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In 2019 I asked Palm Equipment if they could provide me the Palm Equipment Cascade Dry Suit so I can test it on a few packrafting trips and was offered a discount on the dry suit. I was looking online for a suitable dry suit and the reason I chose the Cascade dry suit was that the colors (Flame + Jet Grey) fit to the colors of my Alpacka Raft packraft as you can see in the picture below. Most of the dry suits probably share anyway the same purpose … to keep you dry!
The other aspects I was interested in was the durability of the fabric and the quality and waterproofness of different parts of the dry suit such as zippers, socks, gaskets, etc.
The weight of the Palm Equipment Cascade dry suit is 1650 grams. This is twice as much as my Anfibio Packsuit which weighs only 800 grams. However, they come with different features and the additional weight may be worth considering when buying a dry suit. For example, one important feature if you go on a longer packrafting trip is to have a pee zip. There is nothing more unpleasant on a paddling trip if you have to remove your whole dry suit just to pee.
Durability & Waterproofness
The Cascade dry suit is made of XP 3-layer fabric and comes with Nylon 320D reinforcement on elbows, seat, socks, and knees. However, another aspect to consider is also the breathability beside the durability as you don’t want to end up in a dry suit which feels like a Finnish sauna.
The breathability of my old Anfibio Packsuit was 25.000 g/m²/24h and a waterproofness of 15.000 mm while the Cascade dry suit comes with a breathability of 4.000 g/m²/24h and a waterproofness of 20.000 mm. So while the Cascade dry suit is a little more waterproof you may sweat more in it compared to the Anfibio Packsuit.
Another aspect when buying a dry suit is to have quality waterproof zippers on your dry suit. Let’s say you go to a longer packrafting trip over several days and your zipper fails. It might be impossible to continue the trip without getting wet and which could also put you into a life-threatening situation. The Cascade dry suit comes with a YKK AquaSeal zip which should be a quality zipper. The zipper is advertised to be corrosion resistant and pressure tested to 300 mbar.
However, in my case, the zipper failed after using it a few times and I was not able to packraft anymore during the European Packrafting Meetup in Slovenia. I am not sure if I was handling the zipper wrong or if I just had bad luck and got a bad zipper. Anyway, I called Palm Equipment, and they fixed my dry suit by replacing the zippers. Until then I didn’t have any issues with my zipper anymore. It’s also important to lubricate the zippers before using them and to avoid that sand or other particles get stuck in the zipper.
The Neck and writs latex gaskets come with adjustable cuffs and collar. There is also an adjustable drawcord at the waist which is useful to keep the dry suit at the right place. Personally, I found the velcro which goes along the front entry zip not that great even so it protects the zipper somewhat.
I like the dry suit but from a lightweight packrafting point of view it could be somewhat changed to make it lighter and easier to carry around on a longer packrafting trip which also includes hiking sections. For example, the front waist velcro is a part that I didn’t find necessary as my packraft is using a similar zipper which is also not protected. Another aspect that could be improved is the breathability of the dry suit to keep my merino layer under it dry. However, I liked that some parts are reinforced and the color of the dry suit which is however subjective.
You can buy the Palm Equipment Cascade Dry Suit on Amazon (affiliate link – we may receive a small commission on your purchase).