I got this cag some months ago now and wanted to wait until I had really tested it before I wrote a report. The thing that attracted me in the first place was the price: £105(GB) including delivery for a made-to-measure cag is the best I have seen anywhere! This, coupled with the fact that the materials are guaranteed and the maker himself (Andi Riley) assured me that this would be drier/more durable than KOGG, Bomber Gear, PeakUK etc. I just had to have one.
The cag is made from a single piece of black, non-breathable nylon with EXTREMELY HIGH denier. He does do a breathable version, but what’s the point in that when simple physics will tell you that ‘breathing’ will only work when the outer shell is totally dry! (how often does this happen?) The fabric IS tough and even seems that it would be constrictive at first, but the fact that the whole thing is made-to-measure gives superb freedom, especially now that he’s incorporating designs intended to suit freestyle paddlers (e.g.. reduced ‘bat-wing’). Also, less seams means less weak spots – need I say more!
Putting the thing to test on the water was high priority, but first of all putting the thing on. This was and still is a bit of a pain due to the tightness of the outer waist band of the gasket. This is good to have though and works really quite well! The next point is a disappointment. The inner layer of the gasket is not really what it should be. It is a loose piece of cheaper nylon, only held to ones body by sewn-in elastic at the bottom. I would have liked to have seen this in a sticky elasticated rubber construct or at least with a wide, flat, sticky/elastic strip along the bottom where the elastic is at present. The saving grace is the length of this inner gasket – it’ll never ride up. It does do the job very well, but is not pleasing to the eye and can be a little uncomfortable if you don’t get it totally flat (as a sticky strip would be).
The latex seals started out very very tight, but have settled in now! They are strong. Real strong! The cuff seal protectors are a nice piece of work and well worth it. The neck seal protector IS worth the money, but this could have been done a little better – it’s just a piece of neoprene. This maybe should have had some fastening (Velcro) and could have been a little softer (for tender necks – especially in salt water).
In the water – GREAT! Very very dry indeed. I did notice feeling a little colder in it than in my old Nookie Extreme (but that might be due to the fury lining it accumulated). Perhaps a bit of flocking on the inner ply would sort this out… as it stands, an extra layer on the coldest of days will suffice, but then you could wear your best Xmas jumper under this without fear of it getting wet – maybe sweaty, but not wet 😉 The freedom of movement is very good considering the rigidity of the fabric. Rolling is actually made easier by the slimness of the arms, however quantifying this is nigh-on impossible.
Getting out is another challenge. Make a plan and stick to it. The close fit and tight bits all aid in you getting a ‘comedy_kick_in_the_rump’ as you struggle out (we’ve all been there). Drying is not a problem – you don’t need to! Just hang-up or stuff in the boot – it never seems WET, cold and smelly maybe.
In conclusion this is a great garment and would be a great piece of kit for anyone looking for quality rather than shiny trim or the ‘must-have’ name. The drawbacks are so minor when you look at what you’re getting, and then look again at the price!!! You will be pleased with this cag IF this cag is what you are looking for.