Woman's semi-dry suit

My husband would like to extend our paddling season to include more paddles in colder water. I’ve been researching paddlers clothing and have decided a semi-dry suit best suits my needs. I really don’t want a full dry suit as I’m worried the latex neck gasket will be too uncomfortable.
However, Kokatat only makes men’s and children’s semi- dry suits. I thought I might fit in the kids one, but the hips are really narrow so that is not going to work. Any recommendations for other brands that might work? I prefer one with a bathroom zipper if possible, but that’s not a deal breaker.

You could also consider a mans suit with a lowered Pee zip and then carry a FUD {feminine Urinary Device} Many women like this better than the around the backside zip sys.

When I was shopping for a Kokatat semi-dry a couple of months ago people on this site mentioned that Kokatat will make a custom suit if you contact them. I was trying to decide between men’s L and XL and I’m glad I went with the XL because a little extra room doesn’t seem to hurt anything, there’s a drawstring to tighten the waist and the larger size makes it easier to limbo in and out of the suit.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I’d have to check measurements for men’s suits to see what would fit. Mostly worried about height and hips.

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Kayak Academy looks like they may still have at least one Kokatat Super Nova Womens suit with the soft neck in stock It is a womens Xtra large so may not be right for you.

That said, I have a five year old men’s version and the neck seal at its best was so-so. Now it seems to be fraying. The suit (Paddling Suit per specification) does fit 85% - 90% of my use cases which are small river canoeing year- round in Michigan. I was also very concerned about comfort with the latex neck seal as I have a large neck and have never liked anything tight there. (Perhaps in a previous life I was hung for shooting landlords out of season :wink:). This spring I did breakdown and invest in a full dry suit (Kokatat Merdian) as I as doing more in the big lakes. I spent the summer stretching the neck some per Kokatat’s instructions & it is OK. I will sometimes gag once when putting it on but I have worn the suit for 3 - 4 hour paddles & don’t notice the neck tightness until I stop.

On the fabrid - Hydrus vs. Goretex The SuperrNova with the Hydrus has been fine although I do feel the the Goretex Merdian does breath better.

I appreciate the advice about breathability. I’d have to check measurements of woman’s extra large but I’m guessing it will be too big. I’m normally a medium but thought I’d get a woman’s large suit for comfort. An extra large is probably too big :frowning:

It should not be too hard to order a Kokatat with a neoprene rather than latex neck gasket. I just replaced the latex gasket on my Kokatat GFER drysuit and could have used neoprene instead of latex. Decided to stick with the latex and just trim it down to where it was comfortable.

There are other makers than Kokatat (though few can match their warranty, you do pay a premium for that and if you don’t use a drysuit a lot it may not be worth it.) Level Six, NRS and Immersion Research all make competent dry suits.

Thanks so much willowleaf! Very helpful information also

FWIW, I too was concerned that a latex neck gasket would be strangling. Once I got my Kokatat Radius and trimmed the neck gasket, it’s actually quite comfortable. I recall I only needed to trim off one ring.

I have a men’s Kokatat Gore-Tex semi-dry suit that is about 10 years old now. Just wore it today. I hated the giant butt zipper of the women’s suits and found that a men’s small fit very well for me, although I am of the tall and skinny variety. The hips are a bit tight when putting the suit on but fine once completely on. I generally am in the suit no more than 3-4 hours at a time and usually do not need to use the bathroom in that time frame, when I have I just take the suit half off, it’s often a nice break from the wrist seals and lets the underneath layers dry out.

Thanks all. I think I will try the men’s medium kokatat semi-dry and hope it fits well enough. I really appreciate all the information and feedback!!!

If it doesn’t fit I’ll try some of the other suggestions such as either a woman’s dry suit ( shaving neck down) or a different brand. I feel like I have several other options if the men’s doesn’t fit.

Here you go

Kokatat Endurance women’s GoreTex paddling suit - medium

I think that ticks all the boxes.

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Good for you extending your paddle season. Some of my favorite paddles have been in cold weather!

I have the opposite issue you have - women’s suits are too small for me. I’m 5’ 11", have a 36" inseam and need an XL. Kokatat just can’t manage that in a woman’s suit.

I have paddled in a men’s Reed Chillcheater for several years now (https://www.chillcheater.com/paddlesuits) and really like it. It is a paddle suit, not a dry suit due to the adjustable neck seal. I’ve only ever gotten about 2 tablespoons of water down the neck when taking rolling classes. It’s easy to repair - I’ve repaired a couple of pin holes with Aquaseal - and easy to get in and out of with the back waist zipper.

A Freshette brand funnel and the front relief zipper make bio-breaks no problem. A lower zipper would make things a tad easier though.

Completely custom fit using 18 different measurements - way more than Kokatat offers by the way - and less than $600 US shipped from Britain.

The downsides - ships from Britain so it will take a month or two with the current lockdowns. You may be able to find ready made suits at a few kayak supply shops locally or on-line. Another minor thing: I paddle in cold water environments when the air temps are in the 70s and the suit can be hot. It is not goretex. No problem with it in the winter, though.

I bought the men’s Switch Zip Kokatat last fall mostly because REI had them on sale for half price and I was willing to take a chance. I’ve not paddled in it yet but wearing it around the house it seems a little less flexible in the knees than my Reed but comfortable enough. While it unzips quickly for a bio-break, it is a bit fussy to get re-zipped. Maybe with more practice that will get better.

It will. Using Zip Tech at the connection points is a plus.

My Girlfriend and I are happy with our Immersion Research semi.
Closeout for $270 dollars
Had it for five years now and still going strong.
I have a one piece she has the two piece

Yeah, it’s not a lubrication issue, it’s a getting the zipper mated. It’s hard to hold things just right for them to match up because of all the fabric in the area. I practiced with the suit off and it’s not too hard but when it’s on, there’s just a lot of flaps to get out of the way and not much to hold on to to guide the zipper into place.

Someone on another thread said he had cut away most of the flaps to decrease the bulk. Still a bit nervous about doing that but I really don’t see the need for the flap that folds over the top’s zipper except to keep it from rubbing when using it as a dry top.

I think you’ve made a good decision cindihope

I think the flap that folds over the zipper may help against water entry. Cutting it would void the Kokatat warranty, so may be wise to contact them and ask its purpose.

When putting on my Radius, the only material that got in my way was the cumberband flap. I now fold them so the velcro sticks to itself and keeps them out of the way. 99% of the time I get it zipped and secured on the first try. As to lubing, Kokatat recommends it:

For plastic water tight zippers, a dab of McNett Zip Tech Semi-Solid Zipper Lubricant in the closing end improves sealing.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Oh, I wasn’t saying I don’t lube my drysuit zippers! That’s a necessity for sure. I was saying lube isn’t going to help trying to get the two sides of the zipper mated. There are literally 5 layers of material around the waist of this beastie and two of those flaps have to be held up to get to the zipper. Once I do get the zipper started it closes easily.