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Tapping my foot waiting for some snow to start melting, it's a good time to contemplate gear for the upcoming season. For me, it was time for a skirt replacement. One thing I've noticed is it can often be difficult to find objective reviews of kayaking gear (have you noticed every "review" from CKS says the product is awesome?). So, I thought I'd write my review of the Bomber Gear Kbomb skirt. I'm just an enthusiastic average Joe class IV/V kayaker with no industry affiliations and very few friends, thus completely objective.

My skirt wearing history has mostly been with Snap Dragon. My take on Snap Dragon has been mostly positive. Their sizing is predictable, the skirt durability is reasonable (I first used the cheaper version, then the Kevlar version - durability proved to be relative to price), the skirt is fairly easy to take on and off my body and on and off the cockpit. Implosions were only an issue on the old one that I think was a little past it's prime. I had a brief flirtation with an IR skirt, but found everything about it difficult and ended up getting rid of it.

So why change skirts? Is it man's eternal quest to evolve and improve? In my case it was largely driven by parsimony. I could pick up a Kbomb for $110 and the cheapest I could find the equivalent Snap Dragon was around $180. SkirtWorks, Wildwasser are probably reasonable alternatives, but also more expensive.

I have a friend who has had good success with a new Bomber Gear skirt (the cheaper model). There were various positive mountainbuzz reviews, but many seemed to be from Steamboat guys whose objectivity were questionable to me. But being a local CO company, and having had good luck with a couple other Bomber Gear items I've picked up (they make the best poggies around), I decided to give it a shot.

My conclusion at this point is the Kbomb is a fantastic skirt (not even accounting for the lower price). Time will tell how great the durability is, but the first thing I noticed is that the re-enforcement is in all the right places. There's Kevlar material all long the rim where my paddle tends to make contact with the skirt and is always first to wear out, as well as re-enforcement underneath the deck. It has a couple nice thoughtful additions like a clip on the grab loop that you can use to clip to your vest while portaging/scouting/hiking.

The Kbomb uses a rubber system around the cockpit instead of the bungee system like Snap Dragon uses. My experience with the bungee system is that it tends to work great for the first season, but after that it loosens up and doesn't seal around the cockpit tight enough to prevent leakage. The IR I'd tried used the rubber rand system, but that seemed to contribute to the difficulty in getting the skirt on and off the boat. The Kbomb was relatively easy to get on the cockpit even when the skirt was completely dry. I think this has to do with the deck's shape and stretchy material used. Once on though, the seal was fantastic and I got barely a drop of water in my boat. This was probably the biggest positive over the Snap Dragon which never seemed to be all that water tight. What a pleasure not to use my sponge for the entire trip.

Another major Kbomb plus was donning the skirt over the drysuit or drytop. The tunnel is made out of some super stretchy neoprene material that is much more elastic than the Snap Dragon's. This made the always awkward process of hiking up the tunnel over your stomach a much quicker process and the stretchy material created a nice seal around the body.

Lastly, the graphics overlaying the front of the skirt, though a bit more garish than the typical black facade, serves a useful purpose. As a man who appreciates function over form, I liked that the graphics create a water repellent layer over the portion of the deck that gets bombarded most with water. This means a less waterlogged skirt with less heat loss and less chance of water permeating through the deck. I'll let the art critics decide the merits of the graphics, but at least I'll be more visible while swimming.

My conclusion:

Positives:
- Stetchy tunnel makes it easy to don and creates nice seal around waist
- Good fit/seal on cockpit rim (tried on Jefe and EZG)
- Super dry - almost no water leakage, even doing some playboating
- Smart placement of re-enforcement material
- Graphic layering sheds water
- Very price competitive
- Local Colorado company based out of Steamboat

Negatives:
- Graphics may not be to some people's liking
- No implosion bar option for extra implosion resistance

Untested:
- Not yet sure about long term durability
- Have not made a plunge worthy of testing implosion resistance.
 

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Paddled with this skirt all last season and have logged about 50 days in the northwest this year. Although I get some questionable looks when I put it on out here, this skirt is awesome and works as well today as the day I first tried it. Highly recommend it to anyone in the market.
 

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What boat do you have?

I am in the market for a new skirt as well, but with the Pyranha Everest the cockpit is very large. Anyone out there have experience with these skirts on the Everest?
 

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I've used one of the new Bomber Gear skirts for 2 full seasons and it seems to fit most anything, and has held up very well. As far as no implosion bar... I've done plenty of 30 ft plus drops and paddled with it on the Futaleufu with no problems. I've never had an implosion in two and a half years with it. Also the poggies are awesome and the new dry tops look great!
 

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Indeed. I have used the skirt for about a year in the NW now (that means more than 2 months of runoff...) and while I don't feel I have tested the implosion resistance, everything else said here is absolutely true. It has had no problem fitting any boat I have been in: Micro, Kingpin, EZ, Jefe and even a Duo with Paul...

Props to Bomber Gear.
 

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I am very pleased to see positive commits:
Here are pictures of my new ones that will be available in a week.
 

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Rick, I don't see any pics. Did they drop off or did you forget to attach them or were you going to put up a link to your website?

Kevin, which size did you get? I'm in the market for a new skirt, and you're about the same size as me. Also, thanks for the review, specifically the logical aspects of it.
 

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bombshelter?

I have a bombshelter skirt from bomber gear. I like it for all the reasons mentioned above, except the fit on my boat. I have a superstar, and it is not easy to get on. I have to get it wet every time, and even then half the time I have to have a buddy help me out. I think the bomber gear skirts are great for the price, as long as you don't paddle Jackson boats, then they dont really fit. two of my friends have the same experience. Also, when I first got the skirt, I thought it didnt look as quality as the IR skirt I used to wear, but I have used it probably 50 days, and it still looks brand new, so that is nice.
 

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This superstar is a big cockpit, much bigger than I design this skirt for. I will be making some bigger skirts and will have them by mid summer. As far as stretching it on every day, that is a testament to the strength of the skirt. I am sorry you didn't think the quality looked as good as IRs, but it was only an $85 skirt, and it is still keeping you dry. I do make some higher end skirts than the Bombshelter.
 

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I guess I should clarify what I was saying in my previous post. I guess what I am trying to say is that while the skirt may not be as catchy to the eye at first as the IR, it is tougher than the IR. I have used it a bunch, and it still looks brand new. So as far as being bomber in its wear, that is true. I will buy one of your skirts that fit a superstar when you come out with one though, so that is how much I like it. To sum up my experience with the bombshelter: The price is why I bought it, and the durability is why I like it. If you are looking for an inexpensive, dry skirt, this is the way to go.
 

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Bomber skirt

I realize a lot of people did not like my screen designs on the skirts. I am working to change that, for 2010 I took the colors out of the design and focused on toned down yet stylish markings. I am looking to appeal to more people. Please feel free to let me know what you think of the new designs. The idea is that I will have enough different designs that I will be able to appeal to everyone.

I am looking to make the skirts a new form of individual expression, kind of like the color of a boat or dry top.

Not to sound vain, but most paddlers have a look they, work to achieve.

Rick
 

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Lots of people paddle the Bombershelter on Jackson boats. I know from personal experience it works just fine. I've also seen EJ put a Kbomb on an 2010 All Star with full overthruster at Gualey last year, and he didn't seem to struggle at all. It may be difficult to get on at first, but that is good, and once it stretches after a good bit of use it will be easier to get on. Now, if you paddle once a week or less, it may take forever to stretch out like that and you may need to get it wet before you get in your boat, but that really sounds like a lifestyle issue, and not a problem with the skirt.

I find it funny that people want a skirt that is both easy to get on and difficult to impload, as the two seem to conflict. The reason why Bomber gear doesn't call for an implosion device is simple: the deck's do not impload.

I have never had a Bombergear skirt impload on me in all my time using them. The only time I have ever had an implosion was because I got hit by a rock hard and my leg fell out of the knee brace and so I basically fell out of my boat. Never once have I ever had the deck impload from water pressure. Period.

As for the designs, I like them.
 

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I also have to give a thumbs up here for the Bomber gear skirt. I bought one from Rick last year and had a weird warranty issue with it. I sent it back to him and he promptly gave me a new one. Super willing to work with me. Awesome customer service, and I do love the skirt.

I also have a snap dragon w/ an implosion bar, which I still occasionally use (Zambezi, big [for me] waterfalls). The snap dragon is definitely harder to get on my boats.

I didn't think I'd get much use out of the under-side velcro on the bomber skirt, but I've found it's a great place to store pogies if I am taking them on and off through a trip.

I get cold hands pretty easily, and I picked up a pair of bomber gear pogies at the same time I got the spraydeck. These are the first pogies that keep my hands warm, so I can't say enough good stuff about those either. I typically put them on upside-down so the seam doesn't hit my fingernails.

I don't think you'll regret going w/ Bomber gear. I personally still like an implosion bar for some stuff though. I have come up from massive hits and had the implosion bar wedged underneath the cockpit rim.
 
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