Meridian; Gortex or Tropos?

I’m a little hesitant to post this question, as the general subject gets discussed, a lot. There’s a lot of experience here though, and before I make this more or less one time big purchase, I feel better getting your thoughts. It’s a pretty narrow question at this point. Most of the below is background and context. The question is GMER or TMER?

My wife just gave me the go ahead to buy a dry suit. I’m 260 lb, 43 waist now. Will order the XL Kokatat. If it barely fits or almost fits, then more incentive to shrink into it in another month (I’ve seen the sizing chart.) If it’s way small then I’ll return it for an XXL, but I will be at 200 lb by next winter. Will wear it approx. October - March about once every other week, lakes and bays, protected coast, no rock gardening or rocky landings. Ten year outlook on the suit. I definitely want latex neck, relief zipper, socks. I wore a Kokatat XXL in 2003 at 290 lbs and it fit well, so I’m reluctant to try a brand other than Kokatat.

So, GMER or TMER? I have the money for G. It’s just a question whether the 50% extra cost, $960 vs $620 gives me extra value. I’m leaning G. The lifetime warranty on the G material is nice. I could send it in during the summer every 3 or 4 years to have any leaks fixed. I have a Kokatat Wave DT and farmer john for backup if catastrophic failure of the G material required a return during the winter for repair. I’ll need a smaller farmer john, but that’s cheap. My wife is actually leaning G as she likes insurance and would hate to see me rip the T and have to buy another one. We’ve got a surge of extra money right now. Who knows in a few years.

I have never felt the Tropos material but have read that it seems as tough as the Gortex. As I say, I’m leaning G though, as money aside, why not G?

Maybe it’s entirely a matter of personal choice. I’m open to advice though.

Paul S.

If You Got The "OK…"
Very few would object getting the top of line. I mean would you complain if you were given the greenlight to get a Mercedes roadster instead of the VW bug? :wink:

Built in Goretex booties and relief zipper are nice if you gonna go the “drysuit” route. No freaking though if you find that you do get damp from your own sweat, even with goretex. Sweating is good. Means your body is healthy and more efficient. :slight_smile:


Generally Accepted
thoughts run to Kokatat Goretex as the top of the line. I don’t have one. I do have a pair of dry pants that are gortex. I also have a paddle top that is tropos. I have had the tropos jacket for about two years. It has performed well and I dont have any issues with it. One thing that I enjoy about the tropos jacket is that the material is quiet and does not make a lot of noise as you are paddling. The gortex dry pants are fine, waterproof, no signs of wear, but stiff.

Happy Paddling,


If long term
Absolutely get the Goretex because of the warranty on the material. They will replace the suit if the material fails, no such warranty available with the Tropos. Frankly the current Evolution Goretex is not the hardiest stuff they’ve ever put out under hard use - the extra cost essentially buys you a new dry suit if needed.

Gaskets are wear and tear issues, so like brakes on a car you can expect to replace them over a long haul. I recommend replacement with a thrid party neck gasket from a good dive shop - heavier than the ones that Kokatat uses and I seem to blow their neck gaskets fairly quickly.

Tropos vs Goretex
I have a Kokatat anorak in Tropos, and it is reasonably comfortable (not sweaty) until you get active. My experience with Goretex is that it is more “breathable”.

The Tropos material has no lining like Goretex laminate, so it is a bit stickyer when pulling the garment on and off.


Go with Gore-tex
I have the Kokatat Gore-tex VCR Action Jacket (three years old) and recently bought the Kokatat Tropos Whirlpool Bib. I have been paddling in the cold weather about ten to twelve times. The top is fine. It breathes well and I am comfortable. Regardless of the thickness of the undergarment, the Tropos bottoms hold in moisture and I am soaked to the point of sweat running out of the pants when I take them off. Tropos does not work for me. Added note: yesterday I was crunching ice with my kayak! Great fun. Who would have thought winter kayaking would be such a delight?

When did evolution 3.21 oz come out?
“Frankly the current Evolution Goretex is not the hardiest stuff they’ve ever put out under hard use”

I’m wondering when the evolution material came out. My Wave DT material feels pretty tough. Bought it used so don’t know if it’s evolution 3.21 or something else. Is there an easy way to tell?


Why not the best?
My wife and I have the Goretex models, with the boots and the relief zippers, and we are very pleased with them.

Re the boots: with latex ankle gaskets it takes two people to remove the suit.

Re the relief zippers: when you land on an island for a pit stop, do you want to remove the suit?

Re the Goretex: this material works very well, but it is possible to overwhelm it if you pile on so much underwear that you sweat profusely.

IMHO, since you have spousal approval, go for it.

Yikes, these suits are expensive . …

I have some Tropos and it is fine although it fels like a lighter weight fabric. I like the rugged feel of Goretex.

The lifetime warranty of Kokatat cannot be under-rated, their service, is top notch. If this is a 10 year suit you may have to deal with the mentioned gasket issues but also may have lifted seam tape, pinholes, leaky zippers, etc… I had an leaky 8 year old suit completely re-done earlier this year for only the price of new ankle and wrist gaskets. Turned out to be the lifted seam/pinhole thing.

Replacing gaskets is no problem.
Thanks for sharing your experience with me, everyone. Much appreciated.

I’ve already replaced one neck gasket on my Kokatat Wave DT. It was used. I don’t think the right glue was used, and the gasket pulled loose at the fabric. There’s a separate post on this.

Piece o’ cake to re-glue using the Kokatat instructions and bnystrom’s excellent advice on using 3/8" plywood in place of cardboard and plastic packing tape in place of wax paper, for the jigs. I also used outdoor carpet tape for good strong double sided tape.

Then it’s just $30 (I think) for the neck gasket, $7 for Aquaseal, and some tedium to get the fabric around the neck opening approximately flat on the gig.

I don’t remember now if there’s similar instructions and template dimensions for the wrist gaskets. I hope so.

Paul S.

Not sure, just a comparison to…
The Kokatat Gore drysuit is a few years old, and sure looks it, and is the Evolution fabric. We also have Stohlquist Gripp tops, made of Goretex Immersion Wear fabric, and while they don’t breathe nearly as well as the Evolution fabric their hardiness has been astounding.

I think Gore tried to get to some improved breathability with the Evolution fabric, for understandable and good reasons, but a number of paddlers I know aren’t bowled over by its ruggedness. More pinholing and delamination than seems right. (Tho’ with the Gore guarantee it’s really just an inconvenience.)

Glad to see the “R”…
…in the model is a given, as it should be.

I have owned two GMER’s and paddled quite a bit with a friend who owns a Tropos druysuit. He sweats like a pig in it. Maybe he sweats like a pig in a T-shirt. I don’t know but he doesn’t recommend it. I’ve seen him when he peels it off after a day of paddling and his liner garments are soaked while mine are damp. My guess is that Tropos is an improvement over non-breathable but not close to Gore-Tex.

Not a fact, just an opinion.

Go for the Goretex
I purchased a Meridian GMER suit earlier this year. I love it and had it custom fitted by George Gronseth at the Kayak Academy. I ordered a larger size and had the legs and arms shortened. I also was able to mix colors instead of all one color… no extra charge. Mine has black “pants” with blue above the waist. This tailoring allows extra room for bulky undergarmets and a middle aged beer belly.

It only hurts once… and I promise you will not feel the hurt after a few uses.

Not entirely sure about the socks though
Zipper always made sense.

I’m not 1000% on the socks. I’m gonna get them. Most people say get them. The only thing that bothers me is I have read about people sweating enough that they get water in their socks. Yuck! On those days, I might just as soon have ankle gaskets. On the cold windy days though, or when I’m rolling and playing in the water a lot, and I love being in the water, I won’t sweat much, and will really like the socks.

Paul S.

Tropos dry top
I bought a Tropos dry top on sale this year to replace my old, old Gortex which is totally shot. I saved $200, however… it’s not as soft and supple a material and I don’t think it breathes quite as nicely as Gortex. In hindsight, I wish I spent the extra and got the Gortex - especially considering my dry top is my most used garment. My last one lasted for over 14 years which makes it a cheap investment. But if you’re down and out on cash, the tropos does the job.

Jay, what were you thinking…
…you know I would have eventually sold one to you if you wanted it at a bargain price!


I own a Tropos Meridian suit sold to me by George at Kayak Academy and i am quite happy with it though I haven’t used it for very long paddles yet. My paddles are usually alone (restricted time avail) and less than 5 miles. Sweating hasn’t been an issue for me yet as I don’t use multiple layers of undergarments. The relief zip and booties are a requirement for me though and make pitstops possible and removal of the suit easier when finished.

If I was planning on paddling in 40 degree water and 20 degree air on longer paddles I would probably have opted for the more expensive Goretex suit for its hardiness. But, I know I would rather stay home in front of a fire on those days so the lighter weight Tropos is fine for me.

Did you buy your old, old Gortex used?
If bought new and a Kokatat, wouldn’t they keep repairing/replacing the Goretex for the life of the original owner?

Reminds me of the joke about the father chopping wood while his young son looks on. The father says, “Son, some day when I’m too old to chop wood, I’m going to pass this ax on to you. Take good care of it. It’s been in our family for 300 years. The head’s been replaced twice, and the handle seven times, but it’s been in our family for 300 years.”

Paul S.

Glad to have the old polyester suit
but by the time I get back to paddling I will be too small for it.

Gore will not replace goretex products if the wear is so severe that the fabric just wore out. They are very liberal about honoring their guarantee, but if you bring them an ancient pair of pants that are just shattered with wear, they might not think it reasonable to replace them.

Speaking with Kokatat, they said that the old polyester suits just did not fail. Period! They never should have switched.

I see that you live in the PNW so we paddle in similar waters. I would encourage you to get the model with socks installed. My feet sometimes sweat but I’m always wearing normal (non-cotton) socks inside the suit so when my feet sweat it is no big deal. I have never had to wring my socks out after a paddle but I always bring a spare change of clothes, including socks, so if my feet are wet afterwards it’s no big deal. Even when my feet are damp they are more comfy than my partner’s who has no socks. Stepping out of the boat into water is never a problem with the Gore-Tex socks but it can be a chilling experience without them.

My advice is to get a relief zipper and socks. In retrospect I would considerer paying extra for the sleeve pocket, too.