Looking for a Dry Suit. Opinions?

I’m in the market for a dry suit as living in New England the water rarely gets warm enough for long exposures. I currently have a wet suit that I use for scuba diving and plan to use the farmer john portion while yaking (not that type of yaking!) but want to invest in a dry suit.

Any thoughts or opinions of those who have used dry suits for paddling? I’m trying to keep the cost down but if I have to, I’ll spend the money for a quality item. As well, any on-line sources you have purchased through that you are happy with (price and service)?

Thanks in advance.


– Last Updated: Apr-29-10 7:02 PM EST –

I had a Stohlquist B-pod for a while, which I liked quite a bit. It became a bit small for me, though, so I sold it. Its only drawback was the lack of pee-zip (new models have it). I liked the glideskin neck, which let a tiny bit of water in. I think it's a good mid-priced choice. The next step would be to go the full monty - by which I mean get a Kokatat Goretex suit with all the bells and whistles that you want. It'll cost almost twice as much but will last a good long time, is repairable, etc.

Also, check out this thread, which is a comparison of the B-pod to the Kokatat GFER:

(on the off-chance you take a small, there's a B-pod at Outdoorplay for half-off right now)

I don’t think there is much doubt that Kokatat Gore-tex suits are the quality standard for reliability and durability. Booties are better than ankle seals and Goretex booties, though pricier initially, are better than latex booties–they are sturdier, should last a lot longer, and are cheaper to repair–a patch will do.

You’ll pay for what you get, but in this case you will get what you pay for.

Dry suit
Get one that has booties and the appropriate pee zip. If you are a vigorous paddler, the expensive ones with breathable fabric are the way to go. The suits are much more comfortable to wear than you might guess, mine gets a lot of use. Most of the year in this cold-water part of the country. I spent close to 1K on my Kokatat, well worth it.

Get a real wetsuit instead.
Go to a surf shop with only half of the one thousand dollars you’ll need for a dry suit. Get a quality surf suit and paddle with that. You’ll be warm and wet.

In the dry suit you’ll be warm and dry until you start paddling and then you’ll be warm and wet and then you’ll be cold and wet. When the gaskets on the dry suit break unexpectedly you’ll be very cold and wet.

Wet suits have come a long long way since your scuba suit was designed.

Have almost four paddling seasons

– Last Updated: Apr-29-10 8:22 PM EST –

on my Kokatat Gortex dry suit (pee zip and Gortex booties) and with nary a problem.

Plan to get the neck and wrist gaskets replaced and factory trimmed; and any other maintenance needed at the end of 2010 paddling season.

Live in the North Country of New York up on the Canadian border.

Paddle both early and late on cold water on large Adirondack lakes http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?1981

AND on the St. Lawrence River

Have two questions for you:
1. Where and at what time of the year do you plan to paddle most often?

2. What are experienced padddlers in your area wearing when they paddle early and late season?


Kokatat is the standard
by which all others are judged.

I respectfully disagree with the suggestion of a wet suit as being sufficient. I live on the Northeast and spend a decent amount of time on the coast of Maine. The money spent on my Kokatat Expedition drysuit was well worth it.

For most paddlers I know their dry suit is their favorite piece of gear.

You can use both
on a really bitter day and you get the benefit of both (and the downsides of both).

I’m a big proponent of wetsuits, but up that way, I wouldn’t want to be without a drysuit.And a Kokatat is the standard to judge paddling drysuits…


As others have already said kokatat is great and I’m not just saying that because I’m selling a mens small gtx suit with gtx booties and brand new gaskets. Seriously if you’re going to buy a small suit send me an email.

Spend the $$$$…
…for a Kokatat Goretex with a pee zipper.

sing surfs throughout the winter in the NE in a wetsuit

"Booties are better …"
What does “better” mean? I know a lot of people (most?) prefer them, but what makes them better? Comfort? Convenience? A dry foot? Certainly not cost. I prefer ankle gaskets because they are less subject to leaks. Neoprene socks, neoprene boots, and you’re good to go.

For what it’s worth, I prefer a stick shift and manual roll down windows in a car.

Great Information
All this is great info. I was leaning towards the Kokatat Goretex as I have read man good reviews.

I’m in need or at least a large (6’, 185 pounds) and plan to paddle all year long. At least until I chicken out in the single digit weather!

Single Digits…
ain’t gonna being a drysuit or wetsuit that saves your butt, it’ll be your skills and your endurance (unless you’re relying on skilled buddies). Especially if you’re talking single digits and in anything but flat water.


Gear is never a substitute for skills
Good gear provides to elbow room to exercise the skills you have in a safer manner.

Just preparing
Single digit weather does not happen too often but I plan to paddle year round (less often in the winter obviously). A dry suit is a necessity in the winter as it will save half of your butt but skills are definitely needed to save the other.

I’m very educated in the world of aquatics (competitive swimmer, lifeguard, swim instructor, Olympic level coach, etc.) and as I’m just getting into kayaking, I’m trying to educate myself within this arena and gather all the information possible. Seems like I’ll probably be getting a Kokatat dry suit and will need to check them out locally before committing to anything.

to kayaking. A Goretex drysuit really is the only way to go unless you are surfing (wetsuit is great for that.) You will not “sweat out” the drysuit, you will be comfortable in the winter temps we get up here. There are several of us who kayak all winter off the coast of RI. Check out www.ricka.org

Already a member
I joined Ricka about a month ago and plan to take part in numerous events this year. Looking forward to it.

Three Possibles Here
Our first suits were Kokatat SuperNovas. Mine had the neoprene neck gasket replaced by Kokatat under warranty, but the two year coverage had expired by the time the feet started leaking in season three. The inner membrane is starting to break down after four seasons of use, shedding snow-flake like little puffs of dust when the suit is stored for longish periods. To be fair, tho, my wife’s, purchased at the same time, has been fine. The SN is good bet if you’re on a tight budget, and far better from a safety viewpoint than the farmer john wetsuits they replaced.

My wife now has a Stohlquist B-Pod, and loves it. Hit a great deal on it - 1/2 of retail - but the neck was just too tight. Called Stohlquist to ask the cost of getting it replaced - since the suit was new, no charge, beyond the shipping back to us. It’s a great piece of gear, tough and very comfortable, and customer service couldn’t have been better - strongly recommended.

I now have two Reed ChillCheater suits - both bought used - love the fabric, the fit, the GlideSkin neck and wrist seals - but both have leaked where the sprayskirt tunnel is stitched to the suit’s chest…nothing serious, but it’ll wet your undershirt if you spend a lot of time in the water. Sent one back to Reed this past winter - again, great customer service - only drawback is that they’re in the UK, so it takes time. Rates were most reasonable. The two ChillCheaters, and the cost of the repairs and shipping, came to about 1/2 retail on a Kokatat Goretex. Recommended.

recommend Kayak Academy
I live on the east coast and got my drysuit online (or rather by phone) from George Gronseth at Kayak Academy


I got a Kokatat GMER with booties, and I love it.I wear it from Oct to mid-June. Best gear I’ve ever bought. I had a hard time bringing myself to spend so much money but it was well worth it.

Gronseth was extremely helpful in advising on size etc. I am 5’ 11" and 165 lbs and ended up trying a Medium but exchanging for a Large. Service was fast. A friend needed a custom size and that was also very fast and efficient. Very knowledgeable and pleasant people to work with.