Thinking about getting a dry suit to wear for when I am paddling around Puget Sound. I have been looking at three manufacturers; NRS Extreme relief, Stohlquist Amp and Kokatat Gore-Tex Ion. They all look good but everything looks good in an add or video. Also, front zipper or back zipper? Seems front zipper would be much easier but been told back entry is a breeze. Don't think it would be for me. I'm not a hard core paddler but planning a paddling trip around the San Juans this summer. Would like to paddle the Tacoma Narrows also. Any experience would be appreciated. Thanks
Hardshell Kayak Sail Rigs
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OK - I am confused|
Posted by: Celia on Mar-22-14 5:52 PM (EST)
Kokatat GoreTex Ion? Can't find it on their web site. Is it that new?
It's the Icon ...|
Posted by: wetzool on Mar-22-14 6:54 PM (EST)
A new rear entry in the main collection, but essentially the Jackson design in other colors.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-22-14 7:03 PM (EST)
Yea it's new. It's a back entry type. However, I am thinking any Kokatat Gore-Tex or kokatat dry suit.
Posted by: suzanneh on Mar-25-14 7:40 AM (EST)
Colors are nice|
Posted by: Celia on Mar-25-14 9:11 AM (EST)
I like anything that is not yellow - after I finally had to roll to lose a bee that followed me offshore I'll take anything that isn't (yellow). I like pink/purple these days a lot. Though I have gotten terribly attached to the pockets in the Expedition.
Posted by: pikabike on Mar-26-14 4:50 PM (EST)
The bee affinity for yellow carries over to cycling also. Don't wear anything yellow when in bee country/season. They will NOT just go away with a light brush of the hand.
Spend the extra for a "relief" zipper|
Posted by: alpalmer on Mar-22-14 6:02 PM (EST)
you will be glad you did. If you aren't sure about the back zipper or an over the front, go try them on to make sure you know the difference. If flexibility is an issue, the back zipper may not be a good idea.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-22-14 7:16 PM (EST)
Kokatat provides great support for all|
Posted by: alpalmer on Mar-22-14 7:37 PM (EST)
of their products. They don't short change on a lower priced product, from my experience anyway.
Posted by: suzanneh on Mar-24-14 9:57 PM (EST)
While I personally prefer a front zipper, there are some that prefer the rear zipper. Here is a you tube that I just saw that showed how one guy gets in/out.
Kokatat is the favorite|
Posted by: pblanc on Mar-22-14 6:06 PM (EST)
I know folks who have had NRS and Stohlquist dry suits and liked them, but among those who have owned dry suits from different manufacturers, Kokatat seems to be the overwhelming favorite. Their customer support is very good and their Gore-Tex suits are life-time guaranteed against defects (except latex seals). They will repair rips and tears in their suits for a nominal fee and if your suit delaminates or starts to leak at the seams they will repair or replace it. I have had several Kokatat dry suits and bibs, all of which have given me good service. I have a Kokatat Gore-Tex dry top over 15 years old that I still use on a regular basis.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-22-14 7:26 PM (EST)
I have heard about Kokatat customer service and was advised to spend the extra cash because you get what you pay for. Sounds like you have good success with Kokatat. Agree with ya with the zipper placement. I'm leaning towards front entry but think I will give them a try. Thanks for your input.
Posted by: Peter-CA on Mar-22-14 6:12 PM (EST)
Get relief zip and attached booties.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-22-14 7:30 PM (EST)
Advice for awkward zipper locations|
Posted by: Guideboatguy on Mar-22-14 6:53 PM (EST)
I've never used a rear-entry suit, but have had issues with being able to pull the tab along certain portions of the zipper travel in any case, especially with one suit that had a peculiar zipper orientation. Usually there's a little loop of string on the zipper tab (if there isn't, install one right away), and if you pass a much longer rope though that loop and fold it back on itself, it can become very easy operate the zipper. For example, you may be unable to reach the zipper tab at certain locations along its travel path, or you may be able to reach it but lack the pulling power you need at certain locations when your arm is contorted into an awkward position, but the much longer "handle" provided by the rope (which you can grab at any convenient position along its length (which is more important than you can know until you do it)) can totally eliminate both of those problems. You'll still need to find a way to "anchor" another part of the zipper "upstream" of your direction of pull, and if you can't do that with your free hand you may be able to do it by tightening the fit of the suit over your body in that area by crouching, bending, etc. It's that zipper-anchoring problem that might mean you still can't operate a rear-entry zipper along its full travel length by yourself, but this trick is worth trying as one method that might work.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-22-14 7:46 PM (EST)
Agree with ya on the technique. I don't have the flex any more so I'm leaning toward a front entry. That seems to be the way everybody is going. I will try both out however. Thanks for your input.
Consider Mythic Drysuits|
Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-22-14 7:13 PM (EST)
for a non hard core paddler that needs a quality suit
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-22-14 7:48 PM (EST)
Thanks for the recommendation. This will be fun to research.
Immersion research is BEYOND great|
Posted by: Gilh on Mar-22-14 10:25 PM (EST)
Like many have said, you get what you pay for. With Immersion Research you get great value and lifetime warranty against defects. I had the old back entry suit and it served me very well for years until I got tired of reaching the back zipper. The new Arch Rival suit with front entry zipper is a game changer. It's as tough as nails. I upgraded mine with fabrics socks and it's perfect. Highly recommend immersion Research and they also have fantastic customer service. Very personal and responsive.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-23-14 9:34 AM (EST)
I like IR, saw the video for the Arch Rival. Good input, thank you.
Dry suit suggestions - general|
Posted by: Celia on Mar-23-14 8:18 AM (EST)
Get something with a proven lifetime warranty - usually means the materiel and zippers. If you use the suit hard you'll likely end up taking advantage of it.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-23-14 9:29 AM (EST)
Good input. Thought the tunnel was a no brainer but you make lots of sense. Do I really need one, not going over falls or WW. Also I like the easier part. Think I'm going with front entry. Had one knee replaced, soon the other and had both shoulders rebuilt where the DR said he can't do any more, next time will be replacements. Don't have the flexibility/ strength I use to have and always in pain. At this point, would like to keep things simple but want reliable gear. I'm a pocket dude also :-)Thanks for your suggestions.
I'd get the tunnel|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Mar-25-14 12:04 PM (EST)
Its helps ease the "purging" process (getting air out of the suit), and it makes for a cleaner interface with your spray skirt.
Rent one to see what you prefer|
Posted by: pikabike on Mar-23-14 1:24 PM (EST)
Some shops in the Puget Sound area will rent you a Kokatat Gore-tex drysuit at reasonable cost. It will probably have a front zip. Try it on, go for a paddle, and see how you like the zipper placement.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-24-14 11:46 AM (EST)
Good advice. Didn't know they rented dry suits. Agree with ya on the booties and relief zipper. I have received a lot of great comments. Thank you.
You'll need larger boots also|
Posted by: pikabike on Mar-24-14 6:32 PM (EST)
When you use a drysuit with fabric foot covers, you need to upsize your paddling shoe by a size.
Wow $1100 for a dry suit .|
Posted by: seadart on Mar-24-14 11:58 PM (EST)
I think I was into kayaking for several years before I even spent that much money on a boat.
Where you paddle, personal tolerance|
Posted by: Celia on Mar-25-14 8:05 AM (EST)
Paddling year round in the northeast or interior northern part of the country makes that money worth finding pretty quick - air temps in the 20's, wind chill lower than that and water temps in the high 30's.
I think this is a bit of an issue |
Posted by: seadart on Mar-25-14 11:49 AM (EST)
with young people getting into sea kayaking.
I could not agree more|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Mar-25-14 12:43 PM (EST)
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-25-14 1:59 PM (EST)
I'm sure any of the top brand dry suits would fit my needs. I am a believer however, you get what you pay for. Besides, if I didn't spend some bread on this I would probably have thrown the money away on something else; not that I have money to throw away. You know what I mean. Thanks for your input.
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-25-14 1:43 PM (EST)
Posted by: pikabike on Mar-25-14 3:04 PM (EST)
The outlay for a good drysuit is high. Then again, if that same person is buying a $3000 kayak that's available in rotomold version for half as much, he could've had both the roto and the drysuit and insulation for $3000.
no one's saying not to get a drysuit|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Mar-25-14 5:27 PM (EST)
Seadart was talking about why the sport is diminishing and it's hard to counter his argument. Additionally, not everyone needs a $1000 drysuit. I know Celia is an advanced paddler who takes to the NE coast. I don't go that far but get into the great lakes every summer and fall, I paid half that for a drysuit that has lasted me five years. I made the personal decision that no fabric is breathable enough to keep me truly dry while paddling, I sweat a lot. So while I bought a "breathable suit" I didn't pay $1k for something more breathable.
I admit it I'm cheap.|
Posted by: seadart on Mar-25-14 5:36 PM (EST)
only need a drysuit when traveling to BCU rental spots.
Advanced? Thanks but...|
Posted by: Celia on Mar-25-14 5:55 PM (EST)
My husband bought a used one|
Posted by: pikabike on Mar-25-14 8:55 PM (EST)
Kokatat Gore-tex, in great condition, for $400 if I remember correctly.
where you paddle|
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-25-14 1:54 PM (EST)
Nice comment. I've become cautious in my old age. In the past I would have no problem climbing up on the roof to install Christmas lights, now I have some reservations. I just don't have the strength, flexibility, and just physically unable to do the things I use to. I now look at the risks. If I ever did become incapacitated by the cold water, I couldn't put somebody else at risk trying to save my butt because I wasn't prepared. Some of the kayak clubs out here require a dry suit to participate in some of their trips. I'm going to pick up a suit, just not sure which one. I see you like the Kokatat.
More on Kokatat|
Posted by: Celia on Mar-25-14 3:23 PM (EST)
Posted by: Guideboatguy on Mar-25-14 7:31 PM (EST)
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-27-14 5:56 PM (EST)
I guess if it hard to zip in the store, it will be hard on the water. Thanks for the input.
Maybe not. Just to clarify, any zipper |
Posted by: Guideboatguy on Mar-27-14 10:35 PM (EST)
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-27-14 5:54 PM (EST)
Funny. Good info on the sizing and zipper. I am assuming it would cost much more to have one custom made. Think I am limited to a manufacturer due to the size charts. Stickler for me is the length of the leg. If I have an inseam of 30" would a 32 " inseam be a big deal? It is with my regular pants. Not sure if dry suits are different.
Posted by: Celia on Mar-27-14 6:11 PM (EST)
Legs and arms are relatively easy with Kokatat. They can shorten/lengthen for a fee, just forget what it is. The fit issue is more of a problem with too big a belly, that kind of thing.
Kokatat Icon video|
Posted by: pblanc on Mar-26-14 11:30 AM (EST)
The following video will give you an idea of what is required to get into and out of the rear zipper Icon without help:
Posted by: Hammahamma on Mar-27-14 5:47 PM (EST)
Thanks for the info. Haven't seen this one yet. They make it all look so easy :-)
Posted by: pblanc on Mar-27-14 6:53 PM (EST)
Clay makes a lot of things look easy. His gold medal performance in the mens' sguirt boat event at last year's World's Freestyle competition was astounding.