Kokatat Deluxe GTX Sea Skirt

Author: [ trailpeak ]   Contact Author: trailpeakThu Aug 27 16:44:08 UTC 2009

The Kokatat Deluxe GORE-TEX spray skirt is like other gear from the company, it's top of the line and designed to perform.

Here's what I like about it and let's cut to the chase; firstly it's GORE-TEX so it breathes, i.e. while you sweat, moisture can make it's way out of the boat and this is helpful especially when weather conditions are all over the place or raining. It can get clammy down there when using the old neoprene skirts that don't breathe. Next the cording on this skirt can be made tight so the it really can hug the cockpit, and I needed to do this on a recent four day trip on Georgian Bay out to Flowerpot Island from Tobermory, and then down the rugged coastline of the Bruce Peninsula National Park. Fantastic paddling by the way, world class and very cool stone beaches and Turquoise waters.

What a fantastic trip, mostly sunny, but we had two monstrously windy and wavy days, perfect testing grounds for the Kokatat spray skirt. On both days, the waves were 3-4 feet with big splash downs as I sped up to pierce the crest of the wave coming at me. Several large waves crashed over the deck and punched me in the stomach. I enjoyed it! I took some hits broadside too, while turning around to check on some of the others.

No problem with waves crashing over the deck, and rolling off the skirt. There is a rigid piece of plastic half way down the skirt which keeps the shape of the skirt convex allowing it to shed water quickly. I did have an issue with broadsides though but that may have been me not tightening the skirt up as much as it should have been -- and that's a reminder to ensure you use the shoulder straps (suspenders) and get the skirt as snug as it can be. I tightened the shock-cording along the cockpit gunnels as much as I could and this helped. I did a wet exit the next day, and, pulling from a very easy to grab handle at the top of the skirt allowed me to fall out. My skirt was on really tight owing to the storm we paddled through earlier, so it was a hefty tug to get a release. Always make sure the handle is facing up and ready to pull and that you know where it is. With some skirts, it's a small piece of rope, not so with the Kokatat skirt. It's a full on handle you can't miss this "eject" button.

Overall, this skirt is a breakthrough because very few other manufacturers (if any) use Goretex, meaning breathability and comfort with 100% waterproofness, think of it as an extension of your drytop. The skirt is very light, and, performs well. Make sure you size any skirt to your boat, Kokatat makes spray skirts in different sizes, and this is key to ensuring the skirt seals well over your cockpit. Make sure you use the suspenders, and, take the time to fasten your skirt and test it to make sure you can wet exit without too much effort.

One additional feature I really liked, apart from a bit of reflective material along a few seams, and, that is the small mesh pocket at the top of the skirt that has quick zipper access. You can place some snack(s), a small camera, and in my case, some sunscreen in there. I love Kokatat for paddling apparel and innovative product, they know paddling because it's what they focus on. I look forward to more epic trips with the skirt, and will update this review as I go. The skirt did arrive with a bit of stitching missing on the top mesh pocket, however, that was easy to fix.

Here's what Kokatat has on their product page, in terms of construction and specifications.

"The GTX Deluxe sea skirt combines all of the features of the TROPOS Deluxe sea skirt with the durability and breatheability of the GORE-TEX® fabric used in our famous dry suits. Comfort over the long haul and during changing weather conditions is the hallmark of GORE-TEX® fabric; this is one spray skirt you will not replace for many years.

FABRIC: 3.21 OZ. Evolution nylon 3-layer GORE-TEX® laminate
TRIM: Cordura®, polyester pile"

Kurt Turchan
Founder, www.trailpeak.com

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