(Slightly) Used Dry Suit

Hello all. I’ve enjoyed my first year of kayaking so much that I don’t want to end it now. I enjoy winter hiking, so I’ve started looking at dry suits for a planned foray into winter kayaking. I have an opportunity to purchase a used Kokatat Tropos in what appears to be excellent condition. It’s a 2x and the owner is an older gentleman who lost 70 pounds.

Owner is asking $300. I researched new suits. This one does not have relief zip or latex booties. All latex cuffs (ankle/wrist/neck) are in excellent shape and have been well cared for (treated with 303). Suit is clean with no visible wear. Inside has a couple of yellow discolorations that would appear to be sweat stains, but no smells/stains/wear.

What’s the feeling out there on buying a used dry suit? I’d prefer goretex version for breathability, but I figure $200 bucks will get me into a decent suit very reasonable. The dough I save goes toward my “upgrade the kayak” fund. I’ll be paddling in the Long Island Sound, CT River, maybe larger lakes. Am I making a mistake?

Thanks for any thoughts/advice.


I find

– Last Updated: Oct-08-08 8:12 PM EST –

booties essential, but your style of paddling may keep your feet dryer anyway.I'm generally kneeling in a canoe with a puddle of water in it. Some find a pee-zip essential, I don't. I generally seem to sweat fluids out and have gone 7 hours paddling/poling without having to drop the suit.
Hey, if you can get it cheap and it's not for you, there's always a used market out there....

Tropos Swift Entry

The suit you are referring to is most likely the Tropos Swift Entry which retailed in 2008 for $409 in an XXL.

I find the ankle gaskets are a PITA to take on/off and my feet get cold in ankle gaskets. You might be OK though and to keep your feet dry and warm, you could buy a knee high boot so you could avoid getting your feet wet.

Doing w/o a relief zipper is impossible for me. Keen in mind that if you don’t have a relief zip and you do need to pee, you need to take off your pfd, take off the top of the dry suit and in the meantime if it is cold, wet and windy you are awfully uncomfortable.

Keep in mind that Tropos is less breathable than Gore-Tex and although Gore-Tex comes w/ lifetime warranty, Tropos is warranteed for 2 years.

XXL in a used suit doesn’t come up very often and it will allow you to paddle through the winter.

My first year paddling, I put away my boat as I didn’t own a dry suit. Which in retrospect was a good thing as I didn’t have the skills to paddle in the winter. Might be worthwhile to think about that.


2nd Daggermat’s Thoughts
I can not imagine not having the integrated booties. I bought a used suit from Kayak Academy with booties and relief zip and I love both features.

As Daggermat said, if your style of paddling makes neither of the options necessary, then go for it.

I mostly paddle some form of moving water in remote areas, where being protected is essential. I also love during the fringe periods (cool weather on each end of winter) where I can wear a pair of shorts and t-shirt and wool socks and after a paddle, just step out of the suit and into shoes and GO! Kinda like James Bond :slight_smile:

Good Luck with your decision.


If you can get it for the $200 …?
I’ve been wearing a two piece suit without booties for years. Not having the booties is definately a bit of a hassle. I’ve got no relief zipper either and like Daggermat’s experience, it hasn’t been much of a problem for me. I just have to take care to manage my fluid intake and output before suiting up. For instance, no downing a large coffee just before suiting up.

I got mine for a bargain and the bargain I struck has always seemed like a good one to me. I got into a suit earlier than I otherwise would have because of the savings.

But, just last week I was able to buy a pair of dry pants with booties and relief zipper from our own Wahoojim. I’m looking forward to faster and easier entry and especially the exit. I’m looking forward to coffee. I’m looking forward to not having my hair pulled. And, I’m looking forward to not having pictures taken of me trying to pee without a relief zipper.

The bargain can definately be worth it, especially if not taking the bargain means going without a suit for a while. Good luck however you choose.

excellent input so far…
Relief zip for me is like daggermat. I’m genetically programmed to regularly sweat like a fat man in a sauna. Italian thing? As for the winter thing, been winter hiking for years, worked outdoors in the winter and am a seasoned Long Island boater from long ago. I tried the suit on and I am definitely a 2x, even if I drop my planned 30 more pounds (down 20 this year, woohoo), and I figure that 2x used suits are probably rare. The bootie concern is my biggest. Owner says Kokatat can add booties? What about wearing neoprene paddling socks? Do I need knee-high mucklucks? Not a fan of those. Thanks so far for all the help.

bootie retrofit
You can get replacement latex booties from places like NRS. I’ve heard it’s fairly easy to go from latex ankle gaskets to latex booties - cut the old gasket off, leaving about an inch of material. Aquaseal the top of the new sock to the remaining gasket.

relief zipper mandatory
take off gloves

take off PFD and spray skirt

take off suit

put back on suit

put back on PFD and spray skirt

put back on gloves

relief zipper mandatory for me

Struggling with a drysuit on a cold day is a big energy sink. If price is the issue you can do better at modest extra cost by looking at a Stolquist BPod.

Struggled mightily
in the parking lot just trying it on. Repetition will improve skill, but don’t want to think about trying to get in and out of that thing in a boat…sheesh.

I’ll check out the b-pod. Went to Stohlquist site earlier but must have skimmed too quick.

get in and out of a drysuit in a kayak?
You mean (regular) people do that?

So did you buy it or not?

I hate to bad-mouth a manufacturer, but I had a B-Pod. I loved everything about it until it started to leak on about my 10th time using it. Over the course of a week paddling trip the leaking got worse everyday, until by the end of my trip, I could wring out my clothes. It leaked through the feet to soak me up to mid-calf and it leaked around the waist area. The zippers were completely closed and lubricated and the booties were always protected with outer booties. I wrote to Stohlquist and never heard back. Luckily, I was able to return it to REI with no problem. I have since purchased a Kokatat drysuit. All of my other gear has always been Kokatat and I was trying to save money with the B-Pod. I think I’ll stick with Kokatat from now on.

I’ve had a good experience, but
you might want to talk to Marshall at the River Connection about the BPOD and other alternatives.


If you sweat a lot
Tropos might not be the best thing. I have a Kokotat tropos dry top and a Kokotat Gortex dry suit. The drysuit really made me a believer in Gortex! No comparison to Tropos. When they say Gortex breathes, believe it! I was always soaked with sweat with the Tropos drytop. It just doesn’t breath like Gortex. Just thoughts from a guy who also sweats a lot!

Give the zipper a good looks ee. there are some drys uits that have poor zippers.

The Goretex normally have great zippers

Give the zipper a good looks ee. there are some drys uits that have poor zippers.

The Goretex normally have great zippers