Gul is a UK based company with over 50 years experience in the watersports industry. We have…

Gul is a UK based company with over 50 years experience in the watersports industry. We have received a couple of bits of gear from Gul for review at Unsponsored. First up is the paddling specific Napa Drysuit.

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

Here is Gul’s take on the Napa.

Gul introduces the GCX4 Evo Napa dry suit with Zip Disc technology that separates completely at the waist giving paddlers the versatility of a dry suit or bib trousers in one garment. The zip disc fully separating zip makes the Napa easier to don and doff than traditional dry suits. The suit features Gul’s exclusive 4-layer GCX4 Evo Shell fabric, used in combination with 500D Cordura reinforcement panels, heavy duty double taped socks‚ and UK made latex seals are there to keep the water out!

The Napa Drysuit retails at £600 here in the UK and from first impressions this looks like a pretty good deal. The Napa is well put together, it feels robust and has been well cut.

Now lets get to the suits biggest feature. Unlike most suits the Napa doesn’t have a zip running across the shoulders or indeed a zip running across the chest. Instead it has a Zip DiscTiZip running the full circumference of the waist just like the “exclusive” Switch technology available on the Kokatat range of drysuits such as the Idol (RRP £1200). So the technology is not that exclusive anymore.

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

Granted the Napa is not made from Goretex but it has the same entry system as the Kokatat at twice the price. Unlike the Kokatat the Napa has a relief TiZip which is a great feature so gents or ladies with a She-Wee don’t have to undo the full waist zip to make a call. If you need to take a crap then the trouser section of the suit can be dropped by undoing the main zip.

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

The Napa will breakdown into two separate garments which does offer a high level of adaptability and makes this a versatile bit of gear.

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

The lower part of the suit includes a bib system to hold the trousers up. This is made from a soft Hydroshield material. Essentially soft-shell material that is comfortable to wear, is highly breathable but will also offer protection from the weather. Two quick release buckles keep the bib up.

The blue martial is GCX4 Evo, a four layer breathable material that also has a little stretch.

Specs:

Waterproof- 20 000 mm
Breathability – 10 000 g/m/24h
All seams fully taped for long-lasting extreme waterproofness
Waterproof
Windproof
Flexibility

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit - First Look

The black fabric areas of the suit, seat, elbows, and knees are Cordura re-enforcements. The latex gaskets at the neck and wrists are protected by adjustable 2mm neoprene cuffs. A twin waist is in place that looks like it should offer a good seal.

Drainage holes are present where you would expect them and the integrated socks are of a good size. I have a large sized suit in for review and they easily accommodate my size 10 (UK) feet with room to spare.

Incidentally the Napa drysuit is available in 5 different sizes so most people will be able to find a size that would fit.

After an initial try on I am very impressed and will be giving the Napa some stick over the next few months to see how it performs/holds up.

Gul Watersports Napa Drysuit – First Look Gul is a UK based company with over 50 years experience in the watersports industry. We have received a couple of bits of gear from Gul for review at Unsponsored.

Movie Monday 16 October 2017

Movie Monday 16 October 2017

Welcome to Movie Monday 16 October 2017 here at Unsponsored. A little distraction at the start of the working week.

Movie Monday 16 October 2017

Enjoy!

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Can you guess what type of fish they are?

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Can you guess what type of fish they are?

The T-rex is the new creek boat from Italian boat manufacturer Exo kayaks. My first impression of…

The T-rex is the new creek boat from Italian boat manufacturer Exo kayaks. My first impression of the was that it is pretty big and has a lot of rocker. Definitely a little larger volume wise than the last two boats I owned (Toro and a Tuna). It is also a little rounder than a lot of modern designs, not fully a displacement hull but without any extremely sharp edges.

Exo T-Rex

Numbers wise it is 270cm long and 345 litres so a little shorter than a 9r or Toro with a little more volume than both. Weight wise it is surprisingly light for such a big boat coming in at pretty much bang on 21kgs. Myself I am 188cm and around 75kgs. Defiantly towards the lower end of the weight limit but didn’t feel swamped at all.

I have had the boat for a couple of weeks now and taken it out for a fair few runs, mostly on the Sjoa. From the first time jumping in it I have been very impressed with how the T-Rex handles on the water. It felt predictable and stable from the first stroke. Like many modern boats it is very fast in a straight line and has the bow rocker to keep you cruising over the top of everything.

Exo T-Rex

This speed and boofability is definitely a prominent feature of (almost) all modern whitewater kayaks. Boats like the Tuna and 9r are renowned for keeping the bow on top of everything and the T-Rex is just as easy to keep high and dry. It is also incredibly stable and easy to get on edge which I find helps boofing even more.

Exo T-Rex

Where the boat really stood out for me was its manoeuvrability. Unlike some modern designs the T-Rex does not need to be driven at full speed in order to perform. This combined with its responsiveness and stability made trying difficult or new lines on my local run incredibly easy. On my first time in the T-Rex I could make moves I have struggled with in my previous boat with ease.

After paddling it a bunch on the Sjoa I got the opportunity to take it out onto a few steeper runs around the area. Once things got pushier I was even more impressed with how it handled.

This manoeuvrability combined with its speed and predictability makes the T-Rex seem like an ideal boat to push your limits on harder white water. While maybe not as playful as some more planning hulled boats I feel it more than makes up for it in its solidity and how well it will look after you. If you want a boat to surf and splat your way down your local class 3 then it is probably not the one but if you want to push your limits few designs I have paddled are as well suited as it is.

Exo T-Rex

In terms of the quality of the boat itself initial impressions where very good. The construction seems very solid and stiff. In the front it has a solid plastic step out pillar which also doubles as a great carrying handle when shouldering the boat. As well as this it lacks any excess bolt holes around the cockpit rim. I am always a big fan of this as it means less fiddly bolts to try and undo when adjusting, less water inside the boat and less excess bolts to rattle loose on long journeys.

A solid but comfy seat and thigh braces made it pretty good to paddle straight off with only minor adjustments. Hip pads are a simple buckle system and seem easy to get comfy and secure. Later on moving the seat was very simple and easy needing only one allen key.

The backrest is the string and cleat system as also used by Jackson kayak. I have used this system for a while in a playboat before and once used to it had no major complaints. The T-Rex backrest works pretty well and is definitely comfy. However while boofing I broke one of the small metal rings that attaches the string to the actual backrest pretty quickly. This was an easy fix, I just replaced them with d-shackles. Some people will still prefer a ratchet backrest and retrofitting one would not be too challenging if you wanted to.

Words & Images: Joe Leader

Exo T-Rex – Review The T-rex is the new creek boat from Italian boat manufacturer Exo kayaks. My first impression of the was that it is pretty big and has a lot of rocker.