I’m in the market to purchase a paddling suit. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to one of the Kokatat suits. Either the basic front entry or the Super Nova. I’ve rented the front entries before and don’t particularly like the constricting neck gasket. I don’t plan to do a lot of imersions. I was wondering if the Super Nova would fit my needs? Specifically the breathability of the fabric and how much water would get in through the neck after a couple short imersions. Also, the durability of the fabric etc.? The cost difference isn’t important. One get what one pays for. Thanks for your replies, as a neophyte they have been VERY helpful.
SuperNova Neck Gasket
I find that I have two (fully over) sculls or rolls before you get what can be pretty notice amounts of water coming in in the SuperNova neck. The material seems to hold up well so far, but it is lighter weight than the full Gore suit and is definately not as warm for colder weather stuff. Another point with the neoprene gaskets is that, aside from the neo gaskets in the IR Session tops which seem impossible to wear out, over time they could stretch. So what is almost dry today could be less so in a year.
The zipper is lighter weight in the SuperNova than in the Gore suit - don’t know offhand what zipper is in the basic front-entry suit. But a good zipper matters - they run $100 to get replaced.
I consider the SuperNova a decent backup for the Gore suit should I tear a gasket, that kind of thing. But ultimately getting acclimated to a latex gasket is the easiest thing to do. It is over time more comfortable to not have to worry about water coming in your neck. But of course, our major summer paddling time is three weeks on the coast of Maine, so we spend our most concentrated time in water for which a drysuit is not overkill.
You should also check out the B-Pod by Stohlquist. Might fit what you’re looking for if you’re looking at the soft neck gasket route. Just another option.
See you on the water,
Fron tentry basic
id try to spring for the relief zipper if you can. You can always install layex booties later and you will be happier with booties than ankle gaskets.
B-pod vs SuperNova
The B-pod uses a trimlaminate fabric. The SuperNova does not. The trilam should hold up better and they are about the same price.
I think the NRS suit is trilaminate as well.
"definately not as warm for colder weather stuff"
I’m not sure I understand this. The drysuit fabric does two things: keeps the water out and lets some moisture out (if it’s breathable).
Any warmth you get is due to what you wear underneath.
Take a look at the Product Reviews link - there’s at least one review of it there (mine) ;->))
Not sure why myself
But having used both suits this season, the SuperNova was not as warm given everything else being the same. Maybe I am noticing some effect from the tri-laminate on the Gore suit in blocking wind chill better. Or maybe the little bit of water that I got down my neck from a quick roll towards the end of the paddle in the SuperNova was making me cooler than I realize.
I’m speculating here, but it’s possible that the Meridian sheds water better. That is, the outer layer may be holding less water so you get less evaporative cooling. (Evaporative cooling is how sweat works to keep you cooler.)
With the same quantity of surface water, the fabrics are thin enough that they are contributing next-to-nothing to the insulative value.
I’m not sure what you mean by “blocking wind chill better”. Both fabrics should be equivalent to blocking the wind.
Anyway, it’s quite easy to keep warm, even in cold air temperatures, if you block the wind from your insulation layer and keep dry and are active. The challange is often not getting too hot.