which splash top?

Help me choose a splash top. I’m considering the Kokatat Tempest hooded paddling jacket, which is listed as “semi-drywear” by NRS, and also considering the NRS Powerhouse jacket (no hood), which is considered a splash jacket rather than semi-drywear. My intended purpose is multi-day solo touring in the colder months, but particularly for a few three to five day trips I have planned in March and April in Pennsylvania, where the air will likely be cool to cold and I will likely deal with lengthy rainfalls. I will wear a wetsuit under the jacket. I know, I know everybody will want me to go full drysuit. But I am very comfortable paddling in a wet suit and it has worked quite well for me in the past. I’m a pretty experienced kayak tour paddler. I’m an ultralight backpacker, so I value light gear, and have been using a super lightweight breathable rain shell with a hood (brand is 02, worn by many cyclists – ultralight, cheap, breathable). But the flimsy hood allows rain and splash to enter the top after a while, and if I wear a fleece over my wetsuit, it wets that out. So the question is, if I am never encountering white water and my need to stay dry is a need to keep rain off me rather than to keep whitewater spray off me, am I better with the Kokatat with its built in hood, or since both jackets have neck gaskets am I better off hoodless and just wearing my favorite billed paddling hat to keep the rain out of my eyes? Here are links to both jackets

NRS Powerhouse splash jacket, no hood http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=25811&pdeptid=2018

kokatat tempest paddle jacket with hood http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___76061?cm_vc=PDPZ1

another Kokatat…

– Last Updated: Dec-09-11 7:15 PM EST –


I and several of my buddies use this one. Though just a paddle jacket it does keep water out pretty good when doing rolls and yet unlike a dry-top you can open the neck to cool off.

Instead of a hooded jacket you may want to add something like http://www.outdoorplay.com/Kokatat-Tropos-Kayak-Storm-Cag to your emergency kit. This is often most handy for cold, windy days when you are taking a break.

I use this in So Cal. For winter/spring in PA you'd have to ask yourself what if you end up in the water for more than 30 seconds. Whatever you wear I'd suggest doing a five minute swim and then a self rescue to test it out.

Other Kokatat stuff
I just ordered this one: http://www.rockcreek.com/kokatat/tropos-re-action-jacket-mens/5177.rc?question=kokatat

because I wanted one with better wrist and waist sealing, while still being able to deal with the neck. They also make a Gore-Tex version called the “Action” jacket, but the price was too high for my budget.

As both a cyclist and a paddler, I love Gore-Tex. I sweat a lot and it breaths really well. I’m not 100% sure how much different these other “breathable” fabrics are and you simply have to test them personally to know.

My decision, since I’m using a FJ wetsuit in warmer SF Bay weather, was regarding just how close to “dry” did I need to come. For people who roll, like some of you river runners, I suspect anything but a true dry top might not be enough. The ones with hoods (Palm, Kokatat, etc.) look very versatile, but aren’t truly “dry” because of the necks alone.

Powerhouse Jacket works fine
I use them over wetsuits for cold weather paddling/surfing - air temps near freezing water temps ~ 45 . Works well. Goes in my gear bag when traveling. I’ve used it in the UK for climbing in heavy rain. It will let some water in when wiping out, and it does not breath, but keeps you plenty warm in a wetsuit and dry enough when used for a rain jacket for hiking etc.

Buying goretex to wear over a wetsuit would be a waste of money.

Kokakat stuff is good, depends on your pocket book.

Keeping rain out of eyes

– Last Updated: Dec-10-11 12:56 PM EST –

Outdoor Research's Seattle Sombrero or its non-Goretex version works great for keeping rain and snow out of the eyes. I use mine for paddling, hiking, and shoveling snow.

The neat thing is that if you fold up the sides like a cowboy hat, you can tip the head forward now and then to make the rain pour off where you want it to go. The hat has small Velcro patches for just this purpose. Or you can let the 360-degree brim sit flat (like a Tilley).

I’ve got the hat, now I know
how to really use it! That’s funny.