New Level Six Cronos Drysuit

JohnAbercrombie

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Starting a new discussion, promped by A.C. ' s post in the 'Mustang Dry Suit' thread...

A.C. said:
Not sure this merits its own thread so I'll just post it here to keep the drysuit conversation going....

New for 2021, entry-level drysuit from Level Six, only $800 CAD.


Is this the price point and product paddlers have been waiting for? For $300 more you move into the (superior?) Odin line, is the juice worth the squeeze?
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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The Odin has a tunnel and more pockets, and a different neck design. I haven't checked to see if the fabric is heavier than the Cronos fabric - perhaps the Cronos is using the same lighter weight fabric as the Fjord suit (which I own and which works fine as far as I can tell - I've only worn it for 20-30 days, on trips.)
I don't think that a 'tunnel' (additional layer to 'sandwich' the sprayskirt top) is necessary for the kind of sea kayaking I do. I try to keep the decks from being awash, and anyway with a neoprene tunnel on the skirt and the PFD over that I don't get much water in the cockpit even if practicing a couple of rolls. And I much prefer the simple neoprene punch-through over collar (covering the latex gasket) to a fabric over-collar and velcro, which I find scratches unless perfectly adjusted. The Kokatat Meridian which I owned 10 yrs ago had a neoprene punch-through at the neck.

I recall talking to Leon Somme about dry suits years ago and he was wearing a 'no-tunnel' basic Kokatat suit.

I'm going to buy a Cronos once they are available. It's what I've been looking for in a suit - simple. One pocket in the sleeve and not many other frills which I don't want anyway. I'm assuming it has the same sizing/cut as the other Level Six suits and they fit me well.

Kokatat has a simple suit - now called the Legacy- but they don't seem to be marketed very widely. And it's more - a lot more- expensive at $1185 USD ($1500 CAD) - almost double the price of the Level Six Cronos.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Demand for drysuits has been extremely high, according to Stig Larsson (Level Six owner). I've been watching the Level Six website for the Cronos suit and had checked the 'Please notify me' box on the Cronos page.
Cronos suits were in stock yesterday.
:thumbsup:
I've ordered one.
:)
I'll report back in a couple of weeks once I've used it a few times.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Please do! It looks like a nice suit for the money.
Exactly. I'd been bugging Level Six about a 'simpler' suit, and the Cronos looks like it hits a lot of the targets I had in mind.
$800 (L6 Cronos) is a lot more palatable (for me) than the $2k region where Kokatat suits are hanging out.
If you use them, they all wear out. I try to paddle enough that it's only a few dollars/outing by the time the suit gets 'tired'.
 

a_c

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Mine arrived last week, I've had it out for a couple of paddles already :)

I was surprised at how light it was; when I first picked up the box I was positive they sent the wrong order - no way was there an XL drysuit in there! It literally felt half the weight of my Kokatat Meridian. Wish I had a gram scale to measure them up.

Couple of initial observations:

It fit (yay!); though not as well as my KM. The arms are noticeably shorter than my Meridian, about 1.5 inches per side at rough measure. Not a big deal for most people but I have the wingspan of an albatross so sleeve length is sometimes an issue for me. The socks are oddly two-dimensional, imagine drawing an outline of a sock on a piece of paper, cutting out two of them, then stitching them together. They work, but feel a bit odd. The internal belt seems redundant to me, when you cinch it up it just creates a bundle of fabric and buckle over your stomach (for me, anyway - I found it easier not to cinch it up at all). I really like not having the overskirt - much cleaner and easier, and reduces the bulk.

I can see no evidence of "reinforced knees, seat and elbows", as stated in the online description. The accompanying tags describing the features make no mention of said reinforcing, so make of that what you will. I am a bit disappointed not to have at least an extra layer of something on the seat - this IS what is described on the website.

That aside, it fit me reasonably well and most importantly, it felt good while paddling. I really like the flat-fitting plastic zipper compared to the bulky metal ones. And as already mentioned, I like not having the bulky overskirt. This feels like a perfect suit for a day paddle, though my initial impression is that I'd still go with the KM on expedition-type trips just based on the heavier reinforcement on knees and seat.

So far, I'm (mostly) happy with it. I do recognize that comparing to a suit that costs literally twice as much, as I've done here, is not a fair comparison but I'm just using it (the other suit) as my point of reference.

I'll report back in a few months when I've put a few more days, and hopefully, trips on it.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I can see no evidence of "reinforced knees, seat and elbows", as stated in the online description.
On mine, the knees are definitely double layer - I can see the three small drainage holes at the bottom front of the knee panels to make sure no water gets trapped between the layers. Grabbing a fold of fabric and meauring with calipers, or just 'by feel' tells me the knees are double-layer. I couldn't see/feel the same on the seat/elbows with a quick look, though.

Perhaps 'reinforced' means something other than what I assumed.

That Kokatat Cordura, overskirt tunnel and metal zippers may account for a fair bit of the weight difference. I think the Kokatat 'boot cover' double legs are longer, too? I don't know if the basic fabric weight is much different.
Sizing- Yes, Kokatat and Level Six are definitely different sizing and proportions.

Pricing - Cronos $800 CAD + GST= $840, GoreTexMeridian at MEC $1745+PST/GST=$1954

Good comments; thanks. Lots of 'food for thought'.
:thumbsup:
 
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Mowog73

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Thanks for your preliminary review/impressions. I'm looking for a drysuit and am seriously considering the Cronos. I look forward to your impressions of the drysuit after more paddles.
 

a_c

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I stand corrected re: reinforced knees. I thought the extra padding was just from the pant leg/cuff, but there is a thin extra fabric layer that extends up a bit. Thanks for pointing that out John.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Given a choice of one area for 'doubling', and knowing little about suit design, I'd definitely opt for the seat/butt area. My older (discontinued some years ago) Level Six Triton suit has the seat doubled.
But it may not make a great deal of difference - perhaps the two fabric layers rubbing together as I paddle would cause wear?
My Triton is 'at end of life' and some days it does seem that water is wicking through the seat, in spite of the doubling.
 

DennGost

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I am very interested in your opinion, since I am a beginner and I want to buy equipment at a bargain price)
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Update on the Cronos after a couple of paddling days:
Summary: "What more could I want? It's excellent."
I think of the Cronos as an improved and updated version of the Level Six Triton, which was the LevelSix non-tunnel (aka non-overskirt) suit, discontinued some years ago.
Like A_C, I don't need or like tunnels on drysuits for sea kayaking - I don't think they are necessary and just add bulk.
It's nice to have a new suit with new DWR; I can watch the spray bead up on the suit and roll off! :) But any suit will do that, when it's new.
Things I like about the Cronos:
It has plastic zippers like all the Level Six suits - they work well and lie flat, and are easier to open and close.
The latex neck and wrist gaskets are very good quality and a bit heavier than the Kokatat ones, so last longer. My Triton suit had the original latex neck gasket which was still OK after several years and 200+ (?) days paddling.
I like the punch-through neoprene over-collar on the neck - better than adjusting a Velcro tab on a fabric collar which was sometimes scratchy for me.

The Velcro tabs on the wrist closures (over the gaskets) are less bulky than on my other Level Six suits and work well.
The sleeve pocket (L side) is handy; I miss the chest pocket from the Triton.
The webbing waistbelt seems to work well. Depending on your girth, you may want to shorten the excess length once you work out the size you need. I'm about 5'10" and the Medium size suit fits me pretty well for height, so I don't really need the waistbelt to keep the suit from drooping. I've been using the waistbelt on shore when walking around, and unsnapping the buckle when I'm ready to launch.

Overall, a :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: for the Cronos.
 

a_c

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It's nice to have a new suit with new DWR; I can watch the spray bead up on the suit and roll off! :) But any suit will do that, when it's new.
Yes, I forgot to mention that in my initial thoughts - the water beaded and slid off the material magnificently. This was my first 'brand new in box' drysuit purchase, so I was suitably impressed.

Water beading and sliding off fabric = the new car smell of drysuits :)

Edit: I noticed the online description of Cronos has been updated/tweaked slightly; they no longer advertise reinforced elbows and seat, so my initial post expressing disappointment at this might not make sense anymore.
 
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Mowog73

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Thanks to John and a_c for their comments about the Cronos.

According to Level Six's website, aside from the spray skirt tunnel, which isn't necessary for me, the only other major difference between the Cronos and the Odin is that the Odin has articulated knees and elbows, is that very important?
 

a_c

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I wouldn't consider this overly important; others may differ. You're basically wearing a big baggy suit with your legs are stuffed into a small opening, relatively immobile, swinging your arms back and forth.

I suppose with more money comes incremental improvements; if the extra $300 for the Odin provided a measurably better paddling experience I would probably consider it money well spent but I'm not sure this would be the case. To your specific question, I consider articulated vs non-articulated knees and elbows a non-issue for me.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I consider articulated vs non-articulated knees and elbows a non-issue for me.
:thumbsup:
Me, too.
If the suit were a tighter fit on me, it could possibly (?) be a benefit to have 'articulated' knees and elbows. I'm pretty scrawny so there's lots of room for my limbs to move.
A tunnel on a suit is something that does feel more bulky and a bit restricting for me.
 
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