Click the above left links if you are ready to order gaskets or have K.A. replace your gasket(s) for you.
We often receive questions such as this one:
Re: Replacement gaskets for a dry suit.
The neck gasket tore on my dry suit, so it needs to be replaced. Also, I would like to purchase some spare wrist gaskets and latex dry-socks. What information do you need from me in order to identify the correct gaskets?
All the information you need is on our individual store product pages for the gaskets. The do-it-yourselfer can buy gaskets and tools from our on-line store. For those who'd rather someone else replace their gaskets, we've made it easy for you to prearrange for us to replace your gasket(s) for you (parts and labor in one click, return shipping when you check out).
We need to know the make and size of your dry suit or dry top (on Kokatat brand dry suits the size label is under the Velcro on the left wrist cuff and it is usually rolled into a tiny scroll that is hard to see and hard to unroll. On Kokatat dry tops the label is under the "overskirt" on the left side for tops, but you really have to look to find it). If it is a Kokatat women's dry suit or top, the size label begins with a W (such as WL for Women's Large). Note, if you found your old gaskets were uncomfortably tight or so loose that they leaked, we can help you with non-standard size gaskets (L gasket on Small suit etc. as well as generic brand universal gaskets that fit Kokatat products but come in a wider range of sizes, i.e. to fit XL and XXL necks and wrists). Just ask us about getting a better fit when ordering. If ordering latex dry-socks, tell us your shoe size and whether your foot is narrow, average width, or wide.
We keep all sizes of gaskets in stock for Kokatat, as well as gaskets and dry socks to fit Stohlquist, NRS, Gil, Mustang, Whites, Bomber, Henri Lloyd, USIA, OSS, and most other brands of surface watersport dry suits and dry tops. If you give us the dimensions described in the Drysuit Gasket page, we can generally find a gasket to fit any brand dry suit or dry top -- even old brands that are out of production.
For do-it-yourselfers, we include a copy of the replacement instructions, sand paper, and disposable glove with each gasket. With the right tools and directions, replacing gaskets and latex dry-socks is a simple project, and one worth learning so you can do it on trips (we highly recommend bringing spare gaskets and tools on multi-day trips). Ideally the glue should dry 8 - 24 hours at room temperature, but with care the gasket can be worn the next morning if the new gasket was installed by 6 PM the night before (at air temperatures above 50 deg. F).
Wrist and ankle gaskets and latex drysocks can be replaced using jars of suitable sizes to stretch the end of the sleeve/leg while gluing the new gasket on, but the factory tools for these gaskets don't cost much, and they save you the time spent looking around for the right size jars as well as the difficulty with getter the jars out after the glue sets. The tools for wrists and ankles are light, and the wrist tool stacks inside the ankle/sock tool so they take up little space on trips. If you are going to cobble your own wrist or ankle tool, here are a couple suggestions. Find a glass jar that is just slightly smaller than the opening at the end of the sleeve or leg on your suit (after cutting the old gasket off). Then wrap the jar with duct tape until the jar makes a snug fit in the suit. Another option is to build tools very much like the real ones by cutting both ends out of a soup can that is bigger than the cuff and then slicing the can lengthwise (using tin snips) so you can coil it to adjust it's diameter. Also cut a stick to fit crosswise in the can/tool so as to spread it open wider once the tool/can is in the suit. Cover the soup can with duct tape so there won't be any sharp edges to cut you or your suit.Our neck gasket replacement tool is worth its weight in gold. Most people don't know about neck replacement tools, and you hear them complain about how difficult it is to replace. There are You-Tube clips promoting the old ways of doing this with a traffic cone or soccer ball as a tool -- which is why most people think replacing a neck gasket is difficult (back in the 1970's, some suits were sewn with necks in the shape of a cone, and on those suits a traffic cone worked okay. But by the 1980's dry suits were designed to use gaskets with a flat flange at the glue surface, and so new tools were developed for the new style gasket and it is easier now than ever.
Are the gasket replacement tools compact enough to pack on a trip?
We pack the gasket tools in our kayaks when on trips that are more than 2 or 3 days long. Our Field Repair Neck Gasket Tool is about the size of a dinner plate plus six finger sized spring clamps, and it weighs less than a pound. Sea kayakers can duct tape the plate part of the neck tool to their kayak's front bulkhead so it hardly takes up any space at all. The wrist and ankle gasket/latex sock tools are about the size of a large drinking glass and only weigh a few ounces each. You can slide a cup or something inside of them so they hardly waste any space in your kayak.
We include free instructions, sand paper, and disposable gloves with each gasket order.
Is there anything to make gaskets last longer?
Kokatat recommends using 303 Protectant on gaskets and latex socks to extend their life. 303 Protectant blocks UV sunlight from attacking the latex and it helps keep the rubber from drying out and cracking. Another reason to use 303 Protectant is that it lubricates the gaskets and latex socks which makes it easier to get in and out of your suit or dry top, and more comfortable to wear. After you've used 303 Protectant, you can tell when it is time to reapply because you'll miss the ease of slipping in and out of the suit with well lubricated gaskets (perhaps once every third day on a trip or once a month if using it infrequently). Even if the dry suit or dry top is being stored, Kokatat recommends reapplying 303 Protectant about once a month for protection of the rubber.
Sun block, insect repellent, etc. shorten the life of the rubber and may cause it to turn sticky in short order. If you've gotten any of these chemicals on your gasket, hand wash the gasket with soap and water as soon as practical (i.e. at the end of the day) and then apply 303 Protectant to it once it is dry.
Repairing leaks in fabric
You can repair small tears, pin holes, etc. with a smear of AquaSeal Adhesive (apply glue to the inside of the suit so it won't show). If the hole or rip is such that the glue may leak through to the other side while curing, put masking tape on the other side until the glue becomes firm enough not to seep through. For coated nylon dry suits and dry tops, big holes and rips are best repaired by the manufacturer. For GoreTex dry suit and dry tops, we sell GoreTex patch kits, but most of the time you don't need a patch kit -- just a smear of AquaSeal (which you should be able to buy locally at SCUBA dive shops, sporting goods stores, etc.) The patch kit is for rips and holes where the AquaSeal Adhesive needs some support for added strength or for abrasion resistance (e.g. under the heel on GoreTex dry socks). With the patch you can repair rips up to about 1" long (It's rare that anyone needs this). Bigger rips are best repaired at the factory (if you have a Kokatat brand suit or dry top that needs factory repairs, call us to make arrangements).
Generally you just repair leaks with smear of AquaSeal Adhesive or patch on the inside only. Then it doesn't show much. Just keep it thin so it doesn't make an uncomfortable lump in your shoe/bootie. If you bring your suit to us to patch, we have professional equipment to make a nicer looking permanent patch.
Is there anything that can be done about gaskets that like to stick to your neck and create a "rash?"
Yes, there are many ways to reduce or solve the neck rash depending on the cause:
Brush off any sand or salt that is on the gasket before putting it on.
For guys, it helps if you shave that part of your neck daily to toughen up the skin and keep from having short hairs pushed in.
Loose gaskets slip more than proper fitting gaskets. Every time you turn your head, a loose gasket will slip and cause chafing. So if you can stand to wear a tighter gasket, that will help.
If the rubber feels sticky like gum, sand will stick to it and chafe on your neck. When the gasket is gummy, it is getting old and weak - it may be best to replace the gasket as it will likely rip soon anyway. If you catch it early, sometimes a gasket is only sticky at the outermost edge; in this case you may be able to fix it by trimming off the sticky part with scissors. Cut evenly all the way around the gasket even if the stickiness is only on part of it. However, trimming the gasket will make it wider and possibly too loose for a good seal -- if so, it's time for a new gasket.
If the gasket is only slightly sticky, then applying 303 Protectant may eliminate the stickiness as well as extend the gasket's life. Eliminating the stickiness will take care of the worst of the rash causing irritation.
Sometimes covering the rash with Second Skin burn treatment (clear skin-like film) works to prevent further irritation. If you know from past experience where the rash forms, you can use Second Skin as a preventive measure too, but the stuff is expensive.
There is also a gadget we sell called Bioseal that can eliminate the neck rash. You wear the Bioseal around your neck like a choker collar between your skin and the neck gasket. It feels much better than this sounds. It is like having the Second Skin all the way around your neck, but unlike the burn treatment the Bioseal is reusable and easier to use.
If you have an allergy to latex, wearing the Bioseal between your skin and the gasket may help.
You are welcome to use what I've presented here just for your own information, but if you care to help support the Kayak Academy please purchase all your dry suits, dry tops and gaskets from K.A. - thanks George.
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