super low cost drysuit

I saw a post on another kayaking forum (West Coast paddler) about a new drysuit company offering a super low cost brethable drysuit. Just thought I would post a link to it. I dont no anything about the suit or the people making it BUT if its even half way decent looks like a good choice for those on a budget.

Bob Holtzman and a bunch of paddlers( most of them guides) from Maine feel that everyone needs a functional inexpensive drysuit for whitewater and sea kayaking.

If it is reasonably durable
it will be a very good deal.

The weak spot of dry suits is often the interior seam sealing. Hopefully, someone on this forum will buy one and leave a review.

There are some apparent limitations of this suit. First, the base of the neck gasket appears to be very wide. This could make replacing the neck gasket with the commonly available replacement gaskets problematical. Before buying I would make sure that replacement neck gaskets are available, not only from the manufacturer, but also from a second party in case the maker does not survive the market.

Second, as was noted, the suit lacks an outer over skirt. This is not a huge deal, but an outer over skirt is useful for those who paddle kayaks or C1s with spray skirt, as the over skirt helps seal the tunnel of the spray skirt from water entry.

Third, the wrist and neck seals lack any covers. Latex seals exposed to UV will break down more quickly. The lack of covers at the wrist seals might make them more liable to tearing or other damage. The lack of gussets at the ankles will result in the legs of the suit tending to “bag” around the ankles, probably not a big deal to most.

Great approach
Most folks will not do 1,000 mile expeditions of

Antarctica or Northern Norway - so why pay the

prices for an over-engineered drysuit.

A drysuit for the masses definitely fills a

distinctive void in the paddling marketplace.

One might also watch Sierra
Trading Outpost and other discounters for drysuits made by established makers. If a “breathable” drysuit fails, what can you do with it?

I guess I will have to advise Bob
to charge more!

There’s noting “overengineered”…
…about a high-quality, durable dry suit with useful features.

The weakness with (relatively) inexpensive dry suits has always been the fabrics, which typically are not durable and have no warranty when they fail. A dry suit that fails after a couple of seasons is no bargain. Hopefully this one will be different, but I’m not holding my breath.

It seems a bit odd to me that they chose to cover the zipper rather than the seals.

I disagree with the previous post regarding the size of the neck seal. It appears that it’s the same diameter as a typical seal, it just doesn’t have the wide flange/narrow tunnel shape that most dry suit neck seals have.

Strongly considering picking one of these up, if only to be a guinea pig for you guys. Curiosity usually gets the best of me. Will report back…


– Last Updated: Jan-20-14 12:01 PM EST –

This is exactly what Ive been wanting! I would only use a dry suit for a couple months in the early spring and late fall and have never been able to justify $500+ for what would probably be 15-30 uses per year. $250 however, is much easier to swing. Even if it only lasts a couple or 3 years, I'd call that good enough.

Considering if it lasts 3 years (probably more with semi infrequent use) that comes out to around $80 per year...that's a pretty hard price to beat for most other dry-suits. I know Kokat's are the Cadillac, but at $1000 retail and $80/year comparison, you need to keep it 12.5 years to pay it off. I know it will last that long with warranty, but thats a huge initial investment. Thats more than any of my boats!

Anyways thanks for posting this. I'm seriously considering one for this spring if taxes come back in my favor

Really appreciate this post. Been looking at alternatives to Kokatat.

Have also been looking at this one:

These were made for wakeboarders, but thought it might cross over for kayaking.

O’neill seems to be well respected for customer service and the suit gets good reviews.

Anyone have any experience with it?

can’t see the plus side…
in the economics of a 300 dollar suit vs 900 dollar suit. Time-proven fabric, life-time warranty and overall durability definitely outweights the cheaper price. Likely as not there is a reason for the price - as with everything. Over a lifespan of Kokatat drysuit - that is 10+ years if not 15+, 1000 dollars is miniscule investment into your safety on the water.

If it were easy to come up with products of the same qulity at 1/3 the price, there’d be no Kokatat, no Valley, no Tiderace… all those products are over-engineered and pretty useless for ordinary folk who do not do expeditions :slight_smile:

I don’t think it has to be that way

– Last Updated: Jan-21-14 10:54 AM EST –

For any piece of gear with a warranty, that warranty is part of the cost (it's just like paying insurance), so the better the warranty, the more you pay for the product (does anyone think that Kokatat has such amazing customer service simply because they are so kind-hearted? They make money doing what they do. No company can survive by giving away products and service).

For a cheap dry suit, I'd agree with Pete that one of the biggest concerns would be how well the seams are sealed. I'm sure it costs more to do a good job of sealing seems, but I can't believe it costs $800 or $900 JUST for that aspect of the quality. The question is whether it can be done on a $200 suit, or whether the asking price for a suit with well-sealed seams needs to be higher than that. If the seams are well sealed, even a poorer-quality fabric that doesn't last as long can be worth the money as long as the price is low enough, especially for someone who only uses the suit once in a while and is therefore willing to put up with a fabric that's less breathable, less durable, etc. Only by trying out the suit will anyone know if that's the case here, but I'm not buying the idea that a suit has to cost $1,000 or $1,100 to be good enough (even though I own and use a Kokatat dry suit).

For what it's worth I also own a $200 dry suit. However, it's a military-surplus model, bought from a guy who purchased a whole bunch of them, so the original price was probably higher. The seam tape started coming loose the second year I used the suit, but I have no idea if the suit was two years old or twenty.

My personal experience
with less expensive dry garments is that although the seam tapes are initially waterproof, they start to separate after a year or two.

I applaud the effort to bring a dry suit to the market at an entry level price and hope the manufacturer does well. I would be rather reluctant to use a suit with an unprotected neck gasket in significant whitewater since a torn or blown neck gasket can actually present a real hazard in the event of a longer swim.

Years ago, I bought an entry level dry suit from Kokatat (which has been long-since discontinued). I still have it as a backup. It is coated nylon with an unprotected neck gasket and a plastic zipper, ankle gaskets (no socks) and no relief zipper, no reinforcement at the knees or seat, and no exterior overskirt. Even though this was a Kokatat suit, I have had to reseal the seams a couple of times.

I think I paid about $250 for that suit and it served the purpose for a few years. At the time I could have purchased a new Kokatat Gore-Tex dry suit for about $300 more. In my case I would have been much better off to have gone with the more expensive suit but if I had not stuck with the sport, the cheaper one would have sufficed.

Target buyer
I think the target buyer is the guy/gal who spent less than 700 on a kayak and paddle combined and sure doesnt want to spend way more than that for a drysuit. This will give this person on that kind of budget the abilty to be safer in cold water.

I posted this here to see if we get somone to buy one and let the others know if its any good. Looks like it could be a perfect backup suit to my kokatat. I wonder if they could change the suit a little and get the nylon material around the kneck and wrist gaskets. Thats what I see as its worst feature.

Another take on gaskets
I think for a person who’s only doing quiet-water paddling, having exposed gaskets is probably not such a big concern. However, even in quiet water, being quite far from shore might be reason enough to want the gasket’s covered. This is just a case of weighing the chances of a tear against the consequences, where even though the risk of a tear is tiny, the consequences when far from shore would be far worse than when on a quiet river. So once again, the cheaper suit might be acceptable for a paddler who’s not taking great risks in the first place.

Come to Maine Canoe Symposium
Bob will be there.

The target market is those paddlers who should be wearing one but can’t afford it… ie the thousand who paddle in Maine in whitewater season, which is in March.

Using Old Town canoes and often standing… immersion is always a possibility.

The manufacturer replies
I’m Bob Holtzman, the president/founder of Mythic Gear. Nice to see this discussion, which addresses a lot of the issues that I considered when launching the company and developing specs for our first drysuit models.

Mythic’s suits do indeed represent a compromoise – one that we feel is reasonable for many, but not all, paddlers. We’re trying to meet the needs (and budgets) of most paddlers, not the top 5% who place unusual demands on their gear and can afford the very best. So we think our suits will be of most interest to recreational kayakers, sea kayakers, canoeists, rafters, SUP’ers, and perhaps a few whitewater kayakers who are really strapped.

We’re using breathable fabric, but not GoreTex. All seams are taped inside, and they’re nicely waterproof. We didn’t compromise on gaskets or zippers, but we did skip the overcuffs. Overcuffs do offer protection against mechanical hazards, and that’s probably of greatest importance to serious whitewater kayakers. Since our suits have no overskirt, that’s clearly not their main target. (A WW kayaker might do OK with a tight-fitting spray skirt, however.)

As for the UV protection offered by overcuffs: the amount of time your suit spends outdoors is really pretty limited, and a few hours a month won’t have much effect. Most UV protection consists of keeping it in a dark closet when it’s not in use.

We offer a one-year warranty, which we feel is sufficient for any hidden defects to be revealed, but saves paddlers a lot of money compared to the lifetime warranty of some other suits.

I use this metaphor: most drysuits are the equivalent of top-end luxury cars – really nice, but offering so many features and enhancements that they’re unaffordable to most people. Mythic has the equivalent of a well-made economy car: maybe not quite as nice, but it gets the job done competently at an affordable price.

Will be glad to take your calls and answer your questions personally. Thanks for your interest.

Bob forgot to mention that he
IS a paddler.

Bob will you have suits for people to examine at the 2014 Maine Canoe Symposium?

Thank You!
Excellent idea! When someone mentioned that high-dollar drysuits are made to last 10-15 years I thought “Whoa, some of us sea kayakers don’t expect to be physically ABLE that far down the road.”

Best of luck.

the problem is when it fails …
The problem with a dry suit that starts leaking through a seam or the fabric gets saturated, is that you discover the problem when you are out in cold water, in rough conditions this could be a very big if not fatal problem. I watched a couple of people have drysuit failures while surfing in cold water, it did cause a fair amount of distress.

For a while you could purchase military surplus drysuits ( I think canadian air force?) they worked well for a while but tended to give out all at once.