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Yak Vanguard Drysuit – First Look

Yak are part of the Survitec Group, who provide high quality rescue and safety gear for the marine, offshore, defence and aviation sectors. As a result they have a huge wealth of knowledge on how to design and create highly effective gear.

I spent a fair bit of time with the guys from Yak at Paddle Expo this year. The number of well executed designs blew me away. If you still associate Yak with the lower end of the market or canoe clubs then you need to take another look.

Yak Vanguard

One of the pieces of gear I am really keen to review is the Vanguard dry suit. It’s been built specifically for the paddling market with all of the key features you would expect to see.

It has three layer fully taped and breathable fabric that feels pretty robust. It has a shoulder entry zip and a relief zip up front. There is a mimumn of seams used and they are kept away from problem areas such as under the arms.

It also has a fully adjustable double waist for your spray skirt.

Additional protection at the seat and knees is provided by 500d panels. Now the Vanguard come with latex seals and latex socks. However they are also provided with a lycra over sock for additional protection. Some will love this some will hate but I am keen to try the system out.

At less than £400 the Vanguard is bang on for the money.


  1. Cliff

    Hiya. Thought I’d ask? I have have just taken delivery of my medium vanguard suit. It’s getting christened at Llangollen and the Usk over the weekend. Would you like a review? Or some thoughts on it? I have previously used the Lomo Renegade and Palm Cascade.

    • Unsponsored

      I would love to hear your thoughts in a review.

  2. Cliff

    I would like to share my initial thoughts. As some new owners may react like I did. I ordered a Medium.
    I unpacked the suit, checked for the socks and fleece. All OK.
    Then I held up the drysuit by the shoulders and thought ‘ They’ve sent me a Large!!’. No need to worry, find the size label, just to check. It says Medium. Bit worried, best try it on then. I shouldn’t have stressed as once it is on, it fits perfectly. Any excess material just tucks away and you don’t even notice it. I am 5’7″, they say it will take someone 5’10. I think easily.

    First impressions, much heavier duty than the Cascade, felt a bit heavier than the Lomo Renegade.
    I have used the two suits mentioned and have no complaints about either of them. The Vanguard just seems in a different league.

    • Cliff

      I spent sometime at Llangollen on Sunday. During the day I got in some rolling practice and did some swimming so my mates could practice with their throwlines. After 5 hours I was completely dry!!

      With previous drysuits I have ended up slightly damp but put that down to moisture in the suit.

      I wore just what they sent, suit/ lycra socks/and the thermal base layer. All made sense and was really comfy. Only issue was the neck seal which was quite tight to start with. It did loosen up slightly after a while. I’m hoping it will ease a bit more as I’d prefer not to trim it.

      I would definitely recommend giving one a go! You can find them for just over £365 on the web, or If you are lucky Norfolk Canoes had some for around £310 inc P&P

      • Cliff

        Hi All. A word of caution. Check and test the chest pocket zip a number of times before using it to store stuff. I used it for the first time on Sunday to store a small dry bag with my car key in, as I was using my car for the shuttle. When we got to the take out, I couldn’t open the pocket to retrieve my key. Took me 40 minutes in total. I had to cut the small protective hood to get at the zipper and it took a pair of pliers to eventually break the zip. On a positive note, the inside of the pocket was bone dry. Not sure why it jammed. Waiting to hear from Yak as to what can be done. Still very impressed in general with the Vanguard.

  3. Erik


    I tried one of these at the store and found it very dificult to get in and out of it. Had needed help getting the main zipper on the back closed. I also needed help getting the zipper open again.

    Did anyone else have this problem? I can’t have a drysuit that I need help getting in and out of so I left it in the store and started looking for an alternative. With a zipper I could reach.

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