dry tops & semi-dry tops for women

I need some advice on a dry top. I was told the only difference between dry and semi-dry that the neck is not vinyl on the semi dry, and therefore not totally waterproof. if you were getting just one, would you generally say it’s better to own a dry top instead of a semi dry? Is there one that you all have found to be comfortable to wear and waterproof? I don’t do whitewater, but would use it during rolls, in the rain, and for cold water protection. I figured I would add a pair of dry pants to it and keep the flexibility of having the two pieces instead of a suit. Any opinions, favorite brands?

i have semidry and dry tops & a dry suit
depends on:


my comfort any given day

where i am paddling

water temp…

i have semi drys but am phasing them out…The new stohlquist dry tops with the titanium neoprene neck are so comfy that i am getting them instead of a semi dry with a velcro closure neck…

if you think you might end up rolling/beinginthe water then you probably are going to…prepare for it…have your semi dry neck closed all the time???then why have a semi dry???

i plan to get wet everytime i paddle…i have no qualms/worries about that…so i wear what will keep me comfy even if i end up immersed…

more thoughts: http://www.paddling.net/message/showThread.html?fid=advice&tid=651593

Where are you paddling???

companies to look into: Stohlquist-Immersion Reseach (IR)-Kokatat-lotus designs/patagonia…There are more…my fav are the first two…


trying to get the max use
out of the least items. I don’t have a lot of gear yet, so I am trying to get the most out of each piece. I saw a good deal on a semi-dry top but was wondering if it makes sense to get it.

I paddle various waters, anywhere from small lakes and slow rivers, to the Maine coast. It might be more useful to have a splash jacket with hood for rainy conditions, AND a dry top for cold water coastal conditions. Do you wear a hood when it rains? It seems it would really block your vision. Any better solutions for keeping your head relatively dry?

head dry???nah…i do not bother…
i usually wear a visor for sun…and perscription goggles and do not worry about getting wet…

for a big heavy downpour or extra layer i picked up a Expedition Essentials Storm cag…not the light weight one they offer now…mine is a heavier material (more like an NDK/VCP one)

http://www.seakayakingusa.com/gear.htm (i also have this so if a clinet needs it too)…

I like the goggles idea!
Thanks for the info. Will check out some dry tops you suggested and find one that has a function/price point that works for me.

I’m one of those folks who plans to roll every time he goes out, so I’d vote for the dry top. The first time I rolled with one and came up dry it seemed miraculous. Everyone panics the first time they try one on but once you get the neck gasket fit correct they aren’t uncomfortable.

A dry top and pants usually don’t mate well enough to keep water out during a long swim.

so, angstrom, do you prefer
a drysuit? What if the pants and top are by the same manufacturer? Is it still an issue then?

Based on my experinece – and that of the folks who have posted here – tops and pants are not watertight for long swims. The only exception seems to be the ones(Kokatat?) that roll together like a drybag top. Drypants seem to be most popular with whitewater boaters – swims are usually short, and they’re great for protecting you from the water that gets into your boat.

One advantage of a drysuit is that you can get attached socks, which are great for keeping your feet warm. Drypants usually have ankle gaskets.

A drytop over a wetsuit is a reasonable setup for moderate conditions. I wear a drytop well into warm weather because it does such a good job keeping water out of the boat when mated to a good skirt.

got one!
A dry top that is, for now. Stohlquist Freeplay on sale for $165. Thanks for your advice, “moderate conditions” are probably what I’m going to be in for the time being, so paired with my wetsuit and a sprayskirt, this should be a useful piece of gear for a while.

Will have to save up for a full suit… the only reasonably priced one (Palm) I saw did not have a relief zipper or drop bottom, nor socks, so I passed on that one!

Thanks for the help!

Should be fine
Once the water hits the higher 50’s the wetsuit/drytop combo gets pretty useful. And for a little of a push into the fall, you can get to 50 degree water by adding more neoprene layers - a vest, a Mystery top under the wetsuit, that kind of thing. And be careful about distance from shore. You can then go into winter with a decision set about what you want to do for the big purchase and hunt sales.