Why does the women's drysuit have a front relief zipper instead of a drop seat?
Two reasons: Comfort and dryness. A drop seat zipper ends up right in between your hip and the hip pad in your cockpit. Your kayak should fit you like a glove- if it does, this zipper placement becomes extremely uncomfortable. And the zippers on the market today that ARE comfortable-small and flexible-aren't dry enough.
Since the early '80s we've have many different drysuit relief options for women in our line, including a two piece suit in addition to the drop seat in a suit. Today, all Stohlquist drysuits are fitted with an innocuously positioned, simple to use front relief zipper for use with your choice of FUD (Feminine Urinary Device). A little practice brings satisfactory results, and known to provide a fair degree of modesty.
How do I trim a latex neck gasket?
Fitting - Latex Gasket Seals...Seals on new suits may likely need to be trimmed for proper fit. Gasket latex has excellent memory, and in most cases does not stretch out enough with usage. We do not recommend trying to pre-stretch gaskets as some manufacturer's do. Stretching on the molecular level breaks necessary bonds apart. Appropriate trimming relieves entry and exit stress therefore provides longer useful life, and allows the user to be warm, dry and comfortable from the first day. Everyone has a different neck characteristics and size. There are only a few neck sizes made, but they are somewhat conical and tapered, and made to be cut to fit properly. There are ridges that contribute dryness, but also serve as a cutting guide to help you to get the cut right without wandering (which can ruin the fit). Trimming for proper fit reduces stress on you, the gasket, and their bond to No,the suit.
Trimming - Trim with long bladed, sharp scissors. No swiss-army knife scissors, Exact-o knife, or razor blades, please! For neck gasket, use concentric rings as cutting line. Cut one ring off, test the fit, then repeat as needed. Trim wrists very little, if at all. Ankles almost always require aggressive trimming (can need 1" or so for size large). Trim gaskets so they are only "slightly' tight, and so that you are satisfied with the fit, the comfort, and the restriction of water entry.
Can I trim a neoprene neck gasket?
No. Trimming of neoprene may compromise the stitching that seals the edges together for reinforcement and still fail to provide the desired result. Stohlquist dry-wear products that are fitted with neoprene seals should be selected with this in mind. Stohlquist has 10 sizes of neoprene neck seals available to you, graduated in 1/2" (13mm) increments. When you first try one on, evaluate the overall fit, after that, the neck. A proper neck fit should be snug, yet certainly tolerable. Not so loose as to let water stream enter through the neck in any head position.
Stohlquist offers a professionally applied factory-retrofit to assure to your fit preference, of the proper size neck (to the original purchaser to any new product). Just call in and request this service, free of charge. If in doubt about the fit, take your time, try it out on the water till you know. Then, if you want this adjustment/retrofit, call TRX @ 719.589.4800 to arrange a retrofit.
How dry are these drysuits?
Here's a technically accurate discussion:
Stohlquist Drysuits are designed to be used in surface water sports activities in soaking wet conditions of highly aerobic body activity. They are effective in sealing out water and also in breathing (transporting inside perspiration out). Highly waterproof - highly breathable is the key to success in delivering the greatest degree of comfort. When you are drier, you can be more comfortable in wet cold conditions. An effectively functioning drysuit is made up of a two part system....SHELL & LINER. Without a proper liner worn under the suit, every drysuit is either wet inside or wet and cold inside. A proper two part system, shell and liner will provide optimal comfort and in doing so, "the illusion of dryness".
What do I wear under the drysuit?
The liner must perform quite a feat by maintaining these functions:
1. Provide loft, that is, thickness enough to create a dead airspace on the surface of the skin. If the liner's loft is too thin, the exterior of the fabric surface can/will conduct cold through the liner to the skin. The proper liner can/will provide the inside out "thermos bottle effect". You stay moderate(not cold or hot) regardless of the temp on the outside.
2. Must wick moisture off the surface of the skin. Moisture that stays on the skin can/will make you feel wet, likely cold and with a thin layer, certainly both. Your sweat will conduct to the outside and chill you. Appropriate choice of liner will be determined by the amount of sweat, that day. More sweat, more wicking required.
3. Be the reservoir to disburse (hold and transport) moisture (off of , hold away from your skin) when you are sweating at a greater rate than the fabric's breathe rate. A proper liner will create the illusion of dryness by acting as mediator between you and the inside surface of the drysuit shell.
It is easy for any drysuit to keep dry when sitting still on flatwater, but as the variables of dryness from both inside and outside change, so will the users perception of relative dryness. The ultimate measure of any drysuit's performance is best measured on the river. The perceived level of comfort is the best measure of a drysuit's performance. You may get a wide range of input about any one drysuit manufacturer's product performance, the factors above are likely 90% of the cause for the controversy. It is not apparent that choice of a proper liner can multiply the satisfaction level with many drysuit offerings. We like to think of a drysuit as a "comfort suit" because whether there is any measurable degree of wetness on the inside, your degree of comfort over-rules any unquantifiable measure of the "absoluteness of dry".
We are told, we are 80% water. It takes a drysuit, a stretch of water, a boat and a paddler in motion to get a reasonable guess of how much of that moisture slips out of us in an hour. Most of us are amazed. So choose both your drysuit and liner carefully and go out and enjoy the "illusion of dryness" in a level of comfort and safety that no other system offers boaters.