Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-24-2015   #11
Hood River, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2163
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 295
Kokatat isn't perfect, but I challenge you to find a better solution for a drysuit. I don't think it is out there. All drysuits are fragile garments and we put them through a lot. ALL companies, not just Kokatat, will take their warranties on a case-by-case basis. They will side against the customer sometimes and not others. It's not a perfect system.

Its likely that you were sweating inside your suit and that is why you felt that it became wet so quickly. Also, some amount of water will always come in through the wrist and neck gaskets.

Neoprene is a perfectly good solution if you can't handle the realities and expenses of owning a drysuit.

My two Kokatat suits have faired better than other suits that I've owned and tested, and their customer service has always been relatively fair with me.

I completely agree that they should be more upfront about the fine print of their warranty.

David Spiegel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #12
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
Kokatat used to go over and above to replace and repair their products. When my brother sent back his drytop for repairs a few years ago they just sent him a brand new one free of charge. That is probably beyond what is reasonable, but people came to expect that kind of service.

I have heard quite a few stories recently of their customer service swinging back the other way. If, as I've heard a few times, a 1st year drysuit starts having issues - that should be well within the lifetime warranty.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

BrianK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #13
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
I have had a GMER since 2005 and it has gone in for repair probably 5-6 times. I think in the last couple years they did raise their pressure test prices, but I have always been charged. It always comes back with with way more pin hole leaks patched then I would have thought. They have always treated me well in the past.

Given the life I have gotten out of my suit and some of the newer features I will most likely upgrade this spring. Hearing this is a little concerning, but like REI, a business will get its return/repair policy abused and have to start taking a stand. Especially if their upstream provider (Gore-Tex) is saying no, not saying OP doesn't have a legitimate gripe in this case.

Customer service is about communication as much as anything, and it seems they could have said no a little softer for sure. Hopefully they continue to stand behind their products and deliver the quality gear that has gained them a large following. Will be interesting to follow.
kayakfreakus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #14
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
NRS has GMERs for $800 right now. It always takes a little of the sting out to know you saved enough to buy a drytop too and extend the life of your suit.
fiya79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #15
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 174
Send a message via AIM to J
That sucks.

I have a 13 year old well used Stohlquist rescue vest. Zipper blew out a couple weeks before a Grand trip last summer. I sent it in hoping they would fix it and fully expecting to pay for the repair - it wasn't a warranty request. Not only did they fix the zipper, but they rushed the repair in order to get the jacket back to me before the trip, and charged me nothing... not even the shipping.

Sorry for the thread jack.
J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #16
Corvallis, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 15
Regarding how I use the dry suit, I mostly paddle class 4 and 5, around 70 days a year, most of which is in a drysuit. I bought this suit about 2 years ago. The local runs I paddle most frequently are the little white salmon, the green truss section of the white salmon, upper trout creek, opal creek and its tributaries. This area is definitely hard on drysuits. When I say soaked to the skin after a few uses I mean that if I paddle the little white twice in one day in February my clothes would be saturated with water and my skin would be wet. Most of the winter time paddling in the PNW is cold enough that sweating is not an issue if you aren't hiking your stuff in. But without doubt in the spring or early summer I've used a drysuit and gotten too hot and soaked everything from inside out. For base layers I wear a polypro onesie and a onesie fleece suit which stays decently warm even when it's pretty wet. But it makes a winter kayaking road trip not very appealing because putting on wet gear on the second day out is fairly unpleasant.

Among the other people I paddle with none have ever gotten 100 bone dry uses out of a drysuit of any make. I love having a new or recently repaired suit that actually does stay dry. It's amazing to go paddling for 3 or 4 hours and have dry socks at the end of the day. I wish every time out would be like that. The suggestion to wear socks outside the suit is a good one that I will try.

Before sending the suit in I filled a large sink up with warm water and scrubbed it with a small bristle brush but I didn't wash it in a washing machine.

To clarify the exchange I had with kokatat, this is what I sent them after they said the suit needed to be cleaned:

"Ok, yes wash the suit. I would like the suit to be water tight. I also would like to register my displeasure at the nickel and diming that goes on with the warranty process. Was the suit spotless and in pristine condition? No, it is a heavily used dry suit, so it has some residual discolorations. I don't think it was dirty by the standards of a 2 year old, frequently used dry suit. If the suit stayed water tight for more than a few trips I could stomach the hundreds of dollars these repairs cost. As it is this will be my last Kokatat dry suit. It is too expensive to own and maintain for its quality."

Rereading it now it still sounds "succinct and polite" to me. I am probably going to give the Stohlquist Amp a try.
dinsdalw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #17
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 130
I got no dog in the fight but when you say "As it is this will be my last Kokatat dry suit" you are shooting yourself in the foot. From any business' standpoint, customer service is about keeping the buyer happy so you may get future business and/or referrals from you. You gave them the FU, so they gave it right back to you. You gave away all your leverage by being pissy. Now you've come to the internet to bitch. Why?
Jamie D. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #18
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
Based on the reported use, I'd say this is consistent with my experience. When I was hiking into runs, portaging around in the devils club, in the water with ropes in creeks, and all that stuff, I also never got 100 "bone dry" uses out a suit. Doing that kind of boating, I actually found I was better off using an old beater nylon suit that I could repair with aquaseal.

But since I've quit swimming the gnar and portaging around in the thorns, my suits last much much longer. That kind of use is going to destroy a suit over time.

Like you, I found tons of patches and constant dampness.

Buy suits used, buy non breathable suits, and maintain them yourself. Also consider wearing hydroskin under the suit -- you get additional warmth, floatation, and padding.

Now that I don't abuse my suits all the time, I also wash them with no soap of any kind, in a front loader and hang them to dry after every single use. That has made a big difference.

But creeking, in my experience, isn't a sport anyone has really figured out a bomber drysuit for.

Another protip: buy a cheap trashed suit with a good zipper, and you can replace a busted zipper. It's just like a raft patch and a heat gun and 2 part stabond are all you need. I've done it a couple of times and salvaged functional backup/spare suits that way.
slickhorn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2015   #19
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 280
Just a little interesting to me. I have had a goretex drytop for 10+ years. Being lazy, I send my drytop back to Kokatat for Gasket replacement. They do a great job and have leak tested the top w/o charge a couple of years ago. A lot of days with the drytop has resulted in exterior fabric wear along a seam. (Lets in a lot of water.) I wasn't even considering a warranty claim. I used some epoxy glue on the worn fabric. A hack until I buy new.

I mostly use a drysuit now. IR. Maybe not a GMER, but IR customer service has been good and suit good enough. I was too cheap for the GMER and liked the rear entry only offered by IR at the time.

OP, chalk it up to experience and try another brand. You should get a pretty good price selling it used.

sarahkonamojo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2015   #20
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 116
This is the big problem with pissy little whitewater boaters, if you can't afford to play stay home. Whitewater gear and equipment are consumable items. Now you know why some companies will not be held hostage by internet slander or don't go above and beyond in the first palce. Business's try to be good to customers THEN ITS EXPECTED. If I don't get something for nothing I stomp my feet and go to an internet forum and bash them. We are loosing too many quality whitewater manufacturers because of this type of entitlement from boaters. Eventually these companies will say enough bull shit its not worth dealing with these jokers, "watched it happen once already this year with my cat frame manufacturer " this is the only sport where I see it actually going backwards because people are so "dirt bag is cool" they want to be cheap and not take responsibility for wearing out there gear. Not saying this is you, but it is getting to be an epidemic. We need to start treating these manufacturers better that build our gear or pretty soon it will be a real crap shoot to get anything quality.

Riverbound is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Aire Warranty is for real swiftwater15 Kayaking | Gear Talk 5 10-18-2009 08:43 PM
Pucon Chile! The trip of a lifetime! demshitz Commercial Posts 1 08-14-2009 08:41 AM
Cl Creek 1, AT 0 ...warranty? troy.a Whitewater Kayaking 3 05-23-2008 02:38 PM
Wave Sport Warranty 12 weeks and counting SteamboatBoater Whitewater Kayaking 5 04-16-2007 08:51 AM

» Classified Ads
Jackson Rock Star(Medium)

posted by Paddling Life

Brand new 2016 Jackson Kayak Rock Star

Pyranha Burn 3 Medium

posted by Rendezvous River Sports


Bone Kayak Pendant

posted by circuitmonkey

Bone kayak pendant. Made in nepal. I have a bunch of...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:07 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.