Kokatat Idol Drysuit Review

Clothing, Gear, Outerwear

Words like innovative, revolutionary, and one-of-a-kind get thrown around so much in today’s industry that it’s hard to believe it when a new piece of gear is listed as ingenious, inventive, or original. Insert the Kokatat Idol drysuit, and you truly have a revolutionary, innovative, and one-of-a-kind drysuit. We’ll outline our initial impressions with the Idol drysuit.


Overall Impression:
If you live in an area with a cold Spring paddling season but has warm summers (cough cough Colorado), then the Idol is perfect for you.
So much versatility in one piece of gear:

The new Kokatat Idol suit with waist zipper. It’s a dry top, dry pants and a 100% waterproof Pro Shell GORE TEX dry suit. Bam!
  • With varying weather on river trips (ex: Middle Fork), you can dry top it when it’s nice out, but when the rains and cold weather come simply zip on the pants and you’re good to go. Just wear the pants when you are unloading rafts at camp and wading in and out of water constantly. No more dealing with the baggy drysuit excess when you’re hanging in camp or at the takeout!
The zipper on the bottom of the dry top inserts neatly into a velcro pouch. It’s unobtrusive and easy to get to when you want to zip it into your pants.
  • The Idol is reinforced in all the high wear areas (shoulders, elbows, knees, butt) with GORE TEX PRO SHELL CORDURA (the best of the best) and feels burly yet light to the touch. You can feel the quality in the material and can tell that this drysuit can take a beating!
Close up of the dry pants and Switch Zip system. Besides having a dry top, you can also wear just the pants on hike in’s, packing a sea kayak, etc…


SwitchZip Technology:
Zipper technology has advanced quite a bit in recent years. The SwichZip plastic zipper (by TiZip) is the foundation of the Idol that allows the suit to completely separate at the waist; giving you a dry top and dry suit in one garment!

The Switch Zip system in the locked state. 10% waterproof.
  • The zipper is 100% waterproof, flexible and surprisingly easy to zip on and off.
The Switch Zip system in the open state. It’s pretty easy to open it when you are using it as a relief zipper.
A close up of the Switch Zip. Basically, this system is a normal waterproof zipper. The dial in the photo screws down and compresses the zipper and makes it so tight that it is 100% waterproof.

Zipper Location:

  • The zipper sits comfortably between the backhand and seat of your kayak. The location of the zipper is key to not interfere with your comfort while paddling.
  • The hidden zipper on the upper portion of the drysuit allows for more mobility and less restriction of movement. It’s much more comfortable because you don’t have a zipper wedged between your body and PFD.
  • No zipper interference with your skirt tunnel.
The zipper chain on the dry top folds neatly into the velcro area. This keeps it out of the way when you are paddling with only the dry top.

It’s clear that Kokatat did their homework when creating the Idol. This isn’t some piece of gear that Kokat quickly designed and produced in less than a year. Kokatat came up with the concept for the Idol 5 years ago and has been field testing different prototype suits for the past year and a half. This kind of R&D has allowed Kokatat to create a very high quality product.

As usual on more Kokatat products – 100% GORE TEX booties. And MADE IN THE USA!
Cordura reinforced shoulders, and storage pocket.

The Kokatat Idol is backed by a lifetime warranty on the fabric (for the life of the drysuit). Kokatat also has a full service center in the USA that provides timely, high quality, affordable and hassle free repairs. In fact, they are the ONLY made in the USA PaddleSports dry wear company with a stateside service center. Because of this, they are able to offer over the top customer service experiences to pretty anyone who purchases a Kokatat product.

We’ve got a Kokatat Idol demo suit on the way. We plan on using and abusing this sucker – stay tuned for the review coming soon!

5 thoughts on “Kokatat Idol Drysuit Review

  1. gerrit

    Awesome drysuit!

  2. Sande

    I purchased it odol this spring lots of problems leaking around zipper, I also met another woman same problem
    Do you have any info on this from others i.e. Leak issues

    1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

      That is the first that we have heard about leaking issues with the Idol. I would get in touch with the shop that you bought it at, or with Kokatat direct, and warranty the suit. They will take it back, test the zippers and either fix the issue or replace the suit.

      1. Francine

        My husband and I both bought Idol dry suits. We were just on a five day course in the open ocean and the zippers on both of our suits failed on day one leaving us completely soaked. We are very unhappy with our $1200 purchase of dry suits. There are serious design issues with this suit.

        1. bobby@coloradokayak.com

          Hi – we were the first dealer in the USA to sell the Idol, and still have not processed an actual warranty through our system. There is a chance that customers are filing their warranties direct with Kokatat, and leaving us out of the loop, but other than the comment below, we have not heard of any failures. We also use the Idol here in house, and have not seen issues. Not to say that your suit is not defective – it is just rare.
          A couple of things – if the zipper is not closed properly, and not sealed properly, it will leak – I would make sure that you are doing it correctly.
          I would also give Kokatat a call regardless, and tell them the issues that you are having. They build the best dry suit available, and have the best customer service in the industry. The one thing that I can guarantee is that they will take care of you.

          YES – $1200 is a lot of money to spend on a dry suit. If you spend that much, you want perfection. 99% of the time, Kokatat delivers just that…

          Give a call to 800.225.9749 – and tell them Bobby from CKS told you to call about the leak. Ask for Scott if he is available, he is a stellar employee and will help you out.

          Last – if you purchased the suit from CKS, feel free to email me, and I can take care of the warranty for you.

          Sorry about the issues – hope that we can get this resolved – the Idol really is a great suit.

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