Women's Drysuit Relief Options

I searche dthe archives and found one post over a year old concerning women’s drysuits with dropseats. Flatpick, you said most of your female guides are using the front relief zip and FUD. Is that still the popular option after a year?

I’m of medium build, 158 lbs, narrow hips. Paddle an Eddyline Nighthawk which fits pretty well without any padding. I’m only worried about feeling the zipper while seated.

Also, it seems like it would be impossible to use the dropseat while on the water, but I imagine you could, with an assistant stablilizing your boat, rise up in your seat enought to use the front zip and FUD. Is that how it’s done?


C and K did a cartoon article on the
subject. Suggestions like one dry leg and one wet one. The one I could not imagine was hooking a rope to one side of the cockpit, running it under the boat and pulling on it for balance while hanging over the side. Try to relax in that position!

Or get a SOT. They have drain holes.

I paddle with some great ladies
No fault of theirs, I’m hard to get rid of. The great thing about the rainbow is that it is convenient, especially if paired with patagonia bomb-bay garments or similar (but less expensive, stay calm friend Coffee! :wink: ) The down side is that the big heavy zipper can be uncomfortable if it falls in the wrong place, like between the bottom and the seat. So, most of the senior ladies I paddle with seem to go the FUD route, and they have been at this sport for a while. Some choose the rainbow though. It’s all about comfort in the boat.

a couple of ladies I know have even gone to selling their rear zip models and upgrading to the front zip and FUD.

to recieve your proper P@C (Pee at Sea) merit badge:

It is handy to have someone steady the boat so it’s EZ to:

  1. unzip
  2. slide up onto the backdeck
  3. reach in and arrange/open undergarments
  4. insert funnel, fenis, FUD
  5. pick a suitable ‘bucket’ Cindy uses her helmet.
  6. relax enough to ‘go’
  7. rinse ‘bucket’ and say ‘ahhhhh’



I haven’t had any problems
with the drop seat (rainbow). I never have been aware of the rear zipper when paddling, even on all day trips.

I don’t think either system could be easy while in the kayak.


Front vss. Rear Zip
So far, here is what I have learned pro and con:

      • Front Zip * * *

        PROS - Can be retrofitted, easier access, no sitting discomfort.

        CONS - lower resale value if ladies suit is without rear zip. Does not allow defecation.

      • Rear Zip * * *

        PROS - Allows defecation, allows urination without device, (excent in boat, you still have to pee in SOMETHING) enhances resale value.

        CONS - SOME find discomfort in the cockpit, but this is rare with recent design changes. Harder to undo in the cockpit. Looks kinda funky! Cannot be retrofitted.

        One dealer I talked to suggested getting both, or starting with rear zip and adding front zip later.

        Does anyone have anything to add to this analysis?


I do not use a wetsuit or a drysuit, so can’t advise with first-hand experience on the zipper. What I CAN tell you is about my first hand experience with the devices that are supposedly designed to aid in female urination when clothing is a barrier. I have tried several different brands and syles of the FUD’s and I have found…even with practice…they are not as easy or flawless as advertised. They are great when they work, but when they leak or if not positioned perfectly, it’s a mess. Even an occasional mishap is too much for my comfort and my confidence in them is zero. With a front zip suit, it will still be somewhat difficult to position the FUD exactly where it needs to be. If I were buying the suit for myself, the decision would be clear for me…I would go with the rear zip without any hesitation.

Here is a suggestion. The FUD’s are cheap. Campmor, REI, etc. carry them. Buy one. Practice using it. If you can use it CONSISTENTLY without mishap, or if you find it is awkward, inconvenient or messy, perhaps that will make your decision easier before spending a lot of money on the drysuit.

Now I’ve thought of something else. What are you wearing UNDER the drysuit? If you are wearing anything that isn’t accessible with a similar zipper…the zipper on the drysuit doesn’t mean much as you will have to move/remove whatever is underneath.

Good Luck…


Not really
I heard that you needed a matching zipper to the drop seat, but it turns out not to be true. The zipper (at least in the Kokatats) covers such a

large area that it is simple to pull down even a pair of thick fleece pants out of harms way. The large zipper is probably one of the design improvements that makes it comfortable while paddling. I was a bit worried about my new narrow kayak (20" beam and truly snug fit), but was unaware of the zipper except while squeezing into the small cockpit. While paddling, the zipper wasn’t even noticeable.


Front zips and FUDS
Gals I know use the front zip, but order it to be installed lower than the men’s front zip. They wear men’s long underwear, or the patagonia women’s with the split crotch.


My girlfriend has a half-moon zip…
…and she swears by it. The only woman I know who uses an FUD has problems with it. It’s something to do with being dressed and dry making it hard for her to urinate. I guess it’s an ingrained avoidance of peeing in your clothes or something to that effect.

My wife hates hers but it’s better than
My wife doesn’t like the FUD (fresh-ette) either, but as she puts it, it’s better than the alternative.


But can she use it while on the water?

Can your girlfriend use the rear zip while on the water?


Doing it in the kayak
It seems you either need to pee uphill or be in a risky position with alot of assistance to use the front zip/fud while on the water. I can only see that working in flat, calm water, with someone fully stabilizing your boat. And unless you use a device that is one unit (urine catcher & container), you need 2 hands. Or do you pee off the side of the boat while knealing in the cockpit?

With flat water and max assist it seems a drop seat will be easier and more stable. Unzip & place the “bedpan” underneath. Or for that matter, hang over the edge of the kayak while holding the cockpit of your partner.

I’ve never tried either, I’m just wondering which is best.


I have no idea…
…as it’s never been an issue. Fortunately for her, she isn’t cursed with a walnut-sized bladder, like many women seem to be. Still in a pinch, I’m sure it could be done by rafting up and having her sit across a couple of paddles.