Dry suits - Expectations?

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RichJ
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Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by RichJ » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:32 pm

With some disappointment I have noticed the inner ('net' like) layer of my dry suit wearing and pulling away from the outer layers in several (high wear) areas of the suit. In addition there is the beginings of delamination between the second (breathable) layer and outer nylon layer in one spot.

I paddle one day every weekend and this suit was new in the autumn. I look after the suit; carefully washed, dried the right way around and no zips on the inside.

I am currently trying to prevent further damage in these areas using 'Aquasure' and some tape. Any advice?

My thoughts ..... 1) I paddle hard and any material following repeated flexions must show signs of wear?
2) Dry suits are jolly expensive! Some very expensive but bearing in mind point 1) surely they must show similar damage?
3) Professional Coaches must spend an awful lot of your hard earned on dry suits or maybe you get wet? If not, what do you wear?
4) Any point buying an expensive dry suit if this is normal wear and tear in a harsh environment? Just maybe it is better to purchase a relatively low priced suit and expect a short product life?

I should add this suit has performed very well so far and I am not questioning the manufacturer or seller. But they are essential for winter paddling and expensive so looking for any thoughts!

Richard

geoffm
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by geoffm » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:53 pm

Hi Richard,
What material is your suit made of, and which manufacturer?
I have a Goretex Kokatat Expedition and so far it has been excellent.

Geoff

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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by RichJ » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:06 pm

Hi Geoff and thank you for the reply. I have been very pleased with the product and customer service and really would rather not discuss manufacturers / sellers in open forum. I will pm
Approx. how many times have you used your suit ? Have you noticed much wear and tear?
Richard

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MikeB
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by MikeB » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:44 pm

Well, there is a known problem (I understnad) with some Palm drysuits de-laminating - a search in the Inland Forum will reveal some chat about it. There seem to be some differing experiences with Palm's customer service, but overall I hear good things about them. I understand they've now changed the material which might say something.

A contributor here works for them and will no doubt comment in due course if he wants to.

I have a Kokatat dry cag which is now over 5 years old and still servicable although there are signs of wear and tear where the material has rubbed on ba straps on the shoulder, but I expect that. I don't paddle with your regularity though - -

I've also got a Kokatat drysuit which has only been worn a few times so I can't comment on its longevity but I'll be expecting at least the same as my cag assuming it gets the same usage, which it won't as I only wear it in late autumn, winter and early spring.

It'd had better last, given the price of the things. Are they worth it? Well, that's a whole other debate.

A pal of mine swears by Reed semi-dry paddling suits and replaces his every two / three years and comments that he reckons that's excellent value given the heavy use it gets and the price.

Mike

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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by Owen » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:42 pm

RichJ wrote: I paddle one day every weekend and this suit was new in the autumn. I look after the suit; carefully washed, dried the right way around and no zips on the inside.
Bloody hell! I'd expect even the most El-cheepo dry suit to last a sight longer than that; take it back to where you got it from. Once a week for nine months is hardly used.

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soundoftheseagull
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by soundoftheseagull » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:38 pm

My Palm lasted just under two years, worn on average once per week, appreciate it was outside the 12 months warranty but I certainly expected more for my £400.
Never again!
Dave

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MikeB
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by MikeB » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:15 pm

That's is truly dreadful - 2 years with light usage like that is almost beyond belief. Presumably the thing wasn't being used in the height of summer either, so you're talking what, 30 to 40 days use which would equate to maybe under 200 hours total usage / wear?

Mike.

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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by gizmo » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:41 pm

That's is truly dreadful - 2 years with light usage like that is almost beyond belief.

It is dreadful but not unusual. I had used my Palm Stikine for a similar time period and usage and had replaced 2 neck seals, the fabric boots and the Main Zip. Delamination began soon after the warranty period elapsed. Palm weren't in the least bit helpful and I am unlikely to buy another.
Paul

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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:01 pm

I have a Palm Stikine dry suit which gets very little use as I prefer salopettes and cag and only use it for rescue practice or serious winter tidal headlands, about 5 times per year. I always rinse it with fresh water inside and out and I do not use deoderants which some say can harm the fabric. It has been plagued by delamination and leaks since new. Palm's customer support has been very good it has been back to them three times for FOC replacement panels (twice within warranty once out) but it is still leaking. A group of about 18 of us from Garnock/Grassyards CCs all bought Stikines and they all leak, most have moved on to Lomo suits. My daughter has a Stikine Element which has also had very light use. It has also delaminated and has been back to Palm 3 times, first two times FOC last time £60 (which was only part of the repair cost and the neck seal which you expect to replace was done at that time). It still leaks.

Although the customer support from Palm has been excellent, polite and prompt, I think their materials have not been fit for purpose and I would certainly not spend that amount of money on a Stikine again. In terms of cost/performance it has been my most disappointing kayak related purchase. I have a number of other Palm items: spraydecks, boots, pogies, throwlines, BAs and they have all given excellent service and function.

Douglas

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MikeB
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by MikeB » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:50 pm

In defence of Palm, I've got a top-end river cag of theirs which is about 5 years old now, but has only had few days use - it's absolutley perfect. Mike.

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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by Ligan » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:09 am

Hello

If its a gore tex suit it should last years of hard use and washing - If its tropos suit it should be similar, as from what I have heard its what the new RNLI suits will be made from. On the palm stikene suits I have had 4 suits in 2 years and every one as leaked like a sieve within a few weeks, I still have one that palm are being sticky on. I have had to take the dangerous and unsafe product route which seams to get a better response. I can't remember where i read it it but someone had an epic with a stikene in Greenland when it delaminated on a trip.

On an aside a leaky drysuit is probably more dangerous than useful, and bloody hard work to get out of the water - you need a knife.

pete

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CaptainSensible
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by CaptainSensible » Thu Jul 02, 2009 7:50 am

I bought a top of the range drysuit for a silly price recently (thanks, Wiggle!). It's a three layer breathable thing with all metal zips (inc. relief zip), internal braces, and latex boots etc. It's designed for sailing instead of kayaking, so the cut isn't paddling specific and the material is somewhat stiff/bulky. However, it seems to be quite robust.

I'll let you know how I get on with it.

Breathable materials are a PITA though. One day I'm going to see a care label with "in order to prolong the life of this garment, store in it a cool, dark, dry place, and never wear it" written on it.

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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by Owen » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:48 am

I'd just like to say, after all the slagging that Palm is getting, the OP doesn't say what make his duff suit was.

As for going for top of the range or bargain basement, I have a Lomo suit and Reed salapettes and cag and have found both excellent. The Lomo suit is 2.5 years old and showing little sign of wear, the Reed gear is about five years old and still going strong. I would say don't go for the very expensive suits because the biggest danger is from contact with rock, sharp stones, thorns, barbed wire, etc. These will rip through your suit no matter what the cost.

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soundoftheseagull
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by soundoftheseagull » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:46 am

[
quote="Owen"I'd just like to say, after all the slagging that Palm is getting, the OP doesn't say what make his duff suit was.
Irrespective of his make its honest and balanced consumer feedback, there appears to be a selection of views on Palm why is it that if you highlight negatives it’s a slagging off!
Palm have known for some time that there dry suites were not perfect the sewn in sock issue being a classic.
Dave

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RoryD
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Re: Dry suits - Expectations?

Post by RoryD » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:40 pm

A timely & revealing thread for those considering buying a drysuit!
Owen wrote: I have a Lomo suit and Reed salapettes and cag and have found both excellent. The Lomo suit is 2.5 years old and showing little sign of wear
After just over 3yrs of (steady but not heavy) use, my own LOMO Tornado drysuit is starting to leak badly through the stitching as a result of seam tapes detaching from the rubbery zip surrounds. Repair should be a straightforward enough re-gluing of the tape.

The main fabric remains good, apart from a surface chafing issue in front of one shoulder from paddling action, which I patched. Have replaced one wrist seal and patched up a rip in the neck seal also - they start perishing from the edge and strangely hold off ripping until multi-day trips! - so you need a repair kit. Also noticed the zip's internal "cord" has snapped in one place on one side - but remains waterproof.

So yes; a bit disappointing after only 3 yrs – but at least the drysuit “only” cost £175 rather than £400 and it should be DIY repairable. LOMO commendably quick/helpful with advice on repairs.

- Rory

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