There Are Some Seriously Dodgy Drysuits For Sale

People, I don’t want to sound alarmist or arrogant. But dang, there are some seriously dodgy drysuits for sale being made out there today. As we speak – no, even as I type, somewhere overseas, there is a drysuit being made that will make you cry and possibly even catch hypothermia. Allow me to illustrate. I took two different suits, one from Kokatat and one from “the other company.” I could have chosen from perhaps 3 different “other companies,” but I chose this one.

I took these suits and turned them inside out, then took photos of identical areas – the area along the terminal end of the zipper body when in the open position. Pay attention to the seam tape.

Kokatat first - You will notice seam tape peeling and exposing the zipper body stitching. Furthermore, look to the end of the zipper along the seam tape… upper right corner. You can see the seam tape peeling up. For the record, I don’t think that “other company” is a bad company. I think they are a great company whose drysuits for sale are not being made well.

Here’s what I’m telling you: Try and guess which suit is older. Go ahead. Give up? “Other Company” = Circa 2009, whereas Kokatat is from 1999! I received a suit the other day that was from “Another Company” (not the one pictured above)… it was TWO (2) years old. The seam tape was sloughing off like butter on a hot cinnamon roll. And I hate to use such a poor metaphor for that, but I love cinnamon rolls.

Sometimes I just feel like saying “Come on, people! There is a reason why you just saved money on that snazzy suit you bought!” But I wouldn’t say that, because I know that people have budget constraints. Often, we are talking about a difference of 30% between Kokatat and “Other Company” – that isn’t chump change. But if your suit is crapping out on you after two years or 4 years, how does that add up to savings? It really is worthwhile to save up and buy the best.

My last point is “MADE IN AMERICA”. I don’t want to sound isolationist or overly patriotic or even xenophobic, yet there is something that ALL “other companies” have in common. Guess where they are built? In “Other Countries,” and I don’t mean Canada. I don’t want to get political. For me, it’s about quality control, testing, and oversight. And if your fabrication is happening in Thailand or Vietnam or China, all I can say is that the quality isn’t there when compared to an American-built drysuit.

I have been to the Kokatat factory in CA. They honestly build the whole suit right there. If they mess up a suit, they replace it. I feel that having quality control and R&D under the same roof, and in the same country, is what makes the critical difference when it comes to the quality of the suit’s construction – and therefore longevity. Also, let us not forget that Kokatat uses Gore-Tex… yeah, that helps too. I am the captain of this ship and I approve this message.

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