Wondering about pros/cons of back zip (across shoulder blades) vs. front zip suits. Anyone worn both? Opinions?
I have a few rear entries suits
without a relief zipper. That statement almost says everything; there are merits to a front zip.
I have both. I need assistance getting in/out of the rear zip. I don’t paddle alone in cold water season, so it’s not really a problem. I like the front zip better, partly because of the ease of entry, but mostly because it is breathable and my rear zip is coated nylon. On the other hand, I probably only used a suit about a half dozen times last season and the condensation was bearable. You can get a chill when you exit the suit after having worked up a sweat. If you are an occasional cold season paddler, paddle with others and the price is right I would not hesitate to get a rear zip and or non-breathable.
P.S. Kokatat rear entry, coated nylon, mens large drysuit with tunnel and latex booties for sale
Front Zip/Relief Zipper
I’ve a front zip with relief zipper.
It is very easy to get in and out of. It is very easy to burp. It is very easy to ‘relieve’ myself when I am wearing it.
I can’t imagine the rear zip is as easy.
BTW - the Goretex booties are well worth it!
In addition to the front zip aspect go with one that has a built in tunnel. Much less water finding it’s way into the cockpit if there’s a rainfly effect to the suit. Also spring for the relief zip. You’ll see.
See you on the water,
I have worn both
and I would recommend the front zipper. The rear zipper can feel like you have a coat hanger across your back, it can be difficult to zip up yourself and it’s hard to tell if it’s fully closed. The relief zipper is worth every penny.
Best of luck
If you paddle some alone, there may be no one to help you in or out. The zipper on mine is tight, with a large loop pull handle. While warm while paddling, depending on your disrobe timing, if the chill shakes take over, you may never get out of a back zip if tight. I can open the zip some while paddling for more ventilation/cooling when conditions are good. Ravenshpring recommends the back zip only for when 2 people go or water ski type activities.