Poor man's breathable drysuit

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Poor man's breathable drysuit

Post by TedH »

I want a breathable drysuit but I don't have a job right now, so I've got to do things on the cheap. My current money-saving idea is this: I'll take an old non-breathable drysuit with decent seals, cut out panels in the front and back of the torso and maybe in the sleeves, and sew in and seam-seal some sort of breathable waterproof fabric. This would give me breathable fabric in the areas that need it most, and probably wouldn't be excruciatingly expensive. High-wear areas like the seat would still be PVC (or whatever it is).

(Fabrics can be found online at http://www.rockywoods.com/Fabrics-Hardw ... es-Fabrics and probably at other places.)

So - this seems like such a good idea to me that I'm sure it must have some serious drawbacks that I haven't thought of. What do you think? (Aside from the Gore-Tex-vs-all-the-others debate.)

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Re: Poor man's breathable drysuit

Post by krudave »

Getting the seam tape to seal well is the main flaw. In addition, done improperly, the breathable fabric will wear poorly and begin to leak at the edges of the seam tape. [Experienced this with professionally seam taped garments.]

The other problem is tailoring the sleeves so they "follow" the natural bending and curving of your arms. Not a problem if you are an experienced seamster/seamstress. (I've done a ton of sewing of ourdoor clothing, tents, sleeping bags, etc., and no way would I tackle this.)

Your best bet is to acquire that older (but not leaky) nonbreathable dry suit and live with the condensation. Save your pennies and eventually spring for the breathable. Or, if you are lacking the gumption to swim in your own sweat, go the farmer john and dry top route, choosing a breathable one. This combo works well unless you frequently roll or are surfing, because most of the area of the body which sweats and is exposed for vapor transmission is the upper portion. Legs, hips, and buttocks do not sweat as much. I did this for years, and still choose this regime during the shoulder seasons here (fall, spring) when it is too cold to avoid the FJ, but too warm to justify the full-on dry suit.

Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.

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