-- Last Updated: Nov-28-12 6:26 PM EST --
A quality drysuit doesn't need to cost $1000. I bought a used high end Goretex Kokatat suit in excellent shape a couple of years ago through the classifieds here for $400. If you do regular checks of suits for sale on Ebay and various paddler sites such prices are not at all unusual. There's a men's large on Ebay at the moment at $320 with no bids and less than 3 days to go:
and an XL for $250:
Since a good 7mm wetsuit will run you $200 or more and be pretty restrictive for paddling, $400 is not such a big difference as a comfort and safety expenditure. A drysuit is more versatile too, since you can adjust the layers under it to varying ambient conditions. Others may offer alternate opinions but mine is that if you seriously intend to pursue winter paddling, a drysuit ought to be something you plan to acquire.
I own several wetsuits and would not want to do an extended hike through wintry woods wearing one, to be honest with you.