Quest for spray skirt

that doesn’t LEAK. I paddle with a GP and the resulting paddle drips saturate my Snapdragon spray skirt and I end up getting wet from the upper waist down. This is not after rolling, just paddling. I have three Snapdragon skirts and they all do the same thing.

I am considering trying a nylon or Goretex skirt but I don’t like the bungee cord cockpit attachment most seem to have.

Does anyone else have this problem?

I have same problem
with Snapdragon and Immersion Research skirts. Everything is dry if I paddle 1-1.5 hours. Any longer and water seems to the wicked from the outside to the underside of the skirt. If it is a wicking problem (and not a true leak) then a nylon skirt or Gortex should solve the problem.

I bought a Euro paddle for use with my new canoe. I am going to paddle the kayak with it to see if a drier skirt makes a difference. I also want to try out a friends neo skirt which keeps him pretty dry. He uses Euro so if I get wet in his skirt I can be pretty sure my problem is a saturation issue with the GP continuously dripping.


I like the
Snapdragon with the breathable nylon waist band and neo deck. Sometimes I feel some water when a wave washes over… but not enough to soak below my shirt.

the place I bought it said they all use that one

maybe the pure nylon waist band would be better for you?

or try spraying some water proofing stuff on one of your skirts?

One place to check is the connection
of the body tunnel to the skirt deck. If there are tiny leaks in that seam, they might be treated with a urethane tent seam sealer.

Another possibility is that water may be pooling in the little trench around the cockpit. Some boats have drainage chutes for that trench, and some don’t.

I like pikabike’s point about condensation. A related factor is that, as you paddle, the boat passes through sun and shade, is subjected to cooling wind at times but not at others, and is sloshed at times by cold water, but not at other times. And, of course, the paddler changes the inside temperature of the boat. The result is that sometimes the inside air in the boat warms, and pushes out somewhere. And sometimes the inside air cools, and draws more air in. With that air may come some water, whether through tiny leaks in the tunnel sleeve, or under the skirt rand or bungee, from water sitting in that little trench I mentioned.

This is similar to how roll-top “waterproof” gear bags can siphon water through the roll closure when they are doused with cold water. (Answer: Watershed.)

It might be best to have a breathing passage from one’s chest down through the skirt tunnel, so that temperature variations inside the boat do not pull water in through other places.

I just bought a Snapdragon Glacier Trek that I like. It has a neo deck and breathable material tunnel. The first couple of times paddling with it I was getting seepage through the breathable material from drips from the GP, but I sprayed it with drysuit waterproofer and it has been dry since except for some trickles when rolling.

Try Reed Spray Decks
Seems to me that it is lighter and drier than neoprene. Lots of rave reviews from people who have used them.

Thats my next
place to go, a Reed Chill Cheater deck. I have a shirt of similar material and it doesn’t leak.

All the answers about condensation are not probable as our relative humidity is low and I don’t believe you could get a quart of water in a couple of hours even in high humidity areas.

Ditto on the Reed
The Reed Aquatherm skirts are pretty bombproof, and I can’t imagine water seeping through the material. It certainly doesn’t on the shirts and pants. One down side is they don’t work as well on poly boats. I paddle with (and we sell) Reed and the IR Shockwave. The Reed is generally my first choice if I’m just going out playing around, and both are excellent quality.

The IR is the choice if I’m doing rescues, as it’s a bit more abrasion resistant when you’re pulling boats up onto the cockpit.

Feel free to get in touch if you have questions about either –


Virginia Sea Kayak Center

"getting wet from the upper waist down"
My wife had this same problem with her skirt and we solved it. The seam where the tunnel meets the surface of the skirt is sealed and should be waterproof, as is the material.

However, the upper seam where the elastic joins the tube is usually not sealed and can really leak. If you wear your skirt low, or it slips low while paddling, that seam can get wet from paddle drippings or water that pools up to the seam line. That is what was happening to my wife.

Another symptom she had was that the leak only happened in warmer weather when she did not have her paddle jacket over the upper skirt.

Take the skirt into the tub, turn it upside down, and get a pool of water in the skirt. There should be no leak. Tug on the seams as you cover them with the pooled water. What this showed for me was that the upper seam was the only place that leaked, and it leaked a lot.

The reason I think this is your problem is because you are getting wet in the UPPER waist. That sounds like the upper seam rather than the seal around the cockpit or lower seam.

You could waterproof that seam, or make sure that your skirt is hiked up high.

Could be a hole
around the seem. But the OP didn’t mention which Snap Dragon he owned. Or how old it was. They also make a reinforced expedition which is thicker neo.

Like I said I tested mine with a puddle of water on both the deck and tube (also breathable) for over 2 hours. It was bone dry for over an hour, then only slightly damp after 2 hours. Not enough to drip or get wet as it can’t wick up to the breathable fabric.

I agree with the last poster that the elastic part at the very top might not be water proof.

I think the Reed is 4mm thickness same as the Snap Dragon expedition grade with reinforced seems.

I also have the Glacier Trek and love it. I didn’t have drip rings on one paddle and stayed dry expcept what ran down my arms to my shirt.

Nothing wrong with a all gortex either, except you can’t roll as well and it can puddle even worse.

Sounds like you need a thicker neo deck, but with that much water all the time any of them could form a leak after several years.

IMO, another good reason not to use a GP. :wink:

My Snapdragon s
are all neoprene Ocean treks (2) one year old and an Ocean tour EXP reinforced, new. So there is no “top seam” The top of the neoprene tunnel comes up under my armpits and water doesn’t go over the top (except when I roll) Water dripping from my hands ends up pooling around the seam where the tunnel joins the deck. There is a considerable wrinkle behind the tunnel and I had Snapdragon make a custom deck with the tunnel set back from the “normal” location. No wrinlke on that one but no luck either. It leaked the first time I used it. I just returned from a five day Kayak/camping trip and sitting in a wet seat that long gave me a raw bum. AKA Monkey Butt.

Reed is the bomb
after trying several neoprene ones and not really happy with them, I looked at Reed.

Now I only own Reed ones for my kayaks and most of people I paddle with have switched to Reed.

They seal very well, much lighter then neoprene, don’t stink and dry fast. If paddling in warm climates you also have the bonus of being much cooler and breathable.

'nuff said.


2 options
aquaseal the whole thing…

(mebbe Sprayon DWR? might work)


i ended up painting on liquid latex (from jerrys artarama-used for making masks - not the over priced kinky stuff :slight_smile: ) on the part of the skirt that lays against the cockpit coaming…helps quite a bit!

you can find pix in : there is a folder in there of me doing it…


Why are the reeds not recommended for poly boats? I have been looking for a lighter non-neo spraydeck for my Tempest 170rm because my neo deck is too hot in the summer and the nylon one I had as my first skirt is a POS and doesn’t seal well around the coaming. I bought a wilderness systems one which looks good and seems good on paper but doesn’t seal worth a darn around the coaming either.

As to the OP, I’m going to bet the problem is sweat/condensation. Your legs and torso sweat and don’t have access to that wonderful low humidity atmosphere outside your boat and you end up with a sauna inside the boat. I can sweat puddles into my boat. (drives the girlies crazy!) Ick.

agree with rtw73
1) Wildwasser skirts are tented so you don’t get the puddle at the junction of the skirt and the tunnel.

2) Check your entire cockpit for leaks as above. It took me 3 years to figure out that water was getting in my cockpit through the skeg slider mechanism. One squirt of lexel, and all better…

Mountain Surf Dur-O-Ring Sprayskirt
Try hand made Mountain Surf…Best on market.

Might only leak a little through tunnel, but very little. Price $150-$185

not condensation. I paddled my Betsie Bay yesterday with their spray skirt, (GP naturally) and guess what, I stayed dry. (paddled 9+ miles) IT’S THE SNAPDRAGONS.

Ditto on Mountain Surf… nm