Reply To: Drysuit recommendations

Randy Chatterjee

I’ll just speak to a neoprene versus latex neck.  Other companies, such as NRS, also sell suits with a neoprene neck tunnel.  Technically, any suit with a neoprene gasket for the neck is not a “drysuit” but a “paddling suit.”  Full submersion with a neoprene neck will invariably let a little water in, measured in teaspoons.  If you’d like to spend lots of time upside down perfecting the perfect roll, stick to a drysuit.

However, if you like to breath, have any kind of latex allergy, want a suit that lasts a long time with no maintenance, or just want a tiny bit of air exchange during a hot day between the sauna inside your suit and the outside air, then go neoprene.  All wrists are still latex, and they need to be, but the neck doesn’t have to be if you aren’t scuba diving.

My experience with neck gaskets on a new Kokotat was: 1) one year of suffocation and heat rash, 2) a little relief from KY for a while in the second year when I was sheepishly told about it, 3) in year 3 the latex gets tacky and isn’t evenly snug, and 4) in year 4, it rips and you have to cut it out,  glue in a new one, and you are back to stage 1.

My neoprene NRS paddling suit, a better (snugger) fit to begin with, is still going strong after 7 years.  I never wear my Kokotat drysuit except on the coldest winter days and only because I can fit a down jacket inside it.  Go with a paddling suit if you value your neck.