-- Last Updated: Nov-29-12 9:10 AM EST --
About the being up in air after a swim in a wetsuit - IMO you still need to have some solid wind blocking layers, a really good warm hood and good gloves for your hands to avoid dropping from hypothermia. Wool is still warm when wet, so feet are relatively easy to manage as long as you can stand the squishy feeling.
Cost can still add up. If it is a good enough wetsuit it'll be more than the basic Farmer John, and the cumulative cost might end up emulating the cost of a used drysuit. So price this all out and check with places like the Kayak Academy for used suits before you jump on anything.
This is based on my own experience. I tried going into the fall with layers of neoprene, probably cumulative 5 mill on my torso and 3 on my lower body, with a drytop, for rolling/aka swimming practice. I didn't quite have it down....
One session I got out of the water, wet from the swimming part of my practice, on a local pond wearing the above with temps dropping from the mid-60's to upper 50's and a brisk wind coming up from a storm that was blowing through. It took all of three minutes for my teeth to start chattering uncontrollably. I ran to the car parked nearby to start stripping and my hands were getting hard to manage before I was fully out of the dry top. I am not sure I could have gotten out of all those wet layers in time had I been in the open air rather than at least blocked from the wind in the car.
Granted I don't carry a lot of body fat when I am in shape - and I was at that point - but that moment got me looking at dry suits however I had to manage it. There is also the option of telling any family and friends to give you a gift certificate to the same place that sells them...
First Need Purifier
Reflective Hull Decals
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