Touring Spray Skits

Need to pick up a spray skirt for my new Carolina.

I have owned rec kayaks in the past and used a nylon Skirt.

My question is:

Whats the advantages and disadvantages between a nylon Skirt and a neoprene one? I will be paddleing everything from large lakes, rivers, bays and ocean


In a nutshell generally
Neoprene is:



more expensive

Nylon is:

not as dry

not as warm

less expensive

Also flexablilty.
When I contorted my body during rolls, sometimes my nylon skirt would pop off. My neo skirts have yet to come off when I didn’t want them to. As a plus, neo conforms to differing cockpit shapes better. Frankly, I haven’t use the nylon skirt since getting a neo.


All of the above
I have not used a nylon skirt in years. I can no longer imagine using one. Neoprene skirts do everything a spray skirt is intended to do better than nylon.

Biggest Thing For Me…

– Last Updated: Mar-06-06 5:40 PM EST –

is that it is less likely to implode under a crashing wave, or wake from a passing motor boat. Dump a lot of water on top of a nylon skirt, it'll collapse.


rolling or not? temps?

– Last Updated: Mar-06-06 7:56 PM EST –

If you intend to roll your boat or learn to roll, you'll probably want to go with neoprene since you have a much better seal to keep out water. As noted, even if you don't roll, the other advantages for neo is less likely to concave under pressure, and in cooler temps, the neo will be warmer.

Your profile doesn't say where you will be paddling. Up north/in cooler climes, the extra warmth of neo is an advantage. But if you're in the Gulf, it might be a disadvantage and you might prefer the cooler nylon. They also make combo skirts that have a neo deck but a breathable nylon tunnel. This gives you more cooling than full neo, but more water tight seal in conditions such as waves on your deck. The combo would be okay for an occasional roll, but wouldn't want to roll alot without having a full neo skirt (unless you have an electric bilge pump!).

Happy shopping!


So you got the Carolina?
On an earlier thread you were still undecided between that and a 16’ boat. I am taking this to mean that you bought the Carolina?

Where do you paddle? Even if you don’t go for stuff like rolling, which could be a bit of a challenge, if you are up in Maine a neo deck skirt isn’t too warm even in the summer in many places.

The neo tunnels are of most use if you are planning to do stuff like rolling. If you plan to stay more upright, which I suspect is the case, a simple velcro closure waist band may be more comfortable and as useful.

And me. (implosion)
My nylon skirt gave way at a really touchy spot near the Baltees last year. I got a neo and never looked back.

I live about 40 min west f philadelphia. I paddle pretty much year round but mostly spring - fall… From lakes for the new jersey coast. Will be using the carolina 14.5

I’m pretty much desiding between these 2 skirts… -



Thanks everyone!


Just me, but I’d say go with the neoprene deck. Those coated poly decks just don’t hold up as being waterproof over time - you find yourself paddling with drops of water landing on your thighs. Or consider Snapdragon, Kokatat or Sealz for some more variety in neo skirts.

down to 2 skirts
Seals - Extreme Tour Sprayskirt


harmonygear - NEOPRENE TOURING

anyone have one of theses?

Seals Extreme Tour
I have a Seals Extreme Tour skirt. Very well made skirt. The deck is very nice. The tunnel is not as good at keeping out water when rolling and side sculling as either of my neoprene skirts with neo tunnels.

I find the Seals bungees to be stronger and the seals skirts to be made tighter than Kokatat (I haven’t used a Harmony skirt in years).

I think it is best to actually try the skirt on your boat (or another boat of the same model) to be sure you can both get the skirt on and off while sitting in the cockpit.

check these out
I’m guessing you aren’t going to be rolling or going through surf with your Carolina. Hopefully the Zyflex skirts are big enough or call to check to see if they can make one big enough it’s a worthwhile alternative to nylon/neoprene.

Equipment geeks will react negatively to an over the pfd skirt but it makes a LOT more sense than under the pfd nylon skirts.

You’ll find these are more waterproof than the average nylon skirt and better than the few neoprene skirts that have fabric sleeved bungies on the coaming. The biggest problem with under the pfd nylon skirts is the inevitable puddling and leaking necessitating all kinds of “implosion bars” which really don’t keep water from puddling around the waist. An over the pfd skirt will naturally shed water. Also for hot weather there can be a little pumping of air though the pfd depending on the pfd and where you tighten the skirt.

At one time Harmony made a decent one-size-fits-all neoprene skirt with adjustable tunnell but I haven’t seen them in awhile,the Zyflex skirt fits that need well. For folks with smaller coamings they can stay on with rolling,depends on the match,just like some ill fitting neoprene skirts can leak.

Do the neoprene skirts get really hot in the summer time?? After doing research it almost looks likke you need both neoprene and nylon…

Neo, Hot or Not
Paddling in the northeast (upstate NY and Maine coast), I don’t find the neo v. nylon thing to be a big deal in terms of getting hot. The water on the hull of your boat will impact the temperature in the cockpit under the skirt, and except for a few weeks in late July/early August it’ll be cooling things as much as anything. And the better neo skirts are actually a blend of materials that have some breathability. But that’s just me. If I want to cool off without dropping over fully for a roll or a scull, I scoop up some of the water I am paddling atop in my hat and dump it over my head. Works fine.

Consider what temps you will be paddling in. If you will be on the water a lot as the evening comes and air temps drop into the 60’s or 50’s, I doubt the neo deck will be too hot.

no difference
Up here I really don’t notice a difference. Pretty much any time of year on the Great Lakes - especially Lake Superior - you’ll be wearing a wetsuit which isn’t breatheable, so I can’t see why having a breatheable skirt would make any difference. Florida is a different story though… I’m another fan of neo and probably wouldn’t go back to nylon.

Thanks everyone… Just picked up the Seals Extreme Tour Spray Skirt…

hot is hot,cold is cold
the reason for neoprene is that it stays on,the reason for nylon is that it used to be cheaper and was easier to take off (but ironically can be harder to put on depending on the match).

If it’s hot outside it really won’t matter that you’ve got a neoprene skirt,if you need tight waterproof skirt it’ll probably be neoprene. If you need to cool off put some water in your hair.

A friend uses the Zytel skirt/jacket because it’s WARMER than the neoprene skirt. Why? in 38degree air/water with 15mph wind while wearing a drysuit there are areas where the thickness of the drysuit and underlying layers compress to less than 1/8" and that’s exposed to water and wind. Evaporative cooling big time. With the equivalent of a tuliq there’s an insulating layer of air keeping kind chill off some of those areas, lats,side of stomach, etc.