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Old 05-01-2013   #1
jlinn's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 9
Splash, Semi-dry, Dry top?

I'm new to kayaking and looking to get some gear. What's the difference between a splash, semi-dry, and dry top? I'll mostly be running rivers in the Glenwood Springs area (CO and Fork) from April to October. Any recommendations on what I really need? Thanks.

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Old 05-01-2013   #2
rivervibe's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 379
A splash top is like a rain jacket. It will have velcro closures on the wrists, neck and a synch at the bottom. If you swim or even get a moderate splash, it will not keep you dry at all. Think of this as a rafting only garment.
A semi-dry is built like a drytop. It's more form fitting, generally designed for kayaking, will have neoprene-like gaskets that aren't too tight on the neck and arms, and an inner and outer tunnel system for your skirt. It's generally considered to be more comfortable than a drytop, but it will let water in, though not all in a rush.
A drytop has fully sealing latex gaskets. Tighter, yes, but it really should do the job of keeping you dry unless your out for a longer swim.

Personally, I recommend the drytop if you're going to have just one option in your bag. The water in Colorado is just generally cold and if the weather turns on you, you want to be in the best shape possible. They really aren't that uncomfortable and provide a much wider useful range for kayakers.

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Old 05-01-2013   #3
pocatello, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 471
DRYTOP no doubt. it is way easy to cool down if you are hot. It is way hard to warm up if you are cold.
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Old 05-01-2013   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 339
Semi dry for warm weather warmish water drytop for everything else
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Old 05-02-2013   #5
jlinn's Avatar
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 9

Thanks for the input that helps.
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