Another drysuit question:
I need to get some type of drysuit, but I HATE the latex neck gasket. Has anyone tried the Supernova Paddling Suit (has the neoprene neck collar instead of latex). Any thoughts appreciated!
Another drysuit question:
Exactly - really spend time in the water sculling and rolling and there’ll be a cup of water in each bootie. But if you stay more upright than I manage these days, or as a backup to other outfits, it’s fine. I use mine on warmer days when I might get rained on and figure on just taking a couple of spins at the end of the paddle.
Second to 'ware the warranty. That means when the inevitable starts happening, like the booties seams start leaking as is going on with mine (think sieve), the cost to redo that from Kokatat is more than with a warrantied Gretex suit.
Drysuit vs Paddling suit
My wife and I had the same question as you. We bought our suits through George and Barbara at the Kayak Academy http://www.kayakacademy.com/.
They have many demo suits so that you can try different sizes and styles. You can rent them, and the rent (reasonable) applies when you decide what type and size you want. They shipped very promptly, and we went through a few cycles to get just what we liked.
In our case, we both thought that we would hate the latex gasket, and would prefer the Supernova paddling suit. We both preferred the Tropos drysuit in actual practice. The latex is no issue when it is trimmed to the proper tension, and Barbara will send you a "collar" which opens up the neck for those days when it gets too hot and calm.
We did some rescues in cold water with that paddling suit, but did not care for the water that came in - and actually preferred the (correctly sized) neck gasket for comfort. Also, the neck gasket can be replaced.
I would recommend a trial, since our trial led us to a conventional drysuit that we originally thought would be less comfy. Proper size is a must too, which is another reason to try before you buy.
Thank you - all very helpful. And I’m glad to hear you were able to make the latex neck gasket more comfortable. It’s a tough call.
if it is the latex gasket you are
worried about check into Stohlqust’s bPod dry suit…
very very comfy…no latex gasket on your neck-instead a titanium coated neoprene collar that makes a lot more contact with your skin…and because there is no ‘knife-like-edge’ of a gasket it is much more comfortable…
i have not had any leakage probelms with mine for a year now…and i own the short sleeve dry top just like the dry suit from S. as well…
Go with the Stohlquist Body Pod! It’s actually a dry suit but without the joys of latex neck gasket.
Some on sale on eBay! stores.
See you on the water,
Hyde Park, NY
Adjusting latex seal
That Body Pod looks interesting.
As for the latex seal, I could not stand the first one I tried - I thought it would choke me to death.
The neck gasket has a number of slightly raised concentric rings around it. With a sharp edge or nail scissors, you have to keep trimming off rings until you find a fit that is snug but comfy.
Of course, the gaskets have to come sized so that even a pencil neck person can use it, so somebody with a bigger neck is going to choke trying it on.
Some of the rental suits I tried had not been trimmed, and were really uncomfortable. I don’t know who has a good supply of rentals on the east coast, but try to find a demo that has been trimmed to about your collar size. It makes all the difference in the world.
Stohlquist Body Pod
I think the Stohlquist Body Pod is a better buy over the SuperNova.
The Body Pod is a trilaminate material, which should be more durable.
if an immersion scenario
its the suit that you’ll actually wear that counts. the SN is a suit you will wear because of its comfort level. If you are hanging onto your boat knowing that a quater mile swim to shore would kill you in summer cotton then you wont be rolling or sculling and minimal (drops) of water may enter the neck-not enough to worry about. You’ll be warm/dry in the SN IF you put on the appropriate layers and this will give you a huge increase in time, time to figure out what to do…it removes the rush factor from knowing you’ve only got minutes to react. My only wish is that the SN had a hood that was integral and could not be forgotton. I’ve gone out the last 5 days and each time I chose the SN over the GMER it hangs beside. For the money it is the cheapest life insurance policy you can by for cold water paddling.
I traded e-mails with George
when I was looking at buying one of his suits - he was very responsive and extremely helpful, even though I ended up buying elsewhere.
FWIW, I ended up buying a suit with the gasket because if I DO end up floating around in Puget Sound - possibly sans boat - I’d rather have spent the extra $300.00 and know that I can float there for quite a while before the Coasties arrive. I also plan to use it for work, if necessary, when I might be farther away from civilization than I would normally go in my kayak, so that factored in, as well.
I don’t really mind the neck gasket, but I can see how it might bother some people. I also wanted a suit with a little more meat to it/a little more abrasion-resistant than the Tropos. Though I’ll admit that the neck WAS very comfortable when i tried it on at REI.
After reading about all the agony people were having with their neck gaskets, and since I paddle a canoe, I opted for a Tropos SN. I wore it for the first time last Saturday for a run down Clear Creek, a twisty, creek in South Central Ohio. The air temps were supposed to be in the 60s, but never got out of the mid 50s and it was drizzling to boot. The water was quite cold. People thought I would be too warm, but I had only a layer of polypro long johns under the SN, and was chilly until I had warmed up by paddling. Then it was quite comfortable.
We came to a narrow chute and had to wait our turns to go through. I foolishly sidled up to a downed tree and before I could react, my boat and I were flipped and sucked under the strainer. I was able to stand up on the other side and with just a little help from my friends, was able to get out of there with life, limb and boat intact. The good news is that I was still warm and dry even after dumping. So I’m now a big fan of the Tropos SN.
My mukluks filled with water, but there was nary a drop inside the SN. I think if the water is even a little cold, I will wear it through the spring and fall.
Thanks - I’m enjoying all the feedback. I did look into the body pod on line, but it looks like you can’t get a dropseat for women, which is a drawback for me.
might not be…
search the archives for threads on women’s drysuits…you will find that most women prefer a mens with relief zip and the “lady J” thingie…
the drop seat zip has had a tendancy to be uncomfortable and a priamry spt for leakage since you are essentially sitting onit…
on that note i am a male who has not exp these things first hand…find some of the girls here to ask…
but about the bpod…love mine…
I had a suit with a front relief zip for my first dry suit. I have to say that it was a real pain. It was very difficult to get the funnel into the suit and the tube out over the zip opening. Additionally you have to be very careful to pee slow so that the funnel doesn’t overflow. Then it was always difficult to get the layers of fleece all back together again, tucked into the bottoms because you are only working with the relief zip open.
I usually found it easier to take off the pfd, skirt and pull the top down and squat. Not fun to do in the rain.
A front relief zip can be ordered in a lower position which would make it easier to use with the FUD (female urinary director).
I now have a drop seat and find it much more convenient. I never notice the zip when seated. Only ever bothers me when carrying boats and holding the bow of the boat, my arm length puts my fingers right were the drysuit zip pull is and my fingers nails get caught at times. So usually carry the stern or use my left hand when carrying the bow. Of course when I am carrying my boat alone it is on my shoulder so no problem.
Another advantage of trying before you buy is the drop seat/zipper situation. My wife did not like the drop seat at all - even if it were no extra charge. She did not like sitting on the zipper and found the men’s zipper better for her.
Again, this is not what she thought she would like based upon her research. When you are spending this much for something that you are going to be wearing for a long time, there is no substitute for trying some various models, and no reason not to when it costs nothing to do so.