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Submitted: 06-01-2010 by RKBerta

I own two Seals spray skirts. One is a Adventure 5.2 which is used on my Old Town Dirigo 10.5' fishing kayak. That kayak tends to plow through heavy chop and you get wet by water breaking over the bow. I didn't think that anyone made a spray skirt that would work WELL on such a big opening but Seals does make one and it works well. I don't know if it would work well on a roll... it is pretty certain if you roll a Dirigo you probably won't stay in the kayak since it has such a huge cockpit there isn't much to brace against. On the other hand it is very hard to roll a Dirigo...very stable. The main purpose for me is keeping dry in the kayak on very windy/high chop days on the lakes. It does that fine...no problem with leaks. Also no issues with quality or premature wear. I've had it for three years and it is still going strong.

My other is a Seals Coastal Tour 2.2 which is used on my Hurricane Tampico 135 which is a more traditional and faster/nimble kayak. That kayak is MUCH better than the Dirigo in chop, big waves, and wind. But it is still nice to have a spray skirt to keep you dry and it WILL work fine in a kayak roll. The Adventure is a very basic bib-type spray skirt with a bow to keep the skirt rounded... but that is it...no pockets, no wear patches, etc.

The Coastal Tour is my idea of the ideal spray skirt...has one nice front pocket (not water proof...it is mesh but with a zipper), adjustable bow, 4 attachment points for small items in the front. It has extra heavy duty material added at the wear points...mainly where the paddle and your hands might rub against the material. Both have good material with all seams backed up with welded seam tape so no leaks. Both of them are black and that is the one area that I would like more choice.

I have yet to figure out why black is so dominant on spray skirts. How about some lighter material, yellow, cream or silver...anything to reflect heat instead of absorbing it. I often kayak in temperatures mid 80s to mid 90s and sometimes in high humidity too. The smaller Coastal Tour isn't as bad but the large black area on the adventure does soak up the heat... I often remove the back of the spray skirt from the coming on that version when it gets really hot. I don't have to do that on the Coastal Tour but it would still be nice to have some lighter colors.

So final score...7 for the Adventure due to lack of any extras or wear spots, 9 for the Coastal Tour...both would pick up another 1/2 point if they came in a light color and another 1/2 point if they had reflective material on them...some of us do kayak at night! Final comment on both... they both needed some breaking in to get the bungy cord stretched enough to get it over the coming....but now they both fit fine. Both bungies are adjustable so you can tighten them as the bungy material ages and looses some of its stretch. The Coastal Tour goes on easily due to its small size...the big Adventure covers a huge opening so took a bit of technical refinement to get it on in a reasonable amount of time. As long as you start in the back and anchor it at rear well than stretch it over the front and than check the sides it works well but don't plan on doing it anywhere as fast as the smaller size Coastal Tour version!

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