Dry Suits, who is using them?

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I have never personally owned or used a dry suit but as I get older my conservatism grows a bit as well. Researching all of the different options and am blown away by the pricing. I realize this is a life saving / survival piece of gear especially in the cold water months, but $500 - $1,000 is expensive! How many board members actively use drysuits and how many like me hug the shoreline for a short swim if necessary?
 
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I will be buying one this fall to extend my paddling season. I really like the Ocean Rodeo dry suits which have a unique zipper entry system that allows the suit to be worn in a stand-by mode when you are on shore. Also, even though it is a one piece dry suit, it looks like separate rain gear jacket and pants so you don’t look like a refugee from a Star Trek convention.
 
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I used them when paddling rivers in Alaska, especially the Copper River, which is a big, bouncy, fast glacially fed river. If you went over, you'd be in the water a very long time. Mine is a Kokatat GoreTex one piece. Except for the neck gasket, which was pretty tight (since replaced), it was pretty comfortable, and you feel pretty invincible in one, especially as they increase your floatation due to the additional trapped air. You can also get two-piece drysuits, which increase their utility (e.g. dry pants for wading, or dry top as splash jacket in whitewater). Solo, in tough conditions and cold water, they'd be pretty mandatory.
 
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I have a Goretex one that I used mainly for winter whitewater kayaking. I don’t do that any longer but I still use it for cold weather overnights (teens or lower) in a canoe. A quality dry suit can last a long time. Mine is 16 years old and only repaired twice from general wear. Rainypass.com did flawless repairs that are Gore certified. Mine can double duty as a Star Trek Convention Outfit for sure.

Barry
 
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My wife and I have been using Kokatat’s Expedition dry suits for about eight years.
They have proven to be worth every penny and are one of the finest pieces of outdoor gear I have ever owned.
We have found that they provide comfort and protection in a wide range of conditions.
Flawless design and craftsmanship also make them a pleasure to own and use.
The added protection allows us to extend our season.
 
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I teach WW boating in the spring and fall, and would highly recommend a Kokatat Goretex suit. I ordered min custom color and fit 12 years ago. Evrey 3-4 years I replace the gaskets. A drysuit doubles your paddling season.
 
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Curious if anyone is familiar with the Stohlquist EZ dry suit? Think I may have found a decent deal. Any recommendations on this brand?
 
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It looks like it has neoprene gaskets instead of latex gaskets. Latex is pretty much standard for ww drysuits, as the seal will be better. Water will get around the neoprene. I checked NRS, and they have a lower priced drysuit with latex gaskets. I don't know about the durability of the latex vs neoprene--my latex dry-rotted after 10+ years, but they're replaceable (either do it yourself or the company--full set, with booties, was $200 installed).
 
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I never bought a dry suit but when I was looking into them I came across Mythic. Simple and no frills but supposed to still be good quality at a lower price. Anyone know how they've been standing up over the years?

https://www.mythicdrysuits.com/

I looked into these as well as they were pointed out by a member in another thread. What I discovered was that the drysuits were in "Sold Out" status on their website, at least for my size.
 
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I've owned a kokatat meridian goretex drysuit for a number of years. I have used it mostly with a sea kayak, but only occasionally in a canoe. I have sent mine back to kokatat a couple times to get a pressure test, patches and gaskets replaced. This is a great service and the price is reasonable. I think this is one reason why the initial price of them is on the high end. I am probably due for a new drysuit in the near future because the main zipper is starting to show signs of wear. Apparently zipper replacement is really expensive, probably not worth it in an old dry suit like mine.

Mark
 
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I thought I'd also add that I have big feet, so I had to order a custom kokatat drysuit otherwise I would have had to buy one way too big to fit my feet. I don't know if any other manufacturer has that capability.

Mark
 
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I have an old Kokotat Goretex drysuit. I got it from Ken Fink when he had his business over by Pemaquid. He believed every paddler in Maine should have a drysuit and sold them at cost. Kokotat put a kibosh on that. I paid some 400 in the late 90's

Bob Holtzman started Mythic with the same premise.. to make available a drysuit at an affordable price. Not designed for long term heavy use as in wearing every day but more for the weekend paddler. Bob is now studying for an advanced degree in Marine Archaeology in England for at least this year and I have no idea if Mythic is really still in business or not. The suits seemed to be fine. We may have to see when Bob comes back to Maine. Not worth the wait.

You might toodle over to Kittery Trading Post or Mainesport or Cadillac Mt Sports to look at what is available.. I would want latex gaskets.. Neoprene gasketed suits are actually semi dry.. while they do take time to sop water it will get in seepily.

I wish.. sigh that drysuits were elastic in the butt... Winter butt.

While the close to shore to bail approach does work.. it doesn't if you are anywhere on the ocean and it may not be best for rivers..I think you would get use out of a drysuit.. I like how I can be dressed in a sweater and jeans and pop into the suit..

Not as much fun trying to hitch a ride in Camden where the purple and yellow drysuit on Rt 1 is a bit of an oddity in tourist season. It works in winter.
 
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I have an NRS Extreme (faux Gor-Tex), it's my second one. (latex gaskets, integrated booties, relief zip).

Much less expensive than a Gor-Tex Kokatat especially if you buy during their annual (semi-annual?) sale ($500 last Fall/Black Friday sale). I only use it during the Spring and occasionally during the Summer if I'm running Class III+ in cold water.

I also find the prices painful (and they have gone up a lot in the past few years), I rationalize it by thinking of it in a "cost per day" basis, $500 suit, 200 days of usage, $2.50 per day.

Choices......(not considering the suit might totally save your life)........

$2.50/day to stay dry and warm and be confident enough to push my limits and expand the paddling season.
$0.00/day to be cold/wet, have to portage bigger rapids because of a fear of a dump and the potential consequences and stick with flat water for Spring trips.

I'm paying $10/day for a meal in a bag, $2/day for my tent, $2/day for a chocolate bar etc, makes the $2.50/day for a drysuit pretty reasonable value.

If you take care of the suit, replace the gaskets every 5 years or so, it could last a long time. My first suit which I treated VERY badly lasted for about 5 years, the second one I've had for 9 years, replaced the gaskets after 8 years and I expect the suit will be viable for another 5+ years.
 
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After a brief discussion with my better half and the feedback provided by all of you I will be purchasing a one piece drysuit to prepare for my Turkey Tail, Middle and Lower Jo Mary, Pemi and Debsconeag Lakes Loop trip returning back to Turkey Tail Lake. I know that I will paddle with much more confidence knowing that I am better protected from the 41 Deg water. Thanks everyone for the feedback.
 
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Use a dry suit on every ww outing, from may to october, sun or rain warm or cold. I've had many of them, but will never buy anything else than Kokatat now, Had tomany bad experiences with lots of other brands! Gasket don't last really long, are really susceptible to sunscreen and bug dope, if you get 3 years out of them it is a good one!! Easy to replace and relatively cheap!!
 
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Bob Holtzman started Mythic with the same premise.. to make available a drysuit at an affordable price. Not designed for long term heavy use as in wearing every day but more for the weekend paddler. Bob is now studying for an advanced degree in Marine Archaeology in England for at least this year and I have no idea if Mythic is really still in business or not. The suits seemed to be fine. We may have to see when Bob comes back to Maine. Not worth the wait.

I emailed Mythic back in March to ask whether they had plans to offer more drysuits in my size. The response was that they were "in the process of re-branding the company" and moving their sales platform. Since that was non-responsive, I followed up with an even more pointed question about when they expected to have suits to sell in my size. The answer (3 weeks ago) was that they are 2-3 months away.
 
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I tried on several sizes at Madawaska during a whitewater course and couldn't find one that fit around my neck. My face turned purple, neck veins were popping out and I was struggling to breathe. The fact that no one is mentioning this problem is slightly surprising. I'm not a big person but either my neck size is abnormal or the dry suits were sized strangely. I have no idea what the make of the drysuits was. I know that there wouldn't have been any leakage at the neck, but I'm also sure that I wouldn't have got settled into my boat before I passed out.

Did I just have a bad experience or what?
 
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I tried on several sizes at Madawaska during a whitewater course and couldn't find one that fit around my neck. My face turned purple, neck veins were popping out and I was struggling to breathe. The fact that no one is mentioning this problem is slightly surprising. I'm not a big person but either my neck size is abnormal or the dry suits were sized strangely. I have no idea what the make of the drysuits was. I know that there wouldn't have been any leakage at the neck, but I'm also sure that I wouldn't have got settled into my boat before I passed out.

Did I just have a bad experience or what?

I just had my neck veins popping out with absolute uncontrollable laughter. I think I am a little swelled at the moment and this may not be the best time for me to try on brands of dry suits.
 
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I tried on several sizes at Madawaska during a whitewater course and couldn't find one that fit around my neck. My face turned purple, neck veins were popping out and I was struggling to breathe. The fact that no one is mentioning this problem is slightly surprising. I'm not a big person but either my neck size is abnormal or the dry suits were sized strangely. I have no idea what the make of the drysuits was. I know that there wouldn't have been any leakage at the neck, but I'm also sure that I wouldn't have got settled into my boat before I passed out.

Did I just have a bad experience or what?

The gaskets are conical in shape and probably come in one size. You have to trim them a little at a time to get a comfortable fit. Then they will stretch a little too as you wear the suit.

Barry
 
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