Advice on resealing drysuit seams?

-- Last Updated: Jan-14-07 11:20 AM EST --

I have a military surplus aviator's drysuit manufactured by Mustang I grabbed for cheap. I knew full well it'd probably need some repairs, and I don't mind a winter project anyway. The suit's pretty nice actually; it has a P-zip, Gortex socks, pockets galore and is generally in good condition.

The seams are sealed with what looks like goretex tape which is coming off in high wear areas like the crotch and arm pits. To do the job right, I might just pull off and replace all of the old seal tape, which begs the question, "What do I reseal it with"? I fixed a few spots in the booties with a generic polyurethane seam sealer (similar to Seam Grip) which worked great, but redoing all the seams with that thick goop would be extremely tedious. Would good ol', roll-on Aquaseal be sufficient if I pulled the old tape off first? Or would heat seal tape be my best choice? Since this is a surplus item, I don't want to throw cash at it.

I'm still finding leaks in the left sock and I might just replace both of them with latex ones unless someone can suggest where I can get Gortex socks to re-install.



Aquaseal is great.
It seems to stick to anything and stays flexable. I would just get some under loose areas of seam tape and weight them down or clamp them with some wax paper as a release sheet. If all the tape is just coming loose, you might be able to get some seam tape but I don’t think the iron on stuff is that great. I would trust an Aquaseal bond much more.

Just some un-official opinion.

Nobody seems to ever find Gortex socks. You can get latex ones from dive stores and even Kokatat. I have the Sealskins waterproof ones (before I had booties) and don’t think they are tough enough to attach to a drysuit.

I searched with different keywords about repairing drysuit seams and I keep finding Aquaseal and Cotol. Guess I’m going to have to bite the bullet and brush that goop on.

Any suggestions how to make the process painless?


Aquaseal on a complex seam.
While Aquaseal may not stiffen a single seam, (although I think it does), a complex area like the crotch will definitely become non-flexible if you Aquaseal it.

If the original tape is lifting, you can often re-seal it with heat and pressure. Alternatively, strip the cloth covering off the original tape, get some Gore tape and lay it over the old tape. Apply with heat and pressure. It’s not necessary to remove the whitish glue strip remaining after you’ve removed the fabric from the tape.

Where to get Gore tape? not sure, I got mine 20 years ago directly from W.L. Gore.

I realize this repair requires some research and some time, but a strictly adhesive repair will be pretty bulky.


(Used to be in the drysuit repair biz)

Adhesive’s failing

– Last Updated: Jan-14-07 1:04 PM EST –

The problem is that the adhesive on the tape is old and turned brown. The tape just falls off in some places; re-using any part of it isn't an option. I tried to re-iron it and it's a no-go.

FWIW, the seams on this suit look like they're flat felled. BTW, I believe this suit is actually Nomex/Gortex.