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I am looking for a good drysuit but don't know what would be the best brand to start off with

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Another vote for the Kokatat Icon.

Mine is likely arriving this week. I did a lot of research and I think it's one of the best out there right now. My wife and I both bought this suit, and chose custom colors (and sizing for me) using their online gizmo. Check it out - it's fun playing with the colors: Kokatat | Custom - Products

This may be helpful too: Customize your drysuit | Canoe & Kayak Magazine

For me, the Icon had a few things going for it that I loved:
- Rear entry (zipper across the back/shoulders instead of chest/arms - more comfortable, and less chance of water intruding through skirt tunnel bump caused by zipper)
- Lots of CORDURA GORE-TEX (~ all of legs, and shoulders/arms)
- Kokatat Reputation (Warranty, made in USA, etc)

If you decide to pull the trigger I HIGHLY suggest contacting Bobby at CKS. If you tell him Kevin sent you, he may even get you the killer deal he got me and my wife. ;)
 

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IR is next up. Good product and great warranty. Those two companies are by far at the top of the dry suit totem pole.
 

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Plus, these suits can last a long time, so I would look at it as an investment. I think buying an inferior product to save a couple hundred bucks will bite you in the long run, but I understand that sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
 

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If $$ is a factor go dry top and neoprene. Kokatat GMER is the standard. Buy in the offseason when it's cheaper and go with ankle gaskets. Don't settle as the GMER has been proven to last15 yrs or more. Plus if they tested it after that time it would go another 10. Durability is their thing.
 

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Kokatat GMER. This is a product that is worth the extra cost. It's very little extra and you get so much more. Its quality and customer service can not be beat. Another point to mention is Kokatat has continued to sponsor our local community through sponsorship of Bailey fest and the Lyons Outdoor Games to name a few. So the right thing to do is go down to Confluence Kayaks in Denver ( another sponsor of local events) and buy the best drysuit made.

This advertisement was not paid for by anyone
 

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Jared
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OS Systems. Mine is 12 years old, I just replaced all of the gaskets and it is like new after many adventures, brush bashing, and other general abuse. They are located in Oregon. You can't go wrong with Kokatat either.
 

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Kokatat ... Best on the market and it is an investment in your comfort AND safety
 

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Just out of curiosity, why should a paddling product last 10-20 years? We don't expect this out of our skirts, helmets, paddles, life jackets, shoes, cars, etc., which begs the question, when a drysuit does last 5+ years of good paddling, is that not enough?

Always wondered this question when I get into the drysuit debate. Thoughts?

Disclaimer: I've owned 2 gor-tex suits, 1 palm, and 1 IR
 

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Why would someone want the icon over the regular gmer suit? The zipper on the back seems like a major pain...is there some other feature in this suit that make it more desirable?
 

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One (of the many) sources of info I used before deciding on ordering an Icon was a CS rep named Steven at Kokatat, who is a great guy! In my first email to him, I asked a bit about the Icon vs. the GMER, among other things. Below are the parts of my email and his response that apply:

ME: "Also, could you speak to the Icon as a choice of suit. We fully believe in buying quality gear the first time, but what about the Icon vs. the Meridian. The key difference seems to be the zipper location (i.e., front vs. rear entry)? The shoulder would seem an improvement for kayakers because it should allow a better sprayskirt tunnel seal on the zipper-less torso, but I also noticed that the GORE-TEX Meridian is your most popular suit, so perhaps I'm missing something (though I know the Icon is new, and was previously part of the Jackson Collection, so perhaps that has something to do with it?)."

His Response: "The Icon is an excellent suit for whitewater kayaking. You hit the nail on the head that the rear entry zipper improves the suits ability to seal with your spray skirt. The Icon uses a flexible nylon zipper versus the bulkier metal tooth zippers used on the Meridian, which helps to increase freedom of movement. It is also a very durable suit. For the arms, shoulders, and legs it uses Cordura GORE-TEX®, which uses Cordura as the face fabric over a GORE-TEX® membrane and is a more heavy duty material than is used on the Meridian. The Meridian is indeed a very popular suit, but since the release of the Icon and adding new and custom color options this year, the Icon is growing in popularity."

There is a lot of other info out there too, including threads about leakage via the GMER 'bump' that the suit creates in your spray skirt, but perhaps this helps.
 

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Sorry for the post-a-thon, but I found one more site I bookmarked that has relevance: Playak

It's a review of the Meridian, but has a section on Entry that says:

I know that the debate about chest zip versus shoulder zip on drysuits rages on. While the chest zip on the Meridian offers super easy entry and exit it also creates a bulky right shoulder where the zipper curves. Back entry drysuits, like the Kokatat Icon (http://kokatat.com/gore-texr-icon-dry-suit-with-relief-zipper-and-socks-men.html), are a bit harder to get in and out of, but the zipper area feels much more even and less bulky. This really comes down to personal preference and how flexible you are when trying to reach a rear entry zipper. The across the chest zipper found on the Meridian wins hands down when it comes to ease of use.
 

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Jared
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Just out of curiosity, why should a paddling product last 10-20 years? We don't expect this out of our skirts, helmets, paddles, life jackets, shoes, cars, etc., which begs the question, when a drysuit does last 5+ years of good paddling, is that not enough?

Always wondered this question when I get into the drysuit debate. Thoughts?

Disclaimer: I've owned 2 gor-tex suits, 1 palm, and 1 IR
I never thought mine would last that long, it just has. The materials involved with drysuits are pretty water resistant, but helmets take impacts, and flotation in PFDs degrade over time, along with the outer shells. Neoprene breaks down over time, etc. I think since the materials are waterproof in drysuits, they are able to outlast a lot of our other gear. (Gaskets don't last that long lol)
 

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Another vote for Kokatat...

USA made, incredible customer service on any issues, tried and true dependability. I have a five year old GMER and it has never lest me down, was serviced once two years ago.New gaskets, pressure tested fixed pin holes and washed. My favorite piece of equipment next to my paddle. Now ICON or GMER, pretty much comes down to front zip or back zip. Both are awesome!!!

TMCK


Keep the Hairy Side Up......
 

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No. There is nothing as good as Kokatat. search every thread it is always the same conclusion.
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It's an investment, not a wear item.

Kokatat replaced my 10 year-old GMER last year when it delaminated. I had already figured that $100/year or $3/use was a good deal.
 
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