Mustang drysuit

cyclegranny

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So yes Kokodat Meridian Gore tex seems to be the gold standard for drysuits. I recently visited my local kayak shop and Mustang is coming out with a drysuit for women that is very comfortable, much more comfortable than the dropseat meridian, less fabric and velcro, zip goes from rt shoulder to Lt hip at back. Does anyone here have experience with this fabric (which is not goretex) MarineSpec 4 layer BP fabric. Or experience with owning one of these Hudson suits? They are basically coming out with a suit with the diagonal zip at the back instead of the front.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Interesting.
The design for women is the standard suit with the zipper at the back?

Mustang Hudson.JPG


Did you try on the Hudson?
How much do they cost?

The Level Six Freya is another female-specific suit, but they seem to be out of stock most places (like drysuits in general these days??)
 
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Kayak Jim

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I would think a rear zipper would be uncomfortable against the seatback or back band. Fine if you're on a jet ski or stand up board.
 

cyclegranny

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Yes the same as the Hudson with the zip at the back, due to be on the market next spring price about 2 hundred less than new meridian, I tried on a demo. Will be called a Helix. I want the fabric to have some history. I know the company has a long history. I was taught by the prof who started the company oh so many moons ago! And I've owned a lot of mustang gear over the years, none if this stuff lasts forever. Has kept me warm and protected, not necessarily dry!
 
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kayakwriter

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I tested prototypes and a production model of the Hudson a while back (some comments here). I like the durable neoprene wrists, the adjustable neck seal, and the internal suspenders (handy for pear-shaped people like me who have to go up a size to get belly room, but then wind up with a suit that's a bit long and droopy.)

Where the Kokatat Meridian suit still won out for me when I bought my most recent drysuit a couple of years back was on three points: the durable and noticeably more breathable Gore-Tex fabric, the excellent, paddling-specific cut and tailoring, and the superior metal-toothed, diving-grade zippers. A buddy who just got a warranty replacement Meridian received one with plastic (nylon-toothed) dryzips (similar to the zips on the Hudson and on Kokatat's entry-level HYDRUS 3.0 fabric suits).

Looking at Kokotat's current web description of the Gore-Tex Meridian, there's no mention of metal toothed zips, something I'd expect they'd be boasting about if it was still spec'd. I'm disappointed - I understand the need to control costs, but the problem with nylon zips is if you get a twig or piece of grit caught in the wrong place, it can deform the teeth and render the zip leaky (and I have no idea how to field-repair that). Kokatat has always had superb after-sales service, so they'd probably replace it for you once you got home, but that won't do you much good midway through a multi-day tour. Also, I'm not seeing any price reduction in the Gore-Tex Meridian. Unfortunately for Kokatat, they're surrendering a clear lead, and making the Hudson more of a contender worthy of consideration when the time comes to replace my current Meridian. Unless they'll be offering metal-toothed dryzips as an optional upgrade, in which case it might be worth treating myself to that and a custom-sized suit...
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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I've had good service from the nylon zips on my Level Six suits, and I don't miss the stiff metal zippers that were on my Kokatat(s).
It would be a dull world if we all liked the same things!
:)
 

cyclegranny

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John, does the specialized fabric on the Level six suits provide a non leaking suit? I've been advised to only go with a goretex suit. Level six does have a decent looking option for a dropseat model, as you pointed out. OH man these expensive decisions. I don't mind spending the money, but hope to get a decent product.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I've been as happy with the Level Six fabric (Exhaust??) as I was with the GoreTex on the Kokatat suit.
No leaking problems with either (except for a few pinholes that were easily repaired with iron-on tape).
 

eriktheviking

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I've been advised to only go with a goretex suit.
I have a bit of a rant about gore-tex. The main patents for gore-tex expired some years ago now, and even before that happened, alternative waterproof/breathables had been developed. Many more have come since. Gore-tex mostly works hard at marketing these days- it sells itself at the high end of such fabrics, and restricts what anyone who uses it can do. I think this is why there is the warranty program for example. If you look at what actual manufactures are doing for their technical outerwear, Gore-Tex is one among many now. The main difficulty is that the metrics for comparing waterproof/breathable fabric are not very good, and are complicated by other important factors such as the water-repellent coatings etc.

Since you asked about the Level Six, I have their paddle top (several years) as well as a drysuit (new this year). I like them both and have found them waterproof in both rain and for sitting upside down and swimming in, and the breathability seemed fine to me. I also find that their fabric drapes nicely- softer than on my Stohlquist drysuit. If you can wait, Level Six often has good deals on their Black Friday sale.
 
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AM

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Great post by Erik above.

I’ve had 2 Kokatat Gore-tex drysuits, both of which I returned under warranty. My third suit is a Level Six, which I bought mainly because of the price differential. So far the Level Six suit is good. The one thing I like about Kokatat, however, is the tailoring, as Philip mentioned above. So bringing this back to Mustang, I would certainly consider buying their product, but I would be careful with examining how the tailoring works for me.

Cheers,
Andrew
 

JohnAbercrombie

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If you can wait, Level Six often has good deals on their Black Friday sale.
In past years, I've gotten good deals from Level Six by waiting for a sale.
However I'm not sure that I can count on upcoming sales this year.
I thought I recalled L6 sales on July 1 / July 4 and also sometimes on Labour Day in the past- perhaps I am imagining this?
I haven't seen any very appealing sales this year at the Level Six site, and the inventory seems to be very much reduced as well.
Several times in the past few months I've thought about buying something from Level Six 'to help them out', but couldn't find anything I wanted (products suddenly 'missing' from the offerings), or anything in my size.
So the COVID situation may have changed their business model.
A friend was looking for a Freya drysuit this week and had a hard time locating one anywhere.
Kokatat suits seem to be in similar short supply.
 

cyclegranny

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Still looking but will pull the trigger soon, thanks for the discussion. John, I'm seeing the Freya again available on the level six site.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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John, I'm seeing the Freya again available on the level six site.
One advantage of having choices from different companies - Kokatat and LevelSix, for example- is that they use quite different patterns and sizing ideas.
My friend found a Freya suit, liked some of the features, but found that it didn't fit her- so she went with a Kokatat instead.

So keep those receipts, and try on the suit indoors on carpet! :)
 

cougarmeat

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Sometimes I have to remind paddlers that it’s not so much that you won’t sweat in Gore-Tex, it’s just that you won’t sweat as much. These days there are competitive fabrics like eVent - probably as effective let less expensive than Gore-Tex. Temperature maintenance is still a challenge - undergarments warm enough for immersion but light enough to not turn the suit into a sauna.

I don’t know how well the drop seat works for women, but in another post in this forum showed the discrepancy between the usual male body and the position of the “relief” zipper. I’ve always tried to plan ahead and “go” before I go.

One thing I’ve heard about Kotatat - and hence may use them when my NRS finally gives out - is, for an extra fee, they will make a suit with different standard sizes for part (like arm length, inseam, chest). So it’s not custom fit by taking your specific measurements. In my case, I’d get the legs in size S the arms in Size M and the Chest in size L. That would fit my stock build, much better.
 

Alana

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I don’t know how well the drop seat works for women, but in another post in this forum showed the discrepancy between the usual male body and the position of the “relief” zipper. I’ve always tried to plan ahead and “go” before I go.
When it's pouring rain (or really buggy) and you've got to go, a drop seat is really great. I can't imagine having to undress fully each time.

On the flip side, it can be difficult to re-arrange your base-layers and underwear back in order (especially with damp hands), but that's not the biggest issue. The one thing that can be a deal breaker however, is that (for me at least) the zipper needs to sit in a very specific spot in my boats–otherwise I end up rubbing a raw spot into by lower back from torso rotation.
 

AM

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If you like gear-testing videos, check out this one on water-proof/breathable fabrics. It’s geared (double-pun!) for motorcyclists, but the same principles apply for kayaking dry wear.


Cheers,
Andrew
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Here's a video by 'Wiggy' on breathable fabrics:
'Iconoclast' would be the most polite description for Wiggy, but he does make very excellent synthetic bags and some good clothing, too.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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Just a 'data point' on a Mustang drysuit:
I went for a paddle today and at the take-out another group landed at the same time as we did. One of the guys mentiuoned that he had a brand new drysuit and was going to check it for leaks. He waded in and floated around for a couple of minutes.
"How did your test go?"
"Fine, mostly, but I definitely have a puddle in one foot of the suit. First time I've worn it, and I'm pretty careful, so I'm sure I didn't put a hole in it myself."
"What brand is it?"
"Mustang"
Stuff like this can happen even with the best gear, but...
It instantly reminded me of a friend who got Stohlquist warranty replacement suits because of leaks....THREE times.
 
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cougarmeat

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Zipper in the back?? Is that because they will always have a man around to zip I up for them? :)

I know some surf outfits have a tether strap you can pull yourself. But that surf outfit is usually like a scuba outfit but lighter material. In other words, that zipper isn’t designed to be water tight. Even in the front of my drysuit, I have to tug that zipper and give it extra oomph at the end to seat properly. I can’t image managing something like that behind my back and out of sight - trusting it shut tight at the end.

Then again, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backward and in high heels. So maybe women have some Jedi powers when it comes to zippers.
 
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