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Extravagant Gifts


Mar 16, 2005
Richmond, BC, Canada
I have a birthday coming up very soon and, in keeping with my annual tradition of completly spoiling myself on my birthday, I am contemplating the purchase of one or the other of these. I'd appreciate any feedback, comments, advise or alternative suggestions that those with more experience might be able to offer.

First up, the Kokatat Rogue Dry Top from MEC:



The Kokatat GFER Drysuit:


I'm leaning toward the drysuit because, well, it's a drysuit. On the other hand, I'm not as extreme a paddler as some of you (although I do plan on taking rolling lessons sometime in the next year or so) and I'm not sure if I would get as much use out of it as I would a drytop.

Pros? Cons? Sage advise?

I’m kinda partial to the dry suit too, but considering that I don’t do much paddling in the off season and can’t roll yet, I’ve pretty much stuck with semi-dry tops. Actually tried on the Rogue at MEC and the fit was great with plenty of allowance for arm/torso movement. It would still make a nice gift. ;)
i kinda like the flexibility of just the drytop. Easy (and useful) to throw on for all kinds of non paddling situations like rain/wind at camp/home/cabin etc.

and then combine with various lower wear:

just ordinary lower wear on good water/weather situations so works like a splashtop, or with a semi good pair of farmer johns wetsuit or with a separate pr of varied quality (i have a cheap pair) dry pants to cover cold situations.

and no experience here with fulls, but i think one helluvalot easier to put on. and a little easier on the pocketbook when needs repair, recycling etc.

I bought a Kokatat Helix dry top just last weekend... it seems to be the 'poor mans' Rogue. It has the same basic features (gaskets and sealing deck tunnel etc.) but it's not true Gore-Tex so I don't expect the breathability to be as good.

I've only used it for a few paddles so far, but I'm impressed with the seals that the gaskets provide, and even when inverted I don't seem to get much seepage thru the spray deck tunnel. I'm expecting to do a lot more rolling this summer, so keeping dry with the exception of face and hands is a very welcome thought.
i have the Kokatat Wave drytop. a few years ago, in an attempt to teach myself to roll, i spent pretty much an afternoon inverted. with the spray skirt up inside the tunnel and cinched up snug, and the outer layer of the jacket cinched snug over the skirt, i was totally dry. not a drop of water got through. i was very impressed.
Not familiar with the GFER but I've owned a GMER for a couple of years. The complete coverage sure opens up wintertime paddling for me in a way that a drytop wouldn't. I use it for all summer saltwater excursions where there is any chance of a swim. ANY.
In the summer my legs aren't the issue in terms of overheating. It's my core. I don't think that a drytop would help BUT I've never owned one.
Are you replacing your winter-wear or just tired of getting cold with a bombproof roll.
I don't feel that a drytop is reasonable saltwater apparel for me but my roll is suspect at best as is my opinion.
Put me with chodups: the full on dry suit is really nice to have, even if you do not roll, or regularly paddle in conditions where you would have to wet exit after a capsize.

I've used mine on a couple week-long, very wet winter/spring trips where the dry suit made the trip possible: keeps you warm all day in the boat, and moist; on reaching a camp spot, keep it on while setting up, and usually by the time tent and tarp are up, the moist clothing inside is dry enough to use for shore-side insulation; and, the best part: in the morning, don a pretty darn dry dry-suit, wearing dry clothing underneath. Way comfier than a farmer john: slimy, clammy, cold, and nasty from day one to day seven. And, with rubber, you need to have a wet set of duds for paddling and a dry set for camp.

Yep, it is that dry thing that really makes a dry suit nice.
My last dry top was a whitewater model and has not worn well under the arms due to the prolonged forward stroking. Certain whitewater tops seem to be cut and sewn a little differently than touring specific designs like the gmer.

Evidently summer is here, so next up for me is a short sleeve dry top. As has been said nothing compares to the full suit for winter.It's like paddling in your pajamas. Dry suit.....dry feet