Wondering if any of you own or use the kokatat goretex expedition dry suit?
I am seriously considering this suit and plan on buying in april. I have never owned a dry suit only two piece wetsuits.
In comparrision to the kokatat GMER drysuit is the “Paddling Anatomy Design with Competition Cut underarms, for maximum freedom of movement.” pockets and hood etc much of a step up from the GMER?
money is not a huge concern. I figure if I get 10 years outta this suit it’s actually a pretty cheap thing to buy. I will be using it from april-june nov-dec here in canada only and maybe during a few weeks in the summer in NFLD.
Any help, suggestions other ideas would be great before I head to a store for purchase and to try these things on.
Go for the GMER
Do you really need a dry suit with a hood? IMO the hood cuts down on your field of vision which is not a good thing out there. I always carry a goretex hat in my day hatch in case of rain.
I find it much easier to just add head protection as needed. Hate having that thing around my neck/head when air temp rises.
GMER is a great dry suit
I’ve got hat’s, beanies, and even a Tilley if I want to look really sharp! Don’t need a hood.
I just can’t see being out in nasty windy conditions with a seattle sombrero flopping around all the time. I’d be fine with an unhooded suit for a day trip or surf session, but for a long tour i’d much rather be hooded.
which is worse in nasty windy conditions
a Seattle Sombrero, or a hood? Nasty is nasty. Paddling into a heavy wind with a hood is unpleasant too.
Awesome suit. No need to overthink this one, just get it. I’ve had mine for 3 years now and I use the hood very often, can’t really understand why anyone would tell you not to get a hood.
next one will have the hood.
hands down, no comparison when the rain is really comming down…I might even send mine in to see if they will add the hood.
originally I bought it to stand in the water teaching rolling…but when I carry back up gear on one or two week paddles, I wish I had bought the hood the last time
skull cap or baclava
I don’t use the suit in question, but am perfectly happy with my dry suit with a cap of sorts on (say, a Kokatat surf skin skull cap). For more protection, maybe a surf skin baclava.
Yes, brimmed hats and hoods would both be annoying in strong winds.
I think it would depend on what kind of
paddling you do most. Or if you can afford more than one drysuit. I mostly do day trips in rock gardens and can only afford one suit. I wear a GMER, neoprene hood and helmet. The hood in the expedition would get in the way of the helmet and fills with water when rolling. If you mostly do lengthy expeditions in the rain, the the expedition suit would be the one that makes the most sense.
Kokatat Expedition dry suit
I’ve had an Expedition for a good number of years and highly recommend it.
It is the best suit Kokatat makes and IMHO Kokatat makes the best dry suits for paddling.
It’s awfully easy to pull an anorak (rain coat) over the drysuit when conditions call for it. Just because you’re wearing a drysuit doesn’t mean you can’t wear something over it.
I find my drysuit nice when the air/water is cold, but it’s confining enough without having to always have the hood attached.
Head Protection in the Cold
If I’m going to roll I put on a dive hood. If not I use a balaclava and something to shed the rain or keep the sun out of my eyes.
One piece of gear I ALWAYS carry at all times on the rear deck is a breathable rain coat w/hood under the bungies. It serves dual purposes as a hooded rain jacket or extra wind-breaking layer if weather conditions change.
I have one
My husband does as well. I don't notice any diff in cut from the other GoreTex suits. The diff I care about is in the additional stuff.
With both the Meridian and the Expedition you get the overskirt. I like it, some others don't. It gives me at least the illusion of extra dryness, especially since I don't tend to use a skirt with a neo tunnel in my long boats. You also get a functional chest pocket in both, that being something new from my first Meridian suit. And of course booties.
With both of them you also get the pzip. Don't leave home without it... and it'll give your friends endless fun the first time you forget to secure the pzip when you walk into the water to burp it. But you'll only do that once.
With the Expedition you also get a couple of reflective strips around the elbows, two sleeve pockets and a PacLite hood. The older ones had a thicker hood that some found uncomfortable, but most people find the PacLite hoods easy to live with. It hasn't bothered me. As a result of the way it bundles down, I also get a little extra sense of protection from the wind around my neck. Not in my way in warmer weather and feels quite nice in cold stuff.
I have a tendency to forget just one last thing as I launch - the car key in my hand (leave the clicker in the car), or the package of Gu or snack bar that or my ID pack. So for me the sleeve pockets are great - I can still stow something quick without undoing my PFD.
It is correct that, should you want to add the pockets hood etc to a regular GMER you'll pay less to buy the Expedition. But you'll have to think about your uses. I will say, those extra pockets are like day hatches. Once they are there, you find a lot of ways to use them. So you may want to think about how you tend to use storage and some of the smaller steps you are taking to secure stuff before launch, and apply that to how you'd like it with the pockets etc.
As to the hood, it is nice to have something that you can just pull up quick and not have to stop long enough to pull on a shell or a cag, if your normal head covering isn't waterproof.
When I ordered my Expedition suit, a number of years ago, there were a few features I wanted which were extra cost on any of Kokatat’s other suits besides the Expedition. Since then, some of those features have become standard on their other suits, especially the GMER.
One feature I’ve found very valuable is the sleeve pocket (current Expedition suits come with 2, mine has 1). My inhaler and medical and contact info is in my sleeve pocket when I’m wearing my dry suit. I always inform others as to that fact. (When not wearing the dry sit the inhaler is in a pfd pocket and the other info is around my neck under my pfd).
I’ve rarely used the hood (I’ve always kept a a storm cag in my day hatch) as on the older suits, like mine, it is bulky. The newer suits have Pac-lite hoods which should be easier and more comfortable.
Thanks for all the responses. This purchase is not one I’m taking lightly, as my wife is allowing me to buy this with 3 kayaks in the basement…and I just bought another.
I see from those who own it they seem to have no regrets.
What is it like rolling with that hood? Can you roll it up somehow?
I’m leaning towards getting it.
Stashes into the collar, you hardly notice it if you roll it well. Nothing beats a good hood for long days in the rain, better than a hat IMHO.
I was picturing it somewhat like a survival suit hood. rolls into the collar…that has me sold on the idea. A thick collar like someone else said will keep the wind off my neck anywho.
thanks a million guys. My mind is made up!
While many don’t like the hood, I use it all the time, especially in cold water during skill practice sessions. It slows water flow which makes those rolls in the cold not so painful. I don’t find that it affects my peripheral vision if I fit it right to my noggin. It’s worth the extra few bucks if only for the pockets. Better than the GMER.