Kokatat, arguably the leading dry suit designer in the kayaking industry, has just released their new Icon Dry Suit for the 2013 paddling season! This rear-entry dry suit is part of their Jackson Collection which includes the Maximus PFD and three dry tops. The collection was developed in collaboration with whitewater paddling legend Eric Jackson (founder of Jackson Kayaks) and his son Dane Jackson, the reigning Junior World Champion.
Just one look at the Icon dry suit and you’re sure to be stunned by its bold color pallet and fresh graphics! Upon further inspection, it seems as though the Jacksons and designers have gone to great lengths to make the Icon highly functional and packed full of great features! I’m very interested to see how the rear-entry idea pans out. On the one hand, a rear-entry dry suit removes the zipper from across the chest and relocates it across the shoulders where it is less likely to impede the paddling motion. However, dry suits are a notorious PIA to get into and out of and I wonder if the rear-entry will be better or worse in this department. I couldn’t be happier with the material selection, though. The GORE-TEX Pro Shell offers excellent breathability and the carefully-placed Cordura reinforcements will help provide added durability when scouting river banks (or climbing up the bank after an errant swim, like me)!
Here are some of the other key features of the Icon Dry Suit:
- Made with 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell
- 330 Cordura reinforcements on the legs, shoulders and arms
- Rear entry TIZIP MasterSeal zipper
- Latex neck and wrist gaskets
- Zippered chest pocket with key lanyard
- Adjustable overskirt
- Front relief zipper for men (drop seat for women)
- GORE-TEX® socks
- Kokatat’s lifetime warranty
This summer may be the right time for me to consider upgrading my old Kokatat Tropos Meridian dry suit (now the Hydrus 3L Meridian dry suit) to something with a little more breathability in preparation for a few sea kayaking adventures on my horizon. I’m leaning towards the Kokatat GORE-TEX Expedition but I may end up giving the Icon another look…
Happy Gear Shopping!!
I just checked in with the folks at Kokatat to see if they could retrofit an Icon dry suit with a hood. Unfortunately, they are unable to modify the Icon with a hood at this time and do not have plans to do so in the near future. This is a real bummer for the sea kayaking community considering that the Icon looks to be an amazing product and a hood is a huge deal for us. I hope they consider revisiting this option at some point but I guess we’ll have to “settle” for their Expedition Dry Suit for now…