Figured someone here might have advice on this topic.
I’ve only had my Kokotat dry top for 4 months, but I’ve been using it once or twice a week so I suppose it’s getting a lot of wear. I’ve been good about rinsing and keeping it out of the sun but I hadn’t been doing the 303 treatments (which I today read about on Kokotat’s site so have ordered some and will start from now on).
The neck gasket is starting to crack around the top. To avoid it getting worse, should I trim around the gasket below the cracks (would be about an inch), or should I just leave it until it’s bad enough to replace? Trimming it might make for a looser fit, but I’m afraid that if I wait, the cracks will spread and compromise the entire gasket. I know Kokotat will do repairs but I don’t think I’m at that point just yet.
Figured someone here might have advice on this topic.
It may be a warrantiable defect.
They specifically say that nothing with the latex gaskets is covered.
have only had the suit a little bit…doesn’t cost to ask
Shot them an email…
…We’ll see what they say.
Not exposing your gasket to lots of sunscreen or bug spray will extend the life.
A few months seems really short. I have had mine for 5 years and the neck gasket just gave out. Replacing them isn’t difficult, there is an instructional video on their website.
Look on the inside of the gasket…
…for it’s manufacture date. If it’s less than two years old it shouldn’t be cracking…UNLESS…stored unprotected in the same room with a natural gas furnace, or water heater…exposed to any sun screen with the slightest petroleum content…let sit in the sun to dry…and probably more.
Could be sunscreen… Shoot.
Updated this morning - I totally disagree that a neck gasket should last two years for everyone. I take absolutely perfect care of mine, skip the skin creams and all that stuff that the guys are going to say I must do, and I am doing well if I get one hard season out of a Kokatat latex neck gasket. I have done better with thicker ones but they also are a lot less comfortable.
I just seem to have skin chemicals that greatly shorten the life span of neck gaskets, even when I am good about skipping any face creams and bug spray only on the face and AFTER putting on the suit. My husband's lasted forever. But then he went thru wrist gaskets and in a decade I have had them replaced just once. Go figure.
But I have gotten better mileage out of the neck gasket by suing a diver's trick. Put unscneted talcum powder on the inside of the gasket before suiting up, and immediately upon taking the suit off. Try to wash the inside of the gasket soon after wearing it. The point of this is to capture or remove any skin oils before they have a chance to start damaging the gasket.
Second the use of Talcom for
extending the life of latex gaskets. It makes your skin and the latex slippery for easier on/off. Also, helps to keep skin oil off of the latex. Wash off at the end of the day and treat with 303.
Likely it will have to be replaced
If the tear is going inward, perpendicular to the edge of the gasket, you’re probably going to have to replace it. You can try and trim it below the tear but it is likely that you will make it worse as you try to cut it, as I have seen gaskets completely go to shit while being trimmed.
You may be taking the gasket on and off wrong, which would explain why it has torn so fast. These gaskets usually last years when you are treating them right.
You should only stretch it horizontally, never vertically. You should also always stretch it to allow your head to pass through, do not shove your head through it, or pull your head out, causing it to invert. You must also be careful not to let sunscreen from your neck get on the latex as this degrades it quickly.
I’m almost certain it’s sunscreen. I was putting on my sunscreen then putting on the top. kind of a bummer but my fault for not reading more carefully. BTW they responded to my email and as I thought, for the gaskets you’re on your own. They will replace for $69 plus shipping.
Do it yourself
The gasket repair service is not worth the money or wait. Just order a replacment kit from NRS and it will come with everything you need and should not cost more than $40.
The sunscreen probably weakened it but would not cause a tear to form on its own. It may be the way you are handling it when taking it on and off, so just be careful when you get your new gasket.
If doing it yourself…
Get a kit that is a proper match for the Kokatat gasket and suit. George G at the Kayak Academy has them.
I replaced a neck gasket on my first drysuit after 6 years of use. It had cracks. George Gronseth also sells a field repair kit that you might consider. I bought one to do my repair.
Definitely easy enough to repair yourself - plenty of you tube videos out there to explain how.
Trick on the sunscreen is to put it on before leaving home. It allows it to sink into the skin before getting to the point where you are putting on the gasket.
Agree totally with Celia on some people just go through gaskets. I believe it is something in the skin oils.
Regular application of 303 to a clean gasket is really helpful in prolonging the life of a gasket.
Not much can be done once the cracking and tears appear. It might be possible to trim it back a tiny bit and then 303 the gasket - it lubricates and protects the gasket. It also might mean the gasket is too loose once you trim it and then it would defeat the purpose.
Rough edged gaskets will chafe your neck so don’t delay and prolong the inevitable! Replace the gasket.