Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gear Check. What's your zipper doin'!

Cycling the Waterfront Trail, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
This is the most important girl zipper check when cycling.

With cooler spring temperatures and wind this year, I forgot how many layers I had put on before I ran out of layers and shouldn't zip down to the belly any more to cool down.

Zippers are on my mind.

The big zips. The monsters of all zippers. Dry suit zippers! The terrors of paddling. You have nightmares about getting yours open. No? You have strong wrists and big biceps maybe? Even so, it's not easy to get outta that dry suit by yourself?

When a paddle buddy turns red, purple, then blue in the face and gasps, "Can you help me with my zipper . . . ", he really needs help with it, and probably so will you!

I've resisted buying a dry suit year after year because I can't get the zippers to move when I test them in the store.

The store assistant says, "But they have this wax . . . it helps."

So I asked which brand I should try. "Level Six or Kokatat?"

Store assistant: "Level Six doesn't make dry suits for girls. They say there isn't a big enough market for that."

Me: "How sexist!"

Maybe it's because we have trouble with the zippers? And I have lots of Level Six gear! Then, I remembered the easy and ironic chuckle of the 14th Dalai Lama who was just in Ottawa April 28th.  He has a big message for compassion.

OK, here's my compassionate take on this situation, "How nice that Level Six has left the female dry suit market to Kokatat."

Store assistant: "And Kokatat dry suits are the best anyway."

Me: "Awesome! So let's try one on!"

Now what about size? I'm a 5'6", 125 pound girl and the small is a bit too short. I'll have to try a medium. If that doesn't work - out of luck!

Any suggestions for colour? The purple is no longer available. The blue is nice. Or do you go with the bright orange that everyone can spot!

Now, how is that zipper? 
All good. SNAP!

Happy paddles!
The BaffinPaddler


  1. Of course, I have to tell you Kokatat.. .:) And in the end, you can always get the right fit.. even if it has to be made especially for you. :) Just remember that you need to keep plenty of room for layers.. Especially if you are going to stay out as long as there is open water.

    Oh, and personally I like black.. but you could have guessed that :)

  2. LOL! Thanks for the reminder about leaving room for extra layers. That was another problem with the "small" that I didn't want to admit. I had another layer of my own from strawberry ice cream cones this winter! I may have lied about my weight a little bit too!