Dry Suit

Need advice on buying a dry suit. Live in NJ where I would like to extend my paddling season paddling into the fall and early spring when waters are cold. Not interested in rolling just recreational paddling on lakes and rivers.

Do I go for the dry suits with latex gaskets which will keep me nice and dry? Or do I go for the cheaper neoprene gaskets which might be more comfortable?

Comparing the Kokata SuperNova paddling suit vs. NRs Inversion Kayak drysuit…

Please advise…

Either will do nicely
If you are not into rolling, either will do fine. With a Kokatat Nova you may get a table spoon or two of water down the neck (depending on how tight you have the neck fastened) but that is not significant.

I have both a Kokatat GMER and a Stohlquist B-pod and don’t see a nickles difference.

rubber gasket
Go with the rubber gasket. If you advance to rolling or spend more time than desired in cold water you’ll be happy you chose the rubber gasket.


I use a Kokatat goretex XCR action jacket and tempest pants (they have feet!) which may be enough if you’re not rolling or swimming. A drysuit will obviously give more complete protection.

I have the latex
I’d imagine the neoprene would be a lot more comfortable.

I talked to a Kokatat rep…

– Last Updated: Sep-24-09 12:02 PM EST –

... at Canoecopia a couple years ago and asked him about seals. He said that the trend in the future will be toward neoprene seals, and that good neoprene seals don't leak at all. That said, the suit I chose was only available with latex seals and I think they are fine. I know latex seals have a definite lifespan, but I didn't ask if neoprene seals last longer.

Not necessarily
You can’t trim neoprene seals to fit, so they’re either comfortable or useless.

Check out - Palm Stuff!
I would go with a full drysuit…

I would suggest looking at both the Palm Stikine and Aleutian suit. Both fit great and the gaskets really stand up to a beating!

If you are going to invest in a dry
suit, make sure you get a “DRY” suit. It is an excellent piece of safety gear designed to allow longer immersion times in cold water. Any water that intrudes into the suit will likely shorten the immersion time you can withstand. I view the drysuit as a piece of safety equipment and not paddling/comfort gear. Of course you want it to be comfortable, but dry is a higher priority in my opinion. Make it as effective as it can be, or look for a less costly alternative that provides less protection from prolonged immersion time. Bill

Look at the material too
How much attention do you want to pay to maintenenace of the suit? I have three Tropos garments now, including a SuperNova and the newer paddle pants with booties from Kokatat. While the material in the newer pants seems more robust than the older two, the Tropos material stuff is still something that takes a little more attention than my GoreTex suits. I have to be really diligent about reversing the booties when I first get off the water then again later so that inside and outside dry off well. This is not particularly different from caring for the GoreTex suit, but I can’t forget to do it until after we’ve come off the water and stopped for dinner like I can with the GoreTex.

The seams in the SuperNova are also a bit less robust in their seal. I seem to get leaks along the arms and in the feet fater than in the GoreTex suits.

You may want to take a look at how hardy the material is, along with the gaskets.

go with the Glideskin neoprene
I have a ‘semi’-dry top with a Glideskin neck gasket. I haven’t had any water leak in while rolling and playing in the surf. With a pencil neck like mine that is quite an accomplishment.

Not so, at least for Stohlquist B-pod. I was getting a little more than a couple of Table spoons after several rolls, contacted Stohlquist and they replaced the neck gasket (neoprene) with a smaller size. I don’t even get damp collar now.

I was considering a semi-dry top (winter in So Cal doesn’t require a lot). I wonder if I could order the best fitting neo neck gasket right from the start if I sent them my neck size.

It’s great that they changed it for you
I’m not surprised, as Stohlquist’s service is very good. What I was getting at was that off-the-rack, neoprene seals either fit or they don’t; you can’t trim them to fit. If it doesn’t fit and the manufacturer won’t change it, the garment is useless, so you need to know what their policy is before purchasing the suit.

Go Body Pod
Go dry. Stohlquist Body Pod, excellent value for the dollars.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


Latex seals water out
Latex is stretchier than most neoprene (which typically is sandwiched with nylon fabric) and therefore can be tight enough to keep water out while still allowing things such as breathing and blood circulation.

However, the smooth-skin neoprene collar on one of my wetsuits is pretty good–not watertight, but an indication that one day the gap might be closed between latex and neoprene, as far as watertightness goes.

In the meantime, I’d stick with the latex gaskets.