Ladies, Opinion on Dry Suit Drop Seat Pl

My wife is about to order a dry suit from Kayak Academy and is curious about the women’s drop seat. Likes / Dislikes, preference over a relief zipper and FUD or not…Of course being a guy, I don’t have any opinion. (that counts).

She and I thank you in advance.

Drop Seat
I had a drop seat suit, it worked fine, easy to use (certainly easier then the entry zipper) and I’m assuming because you’re ordering from the Kayak academy your looking at Kokotat. I’m not fan of the FUD, though I know some like it. Either way, neither is really perfect.

I said “had” because I sold it, and got a new suit made with a drop seat AND a front zipper.

Disadvantages of the drop seat are it adds some bulk, it’s a BIG zipper. thankfully, I don’t notice it when I’m in my seat. The reason I had a front zipper added too was that even though it was pretty easy to get whatever I was wearing under my drysuit down, in warmer weather with colder water, when I wore it, it was often shorts or pants with a button or some kind of front closure. I had a hard time reaching around, and re-adjusting these once they were back up. Added front zipper, problem solved (all be it a relatively pricing addition to have a custom made suit).

Front relief zipper for me
Supposedly it is the same as the men’s zipper except placed lower down.

I like it because it is short, super-easy to reach, and I don’t have to hang my butt out there just to pee. The FUD works fine. Had to special-order my drysuit to get the front relief zip instead of the half-moon butt zip. There was no way I wanted to feel any of that big rear zipper pressing against my hipbone or other place it shouldn’t.

Also nice now that if I’m peeing where someone can see, it’s not so darned obvious what I’m doing. Nobody sees any flesh whatsoever.

Pros and cons

– Last Updated: Feb-06-12 8:54 AM EST –

I urge you to get a FUD, use it with regular clothes before investing in the suit. It is a necessary part of the Pzip. If your wife comes back exclaiming in joy that she can try some of the tricks usually reserved to guys, you have a good candidate for the Pzip. If the FUD immediately goes into a sterilizing solution, get the drop seat.

I have one of each. My used Coastie suit has a drop-seat, my Expedition suit has the lowered Pzip.

If you guys are doing long enough that your wife will need two types of service, get the drop seat. With the Pzip the whole top has to come down and that can get annoying as well as adding wear to the neck gasket.

But for most day paddling, that is not an issue. Both options have the huge pro of handling what you most need. It's the cons that get people going -

Drop seat -
The zipper is very long so add some maintenance time over the lowered Pzip to keep it moving well.
It is located at a tough angle to get a good tug on as I get older and less like a pretzel - not uncommon for women to have ask for help getting it unzipped.
Once it is down, actually taking advantage of that requires showing some skin.
In the boat, the zipper tends to grab the top of the backband on the way into the boat. But the problem can be solved with a little hardware and some bungie cord.
As mentioned by the person above, you can't get your hands around to manage zippers or buttons in front. Using a drop seat pretty much requires that the underlayers be pull-up.

Lowered Pzip -
The wearer really has to figure out how to get comfortable with a FUD, or they are better off with the drop seat.
The under layers can be pants with a zipper or buttons, but access still has to line up a bit with the zipper. I can't say that the Pzip offers a huge lot of room to work in.
It is often less obvious that you have not fully closed the Pzip - most of us have walked into the water at least once with it open.
You still have to crouch a bit to make things happen. While the whole operation can happen under the skirt so no skin shows, another paddler is going to be able to suss out that you are answering nature's call.

I have a personal situation where the drop seat is of less use to me than for most, but after trying both my favorite would still be the Pzip anyway. For a full day on the water, I often have to change out into a dry underlayer up top at break so the suit is down anyway. I am just resigned to the wear on my neck gasket.

You have to crouch with the FUD?
I haven’t needed to do that. Maybe it depends on the particular FUD. I used a Freshette, which is easy to hold in place and has a long, fairly stiff tube (no wiseass comments, please). Later on, I bought a foldable silicon FUD (Go-Girl, I think) because I would like something that can fit into a smaller pocket. While I’ve tried the Go-Girl with regular clothes, I have not yet used it while wearing the drysuit. It is a lot more flexy so might require more careful technique.

Good suggestion for the OP’s partner to experiment with a FUD first. It’s a lot cheaper than buying the wrong pee zip option! I like the FUD because some places around here only have tiny port-a-potties. I’d rather stand up and use the urinal in those than remove layers and squat over the usually-filthy toilet area. Hard to avoid touching the icky surfaces with some part of clothing; at least the pee zip and FUD reduce chances of contamination. Geez, if this is how people use toilets at home…

Not fully crouch but…
Bend a bit forward with my torso, and yes that is using the Freshette. Some of it is arm reach to get things in place - it appears they were correct when they did the bike measure that I am proportionally longer in the torso than my leg length would suggest, at least for women.

I have seen and tried the GoGirl - a fellow paddler has one - and my hesitation is that it is so soft. I tried to fiddle with it but found it just wasn’t good at holding the desired shape by the time I got in under the layers.

The other issue may be how tight you fit into a suit. My best fit is the Unisex small, but the downside of that is that the one measurement where I really can’t gain weight is the hips. It is possible that I am altogether a little tighter around the hips in that suit than my previous ones that I later learned were considered to be a little too big to fit me right. This could affect the ease of using a FUD.

I guess this is why
I got both zippers…I’ll deal with the back band issues with that big zipper. I managed on my last suit…and if I want to bring a FUD and do that, I’m all set.

I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to paddle in a dry suit and use a port-a-pottie or real bathroom even. Usually it’s squatting over some rocks in the tidal zone…

(Hi Ceila, this is Jenna)

Thanks to you all.
A dry suit with a drop seat has been rented and will be used this weekend. She has a FUD and is testing the waters while in the shower to learn the intricacies.

You have all helped in her future decision. Thanks again.

Hi Jenna
Should be July as usual, hoping we can meet up! I assume you’ve kept the new boat off the rocks… :slight_smile:

Hey Ceila
Sorry for hijacking your post!

The new boat came in to NC in December, but sans keel strip, they gave me the option to take it, or rebuild AGAIN. Hey didn’t want to put it on here. I was patient and had them rebuild. Boat is done, and here or very close to here in the U.S. Will be in New England later this month.

I can’t wait to paddle with you and show it off in July.

P.S. I NEVER hit the rocks with it! PFffft :stuck_out_tongue: Can’t wait to get it though!

Just kidding!
I remembered that you hadn’t hit rocks with it. I was thinking that you’d might have had the new one long enough now to actually go out and do so. If you are going to get blamed for it you may as well have the fun.

Will get back to you over the weekend re dates - off to take care of a pup and do a reading.

Just got my custom Kokatat drysuit today! So excited. Amazing tool for paddlers.

Got the pzip, not lowered because left torso as is, a little long. Am short and fat so got a custom L King size.

Been experimenting with FUDs. Not easy to get no leaks. When a person is in the middle of a pee the force is strong to clear the suit but near the end the dribbles don’t jet out far. Experimenting in shower only.

Just ordered a

which looks small enough to use in the tight pzip space, even with pull-ups, won’t leak, and can be used while paddling and also in an outhouse etc. or just standing in the forest or isolated shore.

Drop Seat
Since my first dry suit right up to my present one, I’ve always had a drop seat. In ten years of wearing a KokatatGMER, I’ve never found the drop to encumber me in any way nor found it uncomfortable. The zipper can be a tricky bit, but if you keep it flexible with beeswax it’s not that difficult to use. As for modesty: I think I’ve seen every guy I’ve ever paddled with take a “discreet” whiz behind driftwood, bushes, trees and rocks, so, in some ways being able to toddle off for a squat whilst surveying the scenery isn’t any different.

The idea of a FUD is a total turnoff, but that’s just me.

This is a personal choice and I’ll admit I have a health reason for needing the “rainbow” or the “frowny” zip. You really need to try both out, which seems to be an option for you, and then decide which you’re most comfortable with.

One thing not mentioned
In my neck of the woods, the women who may have to pee when they are in the boat, sea kayakers, usually opt for the front relief zipper. Those who go to shore, white water paddlers, will often opt for the drop seat.

It’s not at all unusual to be an hour or more from a safe and/or legal landing, and the ability to relieve ones self while in the boat is really a necessary skill.

Experiment w/regular clothes, in bathroo
I wore regular underpants plus jeans or sweatpants over them. When the stream weakens, just lean forward slightly to let the rest run down. You should already have your legs spraddled a bit (like a guy) for clearance from the pee stream (pretend you are peeing on the ground).

The key is to hold the FUD in place securely until the dripping ends. While you are practicing, keep some toilet paper in one hand so you can put it right under the FUD cup as you remove it.

BTW, if you are using a Freshette, make sure that the tube is securely seated in the cup. If not, there will be leaks. The tube should feel like it pops into place.

Modesty isn’t the main thing
I don’t care that other paddlers know I’m peeing. Or other outdoorsfolk. Most of us are mature about these kinds of things.

What I don’t want is for some idiot to gawk and point from a powerboat (or whatever) as my butt is exposed. If they gawk and point at me standing up to pee, big deal. They can’t see much, maybe not even the FUD. Give 'em a mindf*ck not being sure what gender I am–it’s safer for them to think I might be a guy. Especially when I’m by myself on a completely exposed treeless island with houses around.

Reort back plz?
Plz try it out and let us know - the device is interesting on a couple of counts, not the least is the really long tube. I have thought at times about getting some plastic tubing to extend the length a bit in the Freshette. At under $10 it’s not I’d hate the additional few bucks.

I will be wondering about two parts of this one - one is whether the handle helps or takes up useful real estate, and the other is the limited size of the opening.

will report back
Celia, will definitely report back. Think FUD of choice will depend on activity or sport. Divers have a built in pee valve and the women actually glue their FUD to themselves for that.

Men have it so much easier. Even in a diving suit they just wear a condom catheter with a tube running out the pee valve.

In caregiving over 30 years, eldercare, incontinence with women is a huge issue. Used to be standard to use foley (indwelling) catheters but they lead to UTIs (infections) so now the protocol is essentially diapers if toileting every 2 hours is not possible.

For a paddler doing a multi-day trip out in the boonies a diaper is not a safe skin or comfortable option.

There are times when one might not be able to dump the contents so a lid or closed system then is a good option. We have lake reservoirs on our drinking water here. .gov so alarmed over paddler peeing that they installed floating outhouses to prevent water contamination.

Elder care?
Then you already know more about special ways to pee than most of us do!

I hope those floating outhouses are paddler-friendly. Lake Powell has them, and they are designed for tall things–powerboats. I would think they’d worry more about #2 than #1.

Your posts made me dig out the Go-Girl FUD. I’m going to carry it around with me and use whenever I’m in a public restroom or (ick) port-a-potty…or…hell why not…at home, too. Good practice to decide which FUD I prefer. It’s too bad the Freshette isn’t more compact.

Both, front and rear
I sent my drysuit back to Kokatat for them to add a front relief zip. That’s what I use most of the time, with a FUD. Works fine for me. But instead of having the drop seat removed, I kept it. Occasionally need to use it and am glad to have it. Zipper does not seem to get in the way. So I think having both front and rear zips is good. Glad I’ve got 'em.

Drysuit is a great thing and adds a lot to our margin of safety – at least, to mine.

G in NC