Proper care and/or maintenance of drytops? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-21-2012   #1
Del Norte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 77
Proper care and/or maintenance of drytops?

I would like to hear some advice on how to keep a drytop watertight and in good shape. My drytops keep me dry the first several times on the water, than it seems like they start letting a little water seep in here and there. Should I be using any kind of waterproofing or conditioning sprays on a regular basis?

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Old 06-22-2012   #2
Fulford, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 124
Excellent question Jeff!
First off I want to say that there are some dry tops/manufacturers whose product wont be 100% dry on day one. It all goes back to the old adage "You get what you pay for". For the most part the "less expensive(read cheap)" are not going to be as dry as the more pricy tops. Why? Part of it has to do with construction and part of it has to do with the material the company uses.
Anytime I am looking at a dry top, whether it be a new model to carry in the store or personal shopping, the first thing I do is turn it inside out. I am looking for how the panels are stitched together. If the top has four-way seams it is safe to assume its not going to be as "dry" as a top that does not have four way seams. On top of that I look at the seam tape covering the stitching. Is it wrinkled? Is the tape not completely stuck to the stitching in areas? These things can make that brand new drytop a not-so-drytop before you even pluck your Visa out of your wallet.

Another thing is the membrane. It is safe to assume companies employing membranes like Gore-Tex and eVent are going to be drier (not to mention more breathable) than other lesser known fabrics. Also, Gore-Tex and eVent are mechanical membranes. This means the waterproofability is built into the fabric, not just sprayed on (DWR).

OK, SO. You just bought a brand new Sweet Protection Prophecy top (my new favorite). You just bucked up and paid the 500 bucks for an AWESOME product. So how do you keep it dry? Take care of it of course. Here are a few things I do to take care of my dry gear-
SealSaver- Its like lotion for latex gaskets. Keep your gaskets moisturized like your skin and they wont dry and crack
303- This is the sunscreen for your latex gaskets. It is going to help protect the latex from nasty UV rays.
Shade- I try to never dry my gear in direct sunlight. Sometimes it is inevitable though. I keep the garments hanging just long enough to dry. As soon as they are dry they go back into the gear bag whether its in the sun or shade.

So youve done all these steps and five years from now your garment isnt very breathable and it is kind of leaky. No problem- NikWax! Over time dust and grit can clog the pores of the waterproof membrane thus leaving it clammy and leaky. Grab a bottle of NikWax Tech Wash and HANDWASH your drytop. This should revive the fabric of your drytop.

Hope this helps, sorry for the long winded response.
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Old 06-22-2012   #3
Del Norte, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 77
Thanks, Andy!

That is exactly what I wanted to know! The 303 and NikWax sounds like a good idea, I'm sure going to give it a shot. I just bought some Sealsaver to rub into the rubber gaskets also.

Thanks again, Jeff
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Old 06-22-2012   #4
MikeThulin1972's Avatar
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 135
Dido for swim team.... Work for a outfitter and 303 for sure on gaskets and always a reminder dirt doesn't repell water well.... On dry tops ,suits ,ran jackets ,pants ,etc..
Also 99% of all companies that people buy gear from have awesome warranties (IR,kokatat,nrs,sweet,TNF,marmot,Patagonia ,ect
But don't use them.. If you buy something ... Keep the receipt .. Turn that stupid warranty card in.. And just call them., send it back and even if it's not covered under warranty it will be treated and fixed correctly ...
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