The Kokatat GMER Drysuit

This drysuit, along with Werner’s Powerhouse bent shaft paddle(note: click link to check out Joe's review), is the second piece in Joe’s gold standard gnar-running gear list. Kokatat’s GMER drysuit is so good that I feel uncomfortable on big runs when other people aren’t wearing one. If there is one piece of gear that will exponentially improve your experience on the river and help you have more fun, this is it. Years ago, I was unsure if drysuits were worth the money. Then at the putin for Upper Death, I watched Tommy Hillike jump out of his pickup truck in jeans and a t-shirt. He pulled his GMER over his street clothes and proceeded to stomp, as usual. I was sold and the GMER is every bit as good as advertised.

Specs:

Pros:

  • The Kokatat GMER drysuit seriously increases safety on any Rocky Mountain run. If you need to be in the water to help your pinned buddy or catch his bow in the last chance eddy, a dry top just doesn’t cut it - even with paddle pants. The GMER is bone dry and eliminates the shock that icy water causes when standing in the river or swimming.
  • The GMER does a great job of breathing your sweat out. It’s made with Gore-tex, so even if you’re sweating, you stay dry. I hiked 1500 vertical feet out of the Embudo in the desert with the suit on the entire way. I have also hiked the entire Black Canyon portage in the suit during a late fall run.
  • The GMER is tough. Mine is on season three and going strong. She’s still bone dry. I punched a hole into it trying to duck the barbed wire on Bluegrass creek, but Kokatat fixed it and sent it back within the week for $10.
  • On multi-day trips, I only bring a pair of flip flops because I know my kayaking base layers will be dry. This saves weight and room in the boat.
  • Make sure to get the relief zipper and booties. We all know what happens when looking at big rapids....

Cons:

  • Ok, she’s a bit pricy. Sometimes you get what you pay for and in this suit has made kayaking so much more fun because of how dry I stay.
  • Sweat from your feet can build up in the booties, but I just wear a pair of light weight wicking socks, which fixes the problem.

The Verdict:

The Kokatat GMER is my favorite piece of kayaking gear in the last 10 years. It simply makes kayaking more fun and safer, which is why I hold it in such high esteem. As Ferris Bueller once said, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”

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