Kokatat Paddle Jacket Mistake?

This is also posted on the paddler’s place forum, sorry if that violates the non-reduncency clause.

My wife’s new Kokatat Action Paddle Jacket arrived a day before our most recent kayak trip ( Juneau to Petersburg). She tried it on and packed it the night before we left. Once worn while under way, we noticed the gusset was on the back of the neck, not on the front. The velcro tab is on the right, not the left, though it only fits correctly if worn in this manner. The gusset now bunches up when closed and is a bit of a hump on the back of the PFD.

We’ve used paddle jackets (Lotus, Kokatat, Palm) for years – 20 for me, 10 for her – and have never seen one with the gusset on the back. I phoned Kokatat when we returned and the rep said this was a design change brought on by customers who found the gusset “uncomfortable” in the front.

I noticed that they haven’t changed the placement of the gusset on their dry-suits, and can’t tell from the picture if the same has been done to the Reaction Jacket. I’m starting to think I smell a big mistake trying to be smoothed over and passed on to paddlers. Any thoughts?

G2D is going to blow a gasket…

– Last Updated: Aug-12-07 7:34 PM EST –

You posted on 2 forums!!!
He's the self appointed forum police, and he's gonna be pissed... ;-)

No really.... he will be !!! Oh well... ;-)

No mistake, Kokatat’s response
For fun, I e-mailed Lisa Beckstead of Kokatat and asked her what the deal is on the gussets. She got Matt Porter to give me a clear answer, which goes like this:

"We did switch the neck closure to the back on the Action jacket and Super Breeze jacket in '06. We made the change because we were getting a lot of complaints about chafing. We only did the change on two models to see what people thought about it. The new closure solved the chafing problem but many weren’t able to adjust to it easily or just didn’t like the look of it. Over all people didn’t like the change so we switched it back to a front closure in '07. "

Sounds reasonable to me, no mistake made, just a design change made on the fly to gauge results.

Thanks for that input. I’m disappointed in Kokatat on two counts. First, I spoke with that same person and was told a different story. Second, we just purchased this jacket from REI who had to order it from Kokatat. Seems odd to have received last year’s model at this year’s price. So, on to Palm.

Perhaps its because we live in the Colonies and, with no store, our options are limited.

Disappointed in whom?
Trying to follow your logic here…

  1. You state that you didn’t like the closure, so you called Kokatat and to see if it was a mistake, and they told you it wasn’t an error, but that “the jacket was designed that way.”

  2. Someone else called Kokatat with your question and was told it wasn’t an error, but it was designed that way…although they are no longer being designed that way.

  3. You ordered a jacket from REI and they sold you an '06 model.

  4. You’re angry at Kokatat.

    Sounds to me, if anything, your problem should be with REI. If they got an 06 jacket in 2007, its because they asked for it (and got it at a reduced cost) in order to increase their margin. Send REI the jacket back and ask for an '07 model.