Dry suit storage and care

My Meridian is on order and I was wondering how you folks store yours? Do you have a special hanger? By the booties up? Folded up (dry of course). How often and how do you clean it?

I open the zipper,
wipe off any grime, let it breath dry, treat the gaskets with 303, fold it double, feed it over a hanger cross bar, and hang it up on my closet door.

Zipper closed is the way I hang it
to eliminate the chance of bending or breaking the zipper. My dry suit is the Palm Stikine which has a zipper that runs across the back. I rinse in cold water after use. Mine is still new so I have not washed it yet. I wash my Palm Extreme dry top on the gentle cycle in cold water with mild soap in our front load washer. I might give that a try with my dry suit when it needs a good cleaning.

Zipper should be open!!!
because the zipper compresses a gasket type material to seal tight. Zippers replacement is pricey.

Read The Fine Manual!

Dry suit care
I turn my suit inside out and give it a good washing almost every time I wear it. Then I hang it from a good wooden hanger (still inside out) until it dries completely. After a few days, I’ll turn it right-side out again and rehang it.

Two or three times a year, I will run some parafin wax over the zippers to keep the action smooth. Once a year I 303 the gaskets at the neck and wrists, and also the booties. I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I am concerned about sweat and possible subscreen contamination of the gaskets, so I wipe them carefully after each use and use the 303 on both inside and outside when it’s time.

I leave the main zipper open, but that’s just being lazy on my part, not the result of any advice to store it one way or the other. My suit, BTW, did not include any directions regarding the zipper when storing the suit, so I suspect it doesn’t make a lot of difference. I could be wrong.


Actually I am following the manual
for the Palm gear since I have the Stikine.


Other companies may have a different approach.

That is why I read the manual because everyone does things a bit differently and you never know for sure what the best approach is unless you do! :slight_smile:

fair enough! sorry if I was too heavy
handed I am surprised!

Waxing Zipper???
I have a Kokatat. I have bees wax that I got to use for the zipper. Is parafin any better? The bees wax seems hard to apply (very hard) and does not work any miracles.

Also, when washing your suit (since many commented on this…if your suit is breathable you may want to be careful with what detergent you use. As I have been told by some in the clothing industry, ordinary detergent can clog the poors in waterproof breathable membranes such as Goretex. They recommend using a special soap like Nickwax Tech-wash, or even Woolite (very mild). They even recommend against using the washing machine due to the fact that it will have detergent residue in it. Best to handwash.

Something to think about since a drysuit is such a big investment.


no worries!
Yeah I was a bit surprised as well. I am going to check with a few of my friends who have Palm dry suits to see how they deal with it. I know they hung them up unzipped after rinsing the outside to let it dry overnight when we were camping over a three day weekend.

careful on the liquid soaps
it used to be that liquid soaps were recommended but not they are worried about the emulsifiers enabling oils to spread across the entire membrane. This does not apply to tecwash etc but I would think twice before wisk or woolite or…

Zipper and Washing
We have Kokatat’s, store with the zipper open per recommendation and also use some stuff specifically made for zippers to keep them clean and working smoothly (McNett Zip Care). Really important to keep that zipper working without having to apply more than needed pressure.

TechWash is the best, and really the only stuff, we use to wash them. We don’t tend to put them into a washing machine at all - we hang them up outside and use the techWash and a hose. Have hung them inside out after long damp paddles, right side out for longer term storage. As above, wooden hangers.

One thing that you may want to do over time - refresh the coating that keeps water beading up on the surface of the drysuit. It’ll leave you feeling warmer and maybe keep water from getting close to the GoreTex layer. I forget the name, but they sell stuff at places like EMS that is specifically for spraying onto materials laminated to GoreTex or similar and keeping that outer surface water-repellant. I’ve used it on my suit with no ill effects to the lamination.

Drysuit care
I should have said that by “washing” my suit, I only meant that I give it a good rinse with plain water. I take it downstairs to the laudry tubs in the basement and dunk it in clean water.

Then I turn it inside out to hang so that the inside gets properly dry.

Eventually, I will have to add some “soap” of one kind or another to give the suit a real cleansing. I’ll probably check out the local shops for something suitable (no pun intended) for dry suits or Gortex, like the McNetts product line.


a couple other care tips…
This instruction was included with my Kokotat suit related to zipper care after washing the suit: “Washing dry suits with soap removes wax from zippers and protectants from gaskets. So after suit is dry, reapply zipper lube on zippers and UV protectant on latex rubber gaskets. Washing a dry suit with soap also removes the Vaseline that seals the closed end of the zippers. So after washing, open the zippers and use a toothpick to apply a small drop of Vaseline in the pocket at the end of the zipper (not on the teeth) to seal the end of the zipper. Then shut zipper and wipe off any excess Vaseline from outside of zipper. Without this tiny smear of Vaseline water will seep in through the end of the zipper.”

The other recommendation of note is that even if you don’t feel your whole suit needs a washing, you might want to wash your gaskets more frequently: “You can extend the life of the gaskets by keeping chemicals such as insect repellant and sun block away from gaskets. Body oils are also harmful to latex gaskets. So wash the gaskets with mild soap and water to remove contaminates. When dry, reapply 303 Protectant on both the inside and outside of latext gaskets and latex dry socks.”

For washing, they recomend McNett’s ReviveX Syntehtic Fabric Cleaner, Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo (but dilute it 10x more than instructions say), Sport Wash, Ivory Snow or Woolite, in cold water in a tub. You can machine wash, but only front loading machine on delicate. For odors, there’s McNett’s Mirazyme, but they caution it can degrade the latex, so tub wash only and try to keep the gaskets out of the water as much as possible. Dry inside out hanging by the toes; then turn right side out to dry and then store.

I bought my suit from The Kayak Academy - great people - great service! They include a lot of extra care tips, etc. that I don’t think you necessarily get buying from other retailers.


When my wife and I bought Kokotat dry suits from The Jersey Paddler, we were cautioned NOT to use metal hangers because they said that most metal hangers degrade the fabric.

Rinsing drysuit
I generally wear my drysuit back home - I’m surrounded by water . . .

When I get home I get in the shower with my drysuit still on, booties and pfd removed, and rinse everything. Then fold over a large diameter plastic hanger with zippers open to dry.

Booties go on the peet shoe dryer, and pfd hangs to drip dry over the shower head.


I wouldn’t follow those instructions
How the hell are you going to break or bend the zipper? Any force that will do that would probably also damage the zipper if closed. I think there’s greater risk of compression memory than there is of breaking the zipper. Just handle the suit carefully (don’t put it in the dryer, use it as a tug-of-war toy with the dog, or drive over it with the car) and leave the zipper open.

Palm uses a different zipper
It’s not the brass YKK zipper that most manufacturers use.

anothe caveat
Don’t use those insect repellants on your neck/wrist and then put on your drysuit. I wiped my neck with one of those insect repellant wipes and then put on the drysuit. An hour later when I took off my drysuit, the neck gasket just fell apart. The suit was only a year old and I am very careful about handling and cleaning it. Yes I used 303 on the gaskets frequently.

I clean mine after each use
I take it in the shower with me. Rinse with plain warm water, then (only sometimes) a very dilute solution of shampoo or mild soap and warm water, followed by a thorough rinse.

Hang to dry by draping over a porch rail or similar item, zipper open. Then I seal the Velcro zipper flap (NOT the zipper itself) to prevent the thistly part from damaging the drysuit fabric, fold, and stash in a Rubbermaid bin.

When the fabric does not bead water on the outside, I apply the Nik Wax product “approved for Gore-tex”.

Here is what the Palm representative
communicated when I asked him his take on the zipper debate:

“We recommend storing the the suit with the zipper closed as this prevents any dust and other debris getting on to and in to the teeth that may damage the zipper.”

Like others have indicated about washing the suit he offered:

“I would recommend washing your gear with a non detergent soap. Something like pure soap flakes or Nikwax Tech wash or similar. The reason for using a none detergent soap is that it helps to maintain the DWR treatment which helps water to bead and run off.”

I accept both suggestions and will do my best to take the recommended approach for my Palm Stikine dry suit! :slight_smile: I will let you know hopefully in a few years how it turns out! It is only money! :-)Yikes!