Spray Skirts

Can anybody explain to me the difference between nylon, neo-nylon and neoprene material and what the advantage is to each of them?

…from my point of view…
Nylon - The deck and tube are made of nylon. Weight of material can vary as can the method of sealing around the chest, waist, whatever.

Advantages would include:

Cost. These are usually price-point skirts though there are some nylon skirts that are pretty sophisticated. Adjustable tube. Usually easier to get fit on the coaming and can be adjusted for a fairly wide range of cockpit sizes.

Disadvantages include:

Not breathable if the nylon is coated. The deck will be and the tube probably will be, too. That makes them a bit sweaty and prone to condensation under the deck. Their seal around the coaming can range from bad to OK as they use a bungie for tensioning and adjustment. A wave crashing on the deck may dislodge the skirt.

Neoprene - Deck and tube are neoprene.

Advantages include:

Least apt to leak around the chest and cockpit (assuming you have the right size). Not apt to collapse under a breaking wave.

Disadvantages include:

Probably cost more than the nylon.

Tube can be tough to get on and off and is probably not adjustable. Can be hot and sweaty under the tube. Can be more difficult to fit onto the coaming (but not necessarily).

Neo/Nylon - Deck is neoprene while tube is nylon.

The tube may or may not be breathable.

Advantages include - Adjustable tube like the nylon skirts. Solid neoprene deck. If tube is breathable it is cooler than nylon or neoprene. Depending on deck material it may be the easiest to fit on the coaming while providing a tight dry seal.

Disadvantages include:

Will cost about the same as a neoprene skirt or maybe more.

I’m a fan of this type of skirt. If I was doing any hair-boating I would use a neoprene skirt.

Spray Skirts
I’m looking to buy a couple in the near future and your info has been very helpful. Thanks.

I would look at any variation of neoprene deck skirt with neoprene or nylon tube. The idea of a breathable deck doesn’t make any sense, think about it, you’re body heat really can’t drive moisture out of a cockpit when there’s water pooling around the floor…,any skirt needed for keeping water out might as well actually seal and not just look like it’s sealing,nylon doesn’t stretch so you have to have the deck loose so it doesn’t pop off when twisting around. Since it’s loose it’ll puddle a few qts of water eventually.

While you’re looking at the whole topic of skirts check out the Zytek skirts/jackets, they look interesting.

I agree with most of the above.
and I happen to have all three types of skirts.

I use the all neoprene one for most kayaking. I paddle in the ocean and we usually have waves or surf breaking on us. All neoprene is the dryest.

I have a neo/nylon - nylon tube and neoprene deck that I use on warmer days. Deck stays nice and dry - but neoprene is hot.

My last skirt is all nylon. This one seals very well around the cockpit as it has a ruberized non- adjustable rand and an implosion bar. It’s just not has hot as the neoprene deck and also not quite as dry.

Price wise, all of these skirts were about the same price.Just different materials for different conditions.

The idea of a breathable deck doesn’t ma
Agreed. I haven’t used them but…

From a newbie:

Can you roll as easily in an all=nylon skirt, or would the water pressure ‘cave in’ the deck skirt?

Does material have any effect on rolling?

doesn’t stretch
A nylon skirt doesn’t pop off from waterpressure,it pops off if there isn’t an excess of material around the torso to allow wide ranges of movement required for rolling. If you pull the tube up tight on your torso then put the pfd snug over that it doesn’t have any slack. When you twist/rotate while under water it pops off. The same can happen with some neoprene skirts if you pull it up too high on your torso. So with the nylon one if you pull the tube down and stretch around on land to make sure it won’t pop off you’ll discover there’s enough slack there to puddle a half gallon of water around your torso. With neoprene your movement can lift/pump the water off the skirt. Fabric skirts are fine and some do seal well but for rolling,and the cost it makes sense to at least have a neoprene deck.

Kokatat makes a Gore-Tex skirt. I’ve got one and like it a lot.

However for rolling practice, nothing beats neoprene.