Immerson Research Klingon Sprayskirt Review
by Ethan Boswell
I recently decided that I needed a new spray skirt. There aren’t too many options on the market, but I had been impressed by the designs coming out of Immersion Research. To my eyes, it seemed as though IR was the only brand innovating in the skirt department. So, I decided to give them a shot. I was originally going to pull the trigger on a Lucky Charm sprayskirt, with its rubber rand making it the most implosion resistant skirt in their lineup. However, a little bird told me that the Lucky Charm was not the driest skirt that IR makes. That position belongs to the Klingon sprayskirt, which surprises many people considering that it’s a bungee skirt.
Having used the Klingon for about 6 months now, I can safely say this is true. What makes the Klingon so dry is the fact that the skirt does not terminate at the bungee, but instead has extra neoprene and the bungee is actually attached outside of this. When the skirt is used, it is this neoprene that comes into contact with the cockpit combing rather than the bungee. Considering that neoprene is inherently waterproof and also compressible, this makes for a very dry seal as well as working on even the leakiest of rims.
I was a bit hesitant to go for a bungee skirt considering the difficulty of whitewater that I have been running here in the PNW, but the Klingon sprayskirt has been very good at resisting implosion. I chalk this up to IR’s innovative sticky silicon patches on the inside edge of the skirt. They grab onto the cockpit rim and prevent it from slipping off.
The ease with which the skirt comes on and off of my kayak is a bit disconcerting (it feels much looser than my last skirt). That being said, it has yet to implode on me in a rapid and is still the driest skirt that I have ever used, even in the midst of class V drops and getting munched by big water hydraulics. Another wonderful feature of the Klingon, one that has saved me from unnecessary monetary expenses, is a Nylar reinforcement around the front edge of the skirt. This reinforcement has survived numerous encounters with the often jagged geology of the rivers and creeks that I paddle (encounters that would have punched holes in my previous skirt). As of now, my Klingon has resisted all punctures and is as dry as the day I bought it.
In conclusion, if you are running the hardest whitewater on the planet and want to make sure that your skirt stays on no matter what, then go for a rubber rand like the Lucky Charm. But if you are a more leisurely paddler, and you want a skirt that is extremely dry (in my opinion, the driest skirt on the market), not too hard to take on and off, and also quite durable, then opt for a Klingon. In either case, top-level athlete or beginner kayaker, I highly recommend Immersion Research spray skirts.
-Ethan BoswellTags: immersion research, IR, kayak, klingon, Sprayskirt, whitewater