I bought my Palm Atom Dry Suit in February last year since then I have used it a lot, from personal paddling to running FSRT and WWSR courses. The most use this Atom dry suit has got, in the most extreme conditions, has been in Chile where I had been wearing it every day paddling 14 days back to back. I am so pleased with how well it’s done over this trip I thought it deserved a review as the Palm Atom Dry Suit is bomb proof!
When I first got my Atom Suit the first thing I noticed was how simple the design was. I really like how they have reduced the amount of panels on it unlike previously, this means there are less seams and stitching needed on it therefore less likely places for it to fail. I also like that they have got rid of the zip flap as I felt on previous suits it wasn’t needed and by getting rid of it makes the suit lighter, easier to get on by yourself and has got rid of unnecessary fabric and Velcro. The areas where wear is more likely to occur such as knees, elbows, bum and shoulders are made out of a harder wearing material making them stronger and more durable. The outer neck no longer has a Velcro fastening over the top of the latex seal instead it has a neoprene cone which is a lot more comfortable and easier and quicker when putting the suit on and more comfortable when paddling.
How Tough is the Palm Atom Dry Suit? Does it Leak Yet?
The Palm Atom dry suit is tough and with the amount I have used it over the past 10 months especially after being in Chile, I thought I would be sending it back to be patched/repaired but this suit keeps going! Whilst out in Chile this is where the Atom got its ultimate test as I was using it on grade 4/5 whitewater, falling off waterfalls and doing tight canyons where your elbows and shoulders scrape the sides of the canyon and throughout all of this it withstood everything. We paddled 14 days back to back so it was getting wet from paddling then going on a washing line in the shade and left out over night to dry to then be put back on the following morning to repeat the process all over again. Whilst I was wearing it paddling it was also exposed to 30’C + heat and high UV levels which also can take its toll on kit but it doesn’t seem to have effected my suit at all it’s still bright blue and still sheds water off of it. One of the biggest test it got was when we were doing long walk ins/out or long portage’s in jungle conditions. When doing portage’s everything is out to get you; lose rock, lose mud, trees, bamboo, spiked filled bushes and lots of sweat. All of these things did not make a dent in this drysuit, a couple of times I thought I had really damaged the suit but then I would look down or put it in the water to find the Suit was absolutely fine with no damage to it all.
Do your feet get wet?
Nope with all the walking I do in them and standing around in water my feet are still bone dry at the end of the day. I do wear neoprene socks (Palm Index Socks) over the top of my fabric socks on my suit just to stop gravel, sand, dirt or small twigs from rubbing against the fabric socks and the shoe and I highly recommend doing this.
Is the Zip bulky/Does it get in the way when paddling:
The zip has been perfectly designed it’s not big and chunky and has been ergonomically designed to wrap round to the front of your shoulders rather than go straight across your back of your shoulders which can make it hard to do some moves when paddling this design by Palm eliminates that.
What Size do I get?
When buying a Dry Suit I highly recommend getting down to your local Canoe shop and trying them on for yourself. Canoe and Kayak Store always have stock of the Palm Atom Dry Suit in all the size ranges. I’m 5ft.7 and I wear a medium as I find the small is too small around the top half of my body but this does mean the bottom half is slightly baggy but it’s not to baggy that it would hinder my paddling otherwise I wouldn’t wear it.
Why did you buy the Palm Atom Dry Suit?
I bought the Palm Atom dry suit as I had been hearing good things about the design work that went into it. I really liked how simple the design of it was with the reduced amount of panels and the cut of the panels which are stitched and shaped to how you will sit/paddle. I also like how light the suit is (which is always a bonus when travelling). The colour is great one block colour which is electric blue with green text and green pocket zip which means the suit stands out really well compared to some other companies which are using dull colours like grey and dark blues which are hard to see safety wise when paddling.
Personal Areas of Improvement:
Areas that I feel I would like improved on the the Atom Dry Suit are little things that could just be personal to me and are my own opinion. I don’t ever use the pocket on dry suits as I never have the need to put something in there, and, because I don’t use it when I do put things in there while on the land I will remember half way down the river and find my car key now won’t work as it’s wet. Also I think by not having a pocket there would be less stitching and taping involved and by having it as one blank panel it would reduce the risk of wear and tear in that area and possibly be easier and cheaper to repair/make from the start. Another area of improvement for me would be thicker latex on the neck gasket, I feel by trying to make the suit lighter Palm have used a thinner latex which still works and keeps you dry but I would prefer it a bit thicker as creates a tighter seal around your neck and is more durable especially when being used daily or when using it abroad and out of reach of Palm’s repair service.
Overall I am really impressed with how the Atom Dry Suit is holding up and I can’t wait to continue using it on future paddling trips. I hope you have enjoyed my review of the Palm Atom dry suit if you have any questions feel free to ask and my next kit review is going to be on the Palm Orbit Spray Deck.
Reviewed by – Joshua Telling (Rapid Skills Coach/Guide) & Sponsored Paddler