Kokatat GFER vs. GMER

After reading all of the debates about drysuit vs. wetsuit vs. nothing I’ve decided purchasing a drysuit to be a top priority for cool to cold weather paddling. I’ve never been tolerant of cold water…cold air is no problem, but I know I am very uncomfortable in even 65 degree water. I’ve narrowed my choices down to either a Kokatat GFER of GMER, and I was hoping everyone could help me finalize my choice. I’m wondering if the overskirt in the GMER is worth the extra money.

I don’t plan on doing all day rolling sessions in the winter, so the way I see it it’s not a big deal if a few cups of water make it into my cockpit around the skirt tunnel if I had the GFER. I plan on using the suit in the winter months on the northern Chesapeake Bay, so I won’t be out in the surf zone with waves breaking over me all day either. I’ve also read that all of the additional layers of the overskirt just add extra bulk around the waist area. Any opinions on the comfort and benefit of the overskirr in the GMER for the type of kayaking I’ve described.

definitely GMER
A GFER is fine if you don’t roll, are a canoeist, or are a rafter. You want a sprayskirt tunnel since sitting in cold water all day after rolling is not pleasant.

second the GMER
I’ve got an older GFER and a non breathable drytop with double tunnel. Every time I roll the C1 in the GFER I get water between the suit and the skirt. Doesn’t happen with the drytop.

My next suit will have the double tunnel for sure.

Drysuit tunnel
I’ve got the drysuit with the overskirt, and it doesn’t seem to seal as well as my double-tunnel drytop. I think there are several reasons: In the first place, the zipper creates a lump that the skirt can’t seal aound, creating a gap for water. Also, the overskirt has an opening for the zipper to pass through. Finally, the overskirt is just a piece of the drysuit fabric instead of stretchy neoprene like my drytop.

I haven’t tried suits with and without the overskirt, so i don’t know how much difference it makes.

been using the GFE and have
no big worries except whe doing a hundred rolls. Not a big surfer though. (I’ve gotten in way more swim time than wave face time in the last two years.)

Last time I was in Tom Berg’s shop (MIKCO owner and Antarctic expeditioner) he was drying his black tricked-out Front entry suit in Polyester, (custom made for him, they no longer make polyester drysuits for the hoi polloi)

GFER is fine unless . . .
GFER is fine unless you plan to do lots and lots of rolling. A roll or two isn’t going to get much more than ounces, not cups of water inside with a neoprene skirt. I hated the extra bulk around the middle with the GMER when I tried it on.

I have the GMER and if I had it to do
over again, I’d probably go with the GFER. I find the extra layer of bulk to be annoying, and I don’t find it seals well enough to really keep my cockpit dry. I inevitably take on water after only a few rolls, or being hit by a wave going through surf. Some of my kayaking buddies have the GFER and I don’t think they take on any more water.