Kokatat Tempest Pants

Okay, it’s about a year since these pants were first discussed on a thread here. At that time there was discussion of how they would handle a swim, since that word is used in Kokatat’s product info for the pants:


I’m wondering if anyone has bought the pants and tried full submersion with them and a drytop. Your real world feedback would be helpful…

Thanks in advance.

I’ve got a pair and like them alot. I’ve not tried swimming in them though. I tend to use them when it’s too warm for the drysuit but water’s too cold to go without. They fit over my belly better than my wetsuit .

Bill H.

My experience
I didn’t have them in a swim, but a couple of rolls and a scull or two to test things out and cool off. I find that sculling tends to let in more water than anything else because I am so twisted around from my waist - the hollow at the small of my back opens up and water finds its way.

I had them mated with decent NRS dry top, full double tunnel and the only neo type neck gasket I’ve ever found that is actually dry on me. I was using a neo deck skirt but with the neo hook type closure - not a full neo tunnel.

I had a little water down my butt after the sculling, so I figure they’d let in some water from a swim. But probably not at nearly as fast a rate as from the neck gasket of my Kokatat Super Nova semi-dry.

Personally I like having them as an alternative to a full suit or guaranteed to get wet neo bottoms, especially now that there’s a canoe on the back porch. Though I’d like them even better if they had a p-zip. I’ve gotten quite fond of that in my dry suits.

real world test
I love the pants but am partial to Kokatat (NE sales rep!).

Here is the scoop - after a full surf session and many rolls, I was wet on the left and right side where you would expect. Probably a patch of wetness of about 5". I had on two layers on top - inner core top and outer core top and a pair of outer core pants and a Rogue Dry Top with gasket. I wasn’t uncomfortable and the water was cold.

After swimming unexpectedly while paddling white water, TWICE, (shame on me:) ) I was much wetter but not sloshing in water, just wet around my middle but nothing accumulated in the socks. Wet enough to be uncomfortable but not to pose a big hazard. Longer the swim, more water though…

They will be drier if you mate with a double tunnel dry top/paddling top than if mated with just a jacket. Add a neoprene skirt over that and you will be drier than without (logical).

Although I own a dry suit, I will use these prior to dry suit season - when I don’t want to be wet in a wetsuit. I can quickly put them on top of whatever I have on and then still slip off an be ready to do “dry” activities. Really nice for sit on top paddlers as it keeps you from sitting in water. They will not replace drysuits.

As a side note, they only come in UNISEX sizing and I wear the men’s medium. I would guess that if they were a closer fit at the waist, I would be drier.

Hope that helps.


Pants vs Bibs

How would you compare them vs Kokatat bibs and a skirted drytop?

I have the Kokatat bibs & (semi)dry top. Don’t know about the pants, but when I swim with the bibs & dry top, I don’t get any water in except a tiny bit around the neo neck gasket. It takes a few times to get used to the drill of rolling the two skirts together, but it gives a good seal - especially with a pfd holding it all snug.

My swims are relatively short, since I’m mostly on rivers where I can get to shore fairly easy. Although I haven’t tested it yet, I don’t think I’d expect the bibs to stay completely dry for extended swims.

Bibs/Drytop vs Pants/Drytop
Most certainly would be dryer in the Bibs/Drytop combo IF you are good at making the join between the two. Most people are not. Also if you buy bibs, I recommend getting a relief zipper as then you don’t have to make the join after every pit stop.

Price out a pair of Bibs/Drytop combo, you are almost at the price of a drysuit and certainly over the price of a Supernova. That makes it less attractive than buying a drysuit (and not as dry) so I wouldn’t recommend it.

A pair of Tempest pants cost $159, Whirlpool Bibs w/ relief zipper and socks cost $539.


Totally agree
Only reason I bought the Bibs was the extremely low price as it was used and I had access to a half-priced top. Buying new stuff, I would opt for the full suit.

Does standing in a shower with the pants on and a Tec-Tour type jacket on count as a real world test? I just bought a pair of Tempest pants today. now i’m praying for a early spring and ice out.

Fill the tub
with cold water and take a bath. That would work better than a shower.

Thanks to all who have responded, particularly those who swam and lived to tell about it. I may take chance and buy a pair this spring. I am interested in flexibility in my cold water paddling wear and the pants sound intriguing in that respect.

The fact that Kokatat, a respected company in the paddling community, suggests that these pants can work for a swim, counts for something. So does feedback from users. From what I’ve read, it seems that the pants can be expected to work for an emergency swim, but not for extended play in the water. That makes sense to me.