The Explorer One piece certainly boasts some very nice features and styling. The build quality is top notch and it balances durability and robustness with comfort and performance. A paddling suit is a high ticket piece of kit and we want to see the attention to detail and well thought out design married to quality manufacturing and performance and comfort and we’re very pleased to report that the Explorer One Piece delivers on all fronts. Simply put this is an excellent suit!
More info: www.peakuk.com
- X4 mid-heavy weight nylon with 25m waterproofing
- Unique patented design with easy entry and easy pee fully waterproof leg entry Tizip system
- Articulated cut with bent elbows, bum and knees
- Reinforced X4 elbows, knees, bum and ankles
- Zip opening outer neck with large hood, super-stretch neoprene inner cone neck with elasticated tension strap
- Latex inner wrists with AquaOut outer seals
- AquaOut outer waist with X4 fabric inner & elasticated draw-cord
- Double front zip pockets for easy access whilst wearing a PFD
- X4 breathable fabric, waterproof & stretchy socks
- Zip trouser and sleeve pockets with sewn drainage
- Fully taped dive quality seams
The Explorer is a suit that’s predominately going to appeal to sea kayakers but its wealth of features, levels of comfort, cut and easy to get on zip placement is also going to make it popular with touring kayakers and canoeists looking for an all-year round suit to protect them from the elements.
We’re already fans of Peak UK’s Explorer but it’s been a while since we used one and the latest 2014 incarnation had the test teamers clamouring to get it into their kitbags. The team at Peak have used a raft of feedback on the previous version and used that to help them hone the design. They’ve also got their subtle but distinctive styling down to a fine art and the latest Explorer is no exception. The simple red colour way on top married to an understated grey/black bottom looks great, and the reflective taping and detailing adds another level of style and safety. Peak generally cut their patterns to fit a little closer than other brands on the market but don’t be mistaken into thinking this impedes performance and paddler movement. It simply means that there’s less spare material flapping around and a closer fit means their garments work extremely well with thermal layering underneath. And the articulated seat, knees and arm sections means that a full range of dynamic movement is possible.
Suited & Booted
Peak’s unique under-leg-entry system is well tested now and has proven to be both robust, have longevity and be very easy to use. We think it really makes a difference in terms of comfort too. You really can’t feel the heavy-duty TiZip when seated in a kayak and not having the zip across your chest or shoulders makes the suit feel really free to paddle in. The new hood system is a big improvement over previous models and something that we think will help to further endear the Explorer to sea paddlers. It’s far more heavy-duty (but still comfortable when down) fits really well and gives a good level of protection whilst still allowing for good paddler visibility. The outer neck opening is zipped, so you can attach ventilation and the inner neck seal is a neoprene gasket with an additional elasticised tension strap for when capsizing or swimming is likely. Much to their chagrin we made our testers take a few deliberate, prolonged swims in the Explorer One Piece and even without the strap done up super-tight we found it to be very proficient at keeping the wet stuff out. It’s very comfortable too, with no hint of rubbing, or salt rash on long paddles. That’s a valuable quality on a piece of kit that can be worn at hours, even days, at a time. There are latex seals on the cuffs, as you’d expect, with neoprene outer cuffs. The Velcro tabs on these have had a bit of a redesign and work really nicely. The double waist seal also sports improved Velcro fastening and this too is simple and very effective.
All the seams on the Explorer are now dive quality adding to the protection it provides. The fabric built in socks are generous and we liked the shape as they provided a comfortable fit for a variety of foot sizes and didn’t squeeze our plates of meat when worn inside outer paddling boots.
The chest pockets are nicely placed so they are still accessible when wearing a buoyancy aid and there’s a useful zipped pocket on both the arm and trouser leg too.