The 2011 Immersion Research Double D Drysuit Review
There’s a whole bunch of waterproof breathable clothing on the market that does not necessarily need to be 100% “waterproof”. If your ski shell leaks a little bit in the seams, you will not notice it immediately. It will also not ruin your day(barring an Alaskan ski mountaineering trip). Dry Suits for whitewater kayaking are different. When you are paddling the NFMF of the Willamette on a 40 degree and balmy day in February, and water sneaks it’s way into your base layer, you will notice that in a matter of minutes. In fact, a leaky dry suit in the wrong conditions could lead to disaster. There is no ski lodge to warm up in after a mile or 2 on the river.
Besides the actual waterproofness of a dry suit, it’s durability, fit and manufacturer’s customer service (in case you need periodical servicing or have general questions) should be factors taken into consideration when shopping. Immersion Research has been around the block a few times as far as dry tops and suits are concerned (or just river clothing in general). They were the first company to come up with the neoprene neck gasket, and have a a staff / team of whitewater veterans who are 100% dedicated to making the most functional and coolest looking whitewater gear on the market.
Here’s the scoop on The Double D Dry Suit:
- Immersion Research has embraced whitewater kayaking more so than other dry suit brands. Although the Double D can be used for all types of water sports, it’s primary function is to keep WHITEWATER KAYAKERS warm and dry; especially whitewater paddlers in western states. This is a thick and burly dry suit that is well suited for cold air and water temps. It’s great for runs with lots of long portages and frigid ,shallow creeks. It has specific features that aid river paddlers, whereas other suits are built for all types of water sports (touring, SUP, etc).
- The rear entry is an example of a feature that is whitewater kayak specific. Zippers on dry suits are big and bulky, and create a channel for water to run down . If placed in the front of the skirt near the spray skirt tunnel area, water can slide down into your boat. IR intentionally put the zipper on the back of the suit, so the tunnel area has a tighter fit against the skirt. In other words, water will have less of a chance leaking down into your boat. Smart.
- There are NO 4 way cross seams on the Double D, because they are impossible to tape (not waterproof). This suit has only T seams (3 way), which are much better.
- This is a great dry suit for Rocky Mountain and PAC NW paddling. The 4 layer material and reinforcement makes for ultra durability.
- Nothing is tougher on clothing material than paddlesports. Between being submerged in water constantly, exposed to desert sun and constant rock / sand abrasion, a very durable and waterproof material is needed. Entrant seems to do the trick. It is also less expensive than GORE TEX.
- CUSTOMER SERVICE!!! Immersion Research is one of the friendliest and best companies that you will ever deal with. They have a phone number right on their website that is answered by a live person (reps, owners, and smart people in general). Click on this link to check out the IR Guarantee.
- The Immersion Research Double D has a relief zipper. No need to take the whole suit off when you gotta go.
- Waterproof breathable booties come standard. The sole of the fabric booties is coated with with a Urethane for added durability You can wear a pair of river shoes on a cold day, and your feet will stay warm and toasty.
- The Double D is about a hundred dollars less than the equivalent GORE TEX suits. There are various pro’s and con’s to using GORE TEX. One of the draw backs is that the outer nylon shell fabric on some GORE TEX product breaks down from UV rays faster than the material that IR uses. IR has long been viewed in the industry of being a trend-setter. Part of being a trend setter, is why they chose to use a 4-layer Entrant material, rather than Gore tex. IR upgraded to the 4-layer material about two years ago, after testing various other membranes for years prior. The ultimate conclusion was that this was the best! After all, they didn’t name the company Immersion Know-it-alls, it is Immersion Research, and the research lead to the product offered today!
- IR double stitch’s, and double seam tapes the crotch seam to add strength to the construction. This is a classic weak point in drysuit/pants.
- Great fit. This dry suit has articulated arms, Velcro closures at the waist and on the arms, and is really comfortable, especially for how heavy duty it is.
- If you want a suit with GORE TEX, the Double D is not for you. They us Entrant, which works really well..but it is not GORE TEX.
- There is currently no drop seat in the Double D. Sorry ladies.
GORE TEX lost their patent 35 years ago, in the mid 70’s, so replicating a similar membrane is what Torey did (the manufacturer of Entrant). With that being said, taking the GORE TEX factor out of the equation, the Immersion Research Double D dry suit has all of the same features (as well as some better ones for white water paddling) as more expensive options. Besides the quality of the suit itself, Immersion Research has first class customer service. They are an owner operated company, employed with some of the nicest and most knowledgeable people that you will ever talk to. Last, IR products get mad style points. Who doesn’t like a little plaid in their kayak wardrobe(see photo above)?