I have a 1990 vintage Kokatat Meridian Drysuit with all the seals shot. I was wondering is it worth it to purchase replacement seals? And would the suit’s material need any treatment after so many years? I used to use it quite a bit kayaking (over ten years ago now). Most my paddling now is in canoes, sometimes on class II rivers, so the possibility of a cold swim still exists. I’m a bit leary about spending money on seals which don’t seem to last that long even when just hanging in the closet. And that’s what the suit will continue to be doing as I’ll only need it a few times/year. I coated the seals with Seal Saver before I put it in storage (about five years ago), but when I took the suit out recently the seals were all shot. Advice appreicated.
Is it Gore-Tex or coated nylon?
Coated fabric typically don't last as long as Gore-Tex. The coatings either get rubbed off or degrade and start to fall off. If you're not sure if the fabric is any good, stick bottles in the seals to plug them and inflate the suit. Paint it with soapy water and look for bubbles. Gore-Tex has a lifetime warranty against fabric failure, but not wear. If it starts to delaminate, you can get it replaced or repaired at no charge, so it's worth replacing the seals to keep it going. Seal replace ment is pretty easy and I have some pics of the process in a Webshots album at:
If the material is good fix it …
I have a 1991 vintage gore-tex suit that Kokatat just repaired the seam tape on because of leaks. I had redone all of the seals myself last year. This suit also had a plastic zipper which was suspect, so Kokatat replaced it with a metal zipper and did a presure test on it before returning it to me. I would say if the fabric is good and it has a metal zipper that is in good shape, then replace the seals yourself.
BTW, you need to treat the seals every 2-3 months, even when in storage, to help them last. Kokatat recommends 303 protectant.
It’s coated nylon.
I’ll perform the test on the material. Even if it leaks a little I can live with it. I just want to guard against hypothermia in the event I take a swim. Thanks for the advice.
I would fix it and make sure that you…
treat it with something like 303 or armor all. They will dryrot if you don’t treat them ever. It should only cost you around $100 to get new wrist, ankle, and neck gasgets for it. A shop near you should be able to do it or you can send it off somewhere. Or you could sell it and get a different suit with no gasgets instead. Hope this helps you out.
Just curious. Is there a drysuit available with no gaskets?
I’m told it will degrade latex about as fast as doing nothing, because it has solvents in it that are not good for latex.
The manufacturer recommends 303 by name. I stick with that. Seal Saver and UV Tech are supposed to be safe, too, and I know prople that swear by them, too.
Treat your seals well, and they’ll last a long time. I have a drytop that is 7 years old, heavily used, and still has all the original gaskets in it. In fact, the gaskets outlasted the coated nylon under the arms. It’s only seen 303, and lots of it.
VERY leaking ones!
Perhaps what he’s referring to is semi-dry suits that use neoprene instead of latex for seals. Latex or Gore-Tex socks eliminate ankle gaskets.