Dry Suits with Tunnels?

I guess I’ve never seen one. I guess they exist?

My Kokatat Expedition dry suit has a tunnel.

Front entry?
Diagonal front zipper?

Many if not most, do…
http://kokatat.com/product_drysuits.asp -these have the ‘diagonal zipper’ you refer to


What I don’t understand is how there is room for a tunnel if there is a diagonal zipper.

There’s a lot of things I don’t…

– Last Updated: Dec-15-07 10:16 PM EST –

...understand either, but they exist.

Check it out:


The GMER is a pretty good suit and most Kokatats are of the design you refer to.

Looking at the Kokatat suit photos with the diagonal zipper I would think the tunnel would be too low to be useful.

See the faint horizontal line …
in the picture at the base of the armpit? That’s the stitching for the top of the tunnel.

So the zipper is on the front of the tunnel? The fabric then folds back up underneath? Thanks.

Not exactly
I just went down and looked at my Kokatat. The zipper is on the main body of the suit all the way down. However, about halfway down the run an additional layer of material that forms the tunnel breaks off and ends in a velcro-closure waist. There’s a velcro flap that closes over the whole run of the zipper, so you close the zipper then close the velcro flap covering the zipper. There are only two distinct layers visible where it breaks off.

Said roughly, the top of the suit has two layers of material rather than one. The outer layer is sewn over so that it can be broken off for the tunnel. I don’t think this is terribly different from how any manufacturer handles it. The likely diff is probably in exactly how they run the zipper and details of the sewing.

The tunnel works exactly the same as a tunnel on a dry top.

All that said, what’s the question here? Are you asking whether a tunnel would be useful for yourself?

Personally I go with yes - the extra thickness up top to me leaves the tunneled dry suit a little warmer than a single layer one. I am skeptical about whether they actually increase dryness unless you are in pretty mild stuff, and once you start rolling forget it.

Leakage down the zipper
I started wondering how you could have a tunnel and a diagonal zipper, since it would have to come up to a height at least half way up the zipper. Without a tunnel the zipper often creates a crease that funnels in water.

I see that your profile says you are relatively new at this. As you spend more time sideways you’ll find that the tunnel has very limited impact on stopping water from coming in that way. A full neo tunnel skirt is probably more of a factor.

Who needs tunnels?
The tunnel on my Stolquist B Pod is more trouble than it’s worth. IMHO

"Personally I go with yes - the extra thickness up top to me leaves the tunneled dry suit a little warmer than a single layer one. I am skeptical about whether they actually increase dryness unless you are in pretty mild stuff, and once you start rolling forget it."

Tunnels make the suit more expensive and a bit harder to use. They might keep you a bit drier if you are rolling. That is, they might have some value if you are doing white-water.

Keep in mind that a tunnel doesn’t do anything if you are out of the boat.

Note that if you need a tunnel, you probable need a neoprene skirt as well. Put another way, if you don’t use a neoprene skirt, you probably don’t need the tunnel.

I really doubt a tunnel will do anything to keep you warmer because they cover your skirt. Anyway, anything that keeps you warmer will keep you warmer when you don’t want it to.

The advantage of the dry suit is that you can change the insulation.

my bpod has the over tunnel…and i have had no problems…you have the waist velcro on the outside get that snug…and you should be good to go…

maybe the overflap is not velcrod in the exact correct placement???


well said

A double tunnel will keep you much drier

– Last Updated: Dec-18-07 1:28 PM EST –

...in 'condition' and rolling.

(Edit: Even if you 'inadvertently' get in rough conditions, you'd want a double tunnel to keep water out that might eventually affect your balance. Aman, I was editing this before you posted...)

I've had friends go the 'cheap', no tunnel route and end up with cockpits awash.

I'm surprised there's so much debate on this issue. To each his own.

Like with a lot of debate over gear, intended use is a big factor.

I had a Kokatat, no tunnel, on loan for about 5 months waiting for my GMER (with tunnel.) Really annoying to have to sponge out the cockpit every 15-20 rolls with the no overskirt. Even worse, in conditions with waves hitting you repeatedly above the spray skirt tunnel, the cockpit stats to fill up, causing the extra momentum from water sloshing around. While it’s good practice, it gets to be a bit of a concern. You either need a tunnel or foot pump in that situation.

On the other hand, if the person won’t be rolling much, or in breaking waves much, then they may prefer no tunnel.