Purchase Recommendations for either Paddleskin or Kokatat drysuit

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3 months 3 days ago #39583 by jkryzo
Help! I’m suffering from “ analysis paralysis” in deciding which drysuit garment to purchase for my surfski cold water use. Both products are similar in cost, but the Paddleskin advertises that it is optimized for unrestricted surfski and outrigger movement of upper body while seated comfortably and based on 7 years of research and development in cooperation with Nelo kayaks and Oscar Chalupsky.

Kokatat dry suits, on the other hand, use Gore-Tex fabric, which reigns supreme in the world of waterproof outdoor clothing with a waterproof rating of 28,000mm. The Paddleskin waterproofness rating is 10,000mm, which is certainly waterproof sufficient but in areas of breathability, durability, weight, reliability, fit, comfort, and product warranty, I am helplessly confused as to which path to follow and seeking everyone’s opinions and recommendations that will assist in my final purchase decision. Thanks and cheers.

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3 months 2 days ago #39586 by TomVW
Hi,
I was in a similar predicament three years ago. I tried on the Paddleskin and Kokatat Hydrus Meridian drysuits, as well a various others in a large paddlegear shop in the Netherlands.
At the end of the day, the Paddleskin was by far the lightest, most flexible and silent one. I also liked the absence of unnecessary bells and whistles for my usage (fitness paddling in relatively sheltered waters, where I just needed protection from rain and the occasional swim in cold water in winter).
I have been using the Paddleskin now for three winters (about 10 outings per month, 5 months/year) and am really satisfied.
The suit is light and breathable enough that high-intensity work-outs don't leave me drenched. It is much easier to paddle with than any neoprene long john or pants/top combination I tried.

Durability-wise, I just re-impregnated it at the start of the third winter and it is holding on fine.

In terms of water tightness, I use an extra neoprene collar on top of the neoprene cone of the Paddleskin to firm up the watertightness at the neck and I did have some leaking near the right calf, where a short section of seam tape was missing. I ironed in a goretex seam patch and never had another leak. the latex socks and wrist gaskets are still good for one or two seasons.

So, all-in-all, I think it's a great suit if you don't need the sprayskirt tunnel of other more kayaking-oriented drysuits. But I hear only good things about Kokatat and their customer service, ....

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3 months 1 day ago #39592 by agooding2
I have not tried the Paddleskin, I do use the least expensive Kokatat semi drysuit and have for the past three years and have not found it restrictive unlike a wetsuit. My drysuit has a neoprene seal at the neck so it will let in a little water if I'm submerged but in the calm water paddling close to shore it has worked fine. In the ocean, far from shore or in white water I would go with a latex neck seal but the neoprene is more comfortable and has worked fine for me. The model i use is the Hydrus. It is not super fun to get in and out of but I can rotate fine with the bucket.

The suit is not as durable as the full Gore Tex suits but I'm careful with it, so it has worked for me. It will be hot if the temperature is high, but the water is still cold, but having been in the water when it is 40 degrees it is definitely worth that trade off. For it to work you need a fleece liner, the one piece Immersion Research one I have is comfortable and I wear a pile vest on top of that.

There is no sprayskirt seal at the waist as this is a full suit, I would not trust just a top or a two piece suit in a surfski as you can't roll as you would in a white water kayak. Once you are out of the boat water would come in underneath.

Definitely get one or the other, it will extend your paddling season and could save your life.

-- Andrew

Nelo 550L, Streuer Fejna, Nelo Viper 55

Braca XI 705 EL blade, 17K shaft
Braca XI 675 marathon blade, 19K shaft
Braca IV 670 soft blade, 19K shaft

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3 months 1 day ago #39596 by MCImes
I used the Kokatat GFE suit (Goretex Front Entry, the most basic model of the goretex line, with full goretex socks and latex neck gasket. I used it to paddle on rivers during the winter in Massachusetts (NE USA) in conditions from 20f / -5c up to 60f in the spring, but still had icy water.

I was pleased with the Kokatat suit. It was not restrictive at all. It was a but of a pain to get into and starting the zipper from over your shoulder was very difficult to do alone.
After a few years the seam taping started to delaminate and leak. I sent it back to them and they sent be a brand new suit.
Now I just use a wetsuit in California.

I have not tried the paddle skin but considering it is specifically designed with kayaking in mind, I bet the ergonomics are hard to beat, and will be finer tuned with this motion in mind. The Kokatat suits front zipper was stiff and was noticeable while paddling. Also it was baggy in the chest to allow you to get in.

I think the Kokatat excels If you need a 100% waterproof suit for very cold or more extreme conditions, no? Although you can get kokatat suits with a neoprene neck gasket.

Anyways, go for the paddle skin. Oscar designed it for this specific purpose.

Currently paddling a Kai Wa'a Vega Flex in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10g1, Stellar SRg1, Fenn XTg1, Swordfish S
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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3 months 9 hours ago #39599 by MarineO6
I mount my ski from the water no matter what the weather, usually knee-thigh deep. I normally wear a wetsuit and booties and of course water gets in. Not a deal breaker since I paddle year round where I live in eastern North Carolina, but it would be nice to stay dry. Would the Paddleskin let in water from a few minutes of standing in knee-thigh deep water?

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3 months 3 hours ago - 3 months 3 hours ago #39603 by Arcturus
I’ve owned and worn two Gore-tex drysuits, one a nontunneled Stohlquist (no longer made in Gore-tex), and one a tunneled Kokatat GMER. Also, a lot of different neoprene wetsuits, Farmer Janes, and tops.

Two important points:

1. You can use either a tunneled or nontunneled drysuit with either a surf ski or a decked kayak that has a sprayskirt.
* If paddling a decked kayak without the tunnel feature, more water will enter the cockpit than it would with a sealing tunnel on the suit.
* If paddling a ski, it doesn’t matter, for obvious reasons. But the tunnel won’t harm anything by just being there.

2. The more relevant factors that are keeping me from wearing my otherwise-wonderful GMER drysuits are these:
* The front entrance zipper and the relief zipper are toothed metal (seals well) without any overflap. Now that the only capsize/tossoff recovery method involves lying face-down on top of the ski, there would be scratching, lots of it.
* Also, the Cordura panel sewn over the seat and knees, which adds durability for sitting on rocks, will stick to some kinds of seat surfaces. In sea kayaks with either minicell foam or nonsmooth fabric tops, the suit did not allow easy sliding. This was a negative for rolling. It wouldn’t stick to bare ski buckets but might to pads, depending on what the pad cover is. With wanting as slippery a bucket surface as possible, this could be something you would need to work around.


I don’t have any experience with Paddleskins, but I have used mostly wetsuits more than I have drysuits, except long ago when just starting on sea kayaks. There is no question that a Gore-tex drysuit with appropriate underlayers is warmer just because it is dryer than neoprene. That is either while immersed or while upright. However, once you have a solid roll (decked kayak) a wetsuit might still be adequate for the limited in-water exposure. I would guess that it’s the same if you can quickly remount the ski.


I wear neoprene until the water warms up and then “regular” tops and bottoms after that. But we don’t get the kinds of dangerous conditions here that ocean paddlers do.
Last edit: 3 months 3 hours ago by Arcturus.

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2 months 4 weeks ago - 2 months 4 weeks ago #39606 by SpaceSputnik

* The front entrance zipper and the relief zipper are toothed metal (seals well) without any overflap. Now that the only capsize/tossoff recovery method involves lying face-down on top of the ski, there would be scratching, lots of it
More recent Kokatat models use plastic zippers and the chest zipper usually has a flap over it. The relief zipper has a flap on some models too.
Last edit: 2 months 4 weeks ago by SpaceSputnik.

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