Winter Wetsuit Advice

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Winter Wetsuit Advice

Looking to extend my season this year.  I have been able to kite into early December with my 6/5/4 (integrated hood) with 2 mm gloves and 3 mm split toe boots.  Questions:

1. How do you guys change into your wet/dry suits before kiting?  Is the only option just to suck it up and change like normal in the parking lot?  Seems like you would lose a lot of good heat just making the change. 

2. How late in the winter can I go with the 6/5/4?  Is a drysuit the only option?

3. What is recommended for gloves and boots for the winter?  I heard 5 mm gloves and 7mm boots would be enough.

Thanks in advance!





1. yes, unless you have a van

1. yes, unless you have a van you suck it up, a changing towel you slide in helps. When I was tired of that I got a dry suit.

2. depends how you tolerate the cold, personally I did not kite below 45 degrees air temp but others do, that 6/5/4 should get you through to December, not sure many people kite between January and March but it depends on the temps, looks like this winter predictions call for colder and more snow than last one, if that's the case I'll hit the slopes instead of freezing my fingers on the water.

3. That is the million dollar question. This year I will be trying waterproof fishing gloves, 5mm is too thick as you will get tired squeezing them around the bar, 3mm is the thickest I have tried and it's too thick already IMO. 7mm boots is what I use, never had cold feet.


Best Glove Ever

After trying countless glove over time the NP 3-Finger Seamless 5mm Neoprene Gloves are a winner.  5 stars for comfort and flexibility. They're 5 mm but they feel like a 3 mm, so there's no cramping.  I can manupitulate my lines along with a lark's head knot without having to take them off, although it's easier if you do.  In 32 deg air, sooo warm, almost too much at times.  It's a nice problem to have in winter.   I tried the NP 1.5 mm, nice gloves but for me they just don't cut it - too cold.  Stay with the 5mm.  

The only downside is being so supple they won't take much abuse.  I can get at least one season out of them maybe two at most, but I'll take that tradeoff for the warmth and comfort they offer any time.  

It's a drysuit for me.  Each has it's pluses and minuses, but I enjoy the easier in and out especially when you're taking off your suit. When you've come out of the water in 35 degree air every minute counts.   I also find that you can last longer in a drysuit before you feel chilled, especially standing around between or after a session. 

Are they waterproof if you

Are they waterproof if you start body dragging for example? To me that is key, as long as my hands stay dry I'm fine, wet the gloves and it's game over.


They're not "dry gloves" if

They're not "dry gloves" if that's what you're asking.  They're smoothskin so they shed water but water seeps inside.  Not a problem though. I usually try to flush them with water to cool off, not kidding.  Unless you're kiting in sub 32 deg wet hands in these gloves are not an issue.  :)  

I'll try them out, cost is

I'll try them out, cost is not too bad if they last 2 winters, it's like 2 parkings in the summer.

Are you still using the ION drusuit? I remember you had leaks issues, mine never leaked, the only humidity I had inside was from sweat. Hope it still works as I have not used it in 3 years.




Unless you have unusually

Unless you have unusually small hands get at least a large in the mitts.  You'll be happy with them.  

I use my less than perfect well worn first pair as a backback for milder days when a few holes and a worn out palm are actually welcomed.

I still have the ION Drysuit.  I had leaking issues with the first two but the third one's a charm.  The warranty took care of all that.  They issued me a new one.  Kudo's to ION.   

It's a great winter suit.   It's not ideal in the waves and a bit of a sea slug when you're body dragging but each design comes with it's pluses and minuses.  I like the hybrid neoprene design.  Even if you do get water (or persperation) inside it helps to keep you warm.

Wet gloves?   You're on the

Wet gloves?   You're on the ocean ,their getting wet( just kidding) . I have the same mitts and they are excellent, 

Dry suit is put

Dry suit is put it on over clothes...clothes! Cold parking lot? don't care. The only cold you will feel is the icy stares of the wetsuited masses.

I go all the way through winter, but the frustrating bit is that I worry less about being cold than I do about my gear breaking because of it, which has happened to me...not pretty. If you are going to kite winter, look carefully at all of your gear, especially lines and pigtails.

I have kited year round in 6

I have kited through the winter for the last 2-3 winters in the excel infiniti 6/5 wetsuit. In it, I'm fine down to low 30 deg air and 35 deg water. The wind speed matters though, when it's blowing more than 30 kts, I cheat and add a 0.5 mm shirt underneath.

BTW...Having a favorable SA/Vol ratio makes a big difference. I usually put on few lbs during the winter months.

I just bought the excel dryloc 5/4 for this winter based on feedback from the other crazies that kite year round. I'm hoping that makes it a little easier getting in and out. And the hooded changing towel is essential!

As for booties, I'm fine in 5 mm. I avoid split toe...too much surface area around toes.

As for gloves, i like the glacier 802 model 2mm gloves. The NP 3 finger 5mm are good too, but they're just a little narrow for me, and with gloves I find that the fit trumps thickness. Without good circulation, it doesn't matter how thick they are.

Winter is dry suit time for

Winter is dry suit time for me. I wear the hooded 6/5/4 in the fall as long as we stay around 50F. Love the no more stripping down in the cold with the dry suit. Much better for regulating the insulation needs by layering up. Some argue the hooded neoprene suits are the safer option. I feel if you keep an eye on all your seals on your drysuit and follow common safety rules for winter kiting, you will be fine.

3mm gloves and 5mm booties are enough for me. I realize when my core temperature is good, my hand and feet stay toasty. Another reason why a love the dry suit, I stay toasty warm.  

Drysuit all the way. Never

Drysuit all the way. Never wet , never cold, 1,,2,or 3, layers of fleece depending on temp.  Rinse and hang overnight and you are bone dry the next day. Nothing worse than putting on a wet wetsuit on a cold day. Ocean Rodeo Heat is the best for the money IMO...

I use the OR Soul with a thin

I use the OR Soul with a thin Neo Cap and 1,5 Ml NP gloves- 3mm Elite booties- WARM COMFY!



Winter I wear an xcel drylock 5/4 with hood, 7mm drylock booties, and glacier gloves I think they're 2 or 3mm.  Thicker gloves can tire your hands out really quick.  I learned that the hard way trying to use my 5mm gloves from surfing.  They weren't pre formed to wrap around the bar.  The glacier gloves are preformed so my hands never get tired of "fighting" the thickness of the glove.  Everybody has their own two cents about wetsuit vs. drysuit that's another thread. I used to wear them sailing and prefer wetsuit for kiting.

NRS mitts are good for the

NRS mitts are good for the hands. I too am a devoté of the dry suit.

3 finger mitts

3 finger pre curved mitts are the way to go. For me, the weak link is my hands and they are the mitts are the best solution I have found.  I wear the gloves through January but for February and March cold water nothing beats the mitts.  definitely size up.  I have smallish hands and typically wear a medium glove for the mitts I went with an XL.  I second Windzu's comments.  I go back and forth on the wetsuit dry suit thing.  I have been comfortable in both.

Yes def. go a size up on the

Yes def. go a size up on the mitts.  They can run snug.  

I <3 my 7mil booties.  I go

I <3 my 7mil booties.  I go straight from them to my summer booties late-spring.  Ion drysuit.  Glacier gloves, 2mil.  I hate forearm fatigue and these gloves are good cause they are not tight on the wrists.

- K T H X B Y E P Z -

Thanks for the responses!  I

Thanks for the responses!  I have a lot to chew on to decide what to get.  I used to just hang it up around early December, but with work, wife and kid, I need to get any session I can get.  Freezing conditions be damned!

Drysuit best for DP

No shower neccesary post DP session. Just zip it off and drive to work. 

If your in a real rush you can wear your work clothes under the drysuit.

Over or under

With the drysuits do you wear the booties over or under the dry suit cuffs? Also what about the gloves?

over both

over both