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Discussion Starter #1
Hey ladies! I am in the market for a dry suit as I will be oaring the Grand March 2013 :) Yay!! I am seeking advice on styles of drysuits. I am willing to invest $$$ as I want something boomber but am confused about what style other ladies seem to think works best through trial and error. Drop seat? Or just front opening and use a go-girl? I will be oaring my own cataraft with hopefully another girl on board so not concerned about using a go-girl or modesty - just wondering which is the least pain in the arss. Thanks for any help you can offer!

Jennifer
 

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A few threads on this already, but I'll chime in anyway. I used to have a no-frills Kokatat with no feet, no zip- nothing. It worked fine for 3 and a half years before I upgraded to my current Gortex version with a drop seat and socks. I have a friend who has the female relief zip and she says it's a nice idea in theory- but it doesn't work for her. Too much annoyance trying to shove aside layers to use the funnel. Thus far I like the drop seat (as long as I don't look in a mirror that is). One thing I noticed with the drop seat- get a little bigger suit than you would otherwise so you have room to shift the layers when using the dropseat. Just my experience thus far. Happy shopping.
 

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I absolutely hate drysuits. I found myself intentionally dehydrating myself so I could go all day without peeing, but finally decided it just wasn't worth the misery. Now I just wear a drytop and dry pants, and am way more comfortable and just as warm and almost as dry.
 

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I have a ladies small kokotat with the dropseat and I love it. The zipper can be a bit annoying but recruit a friend to help you and you'll be fine.

BUT

You won't need a drysuit to row the Grand in March unless you plan on swimming OR if you have no other dry gear. I did a trip in December and splash pants with a goretex splash top and lots of fleece worked great, and I could easy strip layers as needed. If you think you'll be doing lots of winter boating then get one, otherwise see if you can borrow one from a friend if you really think you'll need one for the trip.
 

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I have a friend who has the female relief zip and she says it's a nice idea in theory- but it doesn't work for her. Too much annoyance trying to shove aside layers to use the funnel.
Guys have to shove aside layers, too...just one of the drawbacks of a drysuit vs. peeing in your wetsuit! :lol:


One thing I noticed with the drop seat- get a little bigger suit than you would otherwise so you have room to shift the layers when using the dropseat. Just my experience thus far. Happy shopping.
the nice thing about a drysuit a size bigger (for anybody) is that you can burp out the extra air, and it's not as bad of a fit (or as cold/dangerous) as a too-big wetsuit.
 

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I use a Kokatat Super Nova semi-dry suit with the butt zipper. As a catarafter, I don't have quite the level of water exposure as a kayaker, and I felt this suit was an affordable option for me. I am happy with the neoprene neck closure instead of a latex neck gasket. The butt zipper takes a little practice, but it's nice to have.
I would highly recommend looking at the Kayak Academy website. There's lots of good general dry suit info there. They are very knowledgable and helpful folks to talk with about dry suits.
Have a great trip.
KJ
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice ladies!! I am leaning more towards drop seat as I am not a kayaker and think the go-girl might be a real pain to use with layers etc.... I will hopefully have another girl on my boat so hoping we can just help eachother with the zipper. Any advice on keeping zipper healthy and easy to use?

While I don't plan on swimming I'm more of an "expect the best but prepare for the worst" kinda gal and definitly want a dry suit. I feel it will not only keep me dryer in a flip or dump than my splash pant/dry top combo but will also add flotation - which is always appreciated. I have not ruled out borrowing one but kinda feel like the investment is worth it especially if I take care of it and can use it on future trips. I have done the Grand in March/early April as a passenger and it was cold some days and the days it was warm it was never hot and the water was freezing as usual..... had we flipped it would have been a real bummer to say the least since all I have was a splash top and pants. Crossing fingers I can stay in the boat but this will be the biggest water I have oared myself so..... just preparing myself ;)

Thanks again for the advice! Any more is appreciated :)

Jennifer
 

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You can look up zipper care- but I just use cheap parafin wax (the kind sold in a block in the canning aisle of the grocery store) to keep the zipper moving easily. I've never had any problems with using my zipper solo.
 

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I have a Peak UK dry suit with the ankle to ankle zipper leg entrance. I love it for kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddling. I've been very happy with choosing different layers for paddling day comfort according to possible water temperature and exposure times as well as air comfort considerations. I have been very impressed with how well it breathes, and I think having built in "socks" is fantastic.

On the possible down-side for rafting use, it does have the double tunnel built in for a kayak spray skirt. However, this certainly doesn't bother me for either canoeing or stand up paddling.

I know they show up for sale on the boatertalk gearswap.
 

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I did a Grand trip that launched on Mar 1st a few years ago. The first few days in Marble canyon were chilly and I wore my drytop and splash pants over wetsuit pants. The rest of the trip I wore shorts and a bathing suit. You should be fine w/o drysuit. That said, I eventually bought a full kokatat drysuit w/ feet and drop seat. wearing warm dry socks has some appeal. I cannot imagine taking a funnel w/ me every time I wore a dry suit on the river so that I could pee..where do you stow such a thing after use? Plus if you ever needed to do something other than pee.....Good luck and have fun!
 

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SarahofTheWaves
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My opinion.
3rd drysuit and innumerable drytops.
Buy the best you can.
I prefer the front pee zipper. Much easier to operate. I use a pstyle pee device. Butt zipper... too much zipper and gets in the way. Kokotat will install lower pee zip for women.
I prefer entrance zipper across the back of the shoulders. Across my chest is uncomfortable for me.
Go custom if necessary. No reason to get a drysuit if you don't get the feet.
S
 

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If you are just getting it for the Grand - I don't think you'll need it. I sat up front without a dry suit and was OK. If you are rowing, you'll be plenty warm. Just get a good splash jacket and a Farmer Jane. Dry suits are a pain. I went in March, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks!

Thanks for all the replies! I am still a little unsure of what to do however I've got some good positives and negatives to think about. The thought of wearing neoprene for 21 days however does not sound appealing. I hate putting that stuff on! BUT it is much cheaper and easier to use the bathroom. I want to wear something.... I realize I might have great weather but I also might have cold weather and I would much rather plan for the worst. I am also thinking a dry suit might some in handy on some of the side hikes with water or if I get some rain... I am willing to pay for the best gortex suit and get custom if needed. To me its an investment that I can use again, albeit not very often.

Thanks again for all your input. I think it comes down to a personal preferance - just need to weigh the pros and cons. And I have some time to think about it.... only 8 months :p!

Jennifer
 

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SarahofTheWaves
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It is very unlikely you will wear your drysuit on a hike.
The Colorado is very cold. If the weather turns cold you will really wish you had a drysuit. It is the luck of the draw. I have been on warm March trips and very cold April trips. And if you flip or swim a drysuit is really nice.
Unless you pee in your wetsuit, a wetsuit is more difficult to remove to pee than a drysuit is to unzip.
Drysuits are much more comfortable than a wetsuit unless you are surfing in the ocean.
S
 

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I had been reading this thread as I was contemplating the purchase of a new drysuit. The one from 1997 just didn't fit anymore, it wasn't goretex, had no relief zipper of any kind, and had no feet. I bought Kokotat GFED which I wore every day last week in Idaho. I tested it's water proofness, and I love it. The squatting peeing thing with the drop seat isn't as easy as one might think, but totally doable. The zipper operation (drop seat and entry) took some reaching but I didn't need help. As a rafter I can't comment on the drop seat zipper comfort in a kayak, but I hardly noticed it at all untill I wanted to open it.
 
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