As I've used it, the Poor Man's Drysuit consists of:1. Neoprene Chest Waders.
3. Kayak drytop.
(to protect wader feet).
5. Usually a PFD,
Chest waders are about $70; belt comes w/ the Hodgeman's set. Drytop varies: the cheapest I've heard is one available on Sierra Trading Co for $100, but most are considerably more. Often, I'll just wear my normal raincoat, and get cold & wet when I go in the drink. I just wear running shoes over the feet.
Various points about the "fisherman's death suit" were raised in the "Packs for Packrafting" thread. To summarize (tell me if I get your points wrong, gents):
1. "Fisherman's Death Suit Lore" Theory: Air in the legs of set of non-neoprene chest waders holds your feet up & head under if you fall in; you drown.
2. "Fisherman's Death Suite Myth": the above was debunked pretty clearly (do you have that link, andrewallen?)
3. SDS: Roman brought up the point that anyone can hit the cold water, go into laryngospasm, and suffer Sudden Drowning Syndrome - perhaps part of where the FDS story comes from.
For my part, I wrote the material referenced by Andrew Allen on Beyond Spec (http://www.aktrekking.com/beyondSpec/
) several years ago. I actually don't have access to that material (the person who's hosting it is somewhere in the Alaskan brush) and since it's overly conservative, it hasn't been a high priority to get access back and change it. However, now that it's been pointed out there's factual inaccuracy, I'd like to change that misinformation when I have the chance. I'd never heard the "Air in Legs Theory." My own understanding the "Fisherman's Death Suit" was always a lot simpler: Guy wears non-floating waders w/o PFD, falls in river, non-floating waders are heavy as he's swept into deeper water, he's not a strong enough swimmer, he drowns.
I agree the "it floods and gets heavier" view makes no factual sense. I can't get any heavier than the actual waders are.
Nonetheless, I think variations of the poor man's drysuit are great for river-running, and I use it. Other thoughts?