailing Drysuit

Fabric - Four layer, fully waterproof and breathable fabric is the standard for sailing drysuits. While the brand name of the fabric may vary, all options keep water out while allowing moisture to escape, keeping you comfortable during active sailing.

Neck & Wrist Seals - Seals at the neck and wrist fit tightly to keep water out. These are either made from latex, neoprene, or a combination of the two. Older drysuits featured latex seals almost exclusively, but advances in fabric have allowed the use of softer, easier to handle neoprene fabrics that offer the same protection with a higher degree of comfort.

Booties - The base of a drysuit features two sewn in booties, which complete the full protection of the suit. Typically these booties are made from latex rubber or from the same waterproof and breathable fabric as the rest of the drysuit. Like latex seals, latex booties were the standard for many years, but all drysuits we carry now feature fabric booties which offer more long term durability and are less likely to puncture.

Zipper - Getting in and out of a 100% waterproof, full body drysuit requires a large zipper. Like improvements found in seals and booties, the classic (and very heavy!) bronze zipper has been replaced with a flexible waterproof zipper that is easier to maintain and operate.

Internal Suspenders - Since a drysuit is one piece, many include a set of internal suspenders or straps that help keep the drysuit up and take some of the weight off of your shoulders. This feature is not found in all drysuits, but certainly makes wearing one a bit more comfortable if wearing for extended periods of time.

Tips & Tricks for Wearing a Drysuit

Think About Layers - While a drysuit keeps water out, maintaining a comfortable body temperature depends on what you wear under the drysuit. A proper system of base layers to wick moisture and mid layers for additional warmth is key to allowing the drysuit to perform at its full potential and to keeping you comfortable on the water.

Don't Forget Hat & Gloves - A warm hat and a good pair of cold weather sailing gloves will round out your kit nicely.

Lubricate the Zipper - Use Zip Tech Zipper Lubricant to maintain your zipper, but even chap stick will work in a pinch.

Rise with Fresh Water - If sailing in salt water, always try to rinse your drysuit with fresh water after use.

Store Properly - Store drysuit unfolded, unzipped, and away from dirt and dust.

Expert Advice & Sailing Apparel Resources

Not sure what gear you need? See our What To Wear Guides for recommendations. (opens in new window)
Questions above sizing? Check out our Size Charts (opens in new window)
Need to chat with an expert? Call or text us at 503-285-5536 or email

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