Kokatat Idol? Is it the One? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 03-08-2017   #1
 
Dr.AndyDVM's Avatar
 
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2014
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Kokatat Idol? Is it the One?

I am planning on getting a couple of dry suits. I rented 2 kokatat GFERS last year. I felt like Harry Houdini trying to contortion myself in and out of a straight jacket while putting it on or taking it off. My wife had an even harder time getting in and out of hers too. She needed help to get it on and off. Using the bathroom was easy for me. It was a major pain for her. Also, the zip dug into my chest under my green jacket. And walking around at lunch, with the arms around my waist and the suit slipping down to my ankles all made me think that maybe the Kokatat Idol is the way to go.

I know it's $150 more than the GFER but, I'm ok with that if it's worth it. These suits have been available for 2-3 years now. Has anyone used one and would like to comment on the suit? My uses will be rafting and IK'ing for me and my wife/daughter. Any female perspectives who can comment on it especially the bathroom experience vs the Idol and traditional front entry suits?


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Old 03-09-2017   #2
 
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Sandy, Utah
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For rafting, I prefer a Kokatat semi-dry paddling suit over the full dry suit. The paddling suit has latex wrist gaskets but a neoprene neck. In the conditions you will likely face as a rafter, the neo neck works just fine. In a flip/beat down swim you may get a couple tbsp. of water in around the neck, but the trade-off in comfort over the course of the day is worth it. The new neo necks are also cinchable, so you can tighten the neck when you're heading into rapids and loosen it when not in rapids. I think the Idol would be overkill for a rafter, unless you also kayak and need the spray skirt tunnel

I have tried the women's Surge paddling suit that has the newer switch zip system. It's basically a Gore Tex paddle jacket & paddle pants with feet that zip together at the waist to make it water tight. The zipper is a little fiddly, but not bad with practice. You can also use the top and bottoms separately. Did the drysuit your wife used have the large butt zipper or the front female pee zipper? I think she would like being able to unzip & pull down the pants to pee with the Surge suit. I opted to stay with a Super Nova paddling suit with the large butt zipper. It's not too hard to use & the price was better for my budget. Unfortunately Kokatat only makes the Super Nova suits for women in their Tropos fabric which is breathable but not like full Gore Tex. They make the Super Nova for men in Gore Tex, Hydrus fabric, and Tropos fabric.

For her.....
https://kokatat.com/product/gore-tex...nology-dswxsus
https://kokatat.com/product/supernov...ng-suit-dswsno

For you....
https://kokatat.com/product/gore-tex...nology-dsuxsus
https://kokatat.com/product/supernova-angler-dsugsa
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Old 03-09-2017   #3
 
Crested Butte, Colorado
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If the kokatat warranty is no longer a real lifetime warranty I dont see the point in dropping all that cash.
\\

I'd look at one of the other brands that cost half as much
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Old 03-16-2017   #4
 
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Nampa, Idaho
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I went down to CRG in Boise and tried on the Idol. I liked it. I bought 2 of them. One for me and one for my wife. Mine had to be special ordered since the stock booties on the XL are 7-10. I'm a size 13. The suit says it's for people 6' to 6'6". Who is 6' and has feet that small?


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Old 05-02-2017   #5
MendoWill
 
Carbondale, Colorado
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Kokatat Idol - questionable zipper system...

I've had an Idol for 2 years, I probably have ~50 days in it, including 25 on the Grand. I love being able to wear just the pants in the morning on expeditions, while I load the boats and such, and push off from shore. At the sound of whitewater I simply slip the top on and screw the middle together.
Unfortunately I've noticed since day 1 when wearing it that after a few swims I'll have a little bit of water on my clothes under the suit right below my belly button, the point of closure mechanism for the zipper. It was so small that I didn't worry about it.
Sadly, this spring I've realized that every time I swim even a little bit significant amounts of water enters. Not enough to sink me, but enough that from my waist down I'm soaked when I take it off... I don't think the screw-down closure mechanism is working anymore, it seems that it doesn't screw down enough to compress the little gasket, maybe the gasket has shrunk...
Also there is a point on the zipper, the male end that you push into start the zipper, that is so frayed it makes it difficult to initiate. I've trimmed the fuzz, but it continues to fray.
I'm going to call Kokatat about it and see what they say, stay tuned.. If I could make the purchase today I would get the Kokatat Expedition with the cool hood. My buddy bought his at the same time, less moving parts, less points of possible water entry.
Good Luck Everyone!
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Old 05-02-2017   #6
 
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Nampa, Idaho
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Well, I pulled the trigger and got the Idol. I had to get a custom XL. The folks at Kokatat have a weird idea of normal anatomy. I had to get custom booties because even though their website says it is made for people 6'2"-6'5", the booties only fit size 10 feet. I am 6'3" and have size 13. Size 11-14 shoes seem to be pretty consistent for guys my height.

Anyway, the special order took 3 weeks or so to get to Cascade River Gear. I went and picked it up last week and took it down Hells Canyon at 56,000 CFS a couple days later (Saturday, April 29). I took an unplanned swim in Granite Rapid when my new little Spider flipped on a 12' wave. My buddy and I were able to get it righted pretty quickly with the help from some friends. I went for a couple of planned swims to cool down and just enjoy the water too.

When we stopped at lunch, I zipped off the top and walked around in the pants. Super comfy! I did the same at the take out and was able to help get the boats floated on the trailer in just my pants. Awesome!

The thing is, at the end of the day, I felt moisture at the top of my leg, like I had wet my pants. There was enough water on my leg that I knew it couldn't be perspiration. I thought maybe I had a hole in my new suit, or the zipper didn't work, or the dial wasn't compressed, but the moisture was not in the waist area. So, I realized, that either the suit leaked or I had peed myself in that flip. It turned out to be two little slits in the fabric just down from the top of the inseam. (Big sigh of relief that I don't have to tear up my Man Card!)

I called Kokatat's customer service and talked to Trask on Monday. I next day UPSed it to them to get it warrantied. I am hoping that they will rush it so I can use it on the Main Payette this weekend.

I only have 5 hours on the suit, but these are my impressions. It's a little tough to get the Zipper Male end and the other parts lined up to start the zipper car. But, I am getting the hang of it. Also, the zipper is stiff and i have to pull pretty hard to get it to start to unzip. But, walking around, wearing only the pants is awesome. I used a GFER last spring and I tried tying the arms around my waist, but that meant the crotch of the GFER was at my ankles and it felt like I was wearing those ankle handcuffs they put on dangerous criminals like Hannibal Lecter. The Gore fabric worked very well, it was 65 degrees out and I wasn't sweaty at all when I took of the suit. So far, I like it and I'm glad I got it. I don't know how it will hold up as time passes. I also, wonder how those holes got in the groin. They look like they were made with a tiny razor. I just don't think I could have caused them in the short time I had been wearing the suit. But, I guess that is what seam tape is for. Anyway, I like it, and hopefully, the waist won't leak over time
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Old 05-04-2017   #7
 
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Nampa, Idaho
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OK. Like everyone else, I have read about how awesome Kokatat's customer service is. Those were not exaggerations. When I called up about getting my brand new dry suit warrantied, they told me the wait time would be two weeks. I was bummed out because I wanted to go down the Payette this weekend. So I overnighted the suit to them and they rushed it and sent it back to me overnight. Customer for Life!

I just bought five dry suits. I could've gone with a competitor, but now I'm definitely glad I stuck with Kokatat.


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Old 11-17-2017   #8
 
Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AndyDVM View Post
So I overnighted the suit to them and they rushed it and sent it back to me overnight. Customer for Life!
Sorry to dredge up this thread from 8 months ago. Just wondering how the suit has been over time? Did they fix the leak? Have you been perfectly dry since then?

Thanks!
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Old 11-17-2017   #9
 
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Nampa, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostInPDX View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.AndyDVM View Post
So I overnighted the suit to them and they rushed it and sent it back to me overnight. Customer for Life!
Sorry to dredge up this thread from 8 months ago. Just wondering how the suit has been over time? Did they fix the leak? Have you been perfectly dry since then?

Thanks!
Yes, they fixed the leak and I haven?t had any more issues. I wore it all spring and stayed dry the whole time.

My only complaint is the neck gasket is pretty tight. I think that would be the same on any dry suit with a rubber gasket. I could trim it but I?m nervous about overdoing it and making the hole to big. So, I just suffer. My friend has a neoprene neck but it isn?t waterproof. My kids have the neoprene necks too. They appear to be a lot more comfortable. I noticed that the suit wasn' too hot on sunny days. It breathed well and I didn?t perspire.

I really liked the ability to take the top off and walk around in pants. That feature was really valuable to me at the takeout or at lunch stops. It let me wade in the water but have my top off while I did it.

Now that I?ve had it for a season, I can say I would get it again. Kokatat hit a home run on customer service.
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Old 11-17-2017   #10
Misspellingintothefuture!
 
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In my experiences wrestling with the four armed Octopus, it is best to suffer, and to slip into the sweet, sweet, semi-unconsciousness, of oxygen deprivation.
I find that it helps keep me from overthinking rapids, and I am more likely to just go with the flow and trust my instincts.

Syotr,
Matt
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