Ravenspring drysuits - input from users

I am planning to buy myself a custum made drysuit from www.ravenspring.com for use with my sea kayak.

The last message about this brand is from september 02

(exept the april 04 one about taxes).

Many kayakers must have bought an UNO or RAPIDE since then.

  • What do you new users (and other drysuit users) think about them?

  • I have desided to have a relief zip, but is also the belt on the RAPIDE, and the neoprene cuffs (for protecting the latex seals?), worthwhile?

  • On the RAPIDE; does the fabric cover for the neck seal in any way enhance the fit of a neoprene hood with long neck (during sessions of roll exercise)?

  • Would I benefit from the belt on the RAPID if I – after a purchase - manage to loose 20 of my 200 lbs?

  • Do you miss not haveing the double tunnel / double waist option?

  • Do the hard boots have as secure (and comfy) soft rubber soles as my Chotas Mukluks Quicklace - for walking on shore (wet rock), or are the soles rather stiff and slippery?

  • Should I order with those neoprene lined hard boots (of the correct size) or just latex socks to go with my comfy Chota Mukluks Quicklace?

    Costs alone are not really a concern – I want to buy the RIGHT drysuit the first time – one I can use the next 10-15 years.



I have about 6 friends who use

– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 1:33 AM EST –

Ravenspring. Here is what I learned from them. Folks dig the belt and (internal suspenders) if I recall correctly. Hard boots are out for kayaking. Get latex booties, and wear something to protect them. You cannnot use a wet suit hood without cutting it down. It will go over the gasket and under any gasket cover. That aspect of suits are about the same with all. (Allow me to take the opportunity to recommend getting a henderson hyperstretch wetsuit hood and cut the neck short, next best thing to a custom.) Double tunnels are nice by all accounts, but only for rolling practice or when stuff is beyond the beyond. An occasional roll in a neoprene skirt will not yield a big difference.

At least one Ravenspring user of the half dozenuser has experienced massive fabric delamination. He is a hard-core paddler but takes very good care of his gear. Ravenspring sent him an new suit immediately. Before he sent them the old one. Of course they might have known this guy was the president of a 300 person paddling club. My impression is that they have real integrity.

As for me, If I really wanted to get 15 years out of a suit, I'd go Kokatat with goretex socks and expect at least two massive repairs, sock and zipper replacement, twice each, at least. (Probably about $300 per set of repairs) The fabic is heavier, the membrane is heavier, and if you've ever sent in a garment direct to gore, I've no doubt you were very impresssed with the way they stand behind the warrantee, even if the manufacturer does not. So that is a back up to kokatat's excellent reputation for customer service.

Kokatat claimed they had never had a polyester/goretex dry suit just plain wear out, and that is what I use. No doubt the new fabric is lighter, more breathable, better looking and less durable. Hmmm.

On the other hand the value of ravenspring for the first 5 years is unquestionable.

Kokatat through outdoorplay.com with the aca discount is doable. Perhaps your local dealer will match that price or get close. Supporting your local dealer should always be considered. Not pretty to ask them to match a low price but there is still margin and if you pay up front, it's not so bad. If you want further tips please e-mail me. I will give you my number so we can get it done in one conversation. I cannot post some things.

I’ve had a Kokotat Gortex dry suit wear out. I owned mine for 5 years, I paddle all year, at least once a week. During the 5 years, I returned the suit at least once each year for leak tests, where they reported finding one and fixing for free. My suit was not the newer fabric, but the older heavier fabric. The fabric wore through behind the shoulders and arms on the ends of the tape covering the seams. This from torso rotation and wear against the PFD. They could not fix this after applying more tape for 2 years. Still I thought I got great use from it, and hadn’t expected more than 5 years from it.

I then bought a Ravenspring 1 1/2 years ago and love it. Way more comfortable for me. I spent a good 3 weeks last summer in Newfoundland and wore it practically every day, including days where the air temp was 60 or above. I was very comfortable.

And am really happy with this suit.


I have
the ravenspring suite for 2 years now no leaks and i’m very happy with it. Get the suspenders and latex socks I have the belt and I guess its helps give it a better fit. Also you said you are going to lose wieght but I would add an inch or to to your waist line in case you gain some over the next few years. The suit is much more comfy if not to tight. All in all good deal for the money and they ship when they say they will.

Satisfied Customer
I purchased the Rapide after talking with folks here. My decision was cost and the fact that they would make the suit to fit my strange shaped body. I don’t have anything to compare it to but I have nothing to complain about.

I paddled in 75 degree air and 50 degree water Sunday for around 3 hours and I sweat heavily. By the time I was finished, I was dry so it passed my test for breathable.

Mine has the latex booties. I read on a thread here that it helps to wear a thin pair of socks over the booties and I think it was good advice. It kind of pulls the whole thing into a shape that is better to stuff into a neoprene bootie and provides some protection for the latex.

I also purchased their Mid Layer Fleece and thought I was going to melt trying the suit in the house. Really warm and has a zipper that works in both directions which is nice for the relief zipper.

Like my Rapide

– Last Updated: Apr-20-04 10:52 AM EST –

I've had one for a year and a half and like it just fine. It's not as inexpensive now as it was then due to currency fluctuations but probably still a good deal especially if you need a custom fit. Get the Rapide since the extra bells and whistles are nice. Booties and relief zipper for sure. If money is not an object and you don't need a custom fit, I would probably go for the top of the line Kokatat. Either way, if the suit fits properly, you'll be very happy.---Rich

happy with Uno
I have the UNO…I couldn’t see the need for the add’l cost of the Rapide. I like the suspenders and find the suit very comfortable. It is holding up very well. I had a non-breathable kokatat and would sweat to death. The ravenspring is wonderful. I have the latex booties and wear water shoes over them.

Like my Rapide
I have Rapide for 1.5 yrs and like it. I wear women’s calf length nylons over my wool socks and another pair over the latex booties, makes getting on and off much easier.

I removed the belt, which gets in the way of a snug fitting skirt. I also removed the last 1/2 inch of the ankle and wrist neoprene covers. The welting attached to the covers was to restrictive for easy on and off. I have large hands and wide feet.

The suspenders are a nice feature and the neck seal cover is good for tucking a hood under.

Wear oddities
I bought a Stohlquist Gore-tex drysuit last year and like it. But like you, I am finding an area of unusual wear, due to torso rotation. My suit’s zipper has a fabric cover that Velcro’s over the zipper to prevent the metal teeth from abrading anything. Unfortunately, the corner of the fabric cover has enough stiffness in the Velcro tape that it has abraded the drysuit fabric of the pant section. Early on, I snipped the sharp corner of the tape edge off but the stiff tape material itself is still abrading the drysuit fabric where it rubs back and forth from normal paddling motion.

The rest of the suit is in great shape. I wonder if I could add on a strip of sacrifical fabric, maybe a slippery nylon one.