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Old 06-12-2013   #1
90Duck's Avatar
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 282
Stohlquist Dry suits?

I have a 2006 vintage Stohlquist Multi-Sport drysuit, purchased new, that I discovered on a recent trip is more of a not-so-dry suit anymore. It has been rarely used, and is in perfect condition. The water just comes through the fabric.

I contacted Stohlquist about this, and they told me that this is really just about the expected shelf life for a drysuit. So, although the Stohlquist warranty is for "life of the product", that really only means 7 years, apparently.

So, to my question: Stohlquist has offered me a 60% discount on a new AMP drysuit, which would make it pretty affordable. However, having been less than impressed by both the performance of my current drysuit and of their warranty, I'm not sure I want to do that. I have searched the threads and really not found much of anything about Stohlquist's drysuits in general, and nothing at all regarding the newer AMP model. Does anyone have any experience with the AMP, good or bad?

I have heard nothing but praise for Kokotat (my Kokotat paddle pants have been awesome), and a friend's NRS drysuit on the same recent trip (see it in action on the Maytag in Tappan video thread) kept him perfecty dry through that experience.

I have access to a pro-deal through NRS, and I have been impressed by both the performance of their drysuit and by the way they stand behind their product. So I'm thinking that may be the way to go.

Any advice from the Buzzard gallery?

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Old 06-12-2013   #2
Chaos's Avatar
Spokane, Washington
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 13
A couple friends of mine are raft guides in Glacier area and they wear drysuits into July. They had NRS suits that were leaking like your suit. NRS took the suits back, gave them credit, and both bought Kokatat suits t

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Old 06-12-2013   #3
Kelowna, BC
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 4
Buy Kokatat, the only way to go. If you can't afford a new one, then look for a used one. You can pick up a 3-5 year old kokatat for $500 if you shop around.
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Old 06-12-2013   #4
laterwagged's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 247
Hate to say it..

I am loathe to get into this one, but I can't help but relay my EXCELLENT experience with Kokatat.

Yep...they are expensive. Quality usually is. Do you paddle the cheapest boat on the market? Or the one that does what you need it to?

Full disclosure - I haven't really worn any other company's products. Why would I when my kokatat suit has been completely trouble free. Shit, I bought a kokatat dry top for $4 at a garage sale, sent it back to them with the gaskets ripped out to get it pressure tested, cost me $10, and they replaced the wrist gaskets without asking me, then said whoops we did this work without asking you, its free! (Happened today actually!)

I know that NRS will replace your suit if it leaks, I have had good experiences with their customer service as well, but whats better - waiting for new gear to arrive, or having gear that doesn't fail.

My money goes to Kokatat on that one, not to mention - made in the USA.
but can you see its opposition | comes a-rising up sometimes | that it's dreadful and position | comes blacking in my mind | ....and then I see a darkness
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Old 06-12-2013   #5
BryanS.'s Avatar
Prineville, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 308
My Stohlquist drytop is leaky. So are the dry pants. Bought myself a Kokokat GMER and swimming has never been dryer. Spend the extra cash and get the best product.
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Old 06-13-2013   #6
SW, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 120
My Stohlquist pants are mediocre at best. My GMER Drysuit is killer. Don't bother with the Stohlquist. The Kokatat will provide years of trouble-free service.
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Old 06-13-2013   #7
Dillon, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
I'm on my 3rd year in a Stohlquist B-Pod drysuit and (knock on wood) it has treated me great. I use it for kayaking, rafting and canyoneering so I beat the piss out of it. Love the soft neoprene neck gasket, which doesn't choke me out (save that for the bedroom). No leaks so far..... crap, I totally just jinxed myself.
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Old 06-13-2013   #8
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 384
NRS eVent

I'm on my third season w/ an NRS suit that has eVent fabric. It is by no means in the same league as a Kokatat. What I do like (beyond the pro deal price) about the NRS suit so far is that the eVent fabric is super breathable which is nice for 75% of the paddling I tend to do. I do usually end up a little damp if I'm in and out of the water all day which is fine with me because I'm still warm, and never overheated if the weather is sunny. When paddling in cold weather I just add another layer of fleece. I would not consider wearing it in extended freezing cold weather. I'm saving up for a Kokatat suit to deal with really cold water. I've used Kokatat suits in AK and as everyone has said they are the driest, most dependable suit.
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Old 06-13-2013   #9
Gnome79's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 28
I'm now on my third Stohlquist drysuit. The first was a basic suit (no feet, relief zipper or tunnel) and a size medium. It was dry but sized really small so i eventually sold it.

I then bought a B-pod model, size L, with the neoprene neck gasket. I was a little reluctant about the neck gasket leaking but also interested in the comfort. From reviews i read it appeared to keep water out in whitewater boating. Neck gasket was comfortable but would sometimes let water in when rolling. Not annoying enough to get a new one though. After 3 years of use I was progressively wetter and wetter after boating, even on no flip runs. I scoured the suit for holes but could not find any. I figured there must have been several tiny pin holes from years of walking through brush so i sent it back to Stohlquist for repair.

After a week or so i followed up with them to see what the issue was. They didn't tell me why it was leaking but said it was eligible for replacement under warranty. They never asked me for a receipt, warranty card or anything. I was very stoked as i never asked for or expected this. They offered to send me their new b-pod model the EZ or upgrade me to the Amp for $100. I went with the EZ but now wish i would have upgraded as the first time i flipped in the new suit I was in a nasty hole and a jet of water blasted right up the neoprene neck gasket.

So far the new suit has been great. One thing of note is that they changed their sizing with the new models. I got a large and it was way too big so i had to exchange for a medium that now fits perfectly.

Over all, I was very happy with Stohlquist's customer service. However, i do want to see how the new one holds up before making my next drysuit purchase. I'm not sure what the life expectancy for a drysuit is but 3 years at 25-30 kayaking days a year seems a little short.
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Old 06-13-2013   #10
90Duck's Avatar
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 282
Thanks for the input

Thanks for sharing your experience(s). Stohlquist agreed to honor the replacement discount offer through next Spring (when I will actually need a drysuit next), so I have some time to look around. I know Kokotats are the best in the business, so that would be the obvious first choice. I am not a kayaker, but would like to know I will be dry when I need it for the inevitable swims. NRS carries Kokotat, so there may be a pro deal possiblity there to explore.

Have any of you ever heard of this "shelf life" issue with waterproof/breathable fabrics? I wonder if it is not an issue with Goretex, but just with the tropos and event fabrics used in the (slightly) less expensive suits. This was literally only the second time I had worn the suit, so there is no way it was worn out.

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