semi dry suits

What’s the scoop on these things? The price sure

is nice…Is anyone useing one now? Would like some feedback…I’m down here in South Jersey and this

year I would like to extend my season into November.

I wrapped it up way to early last year…thanks…

Should be fine

– Last Updated: May-16-06 12:06 PM EST –

I have the "top of the line" Kokatat Meridian Goretex suit (latex neck, three-layer fabric). My only criticism is that the fabric seems too light-weight to be very durable.

There are a few options:

* The Kokatat Goretext suit (latex neck, three layer fabric). $850. Well made (but light weight fabric).

* The NRS suit (latex neck, three layer fabric) uses a heavier weight fabric and seems well made. $575.

* The Stolquist Body Pod (neoprene neck, three layer fabric) uses a heavier weight fabric and seems well made. $350 (on sale).

* The Kokatat SuperNova Tropos (neoprene neck, two layer fabric) uses a lighter weight fabric. $450.

* The Kokatat Meridian Tropos (latex neck). I haven't seen this suit and it's much more expensive than the SuperNova. Part of the increased cost is due to the tunnel, but, maybe, this uses better fabric than the Supernova. $600.

* There is also OS-systems and Palm but I haven't seen either of these nor do I know much about them.

If you are doing lots of underwater work and can tolerate the latex neck seal, then latex is the way to go (nothing will be as dry).

If you are not planning on being a rolling junky or can't tolerate the latex neck, the "semi dry" suits should be fine.

At this point, the NRS (dry) and the Stolquist (semi dry) suits look to be the best values. Both these suits use heavier weight fabric and use three layers. A three layer fabric protects the "magic" breathable stuff with an extra inner fabric layer and should be much more durable than a two layer suit (like the two-layer Kokatat Supernova). The Stolquist, at $350 on sale, costs a little more than a high-end dry top!

I have no idea of the relative breathability of the different "magic" stuff. Goretex XCR still has the best reputation for breathability but the other non-Goretex materials are, apparently, much better than they used to be. Goretex adds a significant cost to the suit, so the trade off of (maybe) a bit less breathability for less cost is a good one. I would strongly suggest some sort of breathable suit for sea kayaking.

All the suits mentioned have booties. Booties will make the suit much easier to put on and will make the suit much more comfortable. All of the suits mentioned have relief zippers (note that the Stolquist uses an extra long main zipper instead of a separate relief zipper).

A real dry suit is not much more expensive than a dry top and wetsuit/"dry" bottom combination and should be much more reliable and comfortable. Though you can use the dry top alone when it gets warmer (so one could argue that a dry top is more useful than a dry suit).

…the question was about semi-dry, you seem to

have described dry. Did I miss somehting?

Semi-drys are semi-wet! They do fill an

important niche because many people are allergic

to the latex gaskets, but the necks and wrists

do let water in. Typically they are neoprene.

If you wear them on moderately cold days when

immersion is a low risk or on rainy days, you should be OK.

Love my b-pod
I got a b-pod this year and have taken some swims in it - it’s totally dry and the neck is so comfortable I completely forget I’m wearing it after a couple of minutes. I’ve never worn a drysuit with XCR, but this fabric is every bit as breathable as my XCR climbing gear is. Great buy.

Have a Kokotat
Super Nova and a regulsr Kokotat drysuit. As pointed out the Super Nova is of lighter weight material??? Both keep you dry. Have rolled with the Super Nova and after several rolls, had a “damp” neck on my polar fleece. The neoprene neck is not totally waterproof as the latex one is. Big Deal. For the average paddler usage, I think the Super Nova is the way to go. Much more economical and will do the job for occasional (or possible) immersion. If rolling is your thing, maybe the regular drysuit would be a better choice.

Have the SuperNova SemiDry
And that’s a backup to the GoreTex drysuit w/latex neck.

I use the semi-dry for paddling when I don’t anticipate doing more than a couple of sculls or rolls, literally like two, or when it has gotten warm enough that I don’t mind the water down my neck and a wet top if I decide to do more than two rounds in the water. But for me it doesn’t really extend the season. It just gives me an alternative to the full drysuit when I am in a controlled enough paddling situation that swimming is likely to be very short, like paddling small creeks, or doesn’t represent a thermal risk. In those cases I’d rather beat up the cheaper of my two suits.

For me, the full drysuit is what extends my season, by allowing me to paddle late into fall in bigger water without having to panic about the possibility of getting wet and cold, or foregoing skills work. The SuperNova is a great suit for what it does, but it is more limited.

I’ve seen the b-pod

– Last Updated: May-16-06 12:12 PM EST –

The Stohquist b-pod looks like a winner. It should be more durable than the Kokatat SuperNova.

It's nice to have some impressions on its breathability.

A person I kayak with uses his in white water.

Worried about cost or comfort?

It’s not clear whether he’s worried about cost or comfort.

Agree with posts above as I have owned the Supernova semi-dry and always got wet with a roll. I went into surf with it once and took on so much water that my drysocks looked like Frankenstein feet.(full of water)

This suit is fine for 50 degree and above paddling in not-large conditions or hydraulics. Otherwise, go with dry suit.

I now use the Tropos Meridian and its got the relief zip and booties like the SUpernova but slightly heavier material it seems and neck gasket. Very nice and worth the price of $550 with the built in tunnel for your sprayskirt to keep your boat dry.


Just bought a Stohlquist b-Pod with the

– Last Updated: May-16-06 12:59 PM EST –

tunnel. This is my first experience with a suit like this. I have only been out in it once so you should take "my review" for what it is worth. We paddled up/across Lake Lenape in Mays Landing, NJ and then continued paddling upstream on the Great Egg. We did a round trip back to the original put-in. The water temp that day on the lake was 55 degrees, the air temperature was about low to mid 70 degrees throughout the day with fairly low humidity and gentle breezes. Normally I would not have thought of wearing a drysuit on a day like that but I was anxious to try out my new purchase.
Underneath, I only had on some lightweight nylon shorts and a polypropelene short sleeve shirt. We paddled pretty hard for the first hour or so and I was sweating up a storm. However, I felt very comfortable in the suit. I was expecting to be over-heating by paddling so hard and long, but I was not over-heated. The suit seemed to be breathing very well.

The next two hours were spent paddling upstream against a gentle current with a fair amount of shade being provided by the tree canopy. We were not really pushing it very hard and I was actually getting a little chilled which surprised me too.
I purposely swam my gear at the beginning of the day just to test it out. I ACCIDENTALLY took a swim during our break to stretch out our legs. Sheesh, such a steep drop-off so close to shore. WHOOOPS!!! SPLASH!!! *&(##@&^!!!!! But hey, at least I still DRY. Guess this stuff really DOES work as advertised. I have a 17.5 inch neck so the neck gasket fits snuggly without being the least bit uncomfortable. I did find that the latex wrist gaskets seem a little tight. I will not be trimming them b/c they are not unbearable.
By the end of our 4 hours of paddling, I was still very comfortable. It was a pretty warm day in general. We had paddled pretty hard for about half of the time while in the boats. We paddled 12 miles that day. At the take-out I couldn't tell at first if the water slushing around was inside of the neoprene paddling shoes or inside the b-Pod booties. Turned out it was a little bit of both! I probably had about 4 oz of my sweat in each ankle. I was surprised that there was that much but then again taking into consideration several factors, perhaps I should not have been that surprised. One, we paddled pretty hard at the beginning and at the very end (took it kinda easy during the middle of the paddle), two I sweat like a pig, three the clothes I was wearing underneath the drysuit do not absorb much water (unlike some materials).
Overall, I am VERY pleased with my b-Pod. I will have to let you know next Fall/Winter how I like it after I have put more hours into wearing it and under more of a variety of conditions.
Oh btw, their claim that you don't need a separate "relief zip" is true. The way that they designed the zipper allows you to not have to have a separate relief zipper in addition to the main zipper. ymmv


I like that, rroberts!
“Semi-dry is semi-wet”

Is the glass of water (dry suit) half empty, or half full?