I’m considering a dry suit. No wonder there are so many questons about it on Pnet; it’s very confusing.
See link above. Anyone like any of those suits, and why? Attached booties or no? Semi-dry or full dry? Gore-tex, or no?
I like the NRS suit
I got one last month. I got the regular extreme. Go for the booties regardless They are warmer and make donning and duffing easier. I was swimming in mine today in 39 deg water and 10 deg air and was fine with 2 layers of fleece underneath.
kayak academy if you go for Kokatat
I know this isn't exactly the question you asked. However, if you go for Kokatat, the kayak academy in Washington has better prices. Also according to the WWTA web site (Washington water trail association), if you join for $35 you get a 10% discount at the kayak academy on dry suits.
I have not yet done business with the academy but have inquired about products before and the owners are very easy to talk to and very helpful. Their web site is a little clunky and you have to order by phone. Prices are good, service is good (I'm told), and you get a little maintenance kit with the suit; zipper wax, etc.
I'm just days away from ordering a GMER from the KA. Waiting for my WWTA membership to come through first :-).
edit: I should add, outdoorplay has lower prices than most, just not as low as KA. I'm not knocking outdoorplay.
Too bad you are locked in to this site. Otherwise, I would highly recomend the Stikine model by Palm. It’s totally dry, built in booties, very breathable, comfortable, and extremely well built. That said, STRONG recomendations in favor of built in booties, relief zipper, skirt tunnel and gore-tex or similar (meaning breathable) fabric. Much prefer rear entry across the shoulder zip as opposed to over the shoulder front zip. more comfortable and less leakage at the skirt especially when rolling.
Palm Better For…
the more stocky built. I have one and like it. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the same level of support that Kokatat has. If you have problems with the suit, you will a bit of a wait for it to be dealt with by (Brit based) Palm. They don't have good service places in the U.S. You could send to third party like Amigo.
hows your neck???
i prefer the Stohlquist b-podt because of the neck gasket…much more comfortable for me…and just as dry in my experiences…
great c.s. too…
Semi-dry suit isn't dry, for most. I know of one exception among local paddlers. The neck lets in more water than ideal.
Booties are much more comfy for most to get off, especially guys, than latex ankle gaskets. And it's easier to get a leak in a bootie seam fixed than a torn ankle gasket replaced.
Jim and I have found that it is fine getting accustomed to a latex neck gasket, and the Kokatat gaskets are lighter weight than the old drytop ones hence easier anyway. But there are some who can't get used to it or find that they have other major problems.
Heavy duty waterproof zippers are better than lighter weight ones. And having a p-zip saves wear on the neck gasket over time.
Fit can be a consideration
Kokatat, for example, runs bigger. Kokatat’s XL is about like most other company’s XXL. Kokatat’s XL has medium socks and 2" larger chest (I think) than Palm XXL. Palm XXL has large (size 12) socks. So for me, 50 chest, 10.5 feet, Kokatat probably fits me better.
Main point is to check the sizing charts carefully against your body size. Of course it would be great if you could try one on before you buy, or buy from someone with an easy return policy.
Just curious as to what issues you had with your suit that resulted in dealing with Palm's customer service. In my experience with any dry suit (and I've had 3 from different manufacturers for both kayaking and diving) anything that goes wrong will be either immediately so I'm going back to the retailer, well after the warranty period, or due to abuse or negligence (I'm very bad about zipper and seal preventive maintanance...lazy!) anyway. In which case an after market repair facility is often cheaper, better and faster than OEM.
My suit came at the wrong size. Took forever to get a return and exchange because the distributer was waiting for a shipment from England. No big deal for me since I still have a kokatat.
There have a been thread here and there about something going wrong and it taking a bit of effort to rectify.
It’s one of those things, most gear come without problems. It’s after some wear and tear that you begin to worry about customer service. I am willing to compromise on that with Palm since I am looking for a more comfortable (we’re not all skinny) fit and have another drysuit as well as an assortment of full wetsuits. For others, who rely on a drysuit as the only source of cold water immersion, it’s something to think about or be prepared to sit it out for awhile if the suit goes in. I don’t like sitting out and thus have backup immersion gear (as well as several extra surf crafts) so that I am there when the waves show.
Front entry if you ever paddle alone. The rear entry are quite the hassle to zip and unzip alone.
Booties are a nice addition as they eliminate the ankle gaskets. I will never buy another that doesn’t have a pee zip.
use a 'biner with a length of rope. Hook it to your zipper and it’s an easy on/off. It’s easier to get into my backzip (better fitting) Palm than to contort myself to get into my front zip (too tight) Kokatat. It’s embarassing to get a neck cramp before even hitting the water.
Dry Suit Choices
I’ve had a Palm for a little over a year and love it. Tried the Kokatat for fit as well as the Palm. Also compared them feature for feature and bang for the buck. Palm came out on top in every catagory. As for fit, I’m 5’10" and 150lbs and the Palm fit me beautifully while the Kokatat felt like I was wearing an oversized pair of coveralls. I have no problem with the back entry, there is a system to closing the zipper and once you know it you’ll not need any additional help or cords hanging off the “T-zip”
Outdoor Play Club
For $15 you get free shipping and 15% off gear for life. My NRS Extreme was $383 plus they sent a $50 gift certificate.
Bang for the buck, Corgi shares my opinion. Go for the Stohlquist B-Pods, especially now with the relief zip. Tunnel/no-tunnel depends on how much wave action you’re taking regularly across the deck.
There are some listed on eBay! storefronts.
Happy paddling for 2007! Can’t believe it’s almost here.
See you on the water,
second the kayak academy
I got a tropos meridian from them and have been very happy with it and their service. they also reccomended custom sizing which worked out great. I got a suit to use until I received mine and they will let you trade a suit in later on a new one, great if you buy tropos and decide to go gore tax later.
George Gronseth is God : D
didn’t they say that about Eric Clapton in the 60s? LOL.
Seriously, I am now a great GG fan.
Just got my first drysuit last week. Luckily George himself answered the phone. Knowing who he was I was a little awed and prolly said ridiculous things, but he asked the correct questions (and listened).
Got me set up with a Women’s Meridian Tropos w. drysocks and drop relief zipper, just the right sizing, plus some great accessories and info for care & use. He also asked about my current paddling level, what my goals were, and reviewed all my paddling gear piece by piece whether it was related to a drysuit or not. He made sure I was set for winter paddling in Michigan.
Ordered Tuesday afternoon, arrived Thursday. Free shipping! Ten days to try it out - tho I can tell you mine is staying right here!
You will not go wrong w. the advice and insight George gives. A drysuit is likely the second biggest expense you’ll make after your kayak. George (and no doubt his wife Barb)are a tremendous resource: honest, knowledgeable and downright good folks.
Outdoor play gives Pnet Perks members 15% off; that's sweet.
I am learning much and narrowing it down with all your advice. I thanks every one of you.
I hear that Tropos is not as breathable as some of the other fabrics, and that Gore-tex, pricey, is the best. True?
TSC, can you link the suit you bought last month please.
Thanks so much for for your suggestions of booties, and like Celia says, I'm a guy and latex ankles might be hard to don. I wouldn't have got thme without all your input. Now I'm getting booties.
Front versus back entry- I see this is a mixed response, some prefer each. Sing is probably right, with long leash I can get it one (I did with my old triathlon Quintana Roo, that was back entry). Many of you also espouse the pee relief; if I have a front entry, do I still need the pee relief zipper (basically a $120 fee for the pee zipper).
I see that the Stohlquist has a neo neck gasket--do all the others have latex? How uncomfortable is the latex (Celia says she and hubby got used to it).
What warm head gear do I need?
Finally, venting. I know these are waterproof suits, but if I get too hot (yeah, I know, roll), can they be vented.
Thanks for all your tips, corigmas, marshall (great online store and fees--not my size, but thanks--everyone should check his store), sing, TSC, celia,rad, miklos, plastic, friendly, scar, aquam., etc. All of you. I will be ordering one in the next week--so this is an advice thread where I will take action (unlike some on here that peter out and you wonder where the heck the original poster went. Don;t you hate that--give recommendations on an ocean-worthy sea kayak, you tell the poster what would be good for him/her, and then they post at the very end "Thanks for your tips. I found a used OT Loon on eBay for $200, so I bought it." :-)
Here you go
I do not need the relief zipper to take a whiz. (With a front entry suit, you really do not). It is just another potential failure point. Besides, you are a physiatrist and should have easy access to Texas caths and leg bags.
True. Or just let it all colect in booti
That NRs sizing chart is f-ed up. I am 5 ft 8.66 inches and 165-170 lbs depending on how many snickers I at that day. Medium or large? is the suit really well vented, or since I hope to never buy another in my life should I spring for Gore-tex