Lotus Royal Flush

Any day you pull on a dry top is a good day. Even if it’s late winter and 30 degrees at the Beartrap put-in—which is where I found myself testing out the new Lotus Designs Royal Flush dry top. Lotus has a reputation for making quality gear, and I soon found out why. Pulling it on over a bunch of layers was no problem. Stretchy nylon at the wrists and neck kept out that frigid old Mother Nature surprisingly well—though with ice-encrusted shoreline to either side, I did find myself dreaming of sandy beaches an hour into the paddle. Some fancy cutting and pattern-making eliminated the traditional bulk and bunching at the waist, which translated into better water-shedding. Nice stretchy material around the shoulders made for effortless paddling. And the hippies will be stoked with this: Somehow they got the neck gasket to allow a painless entry. It’s still latex at the neck, but the neck flap opens and fastens to the back, giving you ample room to stuff your fat hairdo through. All in all the Royal Flush proved to be a bomber dry top. I suggest the Rio Red if you like getting “bagged” on the first throw—but if you just enjoy swimming and want to blend in with the river, go with the Pirate Blue. Well done, Lotus; I would happily pay full pop for this dry top.

Jason Schutz has been kayaking in Montana and beyond for over a decade. Having recently survived the mighty Stakine River in Alaska, Jason’s next big challenge is surviving fatherhood.