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Tuiliks (tuillit) and Kayak Clothing

Overview   Links 

Kayak Clothing in Greenland
The British Museum has compiled a wonderful virtual tour of modern kayaking clothing made and used by the kayaking clubs in Greenland today. The text includes very illuminating passages describing both the equipment and some of the emotions surrounding it.

Clothing from East Greenland
Information on the principles, materials and the making of arctic clothing.

The Tuilik: a Perfect Bit of Kit for Winter Kayaking by Bryan Hansel
Bryan provides good information on the tuilik. His site, also contains a review of the Comfort Paddling tuilik.

Tuilik Reviews

Comfort Paddling Tuilik Review |
Bryan Hansel reviews the Comfort Paddling tuilik

Brooks Tuilik v Reed Tuilik the great debate | Qajaq Rolls

Christopher Crowhurst compares and contrasts the popular Brooks and Reed tuiliks.

For more information about the Brooks product, see the Brooks Greenland Page.  In addition to their  tuilik, Brooks also makes a neoprene avataq (inflatable bladder) that is used at the annual Greenland Championships.

Some other popular tuilik brands are made by Reed, Comfort Paddling.

Tuilik Making

Tuilik Making by John Doornink
John shares an illustrated guide for his method of making a neoprene tuilik.

Tuilik Pattern (Qajaq USA Online Store)
This tuilik pattern is based on diagrams by H.C. Petersen and Wolfgang Brinck. This pattern will enable you to make a great fitting garment using neoprene or other stretchy fabrics. Includes cutting lines and instructions to fit a wide range of adult sizes. The final product offers a fit similar to a commercial neoprene tuilik, but has a more traditional appearance, hood and seam details.

On the Qajaq Online store you will also find Grippy (one-side) Neoprene Strip, 3" x 85" x 3mm (7.62cm x 215.9cm x 3mm). This material is perfect for making the bottom casing on a tuilik or a tuitsoq. As a service to our members we buy this in large (expensive) sheets and pre-cut it for your convenience.

Qaannamik pinnguaatit (kayak games) by H.C. Petersen
This small book is available only in Greenlandic but includes an excellent pattern for a tuilik and a diagram for three different blunt-tipped "practice" harpoons. The book opens with a drawing of a mother moving the arms of her baby to begin his kayak training and a balance board used to hone his balance. Also includes a short bit of information on sculling, rolling, and the rope gymnastics. Available online from Atuagkat and Neriusaaq Bookstore.


Tuilik. Drysuit or Drytop?

Should you exit the cockpit, a tuilik usually traps a large volume of air, and you can pull your legs into the suit to reduce exposure. However this air bubble might be lost over time, so it is best to think of the tuilik as a very buoyant drytop rather than a suit for full immersion.

Fun Fact

The Greenlanders were using a breathable drysuit centuries ago. The attallaaq was a special sealskin suit that looked similar to a tuilik, but had attached gloves,legs and boots. The hunter entered the suit via a circular entrance at the waist, that was then cinched up. These suits were not used in kayaks but were used to jump onto whales from an open boat (umiak). These were highly prized items that were much sought after by European whalers.

One tuilik, two tuillit

Unlike English, you don't pluralize a Greenlandic word by adding "s" to the end. The plural of tuilik is tuillit.