Drysuit Sizing - Too Big or Small?

My wife is buying a Kokatat Meridian drysuit. If she is inbetween sizes, is it better to go with slightly small, or too big?

The range for size small is 5’ - 5’4" & 100lbs - 120lbs. The range for size medium is 5’4" - 5’8" & 130lbs - 150lbs.

At 5’6" & 125lbs she is in the middle of the medium for height and inbetween sizes on weight. But when she tried on the medium, it seemed huge. It was baggy and three inches too long, even though she was in the middle of the height range.

I know a drysuit should be a little baggy, to fit other layers underneath, but any recommendations in this situation?


Go Bigger …
More length so she doesn’t have to contort herself to get her head through the neck gasket.

I am in the “tween” size as well. I am well in the height for small but the weight on the edge of medium. When I layer on, it takes away some of the room for maneuvering my head into the suit. I swear I am going to get hurt donning my suit one day…


Was it too long in the seated position? The kayaking position reqires more length than you need for standing around. Motorcycle racing leathers are the same way – all droopy in the butt when you’re upright because they fit snugly when you’re in a tuck on the bike.

I’d go for bigger. There’s also the option of a custom size, but I don’t know what Kokatat charges for that.

go bigger
nothing worse than not being able to bulk up underneath the suit with a lot of clothes when you are cold. For the money you want to get it right too.

Sizing for Women
Go longer than you first think because you’ll want room for the legs to handle her sitting down and bending her legs getting in and out of the boat. I found that the torso length and shoulder size has more to do with solving the head thing than the leg length, but perhaps I am getting into mine differently.

Personally, I found the women’s sizing shoulders to be a little too tight for comfort when I tried on a women’s medium. I went with the Unisex sizing, medium, to get to the shoulders I needed and had the arms and legs shortened a bit. I am 5’4", 135 pounds but definately blow out most manufacturers’ concepts of women’s shoulder mass. The extra width I get in the chest is not a problem and helps with the head thru the suit part (as would longer length sleeves I suppose).

Kokotat will shorten the arms and the legs for a very moderate fee, but at her sizing I’d guess the most that would be safe to take off would be an inch. You do want the Cordura patches over the knees to land where the thigh braces hit, but those are pretty large ones. Plus standing up isn’t a measure - sitting down tells you how the length will be taken up.

Also - if you can get a shoulder pocket added do so. I didn’t bother, and my husband has found it to be a very good place to stash something small for shorter paddles.

Hope this helps. Congratulations - my husband and I still walk by our drysuits and smile at times.

Too big works better than too small
I agree with the others that too big is better than too small. You need room to maneuver, and since a drysuit does not stretch it should be somewhat baggy. Also, it’s important to get enough room in the legs for sitting comfortably yet not so long that you trip over yourself while walking. Too long an upper body is not as much of a problem.

That said, I found Kokatat drysuits to run really baggy. If your wife can try on a Stohlquist men’s small, that’d probably fit her. That’s the size I use (5’2", 110 lbs). It’s between 0.5 and 1 inch too long in the legs and 4 inches too long in the upper body for me–which sounds right for her. I generally like men’s jackets better than women’s because the women’s feel pinched in the shoulder/armpit area but too baggy slightly lower (bust area).

Kokatat men’s small might fit her, too, though it’s baggier.

go custom…

– Last Updated: Feb-17-05 9:49 AM EST –

order a ravenspring and you'll get a custom fitted drysuit for no extra charge. you'll save some money over the kokatat--even at the current exchange rates (remember, they deduct the 18% VAT tax included in the website prices for overseas shipping.) also, if you ask nicely they sometimes offer further discounts for american customers.


i'm quite happy with mine.

If there is ever a time

– Last Updated: Feb-17-05 10:58 AM EST –

If there is ever a time to cut corners this is not one of them. After living in Alaska and waist deep fishing,kayaking and working on engineering projects under water in San Pedro, California. Theres one thing you learn and live comfortable by and thats a good fitting suit. Your gonna put out a good chunk of change so by no means do you want some thing of the rack that says
"CLOSE ENOUGH". If you can't get a good fit of the rack go custom.And a dry suit should always fit loose. wear some sweat close or some long underwear and a sweat shirt when you try one on, then move around jump,do the twist. then look and see how your suit relaxes.Make sure you have good seals around the neck and limbs. A dry suit filling with water when your under will test your strength and will to live.

ir you sit fills with water
Slit the ankles so that as you self rescue you can drain. Repair them short term with duct tape.

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