With a definite problem with tight things wrapped around my neck, I have not yet purchased my first drysuit. For cold water paddling on calmer inland lakes, I am considering the Kokatat Tropos Re-Action Semi-Dry with NRS drypants. I have read numerous posts here and realize this combo will let shivering water in . . . definitely for a wet exit and even a roll. Have any kayakers been satisfied with a semi-drytop and drypants when latex neck gaskets just can’t be tolerated? Is there something between latex and neoprene for a neck closure?
Good Neo Gaskets
from Mountain Surf and IR are pretty dry for a
Are you having reactions to latex? I do and thought I could do winter paddling because of my inability to tolerate the latex against my neck. I found using silicone grease on my neck skin has totally fix that problem. No more ring around the neck.
Just hate the feeling of tight things. Yell at the haircutter if they wrap that thing around my neck too tight!
My Tropos Re-action is fine…
but I do wear it with a farmer john when the water gets colder. I did alot of swimming (no roll) on the Lehigh in PA in April and never noticed any cold water getting in around the neck though I was damp around the torso when I took off the top. By the way I saw the top for around $70 on sale but I can’t recall exactly where, maybe NRS or Outdoorplay.
I bought a Tropos top at REI for around $90. My thoughts were just as yours are. I thought I would pick up a pair of dry pants and hope that would suffice for what I do. Still haven’t used it and will likely send it back. Not because I don’t think it’s a good top, but because of all I’ve read regarding dry suits and their superiority over separate tops/pants.
I tried on a Kokatat Gore Dura suit and all I could handle was about two minutes with the latex neck gasket. I have a size 16 neck and the seal was too small. I know these are designed to be trimmed to fit.
I just ordered a Gore Tex Meridian suit with Gore socks and the relief zipper (Slightly different from the Gore Dura) from NRS and I’m hoping I made the right decision. I don’t paddle in the ocean (yet, anyway). Just lakes and ponds. I’ve been paddling two or three times a week for about 60 minutes a day. Can’t help but think the suit is overkill for my current needs, but after all I’ve read, it seems that most folks who wait for the suit, regret not taking the plunge at the start. I’m hoping my paddling will progress where the suit will really benefit me. I’m not ready to quit for the season and don’t want to be irresponsible and put my life/health at risk, I tried an NRS Ultra John wetsuit thinking I could wear the tropos over that. Sitting and paddling in this suit didn’t thrill me. Wasn’t exactly “comfortable”.
After spending $750 for a drysuit, I hope it doesn’t sit unused due to neck discomfort. Now I have to decide on base layers. A rep at NRS felt a one piece base defeated the whole purpose of having a relief zipper. Any validity to that train of thought?
They’re worth their weight in gold on a cold day when ya just gotta go…
Make sure you can use it. I’ve seen too many paddlers hit the wall due to under-hydration in the winter.
If your layers under the suit prevent you from using the zipper, then you’ve not only wasted your money, you’ve also made yourself unnecessarily uncomfortable. Opt for layers that allow access.
I use an IR semi dry top and
dry pants. I swam in 35deg water with it for 15 minutes and I was wet but not freezing when I got out. The gasket is a bit leaky after being put to good use.
ONe piece suit with full three way zip
just remember to leave the bottom two zipper pieces at the relief area while the top piece zips the chest together.
My polartec wet suit and bib are both set up this way.
Works for me!