Some drytops just plain suck. Made out of material about as waterproof as a paper bag, these are cut to fit apes, look like they were designed in a penitentiary and turn to shreds on the slightest suggestion of roughness. The Peak UK Deluxe HD and Kokatat Rogue Gore-Tex are nothing like that, but apart from being well designed, high quality pieces of equipment that keep water off your chest they couldnt be less alike.
Kokatat Rogue Gore-Tex
The Gore-Tex Rogue may retail for just under $400, but that doesnt mean it isnt a steal for those who can drop the cash. Theres a surprising amount of material here, which the weight and freedom of movement allowed by this top does not suggest. Three layers of Gore-Tex will keep the top performing long after you wear out your boat, and Gore-Tex Cordura reinforcements in the forearms, elbows and shoulders prevent rips in these wear prone areas. The Rogue feels solid.
Superstretch neoprene at the neck and wrists protect the latex gaskets and require no adjustment from the wearer, making this top hassle free and quick to get on and off. Water that gets into the chambers between the neoprene and latex quickly drains through ports in the cuffs and collar. While the pocket at the chest does not remain completely dry it is functional, and objects there dont interfere with most PFDs.
Leave your pots on the stove -- this top is ready to go right out of the box and for most wearers no assistance from kitchenware is needed to stretch the neck gasket to a comfortable fit. The cut is amble without being excessive, allowing for completely unimpeded movement and plenty of space to layer up under.
The Gore-Tex performs exceedingly well, maintaining absolute dryness and unsurpassed toughness in a top that breathes enough to be worn during the summer.
See it at Kokatat.com
Peak UK Deluxe Long HD
The Deluxe HD may have been this years best value. At $260.00 the top features heavy duty X3HD material and elbows reinforced with Cordura. In this case heavy duty doesnt mean heavy weight; its a lightweight four-season top with a streamlined fit that doesnt form annoying wrinkles or bunches. For those that prefer the feel of a splashtop but want to stay totally dry there is no better top. Drainports at the wrists and collar allow water to drain from the cuffs, making this top ideal for those who prefer to leave their Velcro closures loose.
The top fits snugly, adding to the sensation that something much lighter than a drytop was being worn, but theres little room for a bulky fleece or woolen layers underneath.
Those with shorter necks may find the top hard to get used to as the neoprene gasket cover rides high. Try it on in a store.
Nothing else on the water looks like the Delux HD. The British styling and two-tone colorways are wholly unique, and people who arent familiar with the company crane their necks and ask questions. Its fun to be different.
Note that the inner tube does not have a drawstring and as such must be worn under the skirt to keep water out. While this is the right way to wear any drytop some slackers skip this step on mellow runs and wing it with the drawcord tight on the outside, and they should be forewarned.
Check it out at Peak UK.
For playboaters and river runners looking for a reliable lightweight drytop with an elegant cut and unique styling, by need to have some money for gas left over, the Delux HD is the way to go. Boaters needing a top that can handle anything, with unquestionable durability, total dryness and comfort in all conditions will find nothing better than the Gore-Tex Rogue.
NRS Flux 2009
The new Flux is something worth waiting around for. A lightweight drytop, the $245 Flux sports the same three layers of 210-denier TrioTon waterproof/breathable fabric and cut it had this year, keeping wearers comfortable, cool and dry in any conditions, while the Glideskin overcuff fabric at the neck is gentle on unruly neck fur.
This year the style-dial gets turned way up with a new, never been seen before plaid color for men and the blue on blue colorway shown here for women. More to come once we get our hands on it.
See this year's version at NRS.