On of the biggest sources of boater jealousy at any put-in, be it river or ocean, is the drysuit. If you have one, you're a pimp. If you don't, you've got pimp envy.
I put the Kokatat Meridian GMER Drysuit through the paces during a long Washington winter and spring, boating class V snowmelt. While most reviewers get a product, try it on, and maybe test it in a river or two, I have trashed this thing to find out what everyone wants to know: is it worth the extra coin?
Boating with this suit three days per week, I quickly discovered the benefits of the optional socks and relief zipper. The suit as advertised held up well in submersion tests–long class V swims, which I had many of, even swimming over a 20-foot waterfall.
The Kokatat Meridian GMER has great freedom of movement, and allows for uninhibited paddle strokes–especially the doggy-paddle variety when I'm stroking towards the bank without a boat. Durability was excellent throughout the suit, with the exception of the built in dry socks. Around day 20, the sock's seam tape was delaminating creating some soggy feet and an unhappy tester. It's an easy fix by sending the product in to Kokatat for a new set of dry sox, but at over $1000 retail, I'd like to see more durability in the feet of future models. The Cordura seat and knee patches have held up well, I hiked out of some very unforgiving canyons thick with Devils Club, and have been very impressed at the continuing durability of the suit as a whole.
The suit's toughness, with over 75 river days of testing. The supple material provided ease of movement with great range of motion. Plus it was highly breathable, while remaining waterproof even after heavy use in demanding conditions.
Is this suit worth the extra money?:
Let me give it a resounding hell yes! Whether your sea kayaking or running waterfalls, as paddlers we have to protect ourselves from the elements and this drysuit does just that. There are other suits that are less expensive, but if performance and durability are what you demand, the Kokatat Gore-Tex models deliver.