I started whitewater kayaking in the summer of 2005. I got into it after my doctor told me I could not SCUBA dive anymore because of health reasons. So I went to the Kayak Shed and met a guy named John Hart and he introduced me to a product that would literally afford me the luxury of kayaking year round. I bought my first Kokatat Gore-Tex drytop the “Wave” from John that summer and still paddle that drytop to this day. I have sent it into Kokatat a couple of times for modifications and leak testing only to have it sent back to me in perfect condition and leak free for a nominal charge. In fact I always have felt that Kokatat was getting the short end of the stick because their customer service is just that good.
Over the years I have added a shorty drytop and a drysuit. All of the items are still being used regularly and have not failed me. As with the drytop, the drysuit has been sent to Kokatat and they have given me the same stellar service over the years. In fact Jordan Jones has handled my gear on almost every occasion. Once our son Jeffery got into kayaking, we soon purchased him a Gore-tex Meridian drysuit and he has been using it without incident for over 2 years. Just three weeks ago we sent his into to have all the gaskets replaced and I received phone message from Jordan telling me there was a warrantly issue with Jeffery’s drysuit and to call him back. Frantically, I called him back only to learn that the Gore-Tex was delaminating and they were going to replace his suit under their warranty. Mind you, we had not been having any issues, only the normal wear and tear of having to replace gaskets. Just yesterday afternoon, a brand new suit arrived just in time before Jeffery and his coach, Chris Bensch leave for the Davenport Paddle Surf Classic tomorrow.
We have assorted other items like PFDs, booties, layering, etc and we have not had 1 piece of gear fail us. If you boat here in the Northwest, there is nothing better for keeping you warm, dry and safe. You can layer up to be as warm as you want or you can go with a light skin in the warmer weather and the Gore-Tex breathes and stays comfortable in all climates. None of my family are sponsored by Kokatat, nor do we receive discounts. We purchase and use their gear because it and the people who make it and represent Kokatat are the best. Kokatat even made the PFDs and the drytops for the US West Surf Kayak team that Jeffery was a part of and proudly wears.
When you choose, choose wisely. It’s cold out there!