Dry suit materials

Hi everyone,

Pretty new paddler here; gotten pretty heavily into whitewater kayaking this summer in Colorado. As I close in on the end of the season, I’m starting to look towards next year and considering pulling the trigger on a dry suit.

I’m looking for a little guidance on materials. My local shop has a Kokatat Tropos T3 Meridian (w/ booties and convenience zipper) for $600 after tax, but I’m having a tough time differentiating between two-layer Tropos, Tropos T3, Hydrus, and Gore-Tex.

Can anyone shed any light and provide some consumer advice? The best I’ve seen on a GoreTex option is a full $300 more, which I can pay if it’s necessary, but obviously would prefer to avoid. I’m a very cold-weather person and I tend to go to the lightest safe layers in outdoor activities, if that makes a difference.

Thanks in advance! I’m loving the sport and community already!


in REI, join, apply for card, buy suit or wait for February deals.

GoreTex is prob preferable for WW, ask your club members.

fersure, go with booties and a relief zipper.

booties are treated with the water repellence formulas.

zippers go with liquid beeswax…need to stay awake for online availability…maybe login to the branding with Google alerts

Spend the bucks for GoreTex
Not necessarily because it breaths better, but because it has a lifetime warranty (the GoreTex fabric, that is). Kokatat is a superb company that will replace the entire suit if the fabric delaminates. They will water test, patch and repair the suit for a reasonable fee. There is a two year warranty on all Tropos products according to their website. The Hydrus 3L is listed as having a lifetime warranty also. So, I would not choose Tropos.

Gore-tex is better
I have Gore-tex and Tropos dry suits. Apart from the warranty issue, Gore-tex is simply more durable in the long run.

For more casual and less frequent use the cheaper fabrics probably make sense. If you suspect you are going to use the suit frequently over a period of years, the extra cost of the Gore-tex is worthwhile.

When it comes to drysuit fabrics…
you truly do get what you pay for. A Gore-Tex suit is essentially a lifetime purchase. Unless you damage it or literally wear it out, you won’t have to replace it. If it ever develops leaks or delaminates, it will be replaced under warranty. I have experience with this with both dry suits and other Gore-Tex garments and the warranty is “iron-clad”.

Other fabrics will fail after a few years of use and you’ll have to buy another suit. Do that once and you’ve spent at least as much as a Gore-Tex suit would cost. In the long run, Gore-Tex is cheaper and it also performs better, so it’s worth the up-front cost.

consider used
Check the Kayak Academy website – they always are selling a range of sizes and styles of Kokatat drysuits from their school rental stock, which are all cleaned, repaired (if needed) and significantly cheaper than new. No drysuit is going to look “new” after your first ww outing in it anyway. Judicious watching of sites like that and Ebay can yield great deals. I got my own Goretex Kokatat drysuit for $400 from a classified ad on this site. Was in like new condition except for a tear in the neck gasket, which I patched with a scrap of neoprene.

Ditto all of the above regarding Kokatat and GoreTex.

Try 2014 leftovers. Talk with kayak specialty stores. See what they might have still hanging about. While it might not be a $400 deal, they’re likely going to be the same model with significant savings.

You a large? I know of a yellow Kokatat Idol in Hyde Park, NY that needs a home.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY



Thanks everyone! I did end up going with a GoreTex Meridian in Medium based on this advice (that’s what fits me, when I’ve tried them on). I’m really excited to extend my season!

River Connection is AWESOME!
Update: Ordered the wrong one, but Marshall at the River Connection helped me out in a big way, got me in the right suit for my needs and helped me deal with the mis-order.

HUGE THANKS to Marshall and the River Connection! Highly recommended (if you guys don’t already use them!).

digital thermometer with wind gauge ?



search ‘diving’ on the subject….a hoot of a subject jawjawjaw

The bootie waterproofer is from Nikwax probe mentioned herein

Nice suit…add a neoprene hood, gloves, booty covers.

Gortex great suit treat gaskets with 303 once a month even in storage and rinse well last a long long time. Always can sell it if taken care of so what did it really cost you then? Less than something no one will buy after 4-5 years

Yer gonna…
…be glad you did and especially the first time you remove your suit after wet work and notice how nice it is to have dry feet:)