Pre-owned Splash top?

I’ve been reading a bunch of the old threads and not really finding the info I’m looking for.

I’m looking for a splash jacket / dry top and only know a few companies that are even worthwhile (Kokatat, NRS, IR, . . .). Due to budget my hunt is mainly for pre-owned.

I have been paddling for most of my life (on & off) and a kayak for over a decade. Most of it on Florida rivers. That being said, I’ve been doing them in a 17’ Sealion.
I now have a partner who is interested in coastal trips, something that my mom doesn’t like (and she’s the reason I’ve been going to Florida, I don’t live there). Of course only being there for a few weeks at a time to kayak w/ her means I’ve not really kitted myself out for coastal trips.
Yak gear I have, as well as the list of needed but not yet owned. Even camping gear is sorted as we do other forms of camping. It’s the clothing that is lacking.

I’m going to be using the jacket/top not only in Florida (could be any season) but also in the SW where we have started river camping out of a couple 14’s. We’re not looking to do Pacific coast at this point so no drysuits, though the Gulf of Cali is a possible in the future as is Mead & Powell.

So to put an end to this overly long post . . . I’m interested in brands and actual garments worth considering, ones to definitely avoid, links to previous threads w/ good info, links to items being sold, and even direct connections to individuals selling.
My budget is small and pre-owned is probably my only way in at this point.

Thanks for any info!

What’s your size and max budget? Our local independent outfitter shop (owned by friends of mine) has a consignment department where they sell used good quality outdoor and paddling gear for really good prices. There might be such an option at other outfitters nearer to you. Also, I frequently see both NRS and Kokatat used spray and dry tops in Ebay for under $50.

I have the lightweight breathable Kokatat spray top (now called the Stance) which, for the areas where you are paddling, would probably work fine.|21700000001700551_1315320003|92700058329217602|BA|71700000074512915&gclid=Cj0KCQjwpreJBhDvARIsAF1_BU1WVNjHu3apqIi1ZOypJaGPcX1G-J5Db_ECBiO5q5jUmRunpURwEq8aAnFyEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

I’ve bought used paddling gear on eBay and Craigslist. A lot of it looks basically new. People buy stuff and never use it, then sell. Kokatat is a nice brand. I got a light splash jacket that I love for under $20.

@willowleaf , that would be very cool. I’m usually a medium w/ long torso and long arms. I can come up w/ actual measurements if needed.
I would think $75 is probably max at this point and I would have to like it so much that I’d want to wear it every chance I had. :wink:
I did look at that one, as well as the Storm Cag which I think is weirdly cool, when I was getting a new PFD from them a while back.

@Doggy_Paddler , I started on ebay and that was where I started seeing brands I didn’t know and figured I would ask the people that have already narrowed down the field to which ones work, which ones don’t, and why. :grin: I mean if someone is getting rid of it it could mean that it’s not really that good as opposed to just the upgrade/ let go of some older stuff process.

Solquist also not bad brand.

Don’t presume just because someone is selling a used item that it is because it’s inferior or “no good”. More likely it either does not serve their specific purpose ( doesn’t fit them well or they no longer do the activity it is intended for) or, as often happens with me, I end up with 2 or 3 similar items of gear and find I prefer one and don’t really need the other or others. I’m a persistent finder of ”great deals” and often end up with duplicate gear so I try to pass along to others what I don’t use much, always decent stuff in good confition. Heck, a lot of my most valued gear and most of my boats were bought used.

As was previously mentioned, Stohlquist makes some excelkent dry tops too. I got a really nice one, a womens model, for half price new a few years ago.

Do be careful when you look at used Kokatat dry tops on eBay rhough. All their products are very well designed and made BUT a lot of their older dry tops are coated fabric and not breathable. That’s OK for whitewater trips in cooler water, but for touring in your warm climate would be like a sauna. Look for breathable waterproof fabrics like GoreTex and Hydrus.

I saw one of theirs that that I liked the look of, not in my size but nice.

I also just saw a level 6 dry top that I really liked. Leave it up to me to find things that I really like that are not anywhere near my price range. :laughing:

Just so that I’m clear, what are the differences between splash jacket, semi-dry tops, and dry tops . . . other than cost, and how dry they are. :wink:

A splash jacket is more like a regular rain coat and will keep splashed water and wind off you in moderate conditions, helping you stay drier and warmer. A real dry top has snug stretchy latex neck and wrist seals and a means of at least partially sealing around your waist so if you capsize and/or roll the kayak or are paddling whitewater your skin stays dry within the garment even if you end up underwater. As long as your skin stays dry you will not chill from evaporative cooling or direct contact with cold water. A semi-dry top is between the two and may have latex wrist seals but the neck might be softer neoprene —more comfortable and cheaper but will not prevent all water from leaking in when immersed. And a semi dry usually does not seal as well around the waist. Since you describe mostly paddling in moderate conditions in a warmer climate and waters you would likely be fine with either a splash or semi top. Where I live a hood can be handy on a paddling top (rains a lot) though I usually have an OR Seattle Sombrero Goretex hat to shade me from sun and rain. And in too much rain a hood can just become a collection bucket.

Basically, the dryer the top, the more expensive. But a full dry can be quite hot and even feel like it is strangling you when you don’t need something that protective on milder outings.

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Lots of great information @willowleaf and others, thanks.

So would this NRS Endurance Jacket be classified as a splash jacket or semi-dry or something else?

I have been looking at those because they come in larger sizes than some others I have seen. Of course getting used would make them more affordable…

It looks like a splash top.

I have one of those. It’s a splash top. I carry and use it for cold rains on hot days.

Thanks, @Doggy_Paddler and @Pru. I initially thought splash top but then got confused by their marketing speak about keeping water out at the sleeves and neck.

Pru, how warm is it? We live in North Carolina and wonder if it would be too hot in spring or fall. We do not plan on winter or cold water paddling (so far).

I might not be the best person to ask. I chill very easily, and carried this for Saturday paddling when we expected rain even though it was almost 90 degrees out. You will sweat in this on hot days, but I like it for keeping dry from rain. You can loosen the wrist tabs and push up the sleeves. You definitely want something under it besides bare skin, for sweat absorption. I like this top.

It will not be good if you roll or swim. I have a short sleeve IR dry top for warm days in rough, warm water.

I don’t have that splash top, but by way of comparison I have a Kokatat Tropos splash jacket made of nylon. I recently decided to wear it on a cloudy, windy, 70-ish° day, on a large lake with some waves. When I exert myself I tend to warm up very quickly, so while paddling hard I felt too warm; when the wind kicked up, or when we took a break on dry land and I was standing around eating my sandwich in the breeze, I was glad to have it.

What is your chest and hip measurement? I’ve sometimes found men’s styles fit me better than womens but that is because I have relatively narrow hips – same as my chest. Though I have short arms so with men’s styles I end up having too much sleeve, but with the snug wrists of dry tops that usually doesn’t make any difference.

i have a newer NRS semi dry top than the old Kokatat lightweight Goretex one I have used for 15 years. I thought it would replace the Kokatat (which has gotten some stains and one patch over the years) but I like how the older one packs down so small so that I can keep it stashed in my cockpit, behind the seat, so it is easy to put on if the weather changes. I have never felt too hot in it. Easy to vent the neck which has a foldover neoprene collar that adjusts with a velcro flap – the cuffs adjust the same way. If you can find one of those, even used, it is a very useful top – I even used to use it for biking. Kokatat stuff holds up a long time.

I have a Stohlquist full dry top with latex gaskets that have yet to use, but I am impressed with the quality and cut. I know it would be too warm for most of the waters and conditions I paddle in locally. Bought it before covid when I thought I would be traveling more to places where I would need a colder water option and also would be taking additional rolling classes.

It seems like I am hijacking the OPs thread…

My hips are 48, largest mid torso is 49 and chest is 47. I describe it as a pear shape. Sometimes I can fit in an XL but for most brands I need XXL sizes.

Kokatat probably has the best size ranges. You would fit their XL-Short size that they proportion for women. Waist wouldn’t matter – that is only for their pants and standard drysuit sizing,

Size chart

S M L XL XL Short
Numerical Size 6-8 10-12 14-16 18-20 18-20
Bust 34-37 37-40 40-43 43-46 46-49
Sleeve Length 29-30 31-32 32-33 33-34 32-33
Waist 27-30 30-33 33-37 37-40 40-43
Hip 36-39 39-42 42-45 45-48 48-52
Inseam 27-28 28-29 29-30 29-30 28-29

But your best best for finding a used one would be a men’s XL . Your paddling jacket really doesn’t reach below your hips when you are sitting in a boat. And most spray tops are boxy and oversized, not fitted, to allow for free movement. Having one big enough to fit over your PFD is handy. The Kokatat Storm Cag is one-size-fits-all and intended to be used that way. Here is a men’s XXL on Ebay for $39.95 free shipping. BUt no note as to whether it is breathable fabric.

@raosborne No problem, I love loads of good info in one thread. Hijacking would be if someone started talking about dogs in canoes and that became the main subject. :wink:

I’m still unsure if I should be thinking/looking for a splash jacket or a semi-dry top.
Let’s say I’m out on a day that’s a bit windy w/ some chop and it’s raining on and off all day. I’m wearing a splash jacket. At some point I end up taking a swim, because I haven’t got rolling down, or maybe I have and I end up back in the boat and upright . . . Now am I soaked under the jacket and might as well take it off because it’s not doing me any good . . . but it’s still raining . . .
Or would I have been better off w/ a semi-dry? Or is the semi-dry going to be too hot in those same conditions and so I end up not wearing it when I should?

Rolling, hard edging, and such are all things that I do, or will be learning, especially w/ my Sealion. Of course that’s the one I’ve spent the most time in but see the least. Now the the one I’ll be spending the most time w/ is the Tsunami that I have out west and I wasn’t even sure that could be rolled until I stumbled upon a couple videos of someone doing it. :flushed:
(But I don’t want to hijack my own thread so we can talk about that somewhere else :joy:)

I see the ONLY advantage to a splash jacket is they cost less. As far as use goes I feel them an entire waste of money.

The jacket that is most useful for all around paddling and safety is a semi dry with a vent-able neck. Most companies make something in this vein.

I like the Reed Chill-cheater long sleeve touring cag. It seals at the wrists so that you don’t have a couple of cups of water in each sleeve while paddling. It uses Aquatherm and stretches slightly, and the neck is vent-able but tightens enough for all but rolling practice. {doesn’t use latex wrist gaskets so lasts longer} {comes with a detachable hood}

The other one that I would consider is the Kokatat with the latex wrist gaskets and a vent-able neck …it also comes with a hood.

Other companies make similar jackets . A good jacket is your line of defense against weather changes when you need one.

Vent-able neck is rather important for all around paddling comfort and adjusting to changing temps…when you aren’t paddling in ext reams. {which is where you need a dry-suit …or a set of bibs and a dry top with latex gaskets.

To answer the question asked. Used is fine and many deals can be had used and function the same as new. {a Good semi-dry jacket is for paddling what a blanket is for a couch on an eve that is a little chilly all of a sudden because you are a little tired}

I would consider a good paddling jacket as one of the necessities to always have with. Everyone should have and carry one and be willing to put it on when temperatures or weather conditions change. It keeps everyone in a group safer and less prone to hypothermia.


I agree that a splash top is nice to have, but not very versatile or therefore essential. If someone can only invest in one good paddling top, a dry or semi-dry top is the way to go. I have all the things because a paddling shop here went out of business and I snatched up all the XS gear. I have some pieces I really should sell because I never use them.