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Discussion Starter #1
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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Maybe this will help...

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f26/kokatat-womens-gore-tex-34888.html

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!!!!
 

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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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Discussion Starter #4
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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kokotat

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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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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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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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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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.
 

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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.
I have not had this experience. Four years with a front zip dry suit and the FUD, no issues. Fleece layers with elastic waist or a dedicated drysuit liner (I have a bunny suit that has a two way zipper) and access is fairly easy.

Remember to keep the zippers lubricated. The Tzip that they give you with the suits doesn't work that well. I have had to have a friend help me unzip to pee. I was told the recommended product is bee's wax.
 

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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.
I haven't had this problem either, even with several layers on. My Shewee has an extension hose, so maybe that's why.
 

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Dang, what is my problem? I find the FUD type device I use just kinks and is a real pain in the you-know-what. I used it a couple of times and just gave up. My drysuit is OS, maybe the placement or fabric or something is different.
 

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I opted for Kokatat's "lowered men's relief zip" on my 2nd drysuit, instead of the standard half-moon butt zip. I figured the bulk of the zipper would really, really bug me by digging into my hip bone or something.

I asked other female kayakers for input, and about half preferred each type of zip! But the women who tended to be skinny for their height seemed to prefer the lowered men's relief zip. A Kokatat rep told me that if the suit fits very well, the half-moon zip will not be felt. But if the suit is too large (as in very baggy in the butt), it can become uncomfortable.

I did not have any pee zip on my first drysuit (which was a Stohlquist men's Small) so anything was an improvement. But I'm happy with my men's-style relief zip and don't regret making that choice (which was a custom order, BTW).

One thing that might cause trouble is if you get an actual men's suit, the height of the pee zip might be too high. Try it on and pretend you have a FUD; see if it would work for you. If not, you should get a suit (male or female) specifically with the LOWERED men's relief zip.

The fit of the men's Stohlquist was pretty good in the bottom half (they're cut slimmer than the men's Kokatat) but torso was long for me. It didn't matter in the boat but when walking, my pant legs tended to sag because the waist was also a bit big.

The fit of the women's Kokatat isn't quite right, either, but acceptable. The butt is baggier than it needs to be but, again, it's not a problem.

Definitely go for the Gore-tex if you can afford it. Well worth the extra bucks for reducing dampness inside. You'll still be sweaty where the Gore-tex is covered: PFD, gaskets, sprayskirt tunnel. The rest of the body will be nice and dry.
 

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ok- I know this is an old thread. But I'm looking for any updated advice on preferences. I'm hoping to upgrade my drysuit this winter. I'm looking at Kokotat and I want the gortex w/ socks of course but I'm waffling between the lowered front zip or the dropseat. I'm a rafter so the dropseat isn't an issue hitting the sides of a kayak, but that aside is it the best way to go? I'm not really keen on carrying a funnel with me everywhere either.

I'm also 5' 8" and at the upper limit of a size "large" measurement wise in one area. So should I order a size up so I have more wiggle room? I'm currently in a Kokotat T3 women's basic drysuit and pulling the thing on over certain areas with layers on is pain in the arse. Thoughts?
 

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O.k. this is the womens forum, but I have 3 dry suits. At times I work in them for extended periods a couple weeks at a time for a job. The one I always pull first has a relief zipper, no matter if you are a guy or girl, it sucks shedding the suit to take a piss, and the only suit you will want to never use again is the one that is too small that you can't get enough layers under for what ever conditions you are in. If in doubt go bigger. I normally wear a large, but one of my suites is XXL which I use winter snorking when the air temp is 20 degrees, It don't feel too big, just throw on a belt. I get that thing on with a pair of long johns and heavy fleece pants, on top some times a long john top, fleece and carhart jacket underneath, seriously. My favorite suit is a Coast Gaurd rescue swimmer suite that a budy of mine gave me (one of his old ones), altough the orange and blue is kind of not that appealing to the eye :)
 

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I use the Kokotat Super Nova suit with the mega butt zipper. I'm also a rafter, so the butt zip doesn't bother me. I've never tried a front relief/FUD so I can't comment on that, but the butt zip is plenty big enough to maneuver your under layers fairly easily for a pee break. Not perfect mind you, but not that bad. Unzipping seems to be pretty easy, but sometimes I need some assistance from a friend to zip me back up. As for size, if you are at the top of the size range for a large, go bigger.
The biggest help I had when I bought my suit was from the gal at kayak academy. She is great, a wealth of information & super nice. Kayak Academy | The Elite School For Kayakers And The Kayak Gear Store With Everything You Need
KJ
 
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