Dry Suit and Dry Top Repair Information / Gasket Repair
K.A. replaces dry suit gaskets, and you can prepay On-line to have your dry top or drysuit repaired - start with the above link then follow the links on each gasket item page to order the "Gasket Replacement Labor" that goes with the gaskets you purchase.
Gaskets on dry suits and dry tops wear out and/or go bad with age, but they are replaceable. You can order replacement gaskets and tools from our Website (click link above to order gaskets etc.), or you can pre-pay On-line to have us replace your drysuit gaskets for you. In either case, we stock latex rubber gaskets and latex rubber dry-socks to fit most brands of watersport (non-SCUBA) dry suits and dry tops. We even stock rare and hard to find gaskets for off brands, military dry suits, and old drysuits made by brands that are out of business; so if you need a size or style of gasket not listed on our Website, call us and we can usually find gaskets that will work for whatever drysuit you own.
If the original gaskets on your dry suit or dry top were too tight or too loose, contact us and we can help you select a better fitting replacement gasket. For example, Kokatat only has two sizes of neck gaskets (Small and Large) and two sizes of wrist gaskets (S and L), but we have aftermarket gaskets in a fuller range of sizes that fit on Kokatat dry suits and dry tops. Many guys find Kokatat's "Large" gaskets are too tight. Gaskets are tapered, so the original gaskets on your dry suit or dry top can be loosened by trimming material off the ends of the gasket to make them wider and looser. However, when the original gaskets need replacing you have the option of replacing them with aftermarket gaskets that fit you better and require little or no trimming. If you had to trim more than 1/4" off the original gaskets, you are probably better off with a larger gasket next time.
Replacing the gaskets yourself is the quickest way to get your drysuit or drytop back into action. With the field repair gasket tools we sell, replacing a gasket is an easy do-it-yourself job requiring about a thirty minutes. At room temperature down to 50 degrees F your drysuit or drytop will be ready to use the next day (setting it in the sun speeds up the cure time). If you wear your dry suit/dry top on multi-day trips, learning how to replace gaskets and bringing the tools and spare gaskets with you so you can repair your drysuit camp is just another part of expedition life - like learning to clean your camp stove and bringing the tools and parts for that. The longer the trip and the bigger the group, the greater the chance someone will need to replace a gasket. So plan ahead and bring spare gaskets and tools on your extended trips.
There are separate tools for replacing neck, wrist, and ankle gaskets. The wrist and ankle tools are similar except for their size, and the ankle gasket tool also works for replacing latex dry-socks. Each of these tools will work for nearly all brands and sizes of drysuits and drytops regardless of the size of the gasket.
If your dry suit's ankle gaskets need replacing, you have the option of upgrading to latex dry-socks instead of ankle gaskets. Latex dry-socks glue on just like ankle gaskets except you need to be sure to point the toes of the dry-socks forward when installing them. If your dry suit has GoreTex® or other waterproof / breathable fabric dry-socks, you won't need the ankle tool because fabric dry-socks need to be replaced by the original manufacturer (they are sewn in and seam taped). If you have a Kokatat brand GoreTex® drysuit with ankle gaskets or latex dry-socks, we can arrange to have Kokatat retrofit it with GoreTex® dry-socks if you want to upgrade to them.
Socks take care and maintenance to keep waterproof. If you have a leak in a GoreTex® or other waterproof/breathable dry-sock, a simple smear of AquaSeal Adhesive on the inside of the fabric will usually fix the leak. To find the leak, turn the suit inside out and fill the sock with water. Mark leaks with a felt-tipped pen, and then let the suit dry before applying AquaSeal. We recommend making two marks, one on either side of the leak (usually it is a pinhole) so you will know exactly wear to smear the Adhesive when the sock is dry. Usually we only replace waterproof/breathable dry socks when their seams are worn out or the fabric has holes worn through it. If you have a Kokatat brand drysuit with GoreTex® dry-socks that are worn out, we can arrange to have Kokatat replace them with new dry-socks, and if the fit of the original dry socks was too big or too small, we can have Kokatat replace them with dry-socks that are the right size for you (Kokatat has four sizes of dry-socks).
When ordering gaskets and latex socks for brands other than Kokatat, measure the dimensions of the old seals in the following manner: For the neck, flatten it out so as to form a circle, then measure the outside diameter (the crosswise dimension, not the circumference) of the circle to the outer edge of the gasket flange where it is glued to the suit. For wrists, ankles, and latex socks, flatten them as if you stepped on the sleeve or leg and measure their width when flat. This width should be about equal to 1/2 their circumference, but the measurement is more reliable when taken from the flattened method rather than trying to measure the circumference. Compare these dimension to those of the gaskets listed on our Website. It is okay if the replacement gasket is slightly smaller than the sleeve or pant cuff on your dry suit or top -- you can stretch a latex wrist or ankle gasket to fit over a sleeve or pant cuff that is 1/4" or so larger than the gasket, but you can't stretch the suit to fit a gasket that is too big. If none of the gaskets on our Website look right, call us with these dimensions and we will try to find something that works for your suit.
For Kokatat and most other brands of dry suits and dry tops with latex gaskets, replacement gaskets and latex dry socks are glued on with AquaSeal Adhesive (not contact cement or AquaSeal Cement). However, OSS and a few other manufacturers install their gaskets with contact cement. AquaSeal Adhesive won't stick to contact cement. In this case it is best to leave about a 1" wide strip of the old latex gasket glued on the fabric of the suit; then you can use Aquaseal to glue a new gasket onto the strip of the old gasket -- even on suits and dry tops that originally used contact cement (If instead you completely remove the old latex gasket or drysock on such suits, then the Aquaseal Adhesive will not bond well. In that case you will need to use contact cement to bond the new gasket to the fabric of the suit or dry top.) One 1.5 Oz tube of Aquaseal is more than enough to replace all the gaskets on a suit -- provided the glue doesn't harden in the tube between uses. You can greatly extend the life of the glue by storing it in your freezer between uses. Cold storage is especially critical once the tube has been opened. If you store your glue in the freezer, simply allow the tube to warm up to room temperature before using it (it takes less than half an hour for tube to warm up).
We stock AquaSeal Adhesive, but we can only ship it via UPS Ground (which means only within the 48 contiguous states). AquaSeal Adhesive is widely available at sporting goods stores, SCUBA dive shops, kayak shops, etc., and we recommend buying it locally rather than slowing down the shipment of you gaskets (gaskets can be sent via Priority Mail in the US for about $5.00, ground shipping is slower and more costly). We don't sell it, but you will also need some denatured or other cleaning alcohol to remove mold release agents from new gaskets and to clean the remaining strip of old gaskets before sanding and gluing. Alcohol wipes in foil packets sold for medical sterilization are ideal for this and readily available at your local drug store's First Aid supplies department.
We have more information about gasket maintenance on our Kayak Tips page.
Replacing a neck gasket with the Kayak Academy's Field Repair Neck Gasket Tool