Kokatat dry top models

-- Last Updated: Aug-10-06 10:53 AM EST --

I’m a big guy, 6’3”, long arms, 270 lb. I’m down actually from 290 lb, and expect to be somewhere between 200 and 240 lb in 6 months. I need a dry top to go with a farmer john wet suit, both within a couple weeks. I won’t be able to try on any XXLs locally and will have to mail order. I haven't found any Kokatats locally of any size to even look at. I’m hoping some of you can help describe the difference between the Kokatat models. I’m thinking Kokatat as they’re well respected and more of a sure thing. I wore a XXL Kokatat a couple years ago and it was good. Wish I’d noted the model.

Use will be on bays, winter lakes, maybe some coastal later, roll sessions, rescues.


In Gortex, there’s the Wave and Rogue. Can someone describe the difference in the design of the two? The bottom looks different. I’m wondering if one or the other is going to be more comfortable on my big belly or long arms, or seal better around the waiste. I’m looking for any differences that justify the price difference. The Rogues all seem to be list price at about $435. I can get a Wave on sale for $250, I think because it’s an earlier model.

Then there’s the Tropos Helix. Different material and looks otherwise designed like the Rogue. Only about $215. Only comes in Radish and Blue. I like Mango, but if it’s a good top, at the price, I might make an exception. What’s the difference in the materials, Tropos vs Gortex?

Thanks for any information.

Paul S.

Goretex has a guarantee

– Last Updated: Aug-10-06 10:42 AM EST –

Goretex garments come with a guarantee on the material from Gore, so if the membrane fails it may be replaceable. Tropos doesn't have the same guarantee.
The Evolution material is an older Gore fabric for water garments than the XCR. We have older Stohlquist dry tops with the Evolution fabric that still look and work like new, perhaps they don't breathe as well. But both fabrics are fine.

Can anyone tell me
the difference between the lower waiste area of the Wave versus the Rogue? Hard to tell from the pictures, except that they’re different.

Celia, thanks for the info on difference between Gortex and Tropo material.

Paul S.

What I see…
Looks to me like the only diff between the two is that the Rogue inner skirt is longer, and the top has more reinforcement against scrapes and dings on the arms and shoulders. Both the Immersion and the Evolution fabrics are three layer laminates, which helps a lot.

Just a personal opinion, but the inner skirt length diff may be of negligible value mated with a wetsuit if you don’t have a roll and a pretty tight skirt. And maybe not much anyway - the outer skirt with neoprene hook and loop closure will tend to let in water along your back no matter what you do in a roll or a full over scull. And once you are in the water practicing rescues all bets are off - the drytop then only acts to trap heat and protect against wind. These are both critical functions - don’t get me wrong - but it won’t keep you dry.

The longer skirt might make more of a diff if mated with dry pants.

Celia, in your first paragraph
"Looks to me like the only diff between the two is that the Rogue inner skirt is longer, and the top has more reinforcement against scrapes and dings on the arms and shoulders. Both the Immersion and the Evolution fabrics are three layer laminates, which helps a lot."

You’re comparing the Rogue against the Wave, right? Same thing as comparing the Helix against the wave? Are you saying the Rogue and the Helix look like more durability in the arms and the shoulders than the Wave? Just trying to interpret correctly. I can see that too, now that you mention it, if that’s what you’re saying.

In my mind in asking about the difference between the waiste of the Rogue vs Wave, it was the same as asking the diff between the Helix and Wave as the Rogue and Helix are pretty much the same design but different material. I’m counting the Rogue out actually, because it’s twice the price as Helix and I hope to shrink out of it in a season.

Thanks for taking the time to share your info and thoughts, Celia. It really helps.

Paul S.

I was looking Rogue to Wave, being drawn by how they sit on the page. But between the Rogue and the Helix yeah, I see no diff aside from the material.

Our Semi-Nova semi-dry suits are out of the Tropos material, as well as my cag. The material seems to be holding up quite well, the only diff being that the Tropos stuff is slightly lighter weight material than the GoreTex drysuit. So the additional facing on the sleevs and shoulders int he Helic top is probably a good idea. The Tropos is a thoroughly respectable material.

big diff in fabrics
the Gore model is the top shelf, best breathability and warranty going. you will notice the difference especially if you intend to wear the top for long stretches at a time or if you go hard as in river paddling and work up a sweat.

however the Helix is a great top, nice fitting, and long armed. i recently purchased the XL and it fits me very well and i am long and lanky. it has only been used for a couple of 1 hour sessions and so far no concerns. but this is not a good test. a 3 hour river run or tide race session, where i work up a sweat is where the diff will be noticed. i do not expect it to be nearly as breathable as my GMER suit. but then again, i like not beating on my suit when i don’t have to by wearing the drytop, and it’s a good compromise.

Do you know if
the Helix has longer arms than the Wave, for the same size? I have very long arms. The fit chart doesn’t break it down by model, which implies same basic dimensions for each model. An earlier model XXL fit me well a couple years ago at a little heavier than I am now.

Unless I think the Helix will fit me better, I’m leaning toward the Wave. Reasons are that it’s Gortex, I can get it on sale for only $40 more than the Helix, and I’ve seen good reviews, all be it by sellers, as a tried and true top that seals well around the waiste. Came out in 1999 I think. As Celia pointed out, with a Farmer John on, if the skirt rides up on me some, it won’t matter.

All, which would you recommend in my situation?

Paul S.

I have a Wave. XL with 34" sleeve . . no problem. GoreTex is a heavier fabric so has a heavier/stiffer feel than Tropos. Wave is a good drytop.

For $40 more
If you can get any GoreTex material for $40 more than Tropos, get that. They will honor the warranty (just remember to register it), and that way you have something that will be available forever as a backup and/or will be able to sell or give to a good home should you no longer want it.

We still have our older Stohlquiest Gripp tops, and me my old IR Session top, even though I mostly live in either the dry suit or the Super-Nova year round. And for real horrid hot days where I want to use separates and do just cool-off rolling, or to handle ripped gaskets while on vacation, these garments have regularly come out of retirement. For rock gardening so will the wetsuit.

Placed my order for the Wave
Thanks for the help.

Paul S.

Too good to be true : - (
Got a reply to the online order that the XXL Wave is out of stock and they will not be receiving any more this year at that price. I’m not entirely surprised. In the special instructions I had asked that they confirm by email that the item was in stock.

Thinking now of going with the Tropos Helix dry top, and maybe a NRS mystery 1mm neoprene top to go under the farmer john (do something good with money saved).

Paul S.