zippered spray skirt

I’d like to hear from anyone who owns or has used the neo tour zippered spray skirt from Brooks. Is the zipper really waterproof? Any other thought on it? I like the idea of leaving it on and zipping myself in and out.



other posts…

– Last Updated: Feb-03-06 12:04 PM EST –

The idea sounds nice, but I've got a couple and wouldn't buy them again. You can buy top of the line Snapdragon's for quite a bit less as the zipper (though truly waterproof--mine are the real heavy duty zippers) costs alot. In practice, the zipper is not available to you as it's covered by your PFD generally. You have to open your PFD to access the zipperwhen on the water--not good. At this point, you might as well have just popped off the front of your skirt. It would take about the same amount of time and doesn't include the unsafe practice of opening your PFD. They are nice to get on and off with that zipper, I will say that.

Dude with generous lady’s curves
you might really want that zipper. I have a good friend who was using one for about a year last time I paddled wiht him. He loves his.

another thumbs up
i’ve got one, not a brooks, not neoprene…and i like the zipper…you can leave the spraydeck on and get in and out, nice if you are multi-island hopping in the same day or for another reason expect to get in and out a lot during a paddle, mine is a breathable spraydeck which is even nicer…is is a suspender model with pull tie waste and is not for rolling practice though you dont take on that much water–even with a tuliq you’ll take on a bit…the one i use also has a mesh pocket for camera/whatever…i paddled 2 days ago and used a Seals all neoprene-it was 37F so my zippered deck is for mild weather.

As far as getting into the cockpit via the zipper to retrieve things I dont because i’ve got an emergency hatch to a knee tube in my favorite boats.

sharonmb, I don;t have a zipper.

– Last Updated: Feb-05-06 2:35 PM EST –

but see in John Dowd's popular distance kayaking book that he strongly endorses zippers in sprayskirts not only for getting in and out as you say, but also for pumping out/bilging on high seas so that you do not have to unlip the skirt from the coaming like most others skirts which leaves one vulnerable to sudden water intake in a wave. Also, he states that if open, and a huge surrf wave is approaching, you can zip it up very rapidly as opposed to a stretch over coaming move. Finally, you can unzip easily to get gear in the cockpit and also in hot weather. If I were buying a skirt again, I would get a zipper. I don;t know about waterproofness, but some zippers these days, like on my backpack, are special waterproof designs that seem, watertight. Anyhow, the 2 cents from a paddling author (him, not me).

PS Poster above states woman's generous curves, but as I recall, sharonmb is a thin and very athletic paddler.

Was it Dowd who also said…
…once you have a zippered spray skirt, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it; then again, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever have a dry lap again."

I’m certain his comments are directed toward do-it-yourself or old zipper technology, but I haven’t yet found a “waterproof zipper” on anything that is truly waterproof.

I can see some advantages to this setup (access photo gear stowed below deck, for example), but if I were to ever buy one, it would be from a place with a generous return policy.

My experience with the Brooks skirt…
…in question is that the zipper is very waterproof. It is the same large metal tooth zipper (BDM) as is used in my drysuit. I’ve spent hours/days in Pacific surf, rough conditions, etc. and am fairly sure the zipper itself has not leaked. For the price of the skirt in question, it better not. Again, mine are about 5 years old, so unless something has changed since then…

Far be it from me to contradict Dowd, but just pulling the edge of the side off your skirt to insert pump and pump out your cockpit would be a better and faster alternative than using a sprayskirt that zips. As I mentioned above, to use the zipper in the skirt in question, your PFD has to be unbuckled in the front if you are to use the zipper on the on the water. Either that or the skirt has to be adjusted so loose that it will fit around your PFD, and arrangement that will likely leak quite a bit in rough conditions, although there are those that do this, and successfully. The Brooks skirts I have have an adjustable tunnel (making the skirt more leaky at the top), but you don’t have time with a wave coming to adjust the straps for a looser fit and then zip up the skirt to fit around the PFD if you’ve previously had it adjusted to fit under your PFD. If you had a neoprene tunnel that was not adjustable, this would render the zipper more ineffective, especially for getting the skirt on and off as the zipper would be forced together as you pull on the slider as the tunnel is stretching to go around your midsection–an action that is typically not healthy for the longevity of zippers.

Maybe, like me, a person just has to experience these situations with the zipper to realize what the zipper is practical for and what it is not practical for. They do make getting in and out of the skirt easier if the tunnel is adjustable. And, if you want to leave your skirt on your cockpit for whatever reason, the zipper idea might be attractive. But in terms of allowing you to (more) safely pump out your cockpit, or access gear in your cockpit–it just didn’t work out for me. In Dowd’s book, I see the author pictured a couple of times without a PFD while kayaking. However unadvisable this may be, it would then make a zippered sprayskirt such as the Brooks model we are talking about much more attractive in a variety of situations.

Zipper doesn’t leak
I have this spray skirt. The zipper is very waterproof, but I’ve found that I have to make sure I rub that waxy zipper lubricant stuff on it every time I use it or it is very difficult to zip. Mine is also very thick neoprene and doesn’t quite snap in around the front of my coaming as it doesn’t have enough clearance from the deck. (The only “problem” with my Aquanaut.)

If I am making multiple island stops during a day, I’ll leave it on the boat and zip myself in/out of it.

Make sure to rinse it in fresh water after every use, too.