IR owner / paddlesports designer John Weld's been building dry top's, splash tops, spray skirts and dry suits for a long time. He (and the rest of IR) know what they're doing when it comes to designing and building paddle specific items that fit well, look cool, function properly, and last a long time. They are also very reasonably priced considering the overall craftsmanship. The Immersion Research Zephyr Splash Top is a high end splash jacket, available for a mid level price. It has features that are not usually found on entry level splash jackets, but a price tag that does not necessarily reflect it's overall quality. Here are the item's details:
WATERPROOF / BREATHABLE:The Zephyr's built with a 2 layer waterproof breathable membrane. Because it is only 2 layers (as opposed to 3 or 4), it will pack easily, and breathe well.The seams are also taped in the inside, which enhances the dryness.
Anti-microbial mesh lining on the inside of the splash top. This can be really nice for wearing the Zephyr against your skin. The other GREATthing that it does is keep the top from smelling bad after wearing it for long periods of time.
Anti-microbial mesh lining is comfortable against the skin, and also will not smell nearly as bad as a splash top that does not have this lining.
Zippered pocket on the front with drainage holes in the bottom. The pocket is big enough for things like Powerbars, car keys, waterproof cameras, etc.
Zippered pocket in the front. Drainage holes on the bottom.
Draw string waist with a lock off on the shock cord. This is a really nice feature.
Draw string waist with a shock cord and lock off.
Velcro hook and loop closures on the neck and waist. They are heavy duty, comfortable and fit well.
Hook and loop on the neck.
Hook and loop on the wrists.
Great articulation in the arms. Immersion Research is a brand that you can count on if you want a top that fits well. The top was specifically designed for kayaking, which means that the arms move very freely.
Durable seems that are taped on the inside. Great range of movement with the top.
Some people will have a tough time paying $109 for a splash top. The Zephyr has quite a few features that justify the price, but at the same time may be a little overkill for someone who paddles once or twice a year.
Overall, the Zephyr is a solid option for a splash top. It's by no means an entry level layer, and certainly has enough features justify the $109 price tag.The highlights of the top for us were the anti-microbial mesh lining that is smooth to the touch, the hook and look wrists and neck, and the cut. IR has dry and splash top cuts dialed. If you like to kayak fish, raft, IK on warm days, or stand up paddle in the fall, this top is a great solution...
As the crisp air settles in for Fall Paddling season with popular events such as Beaverfest, Gorefest, Gauley Fest and Russell Fork Rendevous, make sure you are prepared with the gear you’ll need to have to stay comfortable and support your team on the river! Here are a few recommendations from CKS Online's Lead Buyer, Jonny Ortiz.