Peak UK kayaking equipment is designed for the toughest conditions on the planet. We have a dedicated service and repair facility in the UK to help you get the most of your kit.
One Piece Suit Advice
A One Piece Suit is one of the best investments you can make if you want to paddle all year round, or you are mainly out in colder, wetter climates. Whether you are whitewater or sea kayaking, paddleboarding or open canoeing, the security and protection you get from a good quality suit is unrivalled. Before you take the plunge (no pun intended) and spend your hard earned money however, there are a few things you should consider...
We do not refer to our suits as dry suits, as we feel the term is misleading. They are items of high-performance paddlesport equipment. Even with the whitewater models, which feature double neck and wrist seals, we cannot guarantee that a little water may not find its way in. Plenty of people have stayed totally dry whilst swimming, rolling etc, but it is not something we would tell you to expect, let alone guarantee.
Our touring suits, the Explorer and Adventure, do not have a latex neck and we cannot retrofit them either. They use a neoprene cone seal with tension band. We do not use latex necks on any of our touring outerwear as the emphasis with these products is to give the optimum balance between comfort and protection. Not only can latex necks cause irritation in salt water, but in most touring scenarios you will be glad that your suit offers more breathability than the whitewater models, which focus mostly on preventing ingress. A touring suit will give you superb protection from the elements, and in the event of a capsize will work with your base layers to allow you to carry on with your trip, even if you do get a little water in.
It is worth adding that it is not guaranteed that you will get wet from a single swim / roll, as numerous paddlers have attested to! The main issues come when people are doing repeated rolling and wet exit drills. You should not expect to stay 100% dry in this situation. Ultimately (and obviously this varies between individuals with different tolerances to cold), if you have decent base layers that will keep you warm when wet, then your suit will help to keep body heat in and you should be able to operation in reasonable comfort. Ok, hopefully that has cleared that up. Next up...
Do I need one?
This is a subjective question, and as such it is up to you! If you are a seasoned paddler, then the chances are you already know the answer to this. If you are just starting out, or are looking to get a bit more serious, then here are a few pointers that may help:
- Just starting out: When you first start out in your paddling life, chances are you are more likely to be getting wet, whether that is by accident, or from self rescue / rolling practice. Clearly a suit will offer you the most protection here, and learning all of the above whilst being as warm and dry as possible will help keep your enthusiasm up. Unfortunately, just starting out may also be when you are least likely to shell out several hundred pounds for a piece of kit. The other thing to consider is that if you are trying several disciplines before deciding which one suits you the most, then you may be better looking at separates that enable you to dress most suitably for each environment, until you know for sure. For example, you could buy a touring suit with a semi dry neck and hood, only to find that your heart actually lies on the whitewater, which your suit will not be great for.
- A bit of everything: If you find your time is split evenly between multiple scenarios, e.g. whitewater, canoe touring and paddleboarding on the sea, then you may be better off looking at separate legwear and jackets. One good set of dry pants will work with jackets for whitewater, touring, or short sleeved cags for warmer weather, giving you loads of versatility and a more cost effective solution than buying a suit for each discipline.
So you've decided that a suit is the right choice for you. This is a decision you will not regret! We offer four different models - two for whitewater and two for touring. All use our fully waterproof, 10mm YKK Aquaseal entry / relief zips and feature the best, most waterproof fabrics in our range. On the feet we use X4 breathable, waterproof and durable, fully taped socks with flatlocked seams for unrivalled comfort. All models are also now compatible with our new DBS Boots. The simple webbing waist belt does its job perfectly and the velcro closing outer waist seal gives a great seal over your spraydeck tube. Every suit now comes with a storage bag / changing mat made entirely from waste materials. We offer two different entry systems, the shoulder-entry and our unique, award winning leg-entry. But which one is right for you...?
Our leg entry system changed the way people looked at paddling suits when they were launched over a decade ago. Being the first to use plastic TiZip zippers meant that we could finally put into practice an idea that we had been waiting on for years, but which would not have worked with the heavier, old school brass zip seen on other suits at the time. We now use fully waterproof, super tough, flexible YKK zippers on all our suits. Both leg entry suits are available in three women's specific sizes. The leg entry system offers the following advantages:
- The zip is not noticeable at all when paddling. With no zip on the upper body the freedom of movement is unparalleled
- Zip yourself up! It may take a couple of practice goes to get the knack of getting in and out of the suit, but doing the zip up by yourself is easy
- With the right base layers it is easy for female paddlers to go to the loo. The exception would be if you use a onesy-style baselayer
- Available in women's sizes
Our shoulder entry suits use a super flexible, tough, curved zip which is barely noticeable when paddling. Both models also feature a fully waterproof, vertically oriented relief zip. Alongside the regular sizing we offer two combination sizes, SM (small legs, medium jacket) & ML (medium legs, large jacket). Although not available in women's specific sizes many do still opt for this style of suit and get a great fit. The main advantages to this style are:
- Some people like to be able to remove just the top section and tie around your waist, allowing you to move around at camp, lunch, portage etc. without getting too warm
- The vertical pee zip is super easy to use, and some female expedition paddlers actually prefer this when combined with a She Wee style device
- The shoulder entry suits are super easy to get in and out of, but you ought to get someone to do the zip up for you, for the good of the zip and your shoulders!
The Whitewater (leg entry) and Deluxe (shoulder) are our driest, toughest suits, and are designed for river paddlers of all level. These suits feature double wrists and double neoprene / latex neck seals for the most protection possible. The main fabric is a mid-heavy weight X4 nylon with 20m waterproofing, whilst the heavyweight X4 nylon reinforcements give increased durability even in the toughest environments. Both models feature a handy side zip pocket. If whitewater is your thing, then these suits will look after you.
- Sizes: 10. 12. 14. S. M. L. XL.
- Colours: Orange.
- Sizes: S. SM. M. ML. L. XL.
- Colours: Blue.
Touring / sea kayak suits
Our Explorer (leg entry) and Adventure (shoulder) are specifically designed for touring and sea, whether by kayak, canoe or SUP. Both feature our neo cone neck seal (see above) and double velcro closing / latex wrists. The X2.5 adjustable hood gives great protection / visibility and folds away into the collar. There are twin chest pockets and one sleeve pocket, and the main X4 nylon has 20m waterproofing, whilst the suits feature heavyweight reinforced elbows, seat, knees and ankles.
- Sizes: 10. 12. 14. S. M. L. XL.
- Colours: Orange.
- Sizes: S. SM. M. ML. L. XL.
- Colours: Red.
Looking after your suit
All our suits come with a 1 year warranty, which excludes zips, seals and X4 socks as these are particularly susceptible to abuse. How long your suit should last depends on how often you use it and on how well you look after it. If you are coaching every week then your suit will need replacing much sooner than someone who paddles once a month. Taking the following info on board can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your kit:
- Wash it. This cannot be emphasised enough. Rinse your suit in fresh, clean water after each use and leave to drip dry, away from direct heat. Do not store if at all damp. River water contains bacteria which can literally eat away at your kit if left unchecked.
- If left outside for any period of time make sure it is the right way around. The outer fabrics can handle UV much better than the lining.
- Store for any long periods with the zip fully closed, gently folded inside the Surplus Bag, and do not pile your other kit on top of it as this can damage the zip.
- Wear liner socks. Your toenails can rub against the X4 socks and damage them. Similarly, wear close fitting neoprene footwear / socks on the outside and make sure these are clean and free from sand / dirt where possible.
- Lube your zips. Every few uses should do it. This will help keep it waterproof and will prolong the life of the zip too.
- Take the suit on and off by stretching the seals wide over your hands / head. Never pull the seals off by the fabric as this can damage the seam and taping.
- Get someone to do the shoulder zip up, don't get into the habit of doing it by yourself as you can damage the zip.
- Every now and then wash and reproof with Granger's or similar.
- See our Service Page for more details on all of the above.