Drysuit bone headed move

-- Last Updated: Nov-10-04 9:50 PM EST --

OK. So I am carefully trimming my drysuit wrist gasket over a can o' peas, just taking 1/4 inch off, and go to release the gasket from the can o' peas, and the mf'er splits down to the wrist 3 inches! NOW WHAT? I put some black duct tape on, and it actually holds quite well. Can I have the gasket replaced? Please give me your ideas.


The Bassturd, formerly known as the Bassman

I bet Bnystrom will know what to do…
I know you can replace the gasket. You can get a new gasket and glue and tools @ NRS.com, but you better check with Brian.

oops. replacement time.

lots of beta on the 'net for instructions or Mt. Soles here in Portland. Matt just started advertising in Sea Kayaker. Great guy, GREAT work.


Peas hardly ever work!! I use a can of beans :wink:

Trim the old gaskets way down, just leaving an inch or 2 to glue to.

Buy some replacement gaskets at an outdoor retailer ($15?).

Put the wrists back over cans (you can use peas if you want), and just glue the new ones over top with Goop.

After that’s dry, for good measure, you can smear a ring of Goop (Marine Goop, Shoe, Automotive, whatever) inside and out over the connections.

Worked for me a few years ago with no trouble, still using the top frequently.

Good luck, Pat.

peas vs beans
Beans it shall be. Thanks for the input.

For future trimming…
skip the stretch-over-can part.

Just flatten the gasket and cut across it with a pair of sharp scissors. This works much better than trying to cut a circle off by doing a “plunge cut” and then angling the cut 90 degrees to do the rest.

Next time use a plastic or glass bottle or cut free hand as Pikabike suggested. What probably happened was that you scored the metal can, leaving a fine metal edge that caught the rubber and ripped it.

Replacing the gasket is not hard. As someone said, cut the ripped gasket and leave like an inch of latex that can be over lapped by the new gasket. Use a PLASTIC BOTTle wrapped with wax paper or saran wrap so any glue seeping out from the seam doesn’t get stuck to the bottle.

Take this as an opportunity to add on latex booties. So much warmer. Wished I added on my booties immediately rather than waiting over a winter season with cold feet.

For your gasket replacement pleasure:



Easy repair
Go to www.connyak.org and click on the “Paddlers Info” link. There is an article in there showing you how to DIY.

Wrist gaskets are easy. Necks are the tough ones.



– Last Updated: Nov-11-04 12:26 PM EST –

The seal obviously needs replacement, but I'm curious if this was a new suit or one with a little time on it? I've never seen a new latex seal split like that, though I have seen a chunk rip out of one once. Regardless, it's neither normal nor common for either thing that to happen.

My Webshots album on drysuit repair shows the procedure for doing latex socks. The prodedure is the same for wrist seals, only the location is different (doh!). For a form, I use two rolls of packing tape that are taped together to form a longer tube. It fits snug in my dry suit sleeve and is just the right length for the job.

My preferred source for seals is OS Systems. They're products are high quality and available in a greater number of sizes than most others. Look in the repair section. The prices for parts only are down near the bottom of the price list.


The pics are at:


For triming, what I like to do is…
1) Insert a snug fitting plastic bottle into the seal. You want to stretch it enough that it will stay in place. Plastic works best, since it will not dull the blade.

2) Set the suit on a flat surface.

3) Twist the sleeve toward you at least one full turn (you’re “winding it up”, so to speak).

4) Mark the start of the cut on the bottle.

5) Using a single edged razor blade or sharp utility knife, position the blade on the start mark at the line you want to cut, press down firmly and roll the bottle and sleeve away from you, cutting as you go. Keep the blade in contact with the bottle when you need to reposition your hand in order to continue rolling.

6) When you get close to the start mark, spread the cut section so you can see where you need to end the cut, then continue rolling, correcting the direction slightly if necessary.

7) Once the cut is connected, check for any sections that didn’t cut completely and finish cutting them. If you find any “whiskers” on the cut, trim them off with the blade or with sharp scissors.

Keep in mind that perfect cuts are desireable, but not critical. A little waviness in an otherwise clean edge will not cause any problems.

This same procedure works for ankle and neck seals, too.

Necks aren’t as bad as they look

– Last Updated: Nov-11-04 12:44 PM EST –

They're not difficult, but they are more involved, since they require forms and clamps that the other seals don't. Once you've made up the forms, it's not hard to get good results. The procedure that I use is the one on Kokatat's web site. Very well done. I've added some pics of it in my Webshots album.

storing drysuits…attention to gaskets
My friend Howard in the UK told me when I first got my drysuit to be sure to treat my gaskets by rubbing them with baby powder.

9 years and going strong, no rips or other issues.

Anyone else try this?

Val in CT (Scuba Drysuit, don’t have one for kayaking yet).

So, THAT’S my problem!
I replaced my wrist gaskets with booties!!!


Well, at least your hands will stay dry.

Storing indeed.
I found out recently that if the seals are stored in such a manner that they overlap on themselves, they can stick together. I’m not sure what causes this, but it happened to the socks and neck seal on my suit, all of which are relatively new. I peeled them apart and applied powder to the sticky areas, and all is well again. There is no other damage to the seals.

Use of 303 …& powder?
Just purchased a drysuit ($$)…want to take care. I know that 303 application is important…is the use of powder equally important and what type of frequency do you recommend for both?

Many thanks!


Here is another site to take a look at regarding repairs:


I use both
Using 303 is important for UV protection, but I only apply it once or twice per season. The only gasket that’s exposed on my dry suit is the neck, as the wrist and ankle gaskets are always covered. I don’t know if 303 would have prevented the sticking problem I encountered, but it’s a good bet that it would have helped.

I use powder on the inside of the gaskets pretty frequently in order to ease entry and exit. Using it on the outside won’t hurt, either, but it’s not a substitute for a UV protectant.

Spenco supersorb good powder
I have used Spenco Supersorb powder, it is non toxic unlike some talcs and it absorbs a huge amount of perspiration, very effective.

I always remove the bone from my head
before pulling on my neck gasket.

Actually you have illustrated an inherent risk to trimming gaskets rather than stretching them. The risk of a traveling split is increased by too large a trimming form, but the risk is not zero even with the smallest useful form. Sharp knife, steady hand, dumb luck, success every time. But for my money, ESPECIALLY on wrist gaskets, a couple of days to a couple of weeks of stretching over a 20 oz plastic soda bottle will do it every time.

Stretching shortens seal life
Does it make sense to worry about splits from trimming, but use an alternative technique that shortens the life of the seal?

The problem described in the original post is an anomaly that probably would have occurred whether the seal was trimmed or not. It’s not indicative of a common problem with trimmed seals. I’ve trimmed a lot of seals, even once using a bottle scavenged from a beach and a Swiss Army knife, with nary a split. There’s no luck involved, nor is it difficult or complicated.