New to the forum, and about time I post something… I’ve been sea kayaking in the great lakes for a number of years now and I now want to dive into some winter/early spring kayaking so decided in order to do that, I’d need a dry suit…
I’ve called around and it seams that no one really stocks them, so was right about pull the trigger on an ebay purchase of a Large Kokatat Swift entry. But when the price got to within a few hundred dollars over new, I decided against it… While investigating the sizing guides… I seem to fall into a Large in some categories, and an XL is others… So since no one stocks them, I was kind of forced to order a Kokatat Meridian Hydrus version, not gore tex (really wanted the tunnel cover for the skirt) online through REI and ship to my closest REI store. Good thing I didn’t bite on that ebay auction, cause a Large just barely fits me,… I can put it on, but do not have full mobility in torso rotation… While the XL fits, but a bit long in the legs… I also ordered a Large and XL Stohlqist Shift (I really like the option to remove the neck gasket for comfort paddling when a full dry suit it not needed) . The Large size for the Shift doesn’t even go over my waist line! I never imagined myself as an x-large until now (kind of depressing actually)… Anyhow, I now face the fact… and still waiting for the XL to come in to try on before I make my decision, more than likely this weekend… Knowing all this now,… my recommendation is to try things on before buying, or at least ensure the items are returnable…
My personal Pros and Cons between both suits:
Stolquist Shift Pros:
- Removable neck gasket (after almost choking myself trying these one, big bonus… I know they will eventually stretch out)
- Removable hood, love the option and one thing that sets it apart from the Meridian
- Suspenders, while trying the suit on they just got in the way… then again… I never fully got it on,… so i’ll update this once I try the XL
Kokatat Meridian Pros:
- Lifetime limited warranty - actually heard good and bad on this… the limited part
- 100$ cheaper than the Shift
- Neck gasket is trimmable
- Customizable ($$$$ - worth it to fix the lengthy legs)
Stolquist Shift Cons:
- Only 3 year limited warranty - again… how good is an actual “limited warranty”?
- Large size doesn’t fit a typical Large size body (in my mind at least… how skinny do people have to be these days?)
Kokatat Meridian Cons:
- No hood (although if I want to spend big money I can get it customized)
- The Orange colour will clash against my lime green kayak and red PFD
Anyone have any other advice, things to look for, personal experience with these two brands to share?
I think that’s all I have in terms of dry suits… a little about myself…
I’m 38 years old, 5’11 pushing just over 200lbs, usually wear a 36 waist pants with 33" in length and apparently an XL (still can’t get over that).
Typically paddle locally on the Canadian side of the Detroit river/Lake st. clair/Lake Erie
My kayak is a 17’ fibreglass Impex Currituk and just started paddling with a Greenland paddle last year custom carved and engraved by Adanac paddles (check out her work, really cool).