Hitting my 5th year of paddling, I decided that it was high time I got a dry suit. With a free choice of the market, I was after something that fitted well, was tough and looked good! After looking at specifications and reviews of IR, Typhoon, DamX, Peak and Lomo drysuits, I decided to invest in a Ladies Palm Element.
The definitive female specific immersion suit. Featuring flexible TIZIP® MasterSeal entry zips and full length dropseat zipper for increased comfort on the river. Female specific cut and sizing mean unbeatable performance in even the harshest conditions.
Sizes: S, SR*, M, L, XL
Colour: Aqua/Mist/Jet Grey
Materials: XP 4-layer fabric, Cordura® 330D 4-layer reinforcement
Cut: 4D Multi-Articulated Cut for dynamic paddling
Neck seal: Natural latex neck gasket with adjustable over cuff
Wrist seals: Natural latex wrist gaskets with adjustable over cuffs
Zips: Flexible TIZIP® Masterseal 10 shoulder entry and dropseat relief zip
Feet: Breathable XP 4-layer socks with Nylon 330D 4-layer soles.
* SR (Small Relaxed) sizing.
Size options: S, SR, M, L, XL
The Element comes in aqua and grey colours which are a superbly stylish but are also bright with additional reflective strips for when you end up out after dark or end up in the drink.
The material is a tough Cordura 4-layer and I trust that this will be hard wearing over time as hardly a mark was left after swimming over sharp rocks on the Swale. It’s also nice and thick for paddling all through the winter. The little zip pocket on the sleeve is not waterproof enough for car keys but is perfectly suited for whistles, chocolate bars and spare change.
The sizing and fitting is excellent for ladies, and although I bought a large size which is technically too big for me (I’m 5’4), the fitting is feminine but unrestrictive allowing for no obstructions when rolling or making big moves.
Another ladies-specific tweak is the cheeky backside ‘dropseat zipper’ so there’s no more need to keep it in all day or be ridiculed by a shee-wee (they’re just weird!)! The only downside is that you can sometimes feel the zip on your lower back whilst paddling but a good bit of organisation and some good under layers will quickly solve that problem. Hopefully the tough material on the zip cover will not abrade too much on the backrest over time. The entry zip also has a cover which is secured with Velcro and prevents the zip from your buoyancy aid straps.
I’ve used my suit around 15 times so far and had no leaks at all with solid neck seals, wrist seals and socks. Overall, it’s good looking, a great fit and well manufactured. Time will tell whether it will be proven tough against all elements.
Images of Kirstie in action – Hugh Hanmer