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Has anyone had a Kokatat drytop (or drysuit) with their Hydrus fabric for a while now and have a good evaluation of its performance?

I found a couple old threads from last year, but no one has a long term evaluation of how it performed / holds up over time. Kokatat also backs it up with a lifetime warranty, and a review I read on kayakproacademy claims it to be an 8 out of 10, with gore-tex a 10 out of 10. They say its the second best in breathability and durability out of all the other popular fabrics they've tested compared to GoreTex.

Just wondering if anyone has thoughts? My drysuit is goretex, but I'm thinking about going with a Kokatat drytop in the hydrus fabric instead of goretex. Since Kokatat will pressure test and seal them up forever, essentially eliminating any possibility of water leakage, as long as is it decently breathable it might be a good choice. Drytop is for warmer weather, you're bottom regions get slightly wet already. As long as the Hydrus performs at least as good as eVent, Triton, and other breathable fabrics, I'd rather have a Kokatat drytop I can send back for testing and leak sealing than an NRS or other brand that won't offer those services. I admit I will not treat my drytop with the same care and respect as a suit, so having that service option is a big plus. They are also even cheaper than some other brand options, and I don't believe the quality of the build is any different than the rogue top, besides the different membrane inside. Gore charges a premium for their fabric, which is reflected in the price between the rogue and hydrus.
 

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I have a friend who has used one for 6-7 years. He hasn't done any maintenance to it and it looks like the fabric gets saturated, but it keeps him dry, and he has been very rough on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. The outer fabric getting saturated has nothing to do with the semi-permeable membrane. I believe they use the same outer fabric (Nylon, or Cordura Nylon), with the same exact DWR. When the DWR wears off, gets abraded, gets dirty with dirt, sunblock, oils, etc., it loses its water repellent properties and starts to saturate. Then it must be reactivated by washing and heating, or reapplied with something like Revivex, Atsko Permanent water guard, etc. Gore might breathe better with a slightly saturated outer fabric than hydrus, but the actual act of the fabric getting saturated isn't a gore/hydrus result. The breathability of the membrane is the driving factor.
I'm really starting to wonder how the other fabrics compare. I'd like to see a laboratory test of all the current breathable membranes. Also a good point to remember is no matter what the membrane is, if the outer fabric is saturated, it won't breathe. There needs to be a moisture gradient to wick the inner moisture to the outer surface.

Another key factor though is durability. Not only does it have to be breathable, but it also has to be durable so that breathability and waterproofness doesn't degrade or fail. A breathable membrane that can't handle abuse won't do any good. But it sounds like your friends top/suit is still waterproof, which is good. I wonder if its just as breathable as when it was new.
 

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Hydrus has only been out a few seasons now, their older 3-layer was Tropos. From what I've seen coming in to the shop, the Hydrus has been holding up better than the Tropos ever did. I haven't worn either while paddling though so I can't speak for the breathability.

Bomber Gear is using PolarTec NeoShell in their new Palguin line. Breathes WAY better than GoreTex, but not sure about durability compared to the Rogue/GMER/Icon/Idol
 

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I had the same program, Goretex suit and wanted to save a couple bucks on a top. I would sweat in the hydrus top like it was made out of a black plastic garbage bag. Ended up buying a rogue top in the end.
 

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I have had a Level 6 Duke top now for 3 yrs and it is still going strong which is surprising because when I bought it they're reliability wasn't the best. It is now my old reliable, they are an economical alternative that breathes well. The outer material does saturate but stays dry inside and that's what matters....


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I just ordered one of their dry suits from REI (return every item). With the 20 percent off it was under $700. I guess I have a year to get my $ back if it breaths like a plastic bag.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I had the same program, Goretex suit and wanted to save a couple bucks on a top. I would sweat in the hydrus top like it was made out of a black plastic garbage bag. Ended up buying a rogue top in the end.

Rogue is working much better for you?

I just ordered one of their dry suits from REI (return every item). With the 20 percent off it was under $700. I guess I have a year to get my $ back if it breaths like a plastic bag.

Kokatat hydrus?



Well I'm in the process of tuning up my NRS drytop because it stunk, got soaking wet, and had a worn neck gasket. I'm recoating the DWR with Atsko permanent water guard. Going to hit it with the dryer for like 5 mins on medium, then do the iron, and finish off the hard to reach spots with a heat gun to set the DWR finish. Will see how it does this season



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I wouldn't put it in the dryer, the tape on the seams doesn't cope well with heat.....


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Discussion Starter #11
No? I was going to heat the dryer up first, and then literally put it in for a couple of minutes.

Also, I plan on turning it inside out after treating it and aqua sealing all the seams that are starting to come up. There's already a couple of spots I've noticed that need to get some glue on the edges.
 

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My wife put a drytop by accident in the dryer not knowing and all the seam tape disintegrated. The latex seals promptly ripped as well, mind you it was in there for a full cycle. I just wouldn't even go near a dryer on general.


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I have both a Kokatat Goretex and Hydrus Meridian. The fit and function is the same for both. I can notice the Goretex breathes better than the Hydrus in hotter more humid weather, but for winter paddling Hydrus works just fine. I can't tell a difference in the durability of fabric. I've had the Hydrus about a year and the Goretex about three years. I've used the Hydrus most this winter and have been very pleased with it. I feel the Goretex is better, but the Hydrus is a still a great suit if you want to save money or have a good spare suit.

However, if I had bought a Hydrus suit before the Goretex suit, I'd be perfectly happy with it as my primary/only suit.

Prior to my Kokatat suits I had a dryt suit and drytop from NRS of one of their proprietary fabrics and they were both junk in my opinion. The fabric was durable enough, but did not breath at all. Sweated my butt off!

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have both a Kokatat Goretex and Hydrus Meridian. The fit and function is the same for both. I can notice the Goretex breathes better than the Hydrus in hotter more humid weather, but for winter paddling Hydrus works just fine. I can't tell a difference in the durability of fabric. I've had the Hydrus about a year and the Goretex about three years. I've used the Hydrus most this winter and have been very pleased with it. I feel the Goretex is better, but the Hydrus is a still a great suit if you want to save money or have a good spare suit.

However, if I had bought a Hydrus suit before the Goretex suit, I'd be perfectly happy with it as my primary/only suit.

Prior to my Kokatat suits I had a dryt suit and drytop from NRS of one of their proprietary fabrics and they were both junk in my opinion. The fabric was durable enough, but did not breath at all. Sweated my butt off!

Steve
Thanks! This is exactly the answer I was looking for, and just confirms my suspicion about hydrus being almost as good.

I guess for Coloradans that like to wear a drysuit all season, gore might be worth it due to the hot sunny days. But of course its a personal decision. I'll stick to gore for a suit, but probably won't pay the premium ever for a top.
 

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Thanks! This is exactly the answer I was looking for, and just confirms my suspicion about hydrus being almost as good.

I guess for Coloradans that like to wear a drysuit all season, gore might be worth it due to the hot sunny days. But of course its a personal decision. I'll stick to gore for a suit, but probably won't pay the premium ever for a top.
I think you are right about Gore being better for for wearing dry suit longer. I have an NRS, and its great, but wow do I over heat and sweat inside of it. Can not wait till water warms up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update:

I used the Atsko Permanent Water Guard. Sprayed the hell out of the top until it was dripping wet, let it dry upside down as per the instructions (concentrate the good stuff up high where it is needed most).

After, I used a heat gun to heat the fabric, trying carefully to keep it moving and not melt the nylon (successful in not melting it). Then I used my iron, just a hair above the Nylon/Rayon setting, WITHOUT any layer between the iron and the top. I started out using a cotton t-shirt, but it seemed like not much heat was actually getting to the drytop. Instead of upping the heat, I just hit it directly. I figured the Nylon heat setting was appropriate for the nylon outer fabric and would not burn or melt it. I also didn't just let the iron sit in one spot without moving it around.

Anyway, after the heat gun I did the shower head test. The results were good, but there were still a couple spots (generally on the tops of the sleeves) where water started absorbing into the surface after a few seconds of direct spray. After the iron treatment, I did the shower head test again, and was amazed at the results. Total beading of water, absolutely no water absorption into the fabric. Still haven't tested it on the river. Will get a couple play park days in and see how it holds up, and then later this season will really get a feel for the durability when I start using it. Atsko claims it lasts for 25 washes in a washing machine, so....
 

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Ya it was night and day for me between rogue and the hydrus top. They were the exact same top just different material. Workin hard in my playboat I would sweat twice as much in the hydrus. But on a trail run I am also the dude who is drenched way before anyone else.
 
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