Mythic Drysuits at $225 or $325/suit

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by Jon Wescott, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Jon Wescott

    Jon Wescott Paddler

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    I wanted to let the community know a new drysuit manufacturer, Mythic Gear out of Rockport, Maine (a wonderful place to paddle as is all of Penobscot Bay!), is now taking their first set of orders for drysuits. A basic suit (no relief zipper) is priced at $225 US and those w/relief zippers are $325 US. I've been in touch w/Bob Holtzman who has started this company and shipping to Canada (for those of us who live in BC) comes in around $38 plus duty, taxes (not sure what those will be.) Shipping to Washington State was about $18. While I don't know Bob personally, three very good friends of mine do know - and support - him. Bob's general belief is that most drysuits these days are over-engineered and that has driven the price up markedly (my first drysuit back in the late 1980's was just under $200.) His comparison is that, while we would all enjoy driving a sports car, driving something more practical is what the majority of us can afford. Check out his website to make a decision for yourself:

    http://www.mythicdrysuits.com/

    If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, you are welcome to get in touch w/me as I'll be putting an order together and we can probably save on shipping. We'll just have to work out meeting up to get the suits. I'm not selling my Kokatat drysuit just yet. But if I like Mythic's, then I will be. And I'll probably be able to pick up another Mythic drysuit or two w/the cash. By then, though, the re-sale market for Kokatat's, etc. may have crashed ; )
     
  2. drahcir

    drahcir Paddler

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    Jon, I think this should be of great interest to some of us on this forum. Please keep us informed, perhaps with an initial and then a later review.

    If it were near April 1, I would beware of the adjective "Mythic", but it looks real.

    Thanks!
     
  3. Jon Wescott

    Jon Wescott Paddler

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    I'll do that. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  4. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Jon, that is a really interesting bit of news. Thanks for sharing. I'm intrigued because a valid complaint about sea kayaking is that it is hard for new people to break into the sport because of the seemingly large investment required, something that keeps the sport largely middle-class and middle-aged. A cheap drysuit is certainly an attractive product, one that could potentially allow younger people to enter the sport and develop their skills quickly and safely. Now if we could just get some cheaper boats...

    I look forward to your product review. Breathability and construction quality is of interest to me. As well, without the standard reinforcement you find on other suits, I'm curious what sort of wear you will experience on the bum/knees.

    Cheers,
    Andrew
     
  5. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    I emailed with Bob at Mythic Gear, and he was very responsive with information about the suits. I asked him about suit weights and materials.

    The question of breathability is key. I can't wear any Kokatat Tropos fabric because it just doesn't breath well enough. Some published data puts the MVTR of Gore Tex around 4,000 also, but as Bob said unless one lab runs all the material samples it is very hard to compare. GE eVent and Polartec Neoshell are far more breathable than Gore Tex. I would LOVE a lightweight Neoshell suit. That would be amazing.
     
  6. Jon Wescott

    Jon Wescott Paddler

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    I've ordered a large Enki and should get it w/in a few weeks. If anyone would like to take a look at it - try it out, too - get in touch. I live in Lions Bay. I'm interested to see what they're like. I'm confident they'll be superior to the nylon Kokatat suits I used to have back in the late '80's/early 90's.
     
  7. Jon Wescott

    Jon Wescott Paddler

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    I'm somewhat skeptical of the breathability aspect being necessary to the functioning of a drysuit. I base this on the practical experience I had of guiding in the Northeast, particularly Upstate New York, in late March and April. The New York Rivers - Upper Hudson/Hudson River Gorge and Moose - are precipitation driven, i.e. they aren't run on dam releases. (That said, to get to the Upper Hudson requires a dam release on the Indian to bring you down to the Hudson.) We rafted these rivers w/several feet of snow on the ground and the first day ice went out - there would be massive cakes of ice still in the river on those first few days of the season. As I wrote in my previous post, I wore Kokatat's nylon suits (4 oz. cloth seems familiar.) I was comfortable, even taking swims which happened regularly on the Moose. I also remember taking the drysuit off at the end of the day and seeing the inside wet w/condensation, wet along the lines of when I've used a vapor barrier liner in a sleeping bag. I'm sure a breathable drysuit would work that much better than one that isn't breathable - but the difference between having a drysuit and not having a drysuit, in my experience - was many times greater a difference. I only suffered wearing a wetsuit a few times - that was miserable, especially on cold, snowy days.

    I understand Mythic's drysuits are made from a "breathable" material which is all well and good. How breathable, to me, isn't much of an issue. I can change into warm, dry clothes at the end of the day. I just want to be kept dry from the water I'm paddling in.
     
  8. rider

    rider Paddler

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    The lack of over-cuffs for wrist and neck gaskets may not be a big deal if using in shoulder season/rarely,(though you better do a CLEAN job of gasket replacement when you do-or it'll look awful!) but on the other hand the lack of an over-skirt makes rough water use problematic(whitewater or surf) because there you'll be shipping water between suit and skirt, and typically paddling a little boat that gets quickly affected by anything over a couple liters. Lack of style I am just fine with.
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Jon,

    On a multiday trip, it helps enormously if your under the dry suit fleece is not saturated at the end of the day. Then you can use that fleece in camp, drying the small amount of moisture out of it while doing camp chores, etc. Then it is ready for a fresh start the next morning. If your drysuit does not breathe, chances are the fleece will be too wet to dry while worn Round camp, so it will hang somewhere and get only partially dry overnight ... and be clammy as hell next day.

    I have done multiday trips both ways. A breathable dry suit makes a big difference in comfort.
     
  10. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    Here in Alaska even on a warm day the water is still deadly cold. If you hope to paddle hard in a drysuit on a sunny, calm day for hours on end, it had better breath pretty well or you will be sitting in a puddle of your own sweat. I can't even wear a quality Gore Tex drysuit in really nice weather as I simply overheat. A super light Polartech Neoshell suit is my dream. In cold weather pretty much any suit will work.
     
  11. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    I have a beauty of a Kokatat drysuit (though used its still like new) and as far as I know its been the measure of standard for years. I can work up a sweat pretty good on a cold day with only three thin layers on top and two on the bottom only to be cold on my way home from my paddle. If it were not breathable it would be paramount to wearing a plastic bag and I am sure I would be a lot wetter by the end of the day and a lot colder on my way home.
    I am only commenting on my limited experience with my drysuit and am still experimenting with layers and outside air/water temp. I believe everyone has their own desired working temperature and needs to take in to account what they are willing to live with vs what they can afford to find a happy medium.
    To me being extremely cold is a comparable sensation to pain. In the summer I kayaked on the ocean in shorts but in the winter I would and have hesitated about going without the protection of a drysuit.
    If a non breathable drysuit is all a person can afford its better than going without a drysuit at all, IMHO I think the breathable is worth the extra expense.
    Like I pointed out I have a limited experience with my drysuit but I do have a lot of experience being cold so while being repetitive the cheap drysuit is better than no drysuit.
    I just hope that we all play safe.
    Tiger Tsunami.
     
  12. Jon Wescott

    Jon Wescott Paddler

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    Rider, the lack of an overskirt is definitely an issue for paddling in surf and whitewater - but that's not the market Bob is targeting. I feel he has targeted the larger market of people who aren't capable of paddling in such environments. Making the investment for a higher quality drysuit is easier to digest for those of us who do paddle in such conditions. I was happily - and warmly - out in Howe Sound on Tuesday in 40 knot winds and - 6 C w/my Kokatat suit with overskirt since I was paddling my sea kayak. If I'd gone out on my surf ski, I would've spent a bunch of time in the water.

    Dave, I think you're in a similar boat (really, the pun wasn't intended) as Rider - a person who is committed to paddling. Making the purchase for a suit where you won't be soaking wet at the end of the day is important for multi-day trips. When I was guiding, I had a nice, centrally-heated home to return to. A couple seasons, we even had a clothes dryer where we were staying! It's far different from what you're referring to. Again, most people (unfortunately) aren't doing these trips, either. So purchasing a suit that retails for a bit under $1,000 doesn't make sense to them. It does for me and you - we know we'll get our money out of it and that the comfort and safety is important.

    Philip, cold water is cold water, whether its Alaska or Upstate New York in the early spring. Any colder and the water would've gone back to being ice. Just because the water is in Alaska doesn't mean the freezing point has defied science and decreased. I was comfortable guiding a raft, whether I was in the boat or in the water. So long as I could change into dry stuff at the end of the day, I was fine. If, on the other hand, I had to camp outside that night and get back into my drysuit wearing whatever I had the next day, that would've been a different story.

    And I agree w/your sentiments Tsunami, better a drysuit than no drysuit. Bob's drysuits are made of a breathable material. I was commenting in that I think, for the day paddling most people do, a non-breathable suit keeps one warm. It did when I was wearing one.
     
  13. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    Ebay deal. $380US right now. 2 days left of auction.


    Kokatat Men's Gortex Front Entry Kayak Drysuit XL with Relief Zipper & Socks
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Kokatat-Mens-Gor ... 3a8b22baa7

    Pretty much the same deal I got on mine, you will be hard pressed to find a better one.
    *Note: I am just passing along this info and in no way related to this sale. Please do not contact me in regards to this Ebay deal, Thank you.
    Tiger Tsunami.
     
  14. Whidbey

    Whidbey Paddler

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    Interesting cold water data here: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/oceanfreeze.html Depending on where you are paddling, the water could potentially be colder in Alaska than in Upstate NY. In either case though, a drysuit with some fleece insulators are a must at those temps.

    James
     
  15. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    Hi James,
    The link posted goes to a site describing the freezing temp of salt water vs fresh water.
    seawater freezes at about -1.9 degrees Celsius (28.4 degrees Fahrenheit)
    I Googled water temp for Alaska and Upstate New York and found something interesting.


    Alaska:
    Station YATA2
    NOS
    Location: 59.548N 139.733W
    Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2014 23:00:00 UTC
    Atmospheric Pressure: 29.93 in and falling
    Water Temperature: 41.5 F
    http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/

    Upstate New York:
    Station KPTN6
    NOS
    Location: 40.811N 73.765W
    Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2014 23:00:00 UTC
    Winds: S (190°) at 6.0 kt gusting to 9.9 kt
    Atmospheric Pressure: 30.02 in and rising
    Air Temperature: 27.0 F
    Water Temperature: 29.8 F

    So right now the water temp is 11.7 F colder just off shore of upstate New York than it is just offshore of Alaska. Or 1.4 F from being ice.
    So like you said "a drysuit with some fleece insulators are a must"
    Tiger Tsunami.
     
  16. Whidbey

    Whidbey Paddler

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    "The average temperature of all ocean water is about 3.5 degrees Celsius (38.3 degrees Fahrenheit)."

    Who knew the water off Alaska was warmer than the average temp of all ocean water?

    James
     
  17. Tsunami

    Tsunami Paddler

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    Yes thats what I found surprising, I knew the Atlantic is colder than the Pacific but I didn't know it was that big a spread in temp.
    Of course when you come from the US to Canadian waters it automatically gets 40 degrees colder, lol :wink:
    Tiger Tsunami.
     
  18. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Those average ocean temperature figures are misleading because so much of the water is subsurface, under thousands of feet of warmer water. The important temperatures for paddlers are the nearshore figures, which are affected by currents, some from warmer waters, such as the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. At other times, such as off the coast of BC, especially off Vancouver Island, strong prevailing NW winds, such as occur in summer, cause upwelling, bringing much colder water to the surface, so that many days in summer the surface water is colder than the surface water on the shoulder seasons when winds are from the SW or very mild. Upwelling also brings chemical nutrients to the surface, stimulating plankton growth, and the rest of the food chain, eventually fattening salmon and other good things to eat.

    Ocean currents have a huge effect on lots of stuff which affect us, the health of ocean foodstocks being just one of them. Couple links below. First one is an intro overview. Second one shows views of ocean currents using same interactive format, similar approach to the windmap which appeared here a while back. One of the stills shows the Gulf Stream as it peters out off the UK.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/enviro ... rrent3.htm

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... LTIME.html
     
  19. Pawistik

    Pawistik Paddler

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    Cold water is cold. OK, glad that's settled. Now, back to the topic at hand.

    I wonder how these suits would be for a student use type of situation? I can't provide drysuits for all of my students (and I'm not taking students out on cold ocean water as described above), but it might be nice to have a dry suit in the gear pile for those that show up inappropriately dressed or just so they have the opportunity to try one it, even if it is a cheap one. I do have a pile of paddling tops, gloves, boots, etc. for students to use.

    My concern would be that they wouldn't stand up to student (ab)use. I really look forward to hearing the first hand accounts of how the suit performs and how it holds up.

    Cheers,
    Bryan
     
  20. paraglia

    paraglia New Member

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    Just checked Mythic site... They should be shipping to customers the 18th. Jon, let us know what your think.
    I'm in the market for a drysuit, but so far like a lot of other people, have been hesitant to spend over $1K for one. These guys might be the ticket.