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Old 06-15-2010   #11
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
Kokatat Gore-tex hands down. No contest...not even close!

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Old 06-15-2010   #12
Mmcquillen's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 267
Kokatat is THE best drytop/suit company out there. git the kokatat.

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Old 06-21-2010   #13
Coeur d'Alene, idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 32
Sorry for the confusion, I meant dry suit. So I get that Kokatat makes the better dry suit. The question is, is it worth the (lots of) extra money? I am not really in a position to drop a load of money and NRS makes a suit that is $400 less... Does this matter? About how long do you think think an NRS suit will last compared to a Kokatat?
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Old 06-21-2010   #14
Prescott, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 40
I had to decide between the NRS Mission drysuit and the Kokatat GMER this spring and after reading up on the two, I went with the Mission and the eVent fabric. Main differences in my reseach were 1. breathability, 2. price, 3. booties (fabric vs. latex), and 4. longevity. The eVent fabric and the Gore-tex fabric are actually very similar in construction materials and process (as opposed to very different than other products sold by both gear companies and others that say that they are "breathable"), but the eVent has larger pore spaces on a microscopic level, leading to the claims that it breathes better than the Gore-tex.

When I spend that much $$, price really was a secondary consideration - I wanted a product that I felt I was going to be happy with long term - probably the rest of my boating career. $100-$200 isn't a major deal amortized over the life of the product. I read A LOT about the benefits of the fabric booties vs. the latex, as well as personal testimonials, and came to the conclusion that the latex ones will likely hold up better in the long run if cared for. The breathability for your feet really isn't an issue anyway, especially if you are wearing wet neoprene over them. The latex is more durable with gravel and sand particles abraiding them.

The breathability of the eVent fabric was definitely a selling point (living here in AZ where it can be hot in January) and comfort is important to me. Again, I read a lot about this fabric not only as it relates to drysuits, but also other outdoor rain gear and it really is getting rave reviews for outerwear, it's just not really hit mainstream yet due to the marketing giant that is W.L. Gore Inc. Just as dry as Goretex and better breathing. OK, sounds good. I wore this drysuit in cold weather (snow falling) on the Chama at the start of May and was COLD it breathes so well (was really expecting it to be toasty inside the suit). Had to layer up a little more underneath the next day to be comfortable. Since it breathes so well, I really got the evaporative cooling thing going right through the suit when splashed with water. I think this would be an excellent suit for a moderately warm day with only a quickdry t-shirt on underneath. No overheating to worry about or buildup of sweat.

Lastly is the longevity. This was a tough decision. Kokatat's backing of its Gore-tex products is legendary. I read stories about it all the time. A little delamination and the owner gets a new suit shipped to them. Wow. That was honestly the toughest part of the decision, so I called NRS and queried them on it. I was regaled with their "Rock Solid Guarantee" and I honestly believe them. They make good, no, GREAT products in my mind, but this is still new territory for them with this fabric. The question is, will the eVent manufacturers back up their product like Gore does theirs, if and when the fabric has problems. That's the question no one yet knows the answer to.

I am a guinea pig here. Fully admit it. One of a few that wanted the best and went with the new kid on the block instead of the old tried and true. Yeah, I saved a little moola at the same time, but that matters not if the product doesn't hold up for a long time. After reading about eVent and the differences (and improvements) versus Goretex, I was ready to give it a try, because it really could be a great product long term. It's seemingly durable and very quiet, not to mention quite comfortable.

As for the cheaper suits (like those that are $300 to $400 cheaper than the GMER) I would say that in those cases you are buying a suit that will be a place holder until you desire or can afford a better one. eVent may have gone the way of the dodo by then, becoming another in a long line of coulda-been contenders, and Goretex may still be King of the Kill, but there is also a chance that someday, someone will come along and knock that king off, and I laid down a bet (foolish though it may sound, and basing it on more on my research than a gut feeling) that eVent has the best chance to do so since I can remember.

One other thing. I wouldn't fault a single person for buying a GMER and would never try to sway anyone from going that direction. That product is totally proven and solid.

A little info (older, though it may be) on the Goretex vs. eVent
Get Outdoors - eVent versus Goretex Pro Shell: The Battle Lines Are Drawn - Outdoor Blog

Choosing the right waterproof jacker and clothing for you - Climbers Shop Gear Guide
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Old 06-21-2010   #15
ednaout's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
I have a kokatat dry top - I don't remember which one - women's - but so far, after getting it in the spring of 08, I have had to have the neck and wrist gaskets replaced and now I have two tears in the material. While I think I could have taken better care of the gaskets the first time around, I have 303'd pretty regularly, this season and my wrists are already starting to go again. I think the tear in the front have come from my PFD, but the one in the back seems to just be tearing for no good reason.
I think their customer service was pretty good, for the gaskets, but I don't think I should be dealing with this again..after taking better care...They charged me labor but not materials. I'm going to call again with my feedback and see what happens.
I don't think I would consider NRS, for a dry top, but the hydroskin is quality.
I think I'm going to go with IR, in the next go around. IR has a pretty cool BLOW OUT DEALS page on their site, worth checkin in's their main page link that happens to have a little video on their dry suit:

Immersion Research 2010
"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 06-21-2010   #16
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
I've owned both.

I bought a used kokatat goretex drysuit. the gaskets were older but held up well for 2 years of moderate use. the fabric booties came with pinholes and one leaking seam. I put seam grip on all of the leaks and never had a problem after that. I did baby them after that though. I carried a carpet around, did a lot of creative standing in my gear bag etc. it breathed really well, seemed durable and I was perty happy. Then it got stolen.

I replaced it with a nrs extreme. (the cheapest one they make) I got it on a swap after christmas for $230, new with tags. I wondered if a kok was really 6X better.

The latex booties make it harder to get on and off, but are dry. the material doesn't breathe as well and I get slightly more damp around the PFD. The nrs gaskets actually seem a bit thicker, but it may just be that they are newer. Overall I am actually happy again and feel like I saved a grand for a pretty good suit. after one season (I only go drysuit in the early season) it is holding up well. I still baby the booties. really there are only a few places on the suit that even have a chance to breathe, the rest are covered in skirt, PFD, booties etc.

My buddy got a NRS mission and had a bootie blowout on the third day of use in the middle of a 6 day trip. I know for a fact that he babies the suit and booties. He carried it in its own bag, bought a nice hanger, died it completely every use and just went the extra mile. the right bootie ripped inexplicably. NRS refused to warranty it because "latex is not a durable part of the item" or something like that. He called multiple times and finally got a sympathetic rep who bent the rules and got his suit repaired. he had to pay shipping and be without for the prime early season.

overall if I was rich I would go KOK. since I am a bum I'm happy buying a NRS to get me out boating. I'll swap in the drytop for the bulk of the summer and my suit should go for 5-10 years.
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Old 06-22-2010   #17
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
I have a Kokatat GMER. I got it on pro-deal when guiding in AK in '02. I used it for two hard commercial seasons. After the first the gore-tex socks were leaky - sent it it and get new socks under warranty. Used the suit on average 5-10 days a season after Alaska through fall '09 and it had developed a lot of pinhole leaks. Sent it in - Kokatat said the fabric was de-laminating, it was a manufacturers defect, and did I want the same color and features for the new suit they were sending free of charge. The new suit rocks and has already seen 9 days of use. Their customer service is top notch and they are my first choice for gear. I also have a 11 year old splash jacket from them that is in very good shape after hundreds of days of use.
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Old 06-22-2010   #18
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 504
My first drytop was an NRS that was awesome for two seasons, then started leaking like crazy. So I bought two more and they were terrible. Switched to Kokatat after that and have been happy.

Is it worth the extra money? I think NRS customer service is pretty good. They will exchange or refund your money with no questions under their lifetime warranty. So the question you have to ask yourself is whether the hassle of doing that is worth the cost difference. With NRS, you'll constantly be swapping stuff out, but you only have to buy it once. With Kokatat, you pay a little more and can be pretty confident you'll have a good piece of equipment for many years. And if it does fail, I hear they're customer service is great too, but I haven't had to find out yet.
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Old 06-22-2010   #19
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Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Ask yourself how many old Kokatat drysuits you've seen on the river vs. how many old NRS drysuits. That sealed the deal for me.
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Old 06-22-2010   #20
Meng's Avatar
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Posts: 787
Originally Posted by reyher85 View Post
Sorry for the confusion, I meant dry suit. So I get that Kokatat makes the better dry suit. The question is, is it worth the (lots of) extra money? I am not really in a position to drop a load of money and NRS makes a suit that is $400 less... Does this matter? About how long do you think think an NRS suit will last compared to a Kokatat?
Yes, it is worth the extra money because you'll actually be saving money. One Kokatat probably equals 3 suits/tops from an other leading manufacturer. Kokatat in gore-tex is NOT a disposable garment with a limited life like the other options out there.

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