Drysuit vs Zhik Superwarm Suit??

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by ALJM, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. ALJM

    ALJM New Member

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    After years spent not frostbiting it's time!! Trying to decide between going with the old standard drysuit or skipping the "420/FJ" wear and trying the just as expensive Zhik Superwarm combo of skiffsuit and top. Anybody have direct experiences or for that matter, alternatives?

    FWIW, sailing out of southeastern Virginia, so water only really cold starting in January...
  2. ALJM

    ALJM New Member

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    Wow, should I take it as telling that no one has responded after 112 views?? Do folks see Zhik's gear as too pricey hence the seeming lack of market penetration here??
  3. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    I would never recommend a dry suit for laser sailing. I personally find them too bulky, restrictive and not as warm as what I wear now.

    I have never worn the Zhik kit so can't comment on how warm it actually is. My personal opinion on the kit is that its overpriced for what you get and I'm not prepared to pay their prices. There are others on here who love the Zhik stuff though.

    Your best bet is to go to your chandlers and try both options on and a few alternatives. Are they comfortable, can you move unrestricted, are you overheating (wearing that kit inside a shop you should be!).

    Personally I go for lots of layers so that I can tailor my kit for the conditions on the day. Most of my gear is Rooster or SEA with a few other bits and pieces mixed in. I sail all year round this way.
  4. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    Lol at Zhik being overpriced and Rooster not.

    Is Rooster available through other dealers in North America? I've never come across it, but haven't bought gear for a couple years now.

    Have you tried Zhik gear before to formulate that opinion, because, for me, it's held up perfectly through day in, day out usage.

    If Rooster is not available through NA dealers, and you live outside of the UK, the shipping costs will be astronomical. In this case, the Zhik would be way cheaper.

    Shipping aside, looking solely at the prices, I'm seeing that they are rather even.

    British bias?
  5. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I don't understand your British bias question. You made the argument about shipping cost being what made Rooster expensive in NA. Same for Zhik in Europe, I expect.
  6. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    Frostbiting is probably the only time I would say get a drysuit. I don't like the idea of getting wet when it's cold out just doesn't sound like fun. Most other people wear them so you aren't losing anything by wearing it or layers. I prefer to stay dry if I flip when it's cold out.
  7. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    My point was that it can depend on your location.

    British bias because she's British...Rooster's British. She keeps saying that Zhik is over priced, but when I check out their respective websites, the prices appear to be similar. (Rough, 7AM, after working all night currency estimations) This would/could make where you are located a big factor.

    TS is from Virginia.

    If that were the case, I believe Zhik becomes the more viable option, simply due to there being so many dealers. (I'm not sure if Rooster is available through other dealers.) I would guess there are also Zhik dealers in the UK.

    I hope that makes sense.
  8. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Rooster gear is available in NA (and some of it at really good pricing).
    Intensity Sails, one of our forum sponsers, has a great deal on the Aquafleece right now.

    Also another long time Laser sailor, John D-E, carries most of the line in Canada and will ship into the US.. http://www.jdemarine.com/
  9. Sailorchick

    Sailorchick Member

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    I'm not factoring in shipping as its not really an issue.

    I can pick up Zhik stuff in my local Chandlery (close enough to cycle to so not even petrol cost) if I want but its very expensive compared to the kit I have bought from other manufacturers. (£60 for a Zhik buoyancy aid - £35-£45 from most other manufacturers for one example) I'm on a budget (as I imagine lots of people are) and haven't seen anything in the items that makes me want to spend that much.

    It may well be cheaper in the states so a more viable option, but over here its too much.
  10. torrid

    torrid Mongo Only Pawn In Game Of Laser

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    I looked at a bunch of Zhik stuff, but never bought any. Just turned off by the price tag.

    I know lots of people like Zhik equipment. It has a very popular, almost cult-like following. Kind of reminds me of the iPhone.

    I don't have an iPhone either.
  11. 663

    663 Member

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    I haven't tried the Zhik Superwarm Suit, but have sailed Lasers plenty with the water temp in the 50-30f degree range in both breathable drysuit and wetsuits w/spraytops. If your launching of a ramp or beach, I would go the drysuit direction as keeping you feet warm in the Zhik Superwarm Suit will be hard in Feb/March. If you are sailing off a dock, very different and warmer, but I'd still go with the drysuit in cold water.
  12. nesdog

    nesdog Member

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    +1 on Intensity. I bought the Aquafleece recently at great pricing and delivery.
  13. ALJM

    ALJM New Member

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    Good discussion from all on the real topic and given the international nature of our sport, how exchange and shipping rates affect buying power. Particularly good thoughts from 663, thanks.

    A friend recently recommended Trident Drysuits, made in the UK. Significantly cheaper than what I have seen for sale in the US. Can anyone fill us Yanks in on them...quality, mobility (as applies to Laser sailing), etc...????????

    ALJM
  14. wessel

    wessel Member

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    Rooster has a US storefront on their website and the shipping isn't that bad. I recently bought some stuff from them and I got it in 2 days for like 10 bux in shipping charges, duties included, although I do have a statement from FedEx wanting a few bux for unpaid duties.
  15. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    The Trident kit looks pretty good and is pretty resiliant (this is only from what I have seen I do not own a Trident Drysuit).

    I do have a Gul Breathable drysuit which works pretty well in most dinghies. I have worn it once or twice in a Laser but I was so paranoid about ripping it that I decided to take the layers option.

    I have only even been too cold once whilst sailing a Laser (the workrate is significantly more than most other dinghies) that was when the spray was freezing on the deck as it landed. I restired because my gloves froze and I couldnt grip any ropes.
  16. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    The responses that I've seen all seem to be talking mostly about keeping warm while still in the boat. Do the non-dry suit options keep you warm (enough) if you capsize and it takes a couple of minutes to right the boat?
  17. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Re: Drysuit vs Hick Super warm Suit??

    It all comes down to personal preference and tolerance to being cold. Age also plays a role, younger people, on avg can handle colder temps (and the initial jolt to your system that can affect your heart) better then older people.

    One thing I've noticed where we frostbite, it's rare to see someone in a drysuit shivering between races or after a capsize, or call it a day early, while I've seen a number of folks do all those things in wetsuits.
  18. Kratos

    Kratos Member

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    I get by in 3-5 degree water without a dry suit.

    You just have to minimize the time spent IN the water haha.

    I have a pretty good tolerance for the cold, though. (Drive with air temp all the way to cold in the winter) As long as I kept my upper body, head and feet toasty, my actual legs were always fine.
  19. jeffers

    jeffers Active Member

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    I guess I take it from my point of view which is that I am unlikely to capsize therefore I don;t worry too much about the swimming side. Wearing the kit I have I find that if I do go for a swim I am generally still pretty warm when i get back in the boat and then carry on. The problem comes after the race when you do tend to cool down really quickly.

    FWIW I wear:

    Rooster Pro hikers + Lycra shorts over
    Cotton t-shirt
    Sweatshirt (if it is really chilly)
    Rooster Aquafleece (tucked into the Lycra shorts to prevent the spray going up the back)
    Fleece or thinsulate hat
    Wetboots
    Thick woolly socks to cover the gap between the top of the wetboots and the bottom of the hikers.

    As long as I don;t go in I am warm enough the whole day in that. If I go in then I nip ashore and change the tshirt, sweatshort and hat.

    Air and water temps vary here but in January the lake has been known to freeze hard enough for someone to safely walk on it so water temps must be around the 3-5 celcius mark. Air temp varies wildy between -2 C to plus 8 or 9 C.

    What also makes the biggest difference is if it sunny. The sun has a very marked warming effect even when the air temp is low.

    Always err of the catious side though until you know what need to keep yourself warm.
  20. beaker

    beaker hi

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    1- to say you are not going in the drink or capsizing makes me laugh.

    2- drysuit drysuit drysuit. I hate getting wet and sometimes do flip or fall out of the boat. Plus I hate getting wet.

    With the drysuit I can go straight to the bar in the same clothes I just sailed
    in.

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