My Husband and I just ordered new QCC’s and now we’ll need spray skirts as well. We paddle mostly in warmer weather but want a good roll- proof seal. What are the best spray skirts you’ve encountered? Are there any to stay away from?
I don’t think anything beats a neopprene deck for keeping out water.
Snapdragon and Kokotat both make very good skirts. I also know a number of paddlers who have Seals skirts and are very happy with them.
My personal favorite is the Kokotat Off Shore Extreme. Neo tunnel and deck. The way the pull loop attaches insures that the skirt peels off easily and safely no matter how you yank it.
Both my wife and I have QCC’s and
we found the best for us are the Snap Dragons.
I have several Seals skirts that I like very much. I use the whitewater skirt on my SK when I want ultimate watertightness, because the tunnel is fitted, and not gusseted. Most times, I use their “Mariner” model, which is breatheable, and just was watertight if mated to a drytop.
Neoprene skirts are very water tight but you have to be very careful using them on a fiberglass boat because the narrow lip around the cockpit allows the skirt to grip even tighter than on a plastic kayak. I have Mountain Surf skirt with a kevlar rand that works fine on my plastic whitewater boats but I tried it on my fiberglass sea kayak and had to struggle with two hand to try to get it off. I couldn’t pull it by the handle only.
THATS DANGEROUS. I always carry a knife on my vest to cut rope or a skirt if need be. I did buy a neoprene skirt for the sea kayak from NRS that has a lighter rand which will pull off somewhat hard on my sea kayak but it works. Try some on and more importantly try to get some off before you buy or you could be in for a surprise the first time you wet exit.
I found Neoprene to be too hot
in the summer so use Neo/nylon skirt only in the winter/cold weather. I broke down and got a Kokatat gore-tex Deluxe Sea Skirt for summer use. Expensive, but really nice.
Whatever skirt you get, get the size made for your cockpit. Not all skirts will fit properly (too tight or too loose) including those skirts at the upper and lower “limits” of the specs. If possible, try fit (you and your boat) before you buy.
Just my $0.02
They will send you a Snapdragon skirt that fits perfectly. My wife has one. It is easy to get on, not hard to get off, and has a good seal. It is also not dangerous or hot in warm weather.
If the skirt fits
Wear it. If not, don’t. If your skill level includes edging and bracing, and if you go in rougher conditons, get a skirt that stays on, lets in little if any water, and still can release, can have cake and eat it too. No release no good though.
If you don’t have these skills, err on the side of safety and get a skirt that comes off very easily but still keeps out the waves.
We have two QCC boats also
and we use the snap dragons from QCC. We are also mostly in warm water and they have been fine. We, neither one of us, could get the suspenders adjusted correctly and during a roll or high brace our body movement would unsnap the skirt. I finally just took the suspenders off and we cinch up the opening at our waist and all works well so far.
I was concerned about the heat but so far that has not been a problem.
I hope anyone who has never bought a skirt but is thinking of getting one reads your advice.
I second it!
warm, cool, cold, freezing,burning
the temperature doesn’t matter,if you need a skirt for rolling then you get a skirt for rolling. The temperature of the air in the kayak won’t change because you have nylon, neoprene or a Victoria Secret sprayskirt. If you’re hot then roll and put a wet hat on your head.
I like the Snapdragons but if you really need want a sprayskirt that can be cooler check these out. They don’t sell them for rolling but I’ve found they work better than the average fabric skirt and if you can get over the geek factor by wearing it OVER your pfd there will be a slight exchange of air through the gaps in the pfd that will make you think you’re cooler but if you have a skirt to keep water out and it’s hot outside then your legs will poach anyway. They’re a good spare and the closest thing to a skirt for hot weather I can think of. I’ve rolled in one, they don’t leak as much as the average heavy nylon skirt and are as waterproof at the coaming as some neoprene skirts.
I don’t know if they’re making them out of white fabric since black sells better. For $39 it’s a cheap experiment.
The Mountain Surf rubber rand skirts are designed specifically for plastic boats. Mine is the driest skirt I've tried -- the only water that gets in is through the tunnel. Mt. Surf makes a different design for glass boats.
Conversely, I've got a skirt for a glass boat that's almost useless on a plastic boat -- it doesn't stay on at all.
Drop the suspenders…
…and one size fits all nylon tunnel. Upgrade to the Glacier trek breathable with dragon collar (an adjustable neo band at the top). A little warmer maybe - but it’s already buried under a PFD right? QCC takes a medium neoprene deck (small for nylon) - and you have size range options on the tunnels with these.
Nylon decks slip around to much trying to get them on. Neo deck is much to deal with IMO. Someday I’ll upgrade to a neo cockpit cover too and stop fighting the nylon one on when I car top.
Add some cheap plastic auto door trim guard around the coaming edge and the skirt will be even easier to get on and off, without compromising seal (easier on hands too).
My next (may be a while as I now have two Snap Dragons both still like new) - will either be all neoprene, or a Greenland style Akuilisaq.
I also have a white Zyflex sleveless thing - but haven’t paddled with it. I think I am going to cut it down into more of an Akuilisaq suitable for S FL heat and giving even better rolling mobility than my current skirts (even if the seal may not be 100%).
Seals Tropical Tour
It’s pretty well made and the 1.2 fits the QCC. It also has a very strong grip on the coaming so won’t come off too easily. I have been out in really hot days and felt quite comfortable in the boat with this skirt. Usually roast with my old neoprene skirt.
You’ve all been very helpful.
seal -sneak spray skirt
seems to work real nice for warm weather. It has a zipper to allow some air into the cockpit if you want, its light, fits good. I like it for warm weather, pleasure paddling. Hitting a roll with it should be fine. In case you miss your roll and need to wet exit, there is a real nice grip, cant miss it. I was using a neoprene skirt earlier this summer. The cockpit was an oven! My legs sweat like crazy.