GMER, extra pockets and reflective tape?

-- Last Updated: Dec-31-06 4:58 AM EST --

I’m down to the little options now. It feels like I’m working out the final options for a new car.

Paddling in lakes, bays, and protected coast. Not intending to paddle at night.

Kokatat GMER, XL, mango.

Do I want zippered sleeve pockets ($27 each) and reflective tape on the sleeves ($20)? Do I want zippered thigh pockets ($35 each)?

I know these are personal choices, but I’m interested in your thoughts. Here’s my thoughts and questions so far, in preparation for talking with George at Kayak Academy next Tuesday.

On zippered sleeve pockets:

Are they flush, with the pocket itself inside the suit, like the chest pocket? I would think so, but not sure. I’m thinking the upper arm is pretty much out of the way, more so than the front of a PFD, and won't bulge the pocket for snagging on things like in the front of a PFD. Could be a better place to store a small camera or energy bar, than in a PFD front pocket.

I’ve heard the side pockets are pretty small, able to store up to about the size of a pack of cigarettes. Not sure if even a waterproof camera will necessarily store there. For that reason, so far, I don’t want to go overboard on the sleeve pockets. I’m thinking one sleeve pocket on left side. I’m right handed.

On reflective tape:

Is it the good stuff, sewn in, like on a West Marine sailing coat? Is it just at the sleeve bottoms? It doesn’t seem critical, but it can’t hurt. If it’s the good sewn in stuff, I’m thinking take it. Maybe some day I'll have a need and it wouldn't be easy to add later.

For all around visibility at night, reflective tape on the boat and paddle is probably more important. For distress, a strobe light on my PFD is probably more important.

I'm a little undecided, but again, for $20 the reflective tape can’t hurt.

On zippered thigh pockets:

I’m thinking I don’t want anything that could rub on the coaming or thigh braces, and I can’t get to that pocket with the spray skirt on anyway. So I’m thinking no on this option. Similarly, I find the standard chest pocket pretty useless in my Wave dry top, as it's under the PFD.


Paul S.

Arm pocket
I always use mine. Pentax optio and an energy bar fits easily. Suggest having them place it on non-dominant arm.


I have the exact same suit…

– Last Updated: Dec-31-06 9:49 AM EST –

I realized after I posted that I do not have the same suit, I have the GFER(in Red/Black). But, I do have and love the pocket on the arm. as Lyn said, if you are right handed get it on the left or vice-versa. I keep my WP camera in there.

I also have the reflective tape around the sleeves. Thankfully I have never had a need for this to be of value to me. Can't comment.

I got my suit from KA as well. I was lucky and they had a used suit that had everything on it in my size. Barb and George were fantastic. You WILL be happy.

Good Luck

Maybe I should get two side pockets.
One on each arm. One for camera. One for energy bar. They’re not that expensive if they’re useful.

I do have pockets on my Stohlquist Motion PFD. One has elastic so tight that it’s not that easy to use. Putting stuff in those pockets puts more thickness on the chest and get’s in the way for side sculling. Seems to be less of an issue as I get more experience, but still.

The reflective tape looks so narrow in the pictures, I don’t know how much it would matter.

Paul S.

I would probably get the reflective tape even a small piece does really show up when a light hits it at night, the pockets, are they water proof ? I would think the arm pockets would be a great place for the car keys or an energy bar, if truely water proof maybe even a cell phone.


arm pockets not fully waterproof
But there were times when I wished I had one on both sleeves. Loaded PFD pockets can get in the way of assisted rescues (and cowboy self rescues). I prefer less bulk up front and more laterally. But there is definitely a limit on what you can carry on a sleeve, especially on a long trip.


Removable hood?
I haven’t heard of anyone ordering the removable hood. It would be convenient to pop it on and off easy for temp control. But I’d probably want a brimmed hat when not using the hood, and then a neo hood when rolling.

I’m always swapping hats out there; bucket hat, scull cap, scull cap and bucket hat, wool hat, neo hood for rolling. My deck looks like a hat rack. (The wool hat is a recent addition which I store in the day hatch.) With the removable gore-tex hood the only difference is it would store on my back rather than on the deck, except when rolling I’d still want to remove it and store on the deck. How is it attached to the suit? Velcro?

If I were doing long freezing expeditions, not so much playing in the water on day trips, then the hood would make sense. In that case I’d just go with the expedition suit. As a side question, is the hood removable on the expedition suit?

Anybody here like the removable hood? If so, what’s you user conditions?

Paul S.

Wish I had an arm pocket
I’d use it for carrying my car key. I don’t have any always with me secure place to put it right now.

I’ve got the removable hood
on my kokatat, actually sent it back to have the booties retrofitted and got a hood at the same time…I’m not impressed with its attachment solely by velcro, if you were under and someone grabbed the hood to pull you up the hood would come off the suit, also the hood doesn’t have as much space as say a hood on a down parka and doesnt cover as much face as I would want. The hood also is scantilly insulated…when rolling the hood will collect water so removing it is a good thing, also cant cinch it down tight enough to keep wind out of my ears.

If I were to do it again I would probably not get the hood or ask kokatat to install some beefy snaps for secondary attachment…with the hood in cold times I suggest you also carry a beenie, a neo balaclava or one of fuzzy rubber or its equivalent.

Car key, Health ins card
Arm pocket is a good place for them, especially when trying to get the car open to get the down jacket after paddling on a winter day. Easier access than the PFD or a drybag, my next suit will have at least one. Tho’ I suppose I’ll have to really remember to zip it closed.

Not critical tho. The reflective tape another matter, I like that anywhere I can get it.

don’t forget
make sure you can fit a flak jacket under it.

Done. Glad I went with KA
Just talked with Barb at KA today. Ordered a GMER, a pocket on each arm, and reflective tape on the sleves.


2 pockets 54

reflecive tape 20

Less 10% discount for WWTA membership.

897 total.

The suit will take a few months to deliver.

Here’s the big reason I’m glas I went with KA. Barb will mail me an XL and a king to borrow until my suit comes in. She would have loanded me an XXL rather than king but those are all out on rentals for awhile.

I’ll paddle a day with the XL to make sure that’s the size I want. If I want to modify the torso, arm, or leg legnths, in my order, I can do that, for about $50 per mod I think. She’ll wait to hear back from me before placing the order.

As I’m heading down in weight, and the XL is on the tight side now, I may keep the King for loaner until my XL comes in. Or I may take the XL and send the king back. Up to me. I’ll have about three months to continue to shrink into the suit I order.

She also had a neo neck suit she would have loaned me rather than the king. If I was seriously interested in a neo neck, that would have been interesting, too.

Basically, once they run your credit card for an order, they’ll work with you by mail to let you try out suits to make sure you get what you want, and loan you a suit until yours comes in. Way awsome deal IMO.

Paul S.

you’re going to live to regret
that second pocket

Why will Paul Live to regret that 2nd pocket?

Reflective Tape
The Tape is wider than you think. Mine is about 5/8" wide and goes around the wrists. You will be glad you have it for the $20.

Yeah, I can’t wait
to hear that one either.

I’m pretty sure that was Bohemian humor, of the sarcasm variety.

I should explain. Bohemia was in Portland recently. He contacted me and we got together for a pool session. Wish he had more time. I tried to get us out for a day paddle. He stayed over night before going back to Portland. Great time talking about trips, looking at maps, and such.

Either he was on his best behavior or he’s a very nice guy. He just plays a wise guy on the internet. I, unfortunately am a bit of a wise guy in real life. Sorry about that over spray when I was rinsing out my boat, Bo ;-).

Paul S.

you’re too nice, Paul
you’d better recount your bathroom towels

You mean Lesa didn’t
put out the ones that are so old, they look like they’re tie dyed? She has so much more social skills than me.

Paul S.