Long Term Kokatat Idol Reviews? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-30-2017   #1
Redding, California
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1
Long Term Kokatat Idol Reviews?

So I am finally in the market to get a drysuit, and I have been eyeing down the Kokatat Idol.

1) I don't have a reliable Drytop, so a drysuit that doubles as a drytop would fit my needs perfectly

2) I may just do the stupid thing and get custom colors so that I look pretty

My question to those who have owned the Idol for at least a year, what is the long term durability of the drysuit? How is that waist zipper? I've seen mixed results with that zipper from the few longer term reviews I could find (and I didn't find many).

If you could do it over again and get an Icon, would you?


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Old 08-30-2017   #2
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,113
When I saw one in person the zip mechanism looked pretty bulky and kind of scared me off. I wear out my gear so the only use I see for it is if you're trying to travel really light and need both drytop & drysuit, or maybe a long river trip that straddles the drysuit/drytop zone, but seems like limited use cases.
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Old 08-30-2017   #3
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 13
I was hesitant on the zipper at first. Took me a few tries each time to get it nested right and was cumbersome at first. After a While I could get it first time and I've had no problems in a season of use. Really nice suit.
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Old 08-31-2017   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 350
I've got maybe 100 days in mine. Love it. Zipper takes some getting used to.

Obvious advantages KSC hit- less gear when traveling, and cheaper than buying a separate dry top/dry suit. It will also never take one of your buddies to help you zip/unzip your drysuit. It is super easy to tell when the zipper is fully closed/water tight.

Downsides- when using it only as a dry top, the zipper & zipper cloth cover flap are a bit bulky to pull a spray skirt tunnel over. As a drysuit- I like to wear my throwbag around my waist, in my lap, under the sprayskirt. Due to the zipper "box," where the zipper begins/terminates, that's slightly less comfy, though still plenty doable. I wish they would refine the zipper beginning/terminus box a bit. Not in love with a steel bolt perpendicular to my body at my waist on principal. Taking a whiz takes slightly more effort, as the zipper is up at the waist. Lining up the zipper to make sure it's begun in the exact right spot (can skip a tooth, then the ends don't line up) takes a little bit of practice.

If I'm not wearing my throwbag on my waist, zero zipper box complaints once I'm in the boat.

I find the care and feeding is about the same as any dry top these days. Wax the zipper occasionally and you're good to go.

I wander/travel to a lot of different kayaking spots, and for me it's excellent.

If I was only needing a dry top or only needing a dry suit though, I would consider buying the GMER or Rogue (the two items I replaced with the Idol).
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Old 09-26-2017   #5
Prince George, BC
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 5
I have had mine for a couple seasons now and I would buy one again. The zipper is a little awkward to get started, but it is workable and you don't need to rely on buddies. I find I have to pull my deck on over my head to avoid getting tangled with the zipper.
With some back bands there can be a little rub (I notice it in my Freeride but not in my Recon) but taking an extra second to make sure the zipper is flat fixes it for all but the longest boating sessions.
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Old 09-26-2017   #6
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 96
I have probably 75-80 days in mine. I'm a woman, and I ordered the Men's medium because the sizing was better. The arms are a bit long and the socks are too big but otherwise it fits really well. If you're thinking about doing a custom suit anyway, you can adjust the arm length and sock size, etc.

I also didn't have a drytop when I started. As others have said, when used as a top the zipper is sometimes noticeable, but not when I'm wearing the full suit. Peeing is slightly more difficult because of the zipper but I much prefer it to the huge butt zip on other women's suits or the shenis. It's sometimes hard to restart the zipper while wearing a skirt and pfd. Make sure you lube the bolt now and then to prevent being trapped in the suit when you have to pee really bad!

As for durability, it's been pretty good. I got the green color and it's fairly faded at this point. I also had to replace the neck gasket (wrists are on their way out too) a little sooner than I expected but I'll admit to not being as good with the 303 as I should be. I think kokatat may have had a bad run of gaskets. The fabric only started leaking after I swam and then had to bushwhack through some Hawthorne- totally my own fault.

I have see people have leakage at the bolt before- I did too once but fixing it is really simple. There's a nut on the bolt that occasionally loosens and keeps you from being able to tighten it completely. Just make sure it's tight before you put it on. Overall I've been really happy with the Idol and will buy another one when the time comes. I'm going to Chile next week and I'm glad I'll have one less thing to pack.
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