Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gear Review: Double D Drysuit by Immersion Research

IR's take:
"We are very proud to announce the release of this product- it is the culmination of everything we have learned about making kayaking gear over the past 10 years. Every aspect of this garment was meticulously planned: The shell fabric- waterproof, breathable Entrant™- was custom made for us to withstand the unique rigors of paddling garments. The zippers are hand-glued in to ensure the best possible seal. The pattern is designed to have zero 4-way cross seams- a classic leaky spot on dry tops. Every seam on the entire suit was hand-trimmed to 1/8th of an inch to ensure maximum seam tape contact. The jacket is articulated for a paddling position. The list goes on and on."

Now for what's up. As a year-round paddler, a nice drysuit is something that I always wanted since the first time I dipped a blade into an icy winter river, but could never afford due to the prohibitively high cost of GoreTex. There have been other options for drysuits in the past but none had many features and the construction of low-end models wasn't great either. Thanks to Immersion Research, spending less on a drysuit and winding up with a nice product is easy. Enter the Double D drysuit.

Just as a wave of cold weather hit NC this week, my new drysuit arrived. I had made plans to show a friend down the Green River for her first time and I couldn't think of a better way to try out my new suit for the first time. We would be hopping in and out to scout rapids or portage and hanging out to take pictures. In 30* weather, armed with a drytop and paddling pants, this might be a chilly prospect. Not for me anymore!

Frankenstein - Photo by Bill Clipper

The first thing I noticed as I got dressed in the parking lot was how comfortable the IR drysuit is. Second I noticed a wide neoprene waistband inside the suit to prevent it from slipping around your waist. Very handy and it helps keep the garment in place. Don't get me wrong, the pee zipper and fabric socks are great features that you should definitely have on any drysuit, but my favorite feature is the entry zipper located behind the shoulders of the garment. It requires you to have a buddy help you get dressed but the location of the zipper makes you forget that its there while you're paddling. No bulk like a traditional 'over-the-shoulder' zipper - sweet!

Pincushion - Photo by Bill Clipper

Drysuits are great! Without being baggy and unlike a drytop/paddle pant combo, this suit allows for lots of winter layers and unobstructed movement - without leakage around the waist. Your feet stay nice and toasty thanks to the fabric socks as well! If you are a winter or cold water boater who has been holding off on picking up a drysuit, take a look at the IR Double D! It's a full-featured drysuit at a reasonable price. Backed by IR's industry-leading customer service, you can't go wrong!

Gorilla - Photos by Bill Clipper

I can't wait to paddle on more cold days in the future! I owe a big thanks to my new sponsor, Immersion Research for making the best gear available and to Roger and all the folks at IR for being so good to me over the years.

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