A follow-up to the previous review.
I finally received a reply from Stohlquist. The best that they could do was to send me a $60 semi dry top in exchange for the $230 top I purchased. At this point I took the deal in order to salvage something.
The top that they sent is marked as a large, but it barely comes down to my waist and is tight. Given that I am 5'5" tall and have a 42 inch chest and a 36 inch waist, I definitely feel that I fit within the sizing guidelines.
The bottom line is, always try on a jacket from Stohlquist before purchase. They run small. Second, if you purchase anything from them, make sure that you are satisfied before you leave the store. You will probably not get a fair exchange or your money back if you have to deal directly with Stohlquist.I am extremely disappointed in both the product and service from Stohlquist. Based upon their reputation as a quality manufacturer, I contacted Stohlquist seeking advice for a wet weather touring jacket. I provided details about my paddling style, plans, weather expectations, height, weight, body measurements, and boat. The company representative who responded to me was adament that the FreeRyde jacket was exactly what I needed, right down to the size.
I subsequently ordered this jacket paying about $220 plus shipping cost. Upon arrival I tried to put the jacket on and discovered that though it corresponded to their measurement guidelines, I could not get it over my head. OK, so I returned it to the retailer for the next larger size. By using some talcum powder and force I got this one on. The neoprene neck was extremely tight and I could not get it off fast enough. Fortunately I had assistance or I would have had to use my emergency knife to cut it off.
The latex wrist seals were also extremely tight and of different diameters. The right being about 1/4 inch smaller that the left. Thinking that I might protect my investment by losing some weight, I stored the jacket for seven months.
After losing a few pounds and with the onset of cooler weather, I pulled out the jacket again. I experienced the same problems. I relayed this information to Stohlquist and asked for advice on adjusting the fit. Their first reply was that I cut the wrist seals. They had no suggestions about the neoprene neck. The reply had a condescending tone about how carefully they had enclosed instructions about trimming to fit. This is hogwash. They wrote about trimming ankle seals which are not on a jacket. They did include one sentence about being very careful about trimming wrist seals but give no guidelines. They did say that hard core paddlers expected a little water to seep in anyway. I asked again about how to do this and was sent the same generic information about trimming dry suits.
By this time I gave up and have returned the jacket to the retailer. The retailer may or may not offer a replacement, but I am so disgusted with the process of dealing with Stohlquist, that I don't really care to get a refund. I just don't want this jacket cluttering up my equipment bag and reminding me of a stupid purchase.
Perhaps I am guilty of not being skeptical enough, but I believe that I was oversold when I purchased this jacket. My caution here is to never believe that because you are paying top dollar for a product should you expect it to meet your needs.