is this drywear, semi-dry, or splashwear

I have a question about a Kokatat jacket and pants I just bought. I’ll be going to a pool roll session next week and I’ll test the suit in the pool, but for now, some questions from a dummy. I’ve been a wetsuit guy until I just got my Kokatat top and pants, and will still wear the wetsuit underneath, out of paranoia.

I bought the Kokatat Tempest paddling jacket (listed by NRS as semi-dry top) and the Kokatat Tempest t3 dry pants with socks (listed by NRS among their dry pants).

The jacket has a latex collar and latext wrist gaskets.

The jacket has an inner layer of very smooth nylon that fits rather snugly to my torso, and then a more loose layer over that. I assume that I am to pull than inner smooth nylon down and then pull the dry pants up and over that inner jacket layer, and pull the Velcro fasteners on the sides of the pants tight to snug the neoprene waistband of the pants snugly against that inner smooth layer of the jacket – sort of like pulling your dress pants up and tucking your t-shirt into the pants. Then, if I were using a skirt on my kayak, I would pull the skirt waist up and over the inner layer of the jacket, and allow the more loose outer layer of the jacket to fall over the kayak skirt.

For some reason, I can’t see how the neoprene waistband of the drypants, when snugged down on top of the smooth inner layer of the tucked-in jacket would keep water out if I took a swim. I feel like a decent amount of water would quickly enter. I would have thought that the inner layer of the jacket would have had a tight latex gasket at the waist to seal tightly against a mating layer of latex on the pants. But the inner layer of the jacket is just smooth nylon fabric and the waist on the pants is lined in neoprene and not latex. Seems like a recipe for a fast leak.

I don’t roll, and my recovery plan would be wet exit and self rescue (I’m great at both). I carry a drybag with emergency dry clothing in case I get soaked. I’ll be eager at the pool session to test my gear, but I’m curious to hear from people in advance if my Kokatat Tempest jacket and Tempest pants combo really adds up to a drysuit or even a semi drysuit, or if I should treat It merely as splash wear. I’m still wearing a farmer john wetsuit underneath out of paranoia, since I paddle solo on the mile-wide Susquehanna River, and it’s pretty cold now.

I would strongly recommend against testing your gear in the chlorinated water.

Dry pants - they will keep you dry if the water doesn’t come up above waistline

The top - it is dry as the defined usage implies. A dry top would keep you “dry” through rinse and repeat cycles. The lighter paddling jacket with gaskets is made from lighter materials and intended for lighter usage - lots of spray, wind, etc. I don’t even want to think about surfing with something that has a hood on it (wetsuit hoods excluded)

Jacket does not have latex neck gasket

– Last Updated: Jan-09-12 2:28 PM EST –

It has a neoprene neck gasket, and when the description says it keeps you "darned dry" that means it is not truly dry. Just that they think it'll leak less than some other semi-dry wear might.

In any case, as above once your waist is in the water in this system some water will come in. Actually, you'd stay dryer if you learned to roll than doing a wet exit and re-entry, because you spend just seconds in the water in a roll. Any swim give water a lot more time to find its way in.

In regular paddling, how wet they'd be depends on what you get yourself into. In surf or big haystacks in tide races, over time some water would find its way in. Paddling flat stuff, they'd probably be fairly dry.

As to Kokatat's claim about how dry the pants are - I have a pair and the only way they keep me relatively unsoaked is for quick rolls. Bracing, sculling or swimming produce rather damper results. I know of a BCU coach who tried the two piece thing, one was these pants, and put them up for sale shortly afterwards because they found they were not as satisfactory as the dry suit.

It’s not a dry anything
The double-tunnel jacket design is intended to mate with a neoprene skirt.

Pull the inner down.

Pull your skirt on over that.

Pull the outer down over the skirt, then cinch things down.

It’s a fine system for white water in cool water on a warm day. Keeps you mostly dry if you stay in the boat.

If you swim you WILL get soaked.

You’d have been better off with the
Kokatat Dry Bib, where the bib up your middle and the suspender support for the bib make the drytop to bib mating more reliable. And of course, you’d be better off with a drysuit.

However, when companies like Kokatat, Palm, et al, offer drypants and dry bibs that they say mate properly and seal effectively, I’m less inclined to believe anecdotal evidence indicating the products don’t work.

I suppose I’m going to have to mate my Stohlquist drytop to my Palm dry bib, over some insulation, and take a cold swim, maybe do some water ballet, just to test the seal. Shouldn’t have to do such testing at my age, but there it is…

Oh yeah - don’t take in pool
This is way too pricey of stuff to put into chlorine, and any extra fabric bubbling around you from the jacket is not going to make it easier to learn a roll.

You have an initial answer about dryness. Testing it to find out exactly how wet can wait until you can get into some cleaner water outdoors when it warms up to the 60’s.

chlorine will wreck kotakat stuff?
Wow, so pool chlorine will wreck my Kokatat Tempest top & bottom? It’s that fragile? Holy smokes. I kayak daily on the mighty Susquehanna River, recipient of zillions of gallons of fracking water and mine runoff from all the defunct mines in my state. If pool water will wreck my suit, imagine what the mighty susquehanna water will do. I gotta get more active in writing my legislators to clean this water up.

No need to find out
It won’t help the dry wear, they are not needed in the pool and at the least it takes lots of rinsing. I wear one of my older semi-dry tops in pools that are chillier and it is holding up OK, but I walk into the shower with all the layers still on and add time to soak them some. In warmer pools where I can wear just a swim suit, I get cleaned up and out for a late night nosh more easily.