Dry suit sizing

Y’all have convinced me to get a quality dry suit to extend my paddling season. Based on various sizing charts and my athletic shape (hey, a bowling pin is athletic!), it looks like I have a choice between a suit that fits me well in the waist, hips, and chest but with too long sleeves and legs, or one that is a good length in the arms and legs but is way big in the waist, hips, and chest.

Any thoughts on which would be better/more comfortable?


kokatat does some customization
check out their web site. They can change just a few dimensions and so have suggestions on what to make sure fits at first and what then can be changed after. Then the folks at kayakacademy.com will also do some of that customizing.

baggy is better

– Last Updated: Oct-14-09 2:26 PM EST –

My drusuit hanging there looks like it belongs to a martian. About 7 feet tall. The zipper has to go over our head and you are in a sitting position when using it. It should feel loose and non-restrictive. I knew a guy who was in between a med and large and got the medium and cold just about pull the chest zipper over his head. Fortunately Kokatat took it back and gave him a large. Forget the waist. You're going to look like a clown anyhow.

Another vote for Kokatat – they will make customizations. For example, I am between medium and large. My suit has a large torso but with 2" taken off the arms and legs. The result is a great fit for me, room to move, but not too baggy.

For full disclosure I’m sponsored by Kokatat but only because I prefer their product line.

Greg Stamer

It’s not a fashion statement
You will need room for the extra layers as the temperature drops.

Dry suit size
Don’t go too tight, error on the large side for a dry suit.

You want to be able to get the suit on and off by yourself, while you are wearing full fleece underneath and even after you have put on your next 10 pounds. I have friends who bought suits that are too form fitting, and they need help getting them on and off.

I loaned one of my men’s large to a medium size woman for a one week expedition. She cinched it up, it worked just fine for her.

Form fitting is a wet suit concept. In a wet suit, you get to show off your fine figure, and you get to bleed from the chaffing.

thanks for the reminder
about how to use my drysuit for a Halloween costume…its just about all there.

All I need is a hat and a clown nose.

Bigger is better in this case…

6’2" a Buck 80

– Last Updated: Oct-14-09 8:30 PM EST –

and I tried a Kokatat XL on for size. The crotch hung down around my knees, I could fit two of me in the chest and the arms were too dang long too....but I am on the cusp on their size chart so I go for the XL - right.

getoutdoors has a few with a "free" liner and I called kayak academy and George was very helpful but no free liner. I am about to pull the trigger but not having a stocking dealer around, save driving 6 hours to NOC, sucks.

One would think they could come up with a basic mock suit pattern for men and women out of their cheapest material, in all sizes, for their retailers to use to size clients. These would be non-working suits for sizing only. Duh!

The return policy and speed will be a consideration.

  • 1
    for Kokatat, great customer service. They took 2 inches off of the arms and legs so I could get my short, fat torso into a large. Best piece of kit I own.

What if they made
something along the lines of a stripped down jumpsuit. No latex, no tape, no pockets, only the get in and out zipper, no frills, just a sizing shell. They could even run numbers down the sleeves and legs for sizing. They could put about as much thought into it as they do a liner then provide their retailers a tool they can use for selling.

I called a few brick and mortar stores and they don’t have any suits to try on but they can special order. If I have to go the web route on this I might as well buy all my stuff that way.

Call Kokatat
They do make a sizing suit for custom orders, I’ve seen one at a retailer. I’m sure they could direct you to a retailer that has one.

Thank You!
I bought an NRS model a couple years back and it fits just like you say it should. I’m a comfortable clown, fer sher. No need for a relief zipper. I can bring the pee cup right into the suit.

Thanks for all the resposes - but…
Nobody is really answerning the big question: If a sizing compromise has to be made, which would you consider better - good fit in the mid-section, but arms and legs too long vs. good arm and leg length, but way too much room in the mid-section?

Right now, I’m looking at Kokatat GFER. Nobody local seems to have any in stock, but GetOutdoors are expecting some in soon. I’ve been looking on-line; everybody’s pricing seems fairly compatible (some are offering a free liner, but those folks also charge extra for the larger sizes) so I’ve been leaning towards KayakAccademy - they have (had?) a used XXL with shortened legs and they also carry the L-King (which is the height of a L, but with the body sized larger than an XXL). I sent them an e-mail earlier in the week asking about sizing, but they haven’t responded; may have to give up and call 'em although I’d much rather communicate via e-mail

Big midsection
IMHO a big midsection would be better. I won’t hurt when you bulk up the warm clothing.

You will get good service from Kayak Academy and I’m sure they will make sure you get a good fit. I have no connection with them and didn’t even buy my suit from them but I did buy George’s forms for replacing the neck gasket.

thought we did
big in the midsection. They have drawstring cords so you dont lose your pants…at least my Kokatat does (its ten or so years old)

I don’t even understand the question

– Last Updated: Oct-15-09 12:28 PM EST –

You say your choices are:

1: Proper length in the arms and legs but too big in the mid section.


2: Good fit in the mid section but too long in the arms and legs.

My confusion comes from this. Using the standard sizes, how to you go to a larger size in the mid section and ALSO end up with shorter length in the arms and legs? Normally, it's the other way around. I'm tall and thin, and in order to get a suit with long enough arms and legs, I had to get one that was HUGE in the mid section (again, opposite to the choice you state).

If those really are your choices, your question already has been answered. Get the suit that's big in the mid section. That won't hinder you a bit, and as others have said, it will make getting the suit on and off a do-it-yourself operation. With a suit that fits "properly" you will almost certainly need someone to help you get it on and off. With my suit that's too big in the mid section, I wear my PFD underneath, giving a bit more floatation for the upper body by allowing more trapped air to stay in that area than if the PFD were on the outside. A minor issue to be sure, but either way, the bigger size is no problem for me.

as quoted above 'baggy is better"
you squeeze the air out of it before paddling anyway.

I was wondering
the same thing as guideboatguy…the options questioned appear contradictory. Longer sleeves = larger waist, not smaller waist.

Re: Bigger waist w/ shorter sleeves
From kayakacademy.com: “Men’s Sizes: S-XXL, L-King (L-King is the height of a Men’s Large but its 58” chest and waist is greater than that of an XXL)"

On Kokatat’s sizing chart, the height/arms/legs of a L is pretty close to being perfect for me, while the XXL has the right waist/chest size; so the L-King should be the right height, but more a foot too big around the waist.


– Last Updated: Oct-15-09 2:27 PM EST –

so the XXL has a smaller waist then the L? Sure some parts of this statement aren't reversed?

I see the L has a waist of 36-38 inches
for XXL I see a waist of 40-42 inches.

All the other measurements get larger for the larger sizes.

btw, I don't see the L-King on the Kokatat site. What webpage (if any) do you see an L-King? Sounds like a specialty size.

Here's where I found sizes and also they give advise on what they can customize: http://kokatat.com/sizing_mens.asp