303 protectant for drysuit gaskets?

I’ve heard mixed thoughts on using 303 on gaskets for the drysuit. Any experiences?

It’s provided by some drytop makers.
I use it, but very sparingly, and not with every use of the garment. Haven’t had any problem with 303 or McNett.

I have never heard any mixed reviws on 303 for gaskets. I have heard mixed on putting it on boats but never on gaskets. Where and what have you heard?


I apply it six times a year
like g2d not after every use and not in copious amounts

We forgot for eight months and ripped the neck gasket.

It was all dried out.

303 keeps it supple.

Kokatat recommends every four to six weeks. I have been bad…


Kayak Academy
is one of, if not the biggest, retailers of Kokatat drysuits in the States & have been selling them for over 20 years.

They ship a very detailed care sheet w. each drysuit.

For typical use apply 303 very very lightly about every 6 weeks & esp. before storing. Store unhung, in a cool dry place protected from fumes of gas motors (e.g. furnace, cars, dryers etc).

Assuming you will be swishing the suit in McNett cleaner, let the suit dry completely before adding

a very minimal amount of 303 to each gasket. You want it protected but not slick.

Might as well wax the zipper while you’re at it.

McNetts and BigMax are two choices. In my cockpit repair kit I keep a tube of Chapstick which was another rec by the Kayak Academy for any balky zippers while on the road.

What downside?

– Last Updated: Mar-31-09 4:29 PM EST –

We've been using 303 on our dry suit gaskets every few weeks or so for years and find no disadvantage. It seems when I fail to do so the gaskets loose their suppleness more quickly.

I also try to remember to use unscented talcum powder on the gaskets after each wearing. This absorbs the oils from wear while making the gaskets much easier to put on and take off.

Unscented talc
Hard to find stuff. Where do you get it?

from this board
it seems a tire store or billiard shop.


It may help somewhat…
…but it washes off pretty easily, so particularly for latex on wrists and ankles, it probably doesn’t do much. Regardless, I coat the outside my seals once in a while and use talc on the inside to make them easier to pull on.

Good info!
I was talking to a river guide and he was saying that he thought that 303 was the reason that his drysuit gaskets had torn so easily (ie degraded the latex). Good to see his opinion was a minority.

I’ll look into the talc too.

Thanks again!

I’ve seen statements that sunblock or
insect repellent can damage gaskets. Anyone had experience with such?

Not personal exp.
I see many damaged gaskets while doing workshops in New England. Here are some common causes:

Hanger rot - some plastics degrade latex - (why take a chance, use wood)

Wood smoke - stored near a wood stove to dry (this was my favorite, long discussion about do’s/dont’s, tried to figure it out and knew it immediately when I held the drysuit and got a whiff of it - smelled like a camp fire. This woman replaced her gaskets 2 times a year.

Combustion engine - don’t store near anything with a combustion engine - causes premature breakdown.

Contaminants - usually show up in one area and not on all gaskets. Always hard to tell what it was but perhaps the top/front of the neck gasket ( figure sunscreen as it isn’t on the back of the neck gasket)

In a perfect world, paddlers would come home and wash the body oils off their gaskets and then carefully dry their suit both inside and out on solid wooden hangers AFTER rinsing inside and out to remove perspiration and any salts or contaminants on the outside. Once dry they would 303 the gaskets inside and out and then hang in their gear closet where they placed a dehumidifier w/humidistat to keep the gear in pristine condition.

That’s not going to happen!

Here is what I do in the winter months when the outside water is turned off. After paddling, I take a gallon of water and with the suit on I rinse from the top to the bottom. Dry off with a hand towel if I remember it - leave on the suit til done packing up, then take the suit off which is now nearly dry on the outside and place it folded on top of my bin of wet stuff.

Once home, I hang to dry with both zippers wide open. As I have a drop seat, I pull the feet out through the bottom opening so the inside of the socks can dry out (this prevents mold from growing on the perspiration that is left in their). Next day I will pull the feet back out and keep the dry suit hanging.

Gaskets get 303 every couple of months - keep it nearby where the suits are drying so I will remember.


Application of 303
Is there any problem if it gets on the rest of the drysuit–the goretex, the shell, or the neoprene gasket protectors?


Which 303?
I went to Amazon to order 303 protectant for my drysuit, but there are numerous different products listed as 303 protectant… “30340 aerospace protectant”, “30306 protectant”, “30302 aerospace protectant PDQ”. Which one is supposed to be used to protect drysuit gaskets? Kokotat website does not specify either.