Touring Cags and Wind/Spray Jammers^

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jayno55
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Touring Cags and Wind/Spray Jammers^

Post by jayno55 » Sat Sep 24, 2005 2:01 pm

I'm weighing up options for short tour-style clothing when on breezy lakes, chilly estuaries, slappy coastal seas. I'm not wanting to paddle in extreme conditions so I don't want to over-dress. I'm also very prone to over-heating in performance clothing once I start exerting myself, so I need to find the trade-off between working warmth and asphyxiation (wonder how one spells that?!).

I'm after two items of clothing. I will be wearing neoprene long johns bottom half and want to wear an airy, breathable, zip-neck tour jacket on top (with warm/cool wicking merino wool base layer) in poorer weather, while I want some kind of light wind/spray jammer for mild to cool conditions. In both cases, I want flexible garments that are mainly geared at comfort and 'upside' protection, but which will still work reasonably well whenever I take a 'downside' immersion and need to roll or climb back in the kayak. I like the idea of a hood, at least for the Tour cag, but as I always wear a helmet, so I'm wondering if a hood is really needed and/or would cover the helmet anyway?

A secondary consideration is wrist seal design. I have arthritic, bent fingers and therefore find it very difficult to get my hands in and out of tight wrist holes.

No surprises that the tour cags I like the look of are Chillcheater's Aquatherm Touring Cag and Kokotat's TecTour (but what IS the difference between the Tropos version and the Gore-tex one?). For the light wind/spray jammer I haven't a clue.

Any suggestions, experiences or comments welcome, including links to reviews etc.

Thanks team

Jayno

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Post by RichardCree » Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:06 pm

The diferance between tropos and goretex is the price and the breathability, (goretex breathes better) the tec tour is a great jacket and the hood on it i think will go over the helmet if need be, if budget allows get the goretex.

tec tour can also be combined with the whirlpool bib, to make a 2 piece semi dry suit.

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Post by Owen » Sat Sep 24, 2005 3:55 pm

I use a Palm Greenlander cag most of the time, I've just tried the hood on over a helmet it fits no problems. The wrists are closed by a velcro strap so should be ok for your hands; its also only £75.
If I just want something to keep off the breeze and splashes I wear a twenty year old Wild Water paddle cag I guess any old top will do as well.
In winter when its cold, rough and knarlly I'll wear a Reed Chillcheater touring Cag but for what you say you want that maybe a bit over the top.

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:45 pm

Certainly the Tec Tour is a superb cag, as are some of the Palm ones. Be aware that Kokatat latex seals are seriously tight to start with, although they do losen off a little after about 18 months - - -

THe hood might be a little tight over a helmet though. Gore tex is THE fabric, although I do hear that the Tropos offers good value for the price.

There's a couple of reviews in the Almanac.

For what you have in mind though I wonder if the Kokatat PacLite Pullover might not do the job? Certainly nothing like as heavyweight as the Tec Tour. Or a Palm Kaspian? (Links from the Alamanac).

I've found some of the Palm cags don't have what I call a madarin collar option so the only way to seal in is put the hood up. Not something you want to do all the time, especailly if all you want to do is keep your neck warm.

The Reed kit is well thought of although I know of one paddler who returned his jacket because he found the neck gusset too restrictive. They may have changed the design of course, or would probably make a slightly altered one if asked.

Let us know waht you end up geting and maybe send me a short review for the Almanac????

Regs - Mike.

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jayno55
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Post by jayno55 » Sat Sep 24, 2005 8:40 pm

Thanks Richard, Owen and Mike

I hadn't really thought about 'middle way' items like a Kokatat Paclite Pullover or Palm Caspian to do both jobs for me, but they both look nice garments so I'm curious to consider them further.

Can't find any user reviews for either of them, and the information on both products on their respective manufacturers' websites is no more than a few technical bullet points.

I wonder with the Pullover whether the hood would go over a helmet, if the wrist seals are adjustable (doesn't look like it) and how good the waist seal (which looks narrow and uses a bungee cord) would be in an immersion? Maybe Richard is familiar with this product and could comment?

With the Caspian the wrist seals are adjustable and the waist seal looks more substantial, though I'm still curious how good it would be in an immersion?. Again I wonder if the hood would go over a helmet? Even on Palm's site I can't tell what material the Caspian is made of?! I wonder if Tim Maud is reading this and could tell me? If he is and can, I would be interested in his thoughts on the relative merits between the Caspian and the Greenlander that Owen uses?

Cheers
Jayno

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Post by MikeB » Sat Sep 24, 2005 10:02 pm

You're going to get wet if you do the aquatic bat impression unless you have a full dry cag! Or, have a proper sealable neck (like a Tec Tour's mandarin collar). The old "cold water down the neck" problem. Most of the time you'll have the neck open anyway - - - -

Even with a dry cag / decent neck seal, if you've been out of the boat you're going to be at the very least dampish under the cag as the water will sneak in the waist, even with a double seal like the Tec Tour.

That may be less likley if you've got the Kokatat trousers as well (making the semi-dry combo), but with ordinary kit it'll be damp. I normally wear Knoydart salopettes (no longer made, sadly) with a Tec Tour and a Knoydart deck which fits well round the waist. I expect a bit of seepage at the waist if I'm in the water. Then again, the amount of water that's found its way in through the ankles makes the waist seepage irrelevant - LOL.

Mike.

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Post by jayno55 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:49 am

Yes, I understand and agree with what you're saying about getting damp/wet one way or the other through semi-dry waistlines, open necks etc Mike.

I guess what I'm trying to ascertain is which garment would meet my principle criteria for 'upside' kayaking during (hopefully) the majority of the time, but when I take the inevitable plunge, best prevent a total wet-out of my body trunk?

I reckon a limited amount of cold water/dampening would be handle-able, especially if I have the right base layering. But I am very very thin, and physically not at all strong due to arthritis/age and all that jazz, so I am fearful that a full rush of cold water might give me such a body shock that it could impair my ability to complete a roll, or to climb back into the kayak. (I should say I am an experienced motorcyclist, so this attitude of pre-vising potential dangers and therefore planning ahead not just with ambitious intent but also with measured fear, represents a longstanding approach I have cultivated!).

I appreciate you (and the others) taking the time to discuss this topic with me. It is definitely getting me nearer to the decision/s I want to make.

Jayno
:-)

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Post by MikeB » Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:40 am

Ok. To stay totally dry (or as near as) if you're IN the water, you need a full drysuit. A semi-dry / combo suit will be almost as good.

A Tec Tour or anything with a sealable neck, latex wrist gaskets and a decent double waist seal will keep the bulk of the water out but you're going to get damp. Some of the Palm (and other) cags are the same spec.

A PacLite Pullover or anything with a draw cord single waist will certainly stop the rush of water, but you're going to get wet.

For a roll, all will stop the cold rush as long as the neck's closed. You'll be dry in a Tec Tour or Palm - damp in a Pullover.

For Kokatat, Knoydart are good at sending on approval (you have to pay of course) but it saves having to trek to Keswick. Palm and other are more readily avalable,

Regs - Mike.

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jayno55
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Post by jayno55 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 10:41 am

Thanks Mike
:-)

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Post by Owen » Sun Sep 25, 2005 11:56 am

Hi Jayno
If you can find a copy of "Paddles" magazine from September in had a good reveiw of Touring cags. The October issue already out so you may need to hunt around for a back issue.

You need to decide how wet you are happy to be before you go out on the water. Lightweight tops like the packlite range or Peak's Tourlite range (I'm sure palm do one but I don't know what its called) are to protect you from the weather; if you do swim they will not keep out the water. Cags like the Greenlander & Caspian are really just beefier versions the emphasis is still on keeping the weather out. If your base layer under the cag is quick drying and warm when wet then if you do swim you'll be fine; if you don't swim this set up will be much more comfortable than a full dry top.

Dry cags are sealed at the wrist, neck and waist (or ankles if its a dry suit), these are hotter as your sweat can't get out; that's why you need the more breathable (more expensive) fabrics. If you swim in one of these they'll keep out the water and your base layer (that keeps you warm) will stay dry. Semi - dry cags can be opened a little at the neck to let out the steam. Do bare in mind that if you do swim in one of these with the neck open it will fill up with water which you will not be able easyly to get out.

If you're paddling in winter/very cold water.
If you're paddling in rough water, surf, tide races or force 5 and above.
If you're going to be spending a lot of time in the water.

Then go for the dry top/suit. If not then I would go for the lighter option if you then find that this is not enough then you can always up grade later.

You also have to consider the price a gore-tex dry suit will set you back a King's ransom.

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Post by jayno55 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:33 pm

Thanks Owen, your advice and that of the others' is really helpful.

:-)

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Post by Owen » Sun Sep 25, 2005 2:36 pm

Hi Jayno
One other piece of immersion clothing that hasn’t been mentioned is a hat. Reed chillcheater do scull caps and Balaclava hoods either in Day-Glo for those that want to be seen or black for the James Bond look. There thin enough to fit under a helmet and cheep so there’s no reason not to have one in your BA pocket.
I can’t remember what percentage of body heat is lost through the head but it’s surprisingly high.

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Post by jayno55 » Sun Sep 25, 2005 6:03 pm

Yeh, I've already been lookin and thinkin about skullcap Owen .. though it would have to J Bond version, so I can also wear it when climbing through bedroom windows with my gun & silencer, box of milk tray etc.

;-)

ps: I'm waiting for delivery of a couple of 100% Merino Wool base layers, which I'm told wick very well, stay fairly warm when wet, and dry very rapidly from body heat when worn under top layers, or from wind/sun if exposed. It's all beginning to point towards the pac/tour-light type of solution for me I think.

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Kokatat Tec Tour Tropos review

Post by Niall Duncanson » Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:41 am

I went through the same thought process as this in May, and ended up with the Tec Tour in Tropos. I couldn't quite bring myself to spend £250 on the XCR version, so Tropos was a good compromise.

Overall build quality is excellent, all the features make sense and work properly, and I am very pleased with it. The XL is just loose enough on me that I can easily don it when afloat in calm(ish) water - although I usually wear it anyway when relevant. The cut is obviously well thought out for paddling and restricts nothing, but without seeming baggy or catching on things.

The hood is an especial strong point, being very effective and adjustable, and moving with your head when well adjusted. When not in use it lies out of the way on your back, as when rolled away it felt more restrictive. The collar and zip is also very good at keeping spray out of your face when the gods start to play, but fold away like lapels when not in use.

The 'adjustable neck seal' is made of soft rubbery material which did not abrade my fairly sensitive neck over 4 days on salt water, which was surprising. When done up tight it is fairly uncomfortable, but a reasonably fast roll will result in only a spoonful of water coming in. When left open it is a very effective vent, opening nearly as far as my sternum.

The wrist gaskets and overseals are simple and effective, although all rubber gaskets are painfully tight to begin with.
The double waist seal is more soft rubber with drawcords, not designed to provide a tight seal like a ww drycag is, but is effective enough that more water will come in your neck than waist.

Tropos is a flexible and surprisingly light, 2 layer breathable material, the membrane being the white inner layer. This means that the membrane is exposed to abrasion from your inner layer clothing, and will probably fail due to this, eventually. XCR goretex is trilaminate, with a bonded liner to prevent this, and is therefore much more durable than 2 layer.
Tropos appears to be fairly breathable, and still fully waterproof after 4 months (it should be!) including full arm immersion in a high brace.

Overall it was a great buy, although I haven't had it long enough to tell how it will last. I will replace it with the XCR version if I wear it out.

http://www.wetdreams.org.uk/photos/34/full/2.jpg
http://www.wetdreams.org.uk/photos/29/full/3.jpg

My reccomendation is to buy Tropos unless you can justify the XCR, which is likely to last much longer if used heavily.
Hope this helps.
Niall Duncanson.
Niall Duncanson

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MikeB
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Post by MikeB » Mon Sep 26, 2005 12:07 pm

Nice review Niall - I've added that to the review in the Almanac. Mike

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Post by jayno55 » Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:33 pm

Niaill,

Thanks very much for sharing your experience of the Kokata Tropos cag, which is most interesting to read. I also like it when people say things like "I went through the same thought process.." because it makes me feel less of a dope for asking what some might think are naive questions!

Of course, just when I was, if anything, starting to settle on the idea of a Kokata Pullover Lite, you come along and tempt me back towards the full-on TecTours! Very tempted in fact, but I think either of the TecTours might just be more than I really need for my level and expected kayaking. I'm much better aware of the issues and options after the discussion we've had on this thread, so my next step will probably be to ring Richard at Knoydart and talk through the suitability of the different garments.

I agree with Mike that your piece is a good review, worthy of going on the Almanac. I see from your photos that you're hitched to a Point65 kayak (looks like the XP, is it?). Now, I and probably plenty of other folk on here would really be interested in a user's review of that little beauty! Please have a crack at it.

Jayno
:-)

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Tec Tour

Post by Niall Duncanson » Mon Sep 26, 2005 11:01 pm

Thanks Mike and Jayno55,
jayno55 wrote:Niaill,

Of course, just when I was, if anything, starting to settle on the idea of a Kokata Pullover Lite, you come along and tempt me back towards the full-on TecTours!

so my next step will probably be to ring Richard at Knoydart and talk through the suitability of the different garments.

I see from your photos that you're hitched to a Point65 kayak
:-)
Good idea. Richard should be able to crystallise your thoughts and help you choose, he did for me!
I actually disagree with Mike and some others who have said the Tec Tour is too heavy for summer use - I feel it is very light compared with my hillwalking jacket, and comfortable enough to be worn in any weather in which spray or rain might be coming aboard. Warm smir or drizzle on a Tshirt just keeps you cool, anything colder is dealt with by TecTour over Tshirt. Different strokes for different folks, of course.

An XP, correct , a beauty (21st birthday present). Douglas Wilcox did a detailed review in spring, comparing it with the Nordkapp and Quest, in the Almanac. I won't try to follow that, but if there is interest I will put some thoughts together, in a different style to Douglas's.
Mike?

Let me know.
Niall Duncanson

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Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:59 am

Go for it! Post here or editor@ukseakayayguidebook.co.uk will get it to me. Mike.

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XP review.

Post by Niall Duncanson » Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:00 pm

Warning Long Post!

Mike, don't almanac it just yet, I would like some feedback on it so I can revise it a bit. -too long/short/technical? -more detail? -specific points missed?

Review of Point 65N XP sea kayak, 2005 model.

Hullform.
Absolutely fantastic, fast and handy.
Long waterline gives a high top speed, and narrow wavepiercing ends make the canoe easily driven in all conditions. Fairly hard chines combine with high deadrise (rise of hull from keel to chine) angle to give fairly low primary stability but outstanding dynamical or secondary stability. Fairly long ‘fixed skeg’ at stern provides the best directional stability I have seen, which just makes it all a pleasure compared to many designs. Fairly high rocker facilitates turning, although it is still slow to turn unless you are proficient at edging. The rocker and stern combine to give excellent surfing downwind.

Seating position.
The knee braces are moulded into the cockpit coaming, and are much less aggressive than some other designs. Your legs are not forced as wide as many other boats do, but it is not a pure straight legged position either. I find it very comfortable, and legs can be moved around a good bit due to the large cockpit volume.

Stability.
People have said it is unstable, tippy, and hard to learn in. As a former user of P+H Sirius, Baidarka and Capella, I can say it does not feel tippy to me. Indeed, the large keyhole cockpit makes it so easy to exit that much less stability is required for a dignified withdrawal. Remember that a beginner will only remain a beginner if the boat restricts their learning curve.

Outfitting.
Seat.
The 2004 seat which I trialled was fairly poor, pinched your legs and backside and gave dead legs after a few minutes.
The 2005 seat is a gem. Hard plastic in a well rounded shape is perfectly thought out, and I can jump out fresh after several hours, when other people are stretching and falling over with dead legs.
Footpegs.
The 2004 model had basic sliding footpegs, fine, but not very comfortable.
The 2005 model has the Smarttrack system from Sealline. These are also a gem. The pegs can be adjusted with one hand when sitting in the cockpit, and the peg profile is canted and shaped to be comfortable even with bare feet.
Backband.
Poorly made and fitted. It just doesn’t do its job properly, and had to be fiddled with to give any support. One of the cords broke as well. Am considering a Valley backrest as replacement.
Deck Lines and Fittings.
These are also fairly poor, and look like they were done in a hurry. The cord is too thick, and quite stretchy. The recessed fittings are OK, but I would prefer the standard recessed fittings used by P+H etc. I don’t mind fiddling with a new boat, but these things could have been done better.

Hatches and Bulkheads,
Kajaksport’s new composite hatches are used, with solid plastic centres. These are pretty good, and much easier to put on than the old ones. The day hatch is small and placed close to the side, so it is easy to access from the water. The two end bulkheads are 7.5 cm thick foam, adding apparently 18kg buoyancy. The central bulkhead is the usual composite, angled to make drainage easier. I would have preferred the 18kg of storage space, myself, but the boat has plenty of space anyway, so it is a minor issue.
There is a layer of gelcoat on the inside, protecting the hull structure and making it easier to shove bags in.

Skeg system,
This is another gem. The Kajaksport skeg is used, but the wire is wholly encased, so no kinking can occur. The toggle is significantly larger than on other boats, so fine adjustment is practical. Very well thought out.

Rudder,
I chose to fit it with the Smarttrack rudder instead of the Kajaksport Navigator. A rudder is unnecessary, but I feel it increases efficiency, by allowing all your energy to propel you forwards. Rudders are a contentious issue at best, but the Smarttrack is another gem, although I had to order it from America, expensively.

Summary.
A fantastic boat, fast and very comfortable, let down by minor issues of outfitting, at a great price. Some more custom options would be good to see as well. Build quality is pretty good, at least the equal of Valley and the old P+H. I would recommend it to pretty much any sea canoeist. Having used it in the Summer Isles and on Loch Lomond, primarily, it is the equal in large seas of any thoroughbred sea boat, such as the Nordkapp, it handles well in all wind angles, as long as loaded with the weight forward, and is equally handy when empty or laden. It also rolls perfectly well.

Makers Website and basic particulars
http://www.point65.com/Default.asp?page=kayaks&kayak=12
Rudder and Footpegs
http://www.seallinegear.com/smarttrack. ... ackRudders
Sold at present by Scottish Paddler Supplies
www.kayak.co.uk

Phew!
All feedback welcome.
Niall Duncanson

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jayno55
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Post by jayno55 » Tue Sep 27, 2005 1:38 pm

I think this is really good Niall and it certainly fills a gap - there are very few user-reviews around on this boat.

This is for MikeB to edit rather than me, but you ask for any feedback. The only other things I can think of that you might add a comment on:

Stability: Is the primary stability a problem on calm waters?
Windcocking: I have read somewhere that it doesn't windcock very much - is this true?
Weight: Is it true to advertised spec? (Granted, it isn't easy to weigh a boat to check). How easily does it portage?
Point65: If you've had cause to use it, how have you found their after-sales service? And, do you know if they intend to address the seating and outfitting weaknesses you raise, in future design snagging?

jayno

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Post by Niall Duncanson » Tue Sep 27, 2005 11:29 pm

Thanks Jayno, I will incorporate these points into the final version.

Stability - This is dependant on your interpretation of it. I find it more than stable enough for photography, eating etc while afloat. I know of people who have said it is too tippy for them to enjoy, though.

Weathercocking -Prior to using a rudder, I experienced this when inadvertently packing six beer bottles aft of the skeg. When sensibly packed, weathercocking just doesn't happen. The skeg can be used to fine tune the balance to the wind angle, and it holds course perfectly.

Weight - the boat is at Loch Lomond just now, and I haven't checked the weight. However I think it is notably lighter than the 2004 model. It carries on a shoulder quite easily when empty, although portaging any laden boat is a mug's game.

The Company - Mine and a friends XRay were the last boats that Richard Cree imported, amid delays and various explanations from Richard and Point65. Each side blamed the other, and hence Richard no longer deals with them. I was lucky not to have to buy the boat direct from Sweden, with associated shipping charges. I hope that SPS has better luck dealing with them. I have not been in contact with Point65 since the delivery, so I don't know of any developments in the design. Richard Cree, as any here will tell you, gave excellent service throughout, including a days free coaching.

The seat and deck lines are a minor enough issue, easy to fix yourself, that they don't detract from the quality of the boat.

Any more feedback from anyone?
Niall Duncanson

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Post by jayno55 » Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:00 am

Just a little update for all those who contributed interested comment and advice in response to my initial question about for short tour clothing on lakes/estauries/coastal waters etc., and consideration of my special needs.

I am focussing on Kokatat clothing and currently trying on various items sent to me by Knoydart. I should start by giving them a plug for the patient and excellent advice they have given me on the phone (Dave) and the really prompt and friendly service I am receiving re: posting stuff etc., (Helen).

I have dropped the idea of a hooded top because I always wear a helmet and I think I will just wear a thin skullcap under that in colder conditions. I have considered the paclite suggestions some people made and have decided they are a bit too lite, given that a degree of immersion protection is one of my key criteria. I am actually looking at the Kokatat Tropos range, not just to save on price over the gore-tex garments, but also because I think Tropos will give me virtually all-year wear options, using simple under-layer variations - gore-tex may be a little too heavy for the warmer months.

Although I started this thread with the thought that I just needed a top, my worries over the immersion issue took me down the road of a two-piece solution, ie adding a Kokatat tropos bib to their Reactive jacket. But now I have tried various garments on I am getting more persuaded by the one-piece (Kokatat Supernova) semi-dry suit solution. Lightweight, free and airy with no complicated waist skirting; manageable latex wrist seals and a soft neo neck seal that doesn't feel too uncomfortable; and, on the one I have been wearing round the house today - tropos foot socks (far more comfy and easy to deal with than latex anklets)! If I can get the suit sizing right, I think this might be what I plumb for, just reverting to my long john neoprene suit and a breathable tight shirt when paddling through our all-too-brief hot summers.

Jayno

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Post by monkeyboy » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:13 pm

The Supernova looks like a really good piece of kit. Just a thought though about the waist:is it just a drawcord on the outside ie can you tuck your deck up underneath? Possibly I'm being a muppet again!!
Si
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Post by jayno55 » Thu Oct 06, 2005 10:28 am

Afraid not Monkeyboy, it is just an adjustable bungee drawcord that travels round the suit inside a stitched panel, with an exposed part at the front so you can get at the adjuster.

It is a very well made and nice fitting suit, provided you are somewhere near the 'norm' of small, medium, large etc body height/shape/proportions - Kokatat don't customise their Tropos line (though I think it might be possible to get a different foot size for the sewn in Tropos material sock, by special request and if you're willing to wait a good while).

Getting in to the suit is a bit weird till you've tried it a few times. My method was to step through the diagonal, metal-tooth "watersports" zipper (you ain't going to get in any other way!) and straight into the leggings. This is very easy because the suit has sown on socks so there is no need for inner ankle seals. There are external, adjustable, neoprene ankle overcuffs (as there are at the wrists), but these are not tight until you adjust them. I then slid one arm down a sleeve and through the inner latex seal (tight), then, with a bit of a struggle I squeezed my second arm into the suit and down the other arm aperture (being double-jointed would be a distinct advantage at this point). Finally, I had to grapple very hard with the shoulder area of the suit to force my (largish) head inside the suit top and up through the neck seal. Getting the top part of the suit off via the reverse of this process, I found a bit harder. But you have to take into account that I am affected by arthritis and very stiff around the neck and shoulders. A normally supple person would surely find it easier, and like all these things it's about getting the knack with practice.

The diagonal zipper (which starts by the side of your left rib cage and travels across to and over your right shoulder) is a tough beastie to open and close (till you've used it a few times), and it inevitably has a sort of rod-like life of its own compared to the flexibility of the surrounding Tropos nylon material. But this is a quality zip which gives you complete confidence that it has been chosen for the job and will keep the water out. There is a 9" wide, horizontally positioned "relief" zip of the same construction, positioned at upper crotch level for "unisex" pee-ing antics. Yet there's a women's version of this suit (in radish red only) available too, so I presume that will use the same relief zip but have a different body shape suit design?

The so-called "APT" collar used with the Supernova is a thin, very soft and stretchy neoprene, which fits high up the neck, especially at the rear. It has a velcrose flap on the back of the halo, not for joining it - because it is already a cling tube - but for tightening it if you need to. I have a skinny neck but I still found it comfortably tight to start with, as far as you can say a cling necks is comfortable!

The Supernova has generous-sized patches of cordura on the seat, knees and elbows and a Kokatat badge on the left sleeve fore-arm. Colour schemes are grey (black cordura patches) with either mango yellow or radish red for the whole area above the diagonal zip.

There is a unisex-only Tropos Nova version of this suit, which is the same as the Supernova except for having latex ankle seals rather than sewn on Tropos socks, cordura patches only on the seat and knees, and it is only available in mango yellow (this time used all over the suit).

Knoydart's prices are:

Supernova unisex - £290
Supernova womens - £330 (more than men's - that's a change guys!)
Nova unisex - £195

jayno
:-)

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jayno55
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Post by jayno55 » Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:33 pm

Well, I've finally made my mind up (though I have changed it from when I posted last!)

Having narrowed things down to a one piece SuperNova suit versus a two piece Reactive Jacket and Whirlpool Bib, as a last thought I decided to try out the hooded Kokatat TecTour jacket before I placed my final order.

Just too nice a jacket to refuse.

As Niall said earlier in this thread, it really is a super piece of kit, and not too scary a price in Tropos (£155) rather than Goretex XCR (£245). I found the hood excellently shaped and very easy to fold away (it tucks under a velcrose tab), so I don't think this will be cumbersome in mild weather, whereas it will be a nice option to have if needed. But the ability to have a fairly water-resistant, close fit neck that can also be opened wide when I might want to cool down, is the real selling point to me.

To match with the jacket I have ordered a Whirlpool Bib with sewn-in socks. I really like this feature for water-proofing, but also to avoid ankle strangling latex seals, as well as the hassle of getting tight leggings on and off. The Tropos Bib is £120, which I think is OK, but adding a relief zip adds another very pricy £78 to the price, and the socks are going to be another £40-£50 on top of that (Gore-tex socks cost £51 extra, but I'm having Tropos socks and Knoydart still have to check what Kokatat charge for these). Ouch! Good job I've been motorcycling for a few years - I'm already resigned to paying several hundred quid for specialist clothing.

Jayno

ps: Though I've chosen the TecTour jacket, I would also recommend Kokatat's Reactive jacket, which I very nearly went for - uncomplicated but very well designed jacket with a stretchy, comfortable neck. As I wrote in an earlier post, the Supernova one-piece suit is pretty tasty too.

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Post by alan2222 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:27 pm

Is it just me, or have sea kayaking kit designers gone over the top? Maybe they're all WW designers who moonlight on sea kayaking designs!

I used to have a Palm 'Foster-Rowe' Goretex cag - it was fantastic. When it came time to replace it due to the seams wearing through in places (after eight years) I couldn't find anything nearly as good so I soldiered on with it until I eventually lost it in the back of a long cave - but that's another story! I bought a Kokatat Tectour in Goretex. The latex wrist seals were tight but that I could handle. The double waist was a total pain. I have no idea why a sea kayaker would want a double waist. I've now cut out the inner waist (not without a lot of trepidation) and have a far better cag as a result. It's high time sea cag manufacturers designed for sea kayakers instead of playboaters - we'd maybe then end up with cheaper more comfortable cags.

And as if that wasn't controversial enough, who on earth decided that we all needed keyhole cockpits? Do you realise the only sea kayaks that seem to be available with 'ocean' type cockpits are the Nordkap and the Pintail - what's all that about?

Getting grumpier,

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Post by jayno55 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:32 pm

Hi Alan

The double waist on the TecTour (and several other Kokatat Cag tops) is there to allow you to marry up the cag with their Whirlpool Bib - which also has an inner and outer layer - to create the equivalent of a full dry suit where swims are likely. The idea is that you then have the flexibility and choice of Bib no Top, Top no Bib, or one piece Dry Suit.

When going for the full suit option you put the TecTour on over the Bib, pull the jacket outer skirt up to your chest while you adjust the inner skirt bungee cord and then, lining up this inner skirt waistline with the Bib's outer skirt waistline, you roll them both up together (three folds or more) before pulling down and tightening the jacket outer skirt over the top of them. Normally, you also pull your spraydeck tube (non bracered type) over the rolled skirts, before you pull down the jacket outer skirt. Sounds complicated but it isn't really; it works and makes a very dry seal.

I'm with you on the cockpit issue, because I can't get in to these bloody keyhole contraptions! However, I'm sure someone will be on here soon enough, telling us the sophisticated reasons why keyholes are needed! I presume its for better knee supports, thought to give greater boat control in advanced seakayaking. I wouldn't know, as I am nowhere near that level yet.

Jayno ;-)

By the way, I have a pre-2005 P&H Easky, which should be added to your list of boats with ocean cockpits. I think there are several others around.

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Post by Mark R » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:09 pm

jayno55 wrote:I'm sure someone will be on here soon enough, telling us the sophisticated reasons why keyholes are needed! I presume its for better knee supports, thought to give greater boat control in advanced seakayaking.
Nothing so elaborate. It's because the Ocean cockpits meant that you couldn't pop your knees up to get out in a hurry (e.g. between sets of breaking waves on a steep shore) so you had to wriggle out backwards onto the back deck. Then you capsized.

Well, if that isn't actually the reason, it should be.
Last edited by Mark R on Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Owen » Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:13 pm

Jayno,
Double waist's on cag were so that you could sandwich your spraydeck between the inner and outer layer of your cag for whitewater paddling where a water tight seal is very important. The whirlpool bib is a relatively new idea.
The ocean cockpit's were copied from the Inuit Kayaks, in the days of old nylon spraydecks the pressure from breaking surf could collapse your deck, keeping the cockpit small helped keep the pressure from the surf down. These days neoprene spraydecks are drum tight and having them collapsed in the surf is a thing of the past; so we don't really need ocean cockpits. Keyhole cockpits are easier to get out of, but I still like the look of the old boats.
The NDK greenlander has an ocean cockpit as does the Anas Acuta.

From an old seagull eating but clean shaven sea kayaker.

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Post by jayno55 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:23 pm

Thanks Owen

I wonder if I am confusing what is meant by 'ocean' cockpit? I thought it meant the egg shape (ie not keyhole). The inuit cockpit I understand to be more or less circular.

Please correct me if I'm wrong

jayno

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