In the span of just three years, I’ve gotten married and have two kids. Our first is self sufficient (at least within the confines of our house minus cooking, bathing and making a living) and our second is about five weeks old. While still a little hectic, things are now calm enough that I can finally break out the winter dinghy gear for the first time in quite awhile!
The first piece of gear that I went to "resurrect" was my personal favorite, my Kokatat Drysuit. Having left it in a “cool/dry” place (as the manufacturer insists) over the past few years, I still didn't expect to find the drysuit to be in the condition it was. All of the seals were in perfect order! As I'm sure you can understand, I was pretty excited not to be pumping any repair money/time into this suit, along with avoiding the psychedelic fumes of the adhesives during the repairs. This suit is going on six years and is still as air tight as an old Volkswagen Bug (a VW Bug floats, right? Like a witch...).
Having gone through many low end suits in my tenure, I can’t stress enough the saying “PAY NOW OR PAY LATER!”. The Kokatat Drysuit is made of Gore-Tex and is, yes, more expensive than the others -- but rest assured that you absolutely get what you pay for. So Chris, ye lover of Gore-Tex socks, I’ll concur and am prepared to enjoy my INTEGRATED Gore-Tex socks standard on the Kokatat! The one regret I have about this suit is not having a relief zipper installed which is actually standard on the current suits.
As far as under layers, I have always enjoyed the warmth of my one-piece fleece under my drysuit. The times are a-changin' and I'm being pulled by my current frostbiting colleagues into the present when it comes to under layers. He may not know it yet, but I plan to take full advantage of James' product knowledge to help me decide on the proper layers for the conditions ahead. It's amazing how many combinations you can come up with, so it's really easier than ever. I’ve heard it’s going to be a pretty harsh winter so James, set me up right!
Anyway, to sum up on this, the Kokatat Drysuit is plainly and simply my favorite piece of gear. It does what it claims: it breathes when it’s a little warm for the winter and it’s warm when it’s freakin’ freezing out there. Complimented simply with some base layers, a pair of warm socks, boots and gloves of your choice, a hat, maybe more than a hat(!) if you’re in the North, the Kokatat Gore-Tex Drysuit is simply the best. Set yourself up so in the middle of February you don’t want to come in! Why go out there if you’re too uncomfortable to STAY out there! Oh yeah, tough guys, you know you’re freezing too and just won’t admit it so enjoy hypothermia.
John Maloney is APS' Boat Sales Manager and a member of our Customer Service team. Thanks for the post John!