Kokatat Icon Limited Edition Dry Suit (GORE TEX) Review –
From The Perspective Of A Grand Canyon Solo Self Support Paddler
Josh is a customer of CKS. He initially gave us a call asking which Kokatat GORE TEX dry suit would be best for a Grand Canyon solo self support trip? Would a front zip dry suit be better for a self support? Or would the burly new Kokatat Icon Limited Edition Dry Suit with rear entry, with foll GORE TEX Cordura lowers be better? The main issue was that none of us had actually used the Icon in an environment like the Grand Canyon…Josh ended up purchasing the Icon, and sent us this review after his trip.
I wanted to let you guys know how stoked I am on the Kokatat Icon Limited Edition drysuit I recently bought from you. A December Grand Canyon self-support kayak trip was the catalyst for this major investment. I’ve had an NRS drysuit with eVent fabric for a few seasons and it’s served me well. Unfortunately it’s way too breathable for freezing temps, and only mostly “dry.” Kokatat drysuits are legendary for their performance, durability, and guaranteed lifetime warranty. I was somewhat torn between the GMER (front entry) and the Icon (rear entry) drysuits. The Icon is the result of a Kokatat/Team Jackson Kayak collaboration that incorporates a few key features that JK paddlers wanted. I’ve seen this suit advertised before with the Team JK fluorescent orange & yellow colors, which is definitely SAFE, but I’m not young enough to want to bring back 1980’s fashion. The blue & grey available this year is more my style.
The Icon was such a great addition to my trip! The only unknown for me was how easily I could get in/out by myself with the rear entry shoulder zipper. You guys can tell perspective buyers not to worry. The suit comes with special lubricant for the TiZip zipper that makes the zipper pulling really smooth. Also with a bit of practice, a simple sequence can be followed that helps in donning the suit. When getting in: right hand first, head, then before pushing left hand through the gasket, grab inside of sleeve material w left hand and start to close the zipper with your right hand. This keeps the material straight and tight. I found I could almost completely close it with this first pull. Push left hand through gasket & finish closing w left hand. To get out, just pull right hand back through gasket and grab inside of sleeve to make straight and tight. Unzip with left hand, easy!
Also, I LOVE how comfortable it is not having a thick metal zipper across my chest and ribs under my spray skirt. Not only is this feature way more comfortable, it also helps to keep water from sneaking in through the spray skirt tunnel. Playboaters will really appreciate this feature. The full Cordura legs and sleeves are also really sweet as is the relief zip cover. These custom extras would push the GMER cost way up, so the bonus of the easy, comfy rear entry zip makes this a perfect combination of all the features I was looking for. As expected, this suit was 100% DRY. I’m so glad I’m finally a Kokatat drysuit owner. Perhaps if someone had flexibility/range of motion issues the rear entry would be an issue. If you can easily touch your spine between the shoulder blades, than zipping this suit won’t be a problem. The bonus of the suit being on sale and including the Kokatat woolcore baselayers was awesome!
-Josh, Flagstaff, AZ