ExtraSport X-pert Flex Plus Drytop Review with Aaron Koch
Aaron Koch (co-founder of Kayak Huasteca in Mexico) is the perfect guy to review a drytop because he is part fish. He spends around 300 days a year in various water conditions ranging from brain numbing Northern Rocky Mountain runoff, to lush, hot spring fed waterfalls down in Mexico. All of his gear needs to be built to last, comfortable in all conditions and priced competitively(Aaron is a kayaker not a hedge fund analyst). Another reason that Aaron is a good person to give us his thoughts on this drytop, is because he is an independent professional kayaker. He can pick and choose what equipment he likes, as opposed to hyping the newest gear that his sponsors give him. The ExtraSport Xpert Flex Plus is Aaron's favorite dry top for many reasons. Here's why:
- 4-way Stunner® Stretch material stretchable across back, shoulders and sleeves
- Entrant® Dermizax™ 3-layer waterproof/breathable membrane
- Allows twice the amount of water vapor (sweat) to escape
- Lightweight, windproof and waterproof up to 40psi
- Latex gasketed neck and wrist with Velcro® closures for a tight seal
- Double-chimney waist closure with Velcro® adjustability
- 3M™ Scotchlite reflective strips
- RF-welded pockets with laser-cut drain holes
I've tried a lot of drytops in my years of paddling and the X-Pert Flex is one of the best. I spend about 300 days a year on the river and my equipment gets well used. I paddle in Mexico half the year and I need something that works well in cold and warm water. The X-Pert Flex suits me just fine.
Let's start with the gaskets. One of the most difficult things about dry tops are the gaskets. The X-Pert Flex is a pleasure to put on. The gaskets have just the right amount of tightness to keep water out, yet the slides over hands and head easily.
The material in this top is super soft and lightweight. I have taken some good hits to the elbows and it hasn't damaged the top at all.
The X-Pert Flex allows me to move freely in all conditions.
It has a nice long tunnel so whether you are playboating or creeking, it never pulls free of your skirt. The bottom of the tunnel tightens easy and stays where it belongs.
The waist is tightened by 2 Velcro straps which keep the top nice and snug. There are also Velcro closures on the neck and wrist openings.
I have had this top for six months and the water still beads off the material. Some added perks are, easily accessed wet pocket and highly reflective material on the arms. This has been a great top for me and I would recommend it to anyone who wants functionality,durability and ease of use. It also looks great in photos!
- There are only 2 colors to choose from (red and green).
- The softer material is ultra-comfortable, but may not be the best choice for a creek boating/expeditionary top. It is not made out of Cordura like the Peak UK Creek Tops for example. If you are thinking about going creeking a lot in this top, you may want to wear elbow pads to maximize it's life.
- The weight of the waterproof/breathable fabric(Dermizax) is lighter duty than full Gore-Tex. This means that there may be better winter paddling dry tops out there(i.e.-Kokatat Rogue). On the other hand, if you layer up well underneath the top, you may be fine in the ExtraSport.
The X-Pert Flex is a great top, well worth every penny. This top is built well and should deliver years of good use. This will probably be my last drytop, it has served it's purpose well. The next step in dryness, for me, will be a nice and toasty Drysuit.