• By Lou
  • December 24, 2015
  • Comments Off on Review: Kokatat Hydrus 3L Dry Suit

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Kayak Equipment Review:

Kokatat Hydrus 3L Dry Suit


Kokatat Hydrus 2L Dry Suit ReviewI purchased the breathable two piece Kokatat Hydrus 3L dry suit in the fall of 2015. I would like to say upfront that I was impressed with the quality, material, and overall appearance of the garment when it arrived.  I did trade in the woman’s XL for a men’s large and the fit was much better.  I knew better than to buy a woman’s size; but, I was well assured that that would be best.  I was  also able to get a bi- color top with the primary color very closely matching the color of my kayak, so I was pleased with that as well.  I purchased the booted bottom option in grey for the lower part of the suit.

The Kokatat Hydrus 3L Top:

The unstretched neck gasket was crazy tight and dug into my neck when I first tried on the top. My neck hurt hours later even though I put it on and immediately took it off.  I finally decided to re-try it; but this time, holding the gasket across my chin long enough to see if the remainder of the top fit.  Yes, that gasket was that tight!

The neck gasket can be stretched following the directions that come with it, and I did so, once I decided I was going to keep it. I didn’t want to stretch it, try it, and then send it back with a neck stretched too big for someone else. The gasket took a little getting used to, even after stretching it; however, after a only few uses, I’d forgotten all about it.

NOTE: I stretched the neck gasket over a metal pot that was as big as recommended in the instructions; but after two days of stretching, the gasket was still too tight.  I then stretched it over night on a pot that was 1′ bigger and that worked great.  I also tweaked the fit of the wrist gaskets by stretching them over night on tall narrow ceramic tea mugs that were only SLIGHTLY wider than my wrists.  All the gaskets are still tight…and now a lot more comfy!

The wrist gaskets are attached to an inner lower sleeve which extends from the wrist gasket up just past the wrist area; this is covered by the outer cuffed sleeve of the top.  This is made so that a glove can be put over the gasket sleeve area and then the cuffed sleeve over the end of the glove.  Very nice. Love this when kayak metal detecting in colder weather.

The top has a zipper open compartment on the front which I use to hold my keys.  It is not water proof if you fall in; but, it will keep items dry from spray and rain as you paddle.

Something I added: I’ve paddled in the wind while wearing my Kokatat Dry Suit on a few occasions, causing me to create a little add-on for my fleece under garment.  I have worn only an inexpensive and very light weight $6 fleece shirt from Walmart under the top and been warm paddling in 40 degrees and wind; however, my arms were a twinge colder than I would like in some windy situations—so, I sewed a button on the top of both shoulders of the fleece shirt that I wear under the dry top and removed the sleeves from another similar shirt.  I put button holes in the removed sleeves so that they line up with the buttons sewn onto the shoulders of the  fleece shirt that I wear under the dry top. In cold heavy wind, I can button the extra sleeves onto the fleece top under my dry top; this allows me to add a little extra warmth to the sleeve area without adding more warmth to my core area under the PFD.

The Kokatat Hydrus 3L dry suit bottoms:

Kokatat dry suit

I love my Kokatat Dry suit for kayak metal detecting and magnet fishing in colder weather!

The booted bottom of this Kokatat outfit is like wearing  an ultra-light pair of fishing waders (photo right).  If you’ve ever worn a pair of waders, you know they are bulky and would be very awkward and uncomfortable in a kayak; however, even though this dry suit bottom is styled like waders, it is made out of a much lighter material.  For this reason, you should always wear something over the booties when walking in this outfit.

I don’t like to wear shoes or boots on my feet while paddling; so, I wear a pair of easy on/off plastic water shoes to get in and out of my kayak.  Once in, I remove them and put on a pair of slippers right over the top of the booted dry suit.  I have a light and heavier pair of slippers; once I wore them together over the booted ends of this outfit during a very cold and windy paddling trip.  It doesn’t get more comfy than that!

I bought the bottoms one size bigger so that I could wear clothing under it that would insulate me from the cold water beneath the kayak.  I most often wear winter socks,  a pair of pajama bottoms along with a pair of sweat pants under these dry suit bottoms  and not had any issues with doing so.  I’ve been warm and not had any sweating issues.  I wore fleece tights under it once and was sooooo hot I couldn’t stand it! LOL

Something I added:

I wear a extremely light pair of loose summer pants over the top of the Kokatat dry suit bottoms.  My over pants happen to be the exact same color of the actual dry suit bottoms; but, any color will do.  I do this to protect the dry suit bottoms from being snagged on something that could cause pulls or tears.  This very light covering layer is so thin that it is otherwise unnoticeable and would not hinder swimming if I had to swim in the outfit.

It’s important to follow the directions and tighten the Velcro ankles and waist of this garment.

I bought a two piece rather than a one piece because there are days in the spring and fall when the water isn’t cold enough to cause immediate harm or hypothermia if I were to fall in; but, cold enough that I don’t want to get my feet wet getting in and out of the kayak. On these days, I can wear the bottoms and not the top.

On the water: My review of this dry suit is based on my experience using it during normal  recreational kayaking activities which include day paddles, river trips, kayak sailing, and kayak metal detecting.  I cannot vouch for this suit being used for more extreme sports and situations.

Kokatat Hydrus 3L Dry SuitI was surprised by how effectively the Hydrus 3L dry top broke the wind.  My arms felt a little cooler than the rest of my body; but, hardly noticeable because the rest of me was warm.

Remember when you’re getting geared up, that your PFD is going to add warmth to the overall situation. Also keep in mind that if you fall in, you won’t want a lot of clothes when trying to swim or get out of the water.

I recommend that you get one that fits loosely over whatever you’re planning on wearing underneath. Do not purchase a size that fits snug because you want to give it some air space so that it can effectively take sweat away from your body.  It will also be crazy difficult to get it on and off! LOL

It does take a little trial and error to find that best way to get it off because once you pull one hand through the wrist gasket, you can’t use that hand to remove anything else unless you get that hand all the way out the bottom of the garment, and that includes getting your hand past the longer inner lining.  This might be initially frustrating to some; but, it’s not a big deal once you figure out what is easiest for you.

The first time water splashed on the wrist gaskets, it felt like water had actually splashed on my skin.  I literally had to look and see that it was indeed on the gasket and not getting inside.  If you fall in the water with this dry suit, it is NOT going to help keep you warm; however, it will keep you dry so that when you get out of the water, you can start the warming up process better/faster than if you’re starting that process wet!  Love my Kokatat Dry Suit!

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