Is my drysuit about to croak?

Got my first chance to roll since being in Florida; major ice cream headache but the rolls were good on both sides. 'Twas a glorious, breezy day after 3 nights in a row of snow followed by 2 nights of cold rain, and I had a great time.


While wading through the water looking at crayfish, I felt an icy tingle in the lower leg. Yep, Tiny Bubbles (apologies to Don Ho). When I tried to cover up the area, the bubbles kept coming from other areas around it. My conclusion is that this is not a pinhole leak (of which there was one elsewhere), but the seam or seam tape opening up a teeny bit. It was near where the ankle gasket is sewn into the lower leg–what I’d consider a low-stress area.

Also, parts of the gathered waist inside have the protective layer over the Gore-tex worn away (probably from torso rotation). They show smooth white, which I assume is the Gore-tex itself.

The suit has a couple of repaired spots but those did not leak. It is more than 7 years old and I’ve used it a lot.

I was planning to buy a new drysuit later this year, but this latest development has me thinking I should push it up to NOW, if possible.

The problem is I don’t know which size to get. I have a feeling I’d need the women’s Small (Kokatat) but with a lower rise than stock, and possibly longer sleeves and torso. There is no place around that has Kokatat drysuits in women’s sizes, period. Best I’ve seen is a men’s Extra Large at REI, a couple of times that must’ve been special orders that got cancelled or something.

How long do these semi-custom orders take to fulfill?

If this is a Kokatat suit
send it back to them. If the leak is due to delamination they may replace it free of charge.

As far as sizing, you can get a custom suit over the phone if you have a friend who is willing to take your measurements. A very helpful Kokatat dealer is is George Gronseth of Kayak Academy. He sells alot of Kokatat suits and unless his policy has changed, he will send you a loaner while you wait for a custom suit.


It’s a Stohlquist
Men’s small size, which is why it can’t serve as a good reference for the Kokatat women’s sizes. (I have rented K-tat men’s small before and that is even baggier than the Stohlquist men’s small.)

Thanks for the info. I’ve heard good things about ordering from GG, and I have another lead that I got via private e-mail.

It’ll be nice to have a pee zip, too! And Gore-tex socks.

great experience with Kayak Academy
for sizing. He sent standard size to try out and to use as loaner while custom size was being made.

more kudos for Kayak Academy
George and Barbara Gronseth are the largest Kokatat dealers in the country, and have been putting customers and students in Kokatat drysuits for ~ 20 years.

They will talk to you on the phone and get all the details sorted out. They have an extremely good relationship w. the Kokatat factory in Arcata CA.

After-the-purchase alterations and/or additions (booties, relief zips, pockets) can also be done by Kokatat on a quote basis (the better to protect the warranty). Some folks also use Rainy Pass w. great results, just check and see if the particular alteration will affect the lifetime Goretex warranty.

The women’s specific cut for Kokatat is well worth investigating. The size SM women’s fits me perfectly.

I’m 5’3" a size 6, 117 lbs. w. a 33 inseam crotch to ankle bone and size 6 feet. That means size XS in the Goretex booties.

The legs are loose, not baggy, but that’s good for layering and comfort while in motion.

I have the rainbow zip relief and find it extremely comfortable, it never interferes w. paddling or w. sitting for hours in the kayak seat. Anyone who is moderately flexible can reach around and unzip it herself easily.

Others may prefer the dropped men’s zip esp. w. the female urinary devices on the market. There is even an option to have a small pocket sewn on the Kokatat suit to carry such a device.

Thanks for that fit info
The women’s Small will probably fit me, since I’m 5’ 2 and 3/4" (thought I was just barely over 5’2" till someone else measured and told me differently, and I double-checked and triple-checked…posture must have improved since I was 25 years old because I sure ain’t growing). Everything else except maybe sleeve length is within spec. I didn’t measure for sleeve length while wearing insulation and came up with 30" so that might be cutting it close.

Stohlquist=Lifetime warranty
They just replaced a drytop for me… Great folks!

Definitely contact Gore directly

– Last Updated: May-18-10 9:44 AM EST –

I did when my Stohlquist Maytag started to delaminate and I now have a brand-new Kokatat Expedition AT NO COST. Gore will replace your suit with a Gore-Tex product from any manufacturer, but I think at this point, Kokatat is pretty much it. Then again, their stuff is as good as it gets!

I found the folks at Gore to be incredibly helpful and their only concern was making me a happy customer. I even offered to pay the difference between the Gore-Tex Meridian (the closest suit in the Kokatat line to my Maytag) and the Expedition, but they refused any suggestion of payment. I was told "Just tell me what suit you want, what size and color and we'll get it for you." and they had it sent to me within a few days.

Service like this is one reason I use and recommend Gore-Tex, the others being that it's durable and it works.

fit info
happy to help pika. Email me direct if you want to discuss in more detail.

Your last post above made me think about sleeve length. Have kinda long arms for my height but if the sleeves were an 1" - 1.5" shorter I wouldn’t mind - but it’s not enough to send the suit in.

The great thing for my fit is that Kokatat Size S wrist gaskets fit my little wrists perfectly without trimming (I have a 5.75 " diameter wrist) and there is plenty of velcro in the overcuff so that the sleeve doesn’t slop around.

I also didn’t need to trim the neck gasket at all. And the oversleeve there makes it very comfortable, not too tall, just right.

Overall this is a real Women’s size small. And Goretex is a real pleasure to paddle in, quiet, supple and really breathable. I was using my drysuit til last weekend here in MI, and will be using it while paddling the Great Lakes sometimes, and always for Lake Superior (brrrrrr).