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Old 02-11-2009   #1
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
Drysuits - transporting the expensive mutha

Hey long-time drysuit owners. I just broke down (literally from the expense) and bought a Kokatat. It would be great if it made it to my last breath, which I hope will be a while. Since the zipper is so long and itís supposedly the weak link, how do you transport it for a day of boating? You just roll it up and stuff it in a duffle or mesh bag with your other gear? Seems like itís hard to keep the zipper straight and it would get bent a lot. I have a hard time imagining that everyone carries theirs in a separate bag, but if thatís what it takes... Anyone had any problems?

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Old 02-11-2009   #2
erdvm1's Avatar
Lyons, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,565
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That thing is tough as nails.
Toss in the bag with the rest of the gear and enjoy it.

Go Dawgs!!!
Happiness is a way of travel not a destination
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Old 02-11-2009   #3
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 221
I wondered the same thing I am currently carrying mine in a different bag (since I have it). I am sure after the price shock disappears I will treat it like my other gear!
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Old 02-11-2009   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Kokatat drysuits must be transported in pink silk bags only. Pet the drysuit nicely upon packing, and whisper sweet nothings to the gaskets. Buy the drysuit some flowers for valentines day, and sprinkle a little champagne on it to. This should get it to last...

Just kidding. Throw that sucker in the bag of gear, no worries. Generally you want to transport it and dry it out with the zipper open. The zipper is bomber, never had any problems with it. Treat the gaskets nicely with 303 regularly and do the normal things you would do for gasket care.

The drysuits will last a long time. I've put 3 solid 70-100 day seasons on mine (I wear mine 95% of my days on the water) and its still going strong. You will have to maintain it. I had the neck and wrist gaskets replaced preventatively last winter to avoid failure during the season. Send it back to kokatat, they'll do a great job and do it cheaper than others. Note that turnaround time is not super quick, so do it on the offseason if you can. When you send it back they can also repair any little pinhole leaks that you get over the years. They plugged about 30 for me, plus a gash in the leg that resulted during a SWR class swim.

Also after a handful of seasons the water repellant on the outside will wear off and water won't bead on the suit anymore. This can lead to mild dampness on the inside of the suit. Do the water repellant treatment for gore tex gear to get the repellant back in action.

Another comment for maintenance is always wear socks if you have the booties, and keep toenails cut. I got a small hole in one of the booties from toenail rubbing. Also if you don't wear socks, the smell of your drysuit booties can kill small mammals.

Be careful about walking around in the drysuit booties alone without protection. I usually go from street shoe, to drysuit leg, to kayak bootie without putting my foot down on the ground. Some folks have a carpet or something to change on. Either way, walking around in the booties will crap them out quicker.

With the proper maintanance and minor car, your suit can last years and years. I have never done anything to the zipper, its been bomber.

Folks without drysuits cringe at the price. 100% of the poeple I have met with drysuits think that they are worth every penny (especially kokatat).
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Old 02-11-2009   #5
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
Originally Posted by deepsouthpaddler View Post
Kokatat drysuits must be transported in pink silk bags only.

You know about my pink, silk baggies?

Thanks to all for the info. I look forward to the day when I can say the suit was worth every penny. Right now I feel like some side-show carney took my wallet. Makes me want to transport the thing flat, ironed, and pressed between two sheets of plywood.
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Old 02-11-2009   #6
Davis, California
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 71
yea i usually just tuck the gaskets in and roll it legs to head and throw it in my bag.

But i do baby the booties on it, and try to minimize putting them down not in a shoe
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Old 02-11-2009   #7
shappattack's Avatar
Up North, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,147
I have probably 500+ days of experience with O.S. systems drysuits (use them for work since 1996). The zipper is probably similar on your Kokotat and the following is based on rubber gasket and booties (don't know if that is what you have).

Do what ever you want with it
Wear neoprene socks over the booties
303d seals weekly if using constantly and before you store it away for long periods
Don't store the suite where it gets below freezing or very hot (not good for hte rubber)
You can replace the booties and gaskets easily with a little practice and save a lot of money (you can get the gaskets at a dive shop, use a plastic 2 litter bottle or similar to form the shape when regluing, I have done this proabably 4 times since 1996 with no problem)
Patch pinhole leaks with seamgrip
patch large tears with fabric patch on outside and seemgrip on inside

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Old 02-11-2009   #8
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Sweeet! I've got a full-custom OS in production right now. Can't wait to get it!

Don't forget to wash goretex periodically, dirt is the devil to it, and especially you want to do this before you do any re-treatment of repellent.

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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