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Folding Kayaks Forum • View topic - Drysuit Experiences

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 Post subject: b-pod
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:07 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:15 pm
Posts: 50
This is a great topic, which answers a lot of the questions that arose for me yesterday during an extended self-rescue practice session.

I'm using Kokatat gore tex FJ pants and a gore tex Kokatat Tour Tec (or something like that) anorak, both of which were pricey and appear to be top of the pile from a few years ago.

However, even with the neck tightened down, I got alarming amounts of water inside.

Like the guy who posted a long question in this thread, I am concerned whether this suit combo can really give me the time I need to recover, should I get dumped into Naknek Lake next month.

I spent about 700 on this stuff anyway; suppose I should have gone with a quality dry suit . . .

Does anyone have similar experiences, or any opinions? Thanks! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR
If the seals are not latex or equivalent, water will enter when you immerse. Likely the neck seal is the issue. Like many others, I use a Kokatat paddle jacket which has latex seals at the wrists and a neoprene closure at the neck, which closes using velcro. If I swim a lot (such as during a surf session), it leaks at the neck. It is the price I pay for allowing improved ventilation when I'm not surfing, when the closure is open at the neck.

When practicing self-rescue, some water enters at the neck but never enough to seriously impair the insulating value of the fleece under the PJ. This is within the envelope of safety that is OK with me. If I dump, the rig gives me enough time to re-enter before my hands go. If your arrangement does the same for you, then the wetness is more a comfort issue than a safety issue.

If you want better protection at the neck, adding a seal (if feasible) is about your only choice.

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 11:05 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:42 am 


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:15 pm
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I'm pretty sure that gregn and alm are talking about a different jacket -- the one I have is similar to

http://www.kokatat.com/product_detail.asp?code=XTT

if a bit older and slightly different design. It definitely has latex rubber wrist gaskets that are watertight (and just plain tight); I have had one of them repaired and re-rubbered, and now I try to keep them moist with 303.

This jacket is definitely NOT small and packable -- it is thick and bulky -- so I'm sure gregn must be referring to some smaller anorak. This anorak has a tighten-able sleeve for a neoprene spray skirt to slide into (which I use in AK for sure), and as long as the neck does not leak, immersing it is a pretty dry experience.

Problem is, that is a big "as long as" . . . I need to figure out if, as krudave mentions, the amount of water coming in at the top will send me to hypothermiaville or not, and whether the risk is manageable. I know for sure now that water will come in if I dump in any kind of waves (and when else are you going to dump?), and I strongly suspect that a dry suit with a neck gasket would be far better in emergencies, and a near torture to wear on a sunny day when a minor capsize risk still does exist . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:29 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:15 pm
Posts: 50
I think you put your finger on it alm -- the only thing that keeps the anorak from also being torture is that you can unzip the hood and open up the gusseted neck. That's worth a lot on a nice sunny day, especially when there's not much wind.

In the end, I think I'm going to stick with the anorak and just be more conservative about when I stay on/retreat to land in tough conditions. No long crossings unless things are looking REAL good!

Appreciate your help and input!! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:15 pm
Posts: 50
Not for the first time, my mind changed on me. Over the past week I did a good deal of paddling in really intense pouring rain out east, and ended those days somewhat displeased with the the dampness which was apparently let in by my dry top. I've washed it in gore tex treatment stuff recently, too. May end up contacting Kokatat to see if they have any ideas for me. Granted it's six-seven years old, but the top of the line jacket ought to hold up longer than that, right?

So in a couple days REI -- who, importantly, will take the thing back if it doesn't fit -- will be shipping me the top of the line Kokatat drysuit. What krudave has said about pleasant v. misery and drying out in camp makes a whole lot of sense based on my rainy AK experiences, so I feel pretty good about the change of mind. After 24 days out on the water starting in two weeks, I'll report back with results!

:)


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:29 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:15 pm
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Got the gore tex booties and they're identical to the booties on my bibs :) But man, that neck gasket is tight! I assume you guys have been referring to cutting off several rings of it with something like a utility knife . . . I'm going to try it, and I really hope it doesn't void my REI return program.

(after posting originally, I went to the Kokatat site and read all about how the trimming is de rigeur. First I'm going to some stretching on a pitcher about the size of my neck though).

That's good to hear about Kokatat. I'll try sending in the dry top and see what they say. I definitely take care of my gear and rinse whenever possible; but I also have taken that jacket on 13-day tours through Prince William Sound, where I didn't rinse except in rain. We'll see what they say.


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:41 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
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Location: Astoria, OR
kkt,

If you cut that gasket, you own it! I had to take of a couple rings, for my size 16 or 17 neck. Stretching did not do a thing for me.

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:00 pm 
I’ve recently started paddling with a pal who is an ex-royal navy diver. Talking about drysuits he mentioned the phenomena of inversion – anyone else come across this?

Sounds kind of scary –unvented air in the drysuit can collect in the legs and hey presto – you’re dangling upside down in the water.

Now - I’ve always pushed excess air out of my suit by crouching down before zipping up – mainly because I didn’t want to paddle around like Bibendum! – it never crossed my mind that there could be more serious consequences than looking like a gallic logo.

Slightly off the topic of ‘which drysuits are best?’ – but maybe worth mentioning.


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:02 pm 
I always sort of "burp" mine when I sit in the boat by pulling a space between the neck gasket and my neck. Seems to get rid of most of the extra air.


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 Post subject: Re: Drysuit Experiences
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR
Burping mine and wearing a good PFD will eliminate this concern. Divers have a different problem, inasmuch as they do not use PFD's. Mismanangement/failure of their buoyancy compensator could cause inversion. Not an issue for paddlers.

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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