Paddling Drytops 2007

Waterproof Your Wardrobe in time for the wet season.

photo by Morgan Meredith
first appeared in Whitewater 2007

Stohlquist Freefall
$280, stohlquist.com
Stohlquist’s three-layer fabric does it all—keeps you dry, breathes and wicks moisture away from your skin—so you can concentrate on your line rather than that stream of water creeping down your back.

upside: with armor-plated joints, it’s the beefiest drytop on the market
downside: it’s also the heaviest

Kokatat Women’s Rogue
$395, kokatat.com
Kokatat slimmed down their already popular breathable Gore-Tex Rogue top to fit the likes of Nikki Kelly and other girls who get ‘r done when the going gets gnarly. P.S. they still make the men’s version, too.

upside: hands down the best women’s top out there
downside: a little spendy

IR X-Jacket
$350, immersionresearch.com
Back from the IR lab for its second season, the innovative X-Jacket remains largely unchanged except for the color (the 2007 model is a lighter gray). Its ultrasonically welded seams eliminate stitching—and extra holes where water can get in.

upside: anatomical construction allows full range of motion
downside: welded seams stymie sewing industry’s scheme for world domination

NRS Motion
$195, nrsweb.com
From the department of things that make you go hmmm: a softshell paddling jacket? This semi-drytop has a soft neoprene neck and rubber wrist gaskets. It fills a niche in your gear bag like that early ‘90s dance track at a junior high mixer: soft, soothing and designed to get paddling wallflowers into the game. Shorty and women’s models available.

upside: oh-so-soft fleece lining that still wicks moisture
downside: remember paddling in sodden fleece before you owned a drytop?

Level Six Mack
$275, levelsixinc.com
Tested in Level Six’s Ottawa River laboratory, the Mack is a leak-proof, four-season drytop built to last for seasons. Also available in a women’s model.

upside: hardy construction, roomy chest pocket
downside: stiff fabric may take a while to break in

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