Learn how to dress for being on – or in – the water.
The most important factors that determine what to wear for paddling are air and water temperature. Whitewater and surf paddlers should dress with the assumption that they will get wet. Touring paddlers should always consider the possibility of capsize.
Paddling drysuits and dry tops are made of waterproof shell fabrics that have limited insulating value of their own. Instead, they are designed to keep dry whatever layers of insulation you wear under them, the same way a raincoat protects your fleece layers on land.
Wetsuits and other neoprene clothing work by holding a thin layer of water next to your skin where your body can warm it. Neoprene provides some padding against knocks and tumbles, and it provides some buoyancy should you swim.