For you women (men?) who own dry suits... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-14-2011   #1
trickpony's Avatar
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 69
For you women (men?) who own dry suits...

So, I'm looking at buying my first dry suit... decided to go with a Kokatat... never hear anything bad about them.

A nearby shop is having a sale... and it's come down to buying a men's M or a women's L. (I'm 5'9" and about 150).

There are two issues:
1. I recently borrowed a women's drysuit with a drop-seat and it was pretty uncomfortable in a kayak (sitting on the zipper) - but it was also a M - I'm at the upper end of the height range for that suit... maybe it just didn't fit well? Anybody else have problems with the drop-seat dry suits?

2. The color of the women's sale suits sucks. I know, I know... I said it.

Essentially, they seem to fit about the same, the only difference is a front zip versus ass zip and looking infinitely cooler. Style before safety.

Any thoughts? Will I regret getting a Men's suit?

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Old 06-14-2011   #2
ednaout's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 966
Maybe this will help...

If I didn't link that properly, just scroll down on the main Betty Buzz page and look for the kokatat thread (about drysuit sizing) that I started asking just a little while back.

I don't know how different the men's vs women's cuts are, but they make them gender specific for a reason, I suppose. Luckily, it sounds like you can go try them on...I would go that route.
I've heard complaints about the drop seat and I would personally steer clear of that - that would drive me crazy!
Good luck on your search - I AM SO HAPPY I FINALLY GOT A DRYSUIT!!!!! SO. SO. Worth it!!!!
"You know that old trees just grow stronger and old rivers grow wilder, everyday..."
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Old 06-14-2011   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 69
There are differences is sizes for genders. Basically, men tend to have more torso and arm length when compared to inseam than women. What this means is that as a women, in a men's suit, on average, you will have more arm and torso fabric than you want and the legs could be a little short (too much fabric can ad some drag when underwater making rolls etc harder).
The relief zipper on the women's suit should allow enough fabric in the hip/leg area for you to pull the zipper up so you don't have to sit on it.
Trying them on will obviously be the most helpful.
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Old 06-14-2011   #4
trickpony's Avatar
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 69
Thanks for the info guys.

And although maybe it's already been kicked around too much... any thoughts on the Tropos material versus GoreTex? Is it even comparable? I mean, there's a $500 difference (in this case...)
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Old 06-15-2011   #5
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 88
Gore-tex, hands down. Far more durable and guaranteed for the life of the suit by Kokatat.
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Old 06-15-2011   #6
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 53

I would try the womens large. I am 5'7" and 126 and I am at the max. The zipper doesnt bother me except getting in the boat but then i am fine.
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Old 06-15-2011   #7
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 156
I'm 5'6" and about 130 pounds and I have a medium Kokotat (black and purple version). It fits perfectly, even with a lot of layers and a down jacket underneath. I actually got the front relief version after speaking with a couple of girlfriends that already owned drysuits. While they said that the rear relief wasn't always in the way, they all agreed that the front relief wasn't nearly as uncomfortable. That means I use a Shewee to "relieve" myself. I practiced using it a couple of times in the shower and I've never had an issue using it on the river. It's kinda weird to get used to standing, but it definitely makes the pee break easier and faster! Just be sure to try the different sizes on and to make sure you layer up underneath while trying them on as well. Throw down the money for the GoreTex, you won't regret it! My drysuit has BY FAR been the best investment I've made for any piece of whitewater gear. It was a game changer for sure. Don't forget to get some sort of booty so that your feet are completely covered so that you don't get holes!!
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Old 06-15-2011   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
The female drysuit discussion came up when I was paddling in canada. The lady of the group had a drop seat drysuit and she didn't like it. She said the drop zipper was a pain in the playboat as it dug into her due to hip pads or something like that.

She also brought up the point that her drysuit was drop bottom, but her underlayers and pants didn't have the drop bottom, so she had to take the entire suit off instead of trying to shimmy her pants down throught he drop bottom.

She was wishing she had the front zipper and the ladies pee funnel deal.
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Old 06-15-2011   #9
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 128
I've had my kokotat gortex drysuit for 10 years (and yes, the first 6 years I paddled a lot and used it throughout the nw winter). They last forever. I've sent it in twice to have gaskets and minor leaks repaired.

I bring this up to say . . . spend a little extra to have a color/size/fit/style you want. It's worth it to feel good and to want to go paddling.
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Old 06-15-2011   #10
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
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Posts: 4,602
Originally Posted by deepsouthpaddler View Post
She was wishing she had the front zipper and the ladies pee funnel deal.
This doesn't really work either. Ideally you'd have a fly in your undergarments (you still have to be able to pull them down in the front), and the zip is too high to really get the job done without a mess. I don't use mine except for venting air.
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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