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Old 11-11-2010   #1
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
Life span of a drytop / suit?

Any thoughts out there on the average life span of a drytop before the water proofing begins to fade out? # of days used? # of years if use is moderate?

Do you find any brand(s) lasts longer than other brand(s)?

My IR drytop is in great condition but with 100+ part day uses over the last five years it now absorbs water like a cotton t-shirt.

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Old 11-11-2010   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
Honestly, I have never had to retreat either of my Kokatat gore-tex tops. After like 8 or 9 seasons with my first I did notice it starting to take on water. My IR comp shorty is 3 seasons with probably 100+ on it and seemed to take on water like you describe this year. I have had good luck with nikwax products on my rain shells once they loose it, never tried on a drytop before.

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Old 11-11-2010   #3
Provo, Utah
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 114
Kokatat recommends a specific product that is spray on and requires no heat to activate. It will restore the DWR (durable water repellent). Give them a call and ask about it and they can give you the name. I spoke with customer service and they recommended it after about a year of use. If you had a kokatat top they initially say to iron the jacket on a very very cool setting to reactivate the original DWR and then after about a year you can reapply the spray they recommend. The DWR is actually made and marketed by a different company so I would assume kokatat does not stand to profit from pushing it.
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Old 11-11-2010   #4
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 350
^You might be referring to this. Kokatat isn't afraid to go on record, recommending either "Granger’s XT Proofer Spray or Nikwax® TX-Direct Spray-On™"

Kokatat PDF on Dry-Gear upkeep.
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Old 11-12-2010   #5
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
After using gore-tex patches and aquaseal to fix small holes in my 6 year-old stohlquist top I am no longer able to use any DWR treatment that is heat activated. Instead I have found that the Kiwi Camp Dry spray works well:
Camp Dry Water Repellent Spray...Original Kiwi Camp Dry Spray
it does darken the color of the fabric a little, but after treatment my top beads up water like a freshly waxed car, and each treatment seems to last about a dozen river trips before it starts to wear off...definitely better than being soaked the whole time, or dropping big bucks on a new top....
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 11-12-2010   #6
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
My 1st Kokatat drysuit's (2002) DWR lasted about 2 or 3 days on areas where the fabric got rubbed. The suit itself lasted about 6 or 7 years before developing multiple pinholes and some fabric delamination. The gore-tex socks lasted about 60 user days of two to three trip a day commercial guiding (lots of walking and off river time every day basically living in the suit) before developing pinhole leaks. Kokatat replaced the socks for free after my first season and the second pair started to leak at about the same point. Last winter I sent the suit in and Kokatat replaced it for free. I only have about ten days in the new suit - the DWR is sticking around a lot better on this new suit, I need more days before I can say when it's going to start breaking down. But so far it is awesome.
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Old 11-12-2010   #7
Hood River, Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 44
Send the IR drytop in to IR, they can add a Core Enrichment to the inside of the garment for a small fee- just call them for an RA- or try one of their newer 4-layer garments, which seem to be holding up much much better than the old material!
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Old 11-12-2010   #8
C-dub's Avatar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 02
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 183
I paddle Peakuk and get 100 to 150 days before having to Nikwax(recommended by peak) to get the material to start beading water again. That being said, the inner liner doesn't let water through. The saturated outer layer does make you cold though. Never worn them out to the point of leaking yet.
God Bless SKA Brewery-Sturgeon General
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Old 11-12-2010   #9
C-dub's Avatar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 02
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 183
Along the same lines. IR are incredible for the first year. Myself, and the friends I have that used them have had the same experience with leakage after the one year point.
God Bless SKA Brewery-Sturgeon General
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Old 11-14-2010   #10
Hood River, Oregon
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 44
Yeah, the DWR does wear off after a while- with that said, when IR went to the 4 layer material, they also changed the outer shell material, so when the DWR finish wears off, the outer layer doesn't retain water, and dries much faster than cordura, and nylon blended material that a lot of other companies are using. My 16 month old 4 layer Double D consistently dries much faster than my girlfriends GMER- both are dry on the inside and do not leak- to note.

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