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 Post subject: Advice on DrySuits
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:50 am 
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Location: CLEARWATER, MN
I need to purchase a Dry Suit. I have been looking at a Tokatak Tropos SuperNova Dry Suit. It comes with a neoprene collar and sewed in boots.
I have a couple of questions:
Should I buy a suit in my dimensions (or should I go one size larger?)
Is a neoprene collar more/less comfortable than a latex collar?
Should I get addon or sewn on boots?

I also have to be careful about my budget. The Tokatak suit mentioned
is a mid-range priced suit, and I don't want to go much higher.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Location: Gippsland Lakes Victoria Australia
I don't know much about them yet - but if/when I get one I want the pee zipper feature.
:P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:50 pm 
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Location: Calga NSW, Australia
mickeymouse wrote:
I don't know much about them yet - but if/when I get one I want the pee zipper feature.
:P


Ah Mickey, just let it rip - why waste all that warmth?

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on DrySuits
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:33 pm 
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Location: Northern VA
TIDALWAVE wrote:
I need to purchase a Dry Suit. I have been looking at a Tokatak Tropos SuperNova Dry Suit. It comes with a neoprene collar and sewed in boots.
I have a couple of questions:
Should I buy a suit in my dimensions (or should I go one size larger?)
Is a neoprene collar more/less comfortable than a latex collar?
Should I get addon or sewn on boots?

I also have to be careful about my budget. The Tokatak suit mentioned
is a mid-range priced suit, and I don't want to go much higher.


Hi Tidalwave,

For extended season (or totaly out of season) sailing, a dry suit is a must. For size, think about when you'll be using it. The suits themselves have no insulation value what-so-ever. The only insulation is what you wear inside the suit. I've sailed in 30 degree weather, with 34 degree water temps, and I usually go with wool socks, long-johns & jeans, a thermal undershirt, t-shirt, & sweatshirt. It's worked well for me so far.

I think mine is a neoprene collar, but I'm not certain. Can't check as the suit's not here where I am. Definitely go with the sewn on boots. That's what makes for a truely watertight suit. With add-on boots, you'll always be getting some leakage where the two meet. At least that's what I've found with the wrist cuffs & my gloves.

I have a Gul, while a friend of mine has a Gil. After having them for a little over a year, we're both quite happy with them so far. The Kokatat appears to be among the best rated suits on the market, which is probably why they're also so expensive. If budget is a concern (& isn't it for most of us?) then a less expensive, but still decent quality, brand may be an option to consider. Of course there is one other thing to think about once you have the suit. What are your friends & co-workers going to think when you tell them you're taking an afternoon off work to go sailing in the middle of January? Mine thought I was nuts.

Happy Sailing,
- Jim L


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Location: Gippsland Lakes Victoria Australia
Quote:
The suits themselves have no insulation value what-so-ever. The only insulation is what you wear inside the suit. I've sailed in 30 degree weather, with 34 degree water temps, and I usually go with wool socks, long-johns & jeans, a thermal undershirt, t-shirt, & sweatshirt. It's worked well for me so far.


Jim - I haven't tried extreme cold weather sailing yet and am not sure whether it would get cold enough here to warrant using a full drysuit.
However your comment that the suit offers no insulation value has me wondering whether it might be a suitable option here in winter.
My concern is that if the day warms up, I would overheat wearing a drysuit. Is there a comfortable temperature range you would use it in?
I would be interested in your thoughts on this - and anyone else's thoughts too. :roll:
Thanks :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:42 pm 
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Location: Northern VA
Hi Mickey,

It doesn't have to be extremely cold for a drysuit to be worthwhile. I guess it's more about the water temperature than it is the air temp.

Glenn_Southriver & I were out on the Chesapeake Bay this past weekend (27-30kt sustained & 35-40kt gusts on Saturday - WHAT A RIDE! :D ). While the air temps were mild, low 50's to upper 60's Fahrenheit. the water temp was only 47 degrees. I was dressed in jeans & long-johns, and thermal shirt, t-shirt & sweatshirt, with heavy socks. Glenn usually goes with sweatpants rather than jeans. Either works fine. I was quite comfortable. I never felt cold, and the only time I felt "warm" was when the wind died for a spell on Sunday, and we were peddling in the bright sun. Dark color suit & warm sun... we were warm, but not hot. Fixed this by dragging our feet & legs in the water for a few minutes. It's an kind of an odd feeling to feel like you're wet, but are actually still dry.

We were out one nice day last spring when the air was about 72 degrees, but the water was still below 45. That time I went without the sweatshirt. Was comfortable the whole time. I did jump into the 40 something water that day, just to see if it really did keep me completely dry. I could feel that it was cooler, but even after about 15 minutes in the water, I wasn't what I consider cold. Suit was quite buoyant, too. When we did our New Years Day Polar Bear Sail, I added a flannel shirt layer and a pair of neoprene socks. Again, I was quite comfortable. I decided not to try jumping in that day. If you do get a little warm, I've found that this usually results in the air inside the suit expanding a bit (feel like the Michelin Tire Man). Just pull the neck gasket out a bit to "burp" the suit, and that seems to let a little cool air in at the same time.

One thing about the sewn on socks/booties though. Don't walk in just those. The material is not very thick. It's designed for waterproofing, not for walking. When you pull on the suit, immediately follow with a pair of water shoes, boots, or similar item. Don't want to tear that material on a rock, dock nail, splinter, etc.

If you're looking to extend your season, I'd say a drysuit is a worthwhile investment. The only thing that kept Glenn & I off the water during the rest of January & February this year was our schedules. There were a number of days that we would've been out there if other obligations hadn't gotten in the way. :(

Happy Sailing,
- Jim L


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:35 pm 
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Location: Gippsland Lakes Victoria Australia
Hey Jim - thanks for all the info - much appreciated :wink:
I'll certainly give this more thought as the cool weather approaches.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:49 am
Posts: 42
Location: Dahlgren, VA
The Kokotat is a good piece of gear. I bought mine 24 years ago and it is still holding up well through a lot of whitewater canoeing. It does show signs of wear but still works flawlessly. The neoprene collar was not an option then. I regularly treat the seals with a protectant and keep it stored in a cool, dark, dry closet when not in use. The collar will need to be replaced next year. I use a full-body one piece liner and one or two layers of synthetic long johns. It has kept me warm as low as -10F although that is not an experience I want to repeat.

My next dry suit may well be a two piece. Having to virtually exit the suit to go to the bathroom (when there isn't a bathroom to go to) is a real hassle. As I get older and gain a greater appreciation of the importance of comfort, this becomes a higher priority.

It is amazing that the suit has held up this well. I attribute that to regular seal maintenance and lots of protectant.

Baysailor

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:58 am 
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Location: Belfast, Maine
Well here's my two cents. I have a kokatat. Used it a lot in the last couple of years. It doesn't have the sewn in feet--just gaskets around ankles. I use kayak booties that are very rugged. They sometimes fill with water during launching but after a few minutes the water warms up like a wet suit. My feeling is most shores around here are rocky and barnacle-y which would do a number on the suits with sewn on feet. Also thought I wouldn't like them with the mirage drive. I dressed in work clothes the day I got it and spent an hour in the local pool swimming, diving etc. I found it was impossible to submerge without burping at collar. Nice to know. After removing suit after being in pool for one hour not one drop of water on my clothes. I feel secure in it. It is a great suit. (It's hard to spend that kind of money but when it comes to ones life you shouldn't scrimp.) I picked this suit because someone on this site recommended it and he put a heavy emphasis on breathability. It is quite comfortable in a wide range of temperatures. Don't consider buying one without a relief zipper. Buy it through llbean. If something goes wrong with it they'll give you a new one.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Location: Fort Walton Beach, Florida
I just came in from a three hour cruise here in the Florida panhandle and am very happy to report that i have and use a Gill Dry-suit! The water is still "freezing" here, and as we all know, sailing in the A.I., you will be "wearing" plenty of it. I'm certain you will be happy with a super high quality (expensive) dry suit, but just FYI, the Gill works very well for our application. I also discovered this week, that White-Lighting lubricant (for bicycle chains) keeps the dry suit zipper working like new!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:06 pm 
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Location: Gippsland Lakes Victoria Australia
mcoop57 wrote:
I just came in from a three hour cruise here in the Florida panhandle and am very happy to report that i have and use a Gill Dry-suit! The water is still "freezing" here, and as we all know, sailing in the A.I., you will be "wearing" plenty of it. I'm certain you will be happy with a super high quality (expensive) dry suit, but just FYI, the Gill works very well for our application. I also discovered this week, that White-Lighting lubricant (for bicycle chains) keeps the dry suit zipper working like new!

What model is yours??
I notice they are breathable :roll:
Do they come with the "comfort zip"??
Thanks for sharing info :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:03 pm 
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Location: Fort Walton Beach, Florida
looks like the model # is 4800. is has the "Front angled Zipper" and is red,grey and black. Also notable, the thing is baggy enough that you don't need a seperate relief zipper.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:48 am 
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Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Howdy from NW Wyoming, where I still have 1 1/2 feet of snow in my yard.

Just got back from a trip to Lake Powell in Utah.

Here's my biases:

Invest your $ wisely in top quality toys, rather than throwing it away foolishly in the stock market.

Our Kokatat suits rock. My GF has the Expedition with a hood attached. Wish I had that feature.

I strongly suggest getting the completely waterproof latex color and attached booties. Wear size 15 booties over your feet. If you end up in trouble in the water, there will probably be waves knocking you around. In such a situation, don't you want to be dry?

The latex collar isn't as comfortable as the neoprene, but you can stretch it out over a cooking pot overnight (get a pot 2 inches in diameter greater than your neck). Eventually, the latex will stretch out for a perfect fit.

The woman's rear zip doesn't work worth a damn for my GF. If I had it to do over again, I'd have gotten her a men's front zip so when I loan it to guys they'd find it easier to pee.

I've been fairly comfortable wearing it in the high 70's. Dragging your hand in the water acts like a radiator in your car.

Our layering underneath ranges from heavy duty fleece pants and jacket, to light weight poly long johns.

You can get extra insulation using the suit if you don't "burp" the air out of it completely and feel like the Michelin tire character.

You've spent a lot of $ for a great boat. Why not buy a great drysuit? You'll end up saving $ with the extra longevity you'll achieve.

Happy Trails!

Chris

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Location: Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
Wearing a Nylon SunSuit or shorts and Tee you eventually get cold as the seabreeze and moisture gradually strips away your skin heat even on a sunny day.
Wearing a wet suit you get too hot and are often less comfortable.
wearing Bib&Brace Wetsuit with a Spray Jacket is a good combo but not if you are tipped overboard.

A have a reduced immune system so it's very important not to get a chill or it could easily become pneumonia.

I went for the Kokatak Supernova Paddle Suit, not insulated because we dont need that in this climate, but it keeps you warm and dry and is more comfy than a wetsuit, the Tropos material allows humidity out but not in, like Goretex but less expensive. The coated Neoprene Collar is much more comfortable than Latex and perfectly adequate for sailing, some people get rashes and extreme discomfort with latex collars.
In Winter sailing just wear clothes under the suit, get the socked version and use Kokatak "Seeker" Overshoes ($50) to protect them.

I try to think of a worse-case situation: AI overturned and fouling, fatigue, injury or very rough seas prevent you from righting it, and you are some distance from the shore.
Dig waterproof Icom marine transceiver, or cell phone in watertight case, out of your chest pocket and call for help.
In your Paddle suit you will remain dry, warm and bouyant for hours if necessary until help arrives.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice on DrySuits
PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:32 pm 
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Location: Gippsland Lakes Victoria Australia
Max - did you buy locally or over the net & what price?

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