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Best Dry Tops For Surfcasting In Stormy Weather

Dex Chadsey

MFCC member since 2013

I couldn't be happier with my two dry tops. High quality gear is really important to me, as it lets me go out in any situation. No matter the weather, I know I will be comfortable and safe.

I wear a Simms dry top during the summer, whenever I feel the need for a spray top or rain gear. The Simms gives great protection, is nice and light, and is made of breathable Goretex.

At night during the Spring and Fall, I like to wear a fleece underneath the Simms dry top. I am very comfortable when wearing the fleece/dry top combo. The Simms comes with elastic cords in the hood and waist. Velcro straps are located at the cuffs of the arms. 


A high neck and long zipper in the front make it possible to cover the entire torso up to the chin. Reflective sections on the back increase safety. It's fairly pricey, but I got a great deal at the Marlboro Fly Fishing show, at about 40% off.

When I'm fishing at night during October and beyond, I'll wear a Guy Cotton. The fabric is heavier than the Simms. I wore the Guy Cotton about a week ago with just a long sleeve shirt underneath and I was very comfortable, despite the 30 mph wind in my face.

I also wore it when we were on the Vineyard in October, and I was able to enjoy the excitement of the 40 mph winds and driving rain without any discomfort. Super protective even if you get dunked, latex cuffs and velcro straps at all the openings.

Way too warm for summertime. The first time I wore it at Cuttyhunk I fried during the walk to the Pyramids and back!

Another important difference worth mentioning here, is that the Simms opens up in the front via a rustproof zipper, which is also protected by waterproof fabric so water can't get through. The Guy Cotton, on the other hand, is a pullover.

Most Important Dry Top Features

Regardless of the brand dry top you choose, there are certain important features to keep in mind. 

Most important features to me are:

  • Light, breathable, truly waterproof (not water resistant) material that is still fairly flexible but will stand up to the wind.
  • The hood is really important. You want one that covers your head, and you also want to be able to roll the top back, so you can see out of it. You don't want to be looking out of a tunnel!
  • The top should have elastic cords that can snug the hood around your head so it stays on when walking into the wind, or when the wind is in your face. There is nothing worse than having to hold your hood when walking into the wind, or having the hood continuously blowing off while casting.
  • The neck should come up high and be tight, so body heat doesn't escape, and so that water doesn't get in through the top, from rain or a big wave.
  • The arms should have straps with velcro closures at the cuffs to keep what you're wearing underneath from getting wet (keep the sleeves dry) and to preserve body heat. I strap them over my gloves.
  • The waist should be snugged tight as well. The Guy Cotton has velcro straps on each side at the waist which is a nice feature, while the Simms has elastic cords.
  • Water proof (or close to it) outer pockets are really important for me. The outer pockets make it easy for me to quickly access certain items, without having to remove the entire dry top. I put my phone, glasses, tape measure and compass in these outer pockets. The Guy Cotton has one big Velcro pocket, while the Simms has 4 exterior zipper pockets that have proven waterproof even in heavy rain. The Simms also has 3 interior pockets. I still always keep my phone in a LifeProof case.

I wear my dry top over my waders and I wear my wading belt over the spray top, with plug bags attached to the wading belt.

If you have any questions, please send me a private message in the forum, or comment below. I am happy to help. 


What do you think?

Let us know by commenting below.

  1. Heyes, my name is Paul and I work at an outdoor retailer in the northeast and I am pumped up to really get into Striper fishing and help the customers with my own experiences. These videos and Artic also are AWESOME! THANK YOU.

  2. This is great, and goes to show you the type of information you can get on MFCC. You ask one simple question about recommendations on dry tops and Dex provides this wealth of information. You really can’t ask for anything more. Thanks again Dex!

    1. You”re welcome Ryan. Have fun on your trip!

  3. where can I get one? will dicks or gander mt have one!

    1. The Guy Cotton is a bit of a fishing specialty item. Saltwater Edge has them up to XXL and Tackle Direct has them up to XXXL. There seem to be several types. I have the SURF 800 which is all black.

    2. Reply
  4. Good strategy Dex. I’ll keep that in mind when I go to the RISSA show this year.

  5. Thank you Dex for letting me borrow your dry top when the wind was howling at 40mph that night during the MV Derby!

    Which model was the one I borrowed?

    1. Ryan,
      The one I loaned you was the SURF 800. This is the all black model, not the one (SURF 1200) with the Navy blue front panel. They run small, I wear the XXXL which is unusual for me. I tried the XXL but it was too restrictive. Since it is a pullover you need to have a bit of extra room. That also allows you to layer underneath.

      1. Perfect, thank you Dex!

  6. Fantastic Dex!

    1. Thanks Brian, “more whitewater”!

  7. Nice post Dex. Thanks for sharing your experience with these dry tops. From fishing along side you and seeing how well your Simms jacket keeps you dry in brutal wind and rain, I’m considering it for my next dry top upgrade.

    1. Papi,
      I was able to get a great deal by purchasing at a fishing show. I think it also helps to go on the last day of the show. The selection might be less but they are more willing to deal as it saves them from having to take their stock back home.


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