Dry Tops in Tall Sizes?

-- Last Updated: Mar-16-05 9:51 AM EST --

Ok, so with all the warnings about spring kayaking in cold water, I thought that I should probably look into getting a dry top to wear. So I just checked out what NRS had and found one that I really liked, but then I ran into a major snag. There’s nothing even close to my size! (And that's true for all their woman's apparel.)

You see, I’m a 6 foot tall female, with a slender frame. For my height, I would need to buy an XL top, but that would be like wearing a tent! As far as my weight, and other measurements go, I would need a S or M.

Ok, so I tend to run into this problem all the time at regular clothing stores, but you would think that a company that stocks recreational clothing would cater to people who have athletic builds. You know, not all of us tall people are overweight!

The funny thing is that clothing manufacturers use models who are about my size for their advertising, yet they don't actually offer that same size to the public.

So what's a girl like me to do? Freeze? Or wear a sail? (I notified NRS of my problem, but I don't think that's going to help much.)

Does anyone know of a place that carries dry tops in tall sizes?

~ Arwen ~


– Last Updated: Mar-16-05 10:05 AM EST –

Although I have an NRS dry top which I love, for your particular instance, try calling kokatat. They can custom make you dry top to fit your frame.

Also have you tried on various dry tops from different companies (palm, nrs, kokatat, stohlquist, etc.)? The height/weight charts aren't the most accurate things in the world and as our torso lengths vary, you may be fine in a standard small/medium top for a particular brand.

Try Sierra Trading Post

They have some pretty good deals. They have one drytop with an integral spraydeck that may work wellfor you.

Well, I have a very long torso and long arms, and I’m really looking for a long sleeve dry top.

Custom might be the way to go, but how expensive is that?!

I sort of like that integrated top/skirt, except for the fact that it doesn’t come in tall sizes.

I have to give NRS credit for emailing me right back, and suggesting that I get a medium, as the arm lengths don’t very that much between sizes. But I’ve been told that before and ended up with a couple of inches of exposed arms.

I guess that I’ll have to wait until I can get to a store and try one on. Maybe the NE Paddlesport show will have some.

I’m just surprised that none of the outfitters seem to carry tall sizes, but that they all carry large (as in over weight) sizes. I just don’t get it.

~ Arwen ~

how about your local paddlesports
dealer in NH?


Check also with…
…John Mason of Mountain Surf.

If Mountain Surf doesn’t have one, and they

probably don’t, John may know who does.

Not open until April 28th
Thanks, but I live over 100 miles to the northwest, so this isn’t exactly a local shop for me.

I did check out their website but apparently they aren’t even opening until April 28th. It also says that they are going out of business. The NE Paddlesport show is the second weekend of April, and it’s not much further for me.

~ Arwen ~

Custom suit
You may want to look at the internet site for USIA. They make custom “rafting suits” for kayaking for about $398. They have dive shop dealers around the country where one goes and is measured. They, of course, also make diving suits.

try Ravenspring
If one of their standard sizes doesn’t work for you, they’ll make one to your measurements. With the dollar as weak as it is right now they aren’t as good a deal as they used to be, but the prices still seem awfully good for a custom-made top.

As for the suggestion to try Country Canoeist, they had a going out of business sale last year and got rid of most of their inventory then. I thought they were selling the business to one of their employees, but now they’re having a second going under sale so I’m not sure what’s happened. I’m guessing Jed might have the scoop since he lives just down the road.

One more suggestion for you is to try the Kittery Trading Post show coming up in April. All of the manufacturers will be there, giving you ample opportunity to try on all sorts of tops. I know it’s a haul for you to come down that far, but given the lack of inventory up your way it might be worth the trek to Durham.

Good luck in your search.


No talls at Mountain Surf
Thanks, but their sizing is about as limited as NRS. I sent off an email, and am waiting for a reply.

~ Arwen ~

Breaking my Budget!
Thanks, custom would be nice, but this is way beyond my current budget. Right now I can only afford something off the (sale) rack.

(I’m planing on trading up my kayak this spring, and starting college this summer.)

~ Arwen ~

Thanks Rick!
That was an interesting site, but are too pricey for me right now.

I do plan on attending the NE Paddlesport show in April, so maybe I can find something that will fit me well enough to work. If not, I’ll just have to stay close to shore until the water warms up.

~ Arwen ~

Try rapidstyle.com. Dana Chladek is
very familiar with fit problems and may be able to help. I’m not sure why you say you would need an “XL” top. You don’t mean men’s sizes, I guess, because at 6’ 5", I wear XL drytops, and they are the correct sleeve length for me. You would need to try L and M in men’s sizes.

Country Canoeist
It’s my understanding that the fellow that was going to take over Country Canoeist has opted out of the deal and they will have a final 12 day going out of business sale starting April 28th.


weight 20 years and
Do what I did, have 3 kids, start and stop smoking frequently, eat fatty foods, watch a lot of tv, have a beer or two everynight, and you’ll find a top to fit you…eventually.

NRS Size Chart
This is why:

NRS Woman’s Apparel Sizing:

Size | Height - | - Weight - | - Chest | - Waist - | - Hips -

XS | 4’8”-5’2” | 90-115 lbs | 30”-33” | 24”-26” | 34”-36”

S | 5’1”-5’6” | 110-135 lbs | 33”-36” | 26”-28” | 36”-38”

M | 5’5”-5’8” | 130-155 lbs | 36”-39” | 28”-32” | 38”-40”

L | 5’7”-5’10”| 150-180 lbs | 39”-42” | 32”- 36” | 40”-42”

XL | 5’9”- 6’0”| 175-210 lbs | 42”-45” | 36”-40” | 42”-44”

I’m 6’0" tall, so for my height, I need an XL. But I’m also slender, so as far as my weight and other measurements go, I need a S or M.

I had the same problem finding a top for xc skiing, but eventually did find a company that carried tall sizes, but still needed to buy a men’s small (which is a bit too big on me), as the women’s talls still didn’t have long enough arms.

Thanks for the link, but I didn’t see any tall sizes there either.

~ Arwen ~

I don’t think so.
Besides, I’m 51, so I really don’t want to wait 20 years.

~ Arwen ~

tall sizes?!
I’m with ya’ girl! I’ve spent hours sewing on length to the sleeves and legs of the gear I buy. (works OK with fleece, wool, or uncoated nylon…but defeats the purpose of GoreTex) As you said, you’d think wide shoulders and a narrow waist would be the body shape that outdoor gear was designed around!

One thing I have found is that a well made drytop will typically have sleeves that are cut longer than a comparable backpacking shell (designed for one’s arms extending through the paddling stroke). Also, keep in mind that if the drytop is worn under your PFD (as I’ve found to be typical) your PFD will keep it from feeling like a sail/tent.

I can second a vote for Dana Chadleck at Rapidstyle http://rapidstyle.com/ I believe custom construction adds about 10% to the typical cost - drop her an email. I had been looking into a custom farmer-john, but finances are a bit tight with me now…

You think you got problems with your arm length - try finding pants with a medium waist and an XL in length :^)

Good luck, let us in on any good sources you find, eh?


go with men’s sizing
I know the ideal would be to have a dry top that more closely matches a woman’s anatomy but if cost is an issue and you’re looking for an off the shelf solution, you may have to go with men’s sizing (lot’s of tall and skinny guys out there). I don’t think there are that much of a difference in terms of sleeve lengths but I would measure your arms and call NRS and see which dry tops fit (my feeling is that a men’s medium would work fine).

I certainly sympathize
with you. I have had some luck with NRS by calling them. I got some hydroskins that fit well. My biggest problem is usually with the pants. Their medium hydroskin pant fit well enough. Not exactly knicker length. I can “get by” with a large top most of the time. (6’5", 34x36) REI sometimes has tall stuff but I don’t think that they do dry tops. I would like to get a dry suit but the $700.00 is putting me off. I am using one of the NRS dry tops now and the sleeve length is pretty good but would like to get one with a tunnel at the waist. If you want I can look and see exactly which one I have.