Wanting to start my kayak fishing season early and extending it into the colder months requires some cold water gear here in Montreal in order to get out on that water safely on these cold Canadian days.
After doing some research and debating between a dry top and pant I decided that it would be safer and worth the expense to get a dry suit and ended up buying the Ocean Rodeo Soul . Before we get into the detailed review here are the Pros and Cons of this dry suit.
- Looks great
- Plenty of pockets
- Easy to put on
- Removable hood
- Comfortable and easy to move and paddle in
- Quality workmanship
- Slightly cheaper then KOKATAT
- Bulky when worn with a life jacket
- Can get very warm in the sun
- Bulkier then other dry suits
I made my purchase in early 2014 at MEC and used it throughout April, May and June and then again in October. We have had a particularly cold winter in 2013 so the water had remained colder than usual and I was glad I had the protection of the full dry suit.
I know that looks are not the most important quality but I didn’t want to totally concede style and so my requirement was that it was well built and also that the zippers were not overly visible. The Ocean Rodeo Soul met all of my requirements, including that the relief zipper is hidden. The build quality of this dry suit is very good and the layout well thought out.
I used the suit in both rainy and sunny weather and it really shined on those cloudy rainy days where it kept me both warm and dry. However when the sun does come out you will get warm quickly but opening the jacket does help. I found it very easy to get in and out of, and because the zipper is located close to the top of the suit around the neck area it can easily be zipped by one person. I tested it in some shallow water, and as you would expect; no leaks and all the clothing I was wearing came out perfectly dry.
I’m 5’9″ tall and decided to go for the large. It’s just a bit big, but wearing the suspenders which are provided keeps the lower portion of the suit in place while I’m getting my boat to the water.
If you’re considering this dry suit I would recommend you get the version with the socks. I bought the version with the ankle gaskets but on second thought it might have been a mistake since my feet do get a bit cold even while wearing neoprene socks and shoes. If you get the version with the integrated socks you can put on a pair of wool socks which will keep your feet nice and warm. Also if you buy the same suit I did, and the gaskets seem a bit tight make sure to stretch them out using cans or round Tupperware before deciding to trim them as they will stretch over time and could get too loose. The suit comes with detailed instructions on how to adjust the gaskets.
I also recommend you wear it at home for a few hours before going out on the water to make sure the neck gasket isn’t too tight because passing out in your kayak ain’t no fun.
Overall this is a great looking drysuit that provides great fit and function. Even though it is a bit bulky when wearing a life jacket, it’s really the only flaw in an otherwise well designed and constructed dry suit.
I’m very happy with my purchase and look forward to using it to get back out on the water as soon as the ice melts. I recommend this suit for anyone who wants to do the same.