Stohlquist Amp vs Kokatat Meridian drysuit? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-07-2018   #1
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Stohlquist Amp vs Kokatat Meridian drysuit?

Looking at getting my first drysuit for ww kayaking. I already have a Kokatat Drytop and enjoy it but I'm looking at extending the season a bit. I was looking at a Kokatat Meridian or Idol but have an opportunity at getting a new Stohlquist AMP for 400$ CDN taxes in. That comes to about a 1000$ less then the Kokatat. Anyone has experience with both? Wondering if it's worth getting the ''cheaper'' suit given the tremendous price difference. Thanks.

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Old 01-07-2018   #2
 
Grand Junction, Colorado
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Id go for the stohlquist at that price Kokatat is great but not 1000 dollars more great..
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Old 01-08-2018   #3
 
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Originally Posted by flipper42 View Post
Id go for the stohlquist at that price Kokatat is great but not 1000 dollars more great..
Thanks for the reply. That's what I figured. It's too much of a good deal to pass up even if the product might be inferior.
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Old 01-08-2018   #4
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Depends on if it is worn out with leaking seams after one season. If you already own Kokatat then you know how great their warranty is. I realize a retail price GMER is expensive, but look for sales or try and find one that is lightly used. You will be able to send it in and have all the seams resealed for minimal cost. I have owned Stohlquist too, and their products were quite good when they were made in the US..... last piece of dry gear I bought from them felt like a trash bag. Couldn't get more than $50 out of it when I went to resell it.
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Old 01-08-2018   #5
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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Yeah...seems like the only big difference is the Gore-tex vs non-Gore-Tex breatheable material. They both have fabric socks, latex neck and wrist gaskets with a relief zipper and Cordura added in high wear areas. Definitely a hard sell that Gore-tex is $1000 better then a more generic breatable material. Kokatat build quality and customer service is pretty hard to beat though.

Just double check the size charts and that one will fit you. I'd say make sure you are in the middle. I know the Stohlquist Shift I got last year that I supposedly would fit in (just barely) turned out to be way too small (I'm on the larger side for most whitewater people). The XXL size from Kokatat fits me well but tends towards baggy but is very comfortable.
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Old 01-08-2018   #6
 
Westminster, Colorado
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I have similar thoughts as others. If you expect to really use the suit, get the Kokatat for the warranty and customer service. The extra $$ will be worth it over time.

If you're tight on cash, get the Amp, but don't expect to stay as dry and the warranty and customer service are not at the same level as Kokatat.

I needed a suit and could not afford the Kokatat. I got the Amp in March 2016 and price was my deciding factor when I got it. I'm 5'10" and 200lb. I got the XL and it was WAY to big. I exchanged it for a large and that fits me fine. The Amp is my first dry suit so I can't compare it to Kokatat on performance, but here is what I like about it.
It fits my stocky body type well and it is easy to get in and out of. I've used it in 80F weather on 40F water, with lycra top, longjohns, and swim trunks underneath; The suit was comfy. It breathed well. I was only a little damp at the end of the day. I've used it in surf in the Pacific with 52F water and 55F air a Morro Bay with full lycra and polyester longjohns underneath. The soaking from the surf seemed to reduce the moisture transfer a bit, but I was still comfortable. The zipper pocket on the left upper arm is nice to have; I keep my rescue inhaler there. The tunnel works well - snugs up easily. The neck gasket fit me well with no trimming. Never had leaks in the gasket areas while playing in surf or practicing rescues for a few hours in flat water.

Gripes: The socks get pretty wet inside, but that may be due to small leaks or sweaty feet. I can't tell. It has not mattered enough to me to figure out exactly what the issue is. Even with a little lube, the zipper is stubborn coming over the shoulder and easily snags fabric underneath. I have a few holes in my favorite tops now (that's probably just me being my usually dorky self). The material gets fairly rigid in air temps below 50F. This also may be a common experience.

Concerns with the Amp: Gaskets discolor quickly with any type of sunscreen. I talked to a Stohlquist rep about it at Lumpy Waters in 2016 and he told me the discoloration was was expected and to rinse it well and avoid contact with chemical sunscreen; if the discoloration persisted, send it in for repair. My gaskets are fine after a good rinsing.
I can't say if Kokatat has the same issues with the gaskets or socks.
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Old 01-08-2018   #7
 
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The gaskets discoloring is just something that latex does and is not brand dependent. Avoid it by applying the sunscreen and letting it dry before you put the drysuit on. Its inevitable that it will happen though, since you gotta re-apply every couple hours to make it work so just minimize use.

I definitely get a bit of moisture in my socks on my Kokatat Angler paddle suit too and I mostly attribute it to sweat since it seems to show up whether I go in the water or not. They are certainly way nicer then ankle gaskets and probably better then latex socks too (never tried them...but that sounds uncomfortable and prone to failure and tearing.

It just occured to me that I'm surprised there aren't Silicone drysuit gaskets. I'm sure there is a good reason, but I'd be interested to find out. Silicone is ideal since its much less likely to cause a skin reaction and is more durable. I suspect it wouldn't have any of the sunscreen problems either. I'll have to look into that.
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Old 01-09-2018   #8
 
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I have had my GMER for 4 seasons now and use it between 50-100 days a year. I have sent it in to be serviced once in that time period. It does not leak a drop of water anywhere and it does not get sweat/condensation build up inside because the Goretex breathes so well.... bought it for 30% off from CKS during an off season sale.
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Old 01-09-2018   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric-Mayhem View Post
It just occured to me that I'm surprised there aren't Silicone drysuit gaskets. I'm sure there is a good reason, but I'd be interested to find out. Silicone is ideal since its much less likely to cause a skin reaction and is more durable. I suspect it wouldn't have any of the sunscreen problems either. I'll have to look into that.
Silicone gaskets are available. Check with your local dive shop. Silicone will be more comfortable and are more resilient to UV radiation. They aren't as tough as latex -- silicone seals will tear and puncture easier.
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Old 01-09-2018   #10
 
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Yeah...looked it up right after I posted and saw the options. I'm surprised they are more prone to breaking...always thought Silicone was pretty tough stuff. I might have to try one out...I have a drytop that needs a new neck gasket.

edit: Looked a bit harder and it turns out that Silicone doesn't really stick to anything except more silicone (I thought this was the case but thought there might be some specialized glue), so you have to use a metal ring that is sewn into the garment. This works allright for Dive suits but evidently isn't ideal for Kayaking use. Irregardless...if you want to use one on an existing drysuit or top, you'd have to have a ring installed to use it. Latex it is I suppose...still.
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