Drysuit discomfort

The gaskets around my new NRS Extreme drysuit cut off blood to my head. I’ve tried stretching over a 24 hour period, but the wrist, ankle and neck are still snug. I’m not oversized for the suit, 5’5", 160, got a medium sized suit. My neck is only 15.5 inches. Any ideas on relaxing the gaskets further?

trim the neck gasket
There are web sites with directions on how to trim the neck gasket. Its pretty easy, but take your time because you cannot add it back. The wrist and ankle gaskets cannot be trimed. Kokatat med. has small wrist gaskets so we had send it back to Kokatat to replace with large.


you can trim all the gaskets if needed. I have. The neck gasket has lines you can cut along. Stretch it on a plastic bottom and used a razor blade. I find this easier but some have used scissors. Cut a line at a time and then try the fit.

The ankle and wrist gaskets don’t have the lines so try to trim and 1/8"-1/4" at a time.


Thanks for the heads up of Kotatat
I was looking at one of their tops which came in the 3xl (yeah…I’m large)but I’ve got an 18.5 neck…Maby I’ll go try one on at a local outfitters before I buy…My ruddy complexion doesn’t need enhancement!

sing has got it right as usual
You can trim wrist gaskets. When it’s time to replace; consider os systems they make sized gaskets.

The dangers on the water are nothing
when compared to trying on a new dry-top! Be sure to have a spotter close by! I nearly died when that 6" neck gasket grabbed my throat like a Boa Constricter on steroids.

I would do class 4 whitewater or open ocean crossings alone, but when it comes to dry-tops, the rule for me is “no less than 3”.

Drysuit ideas
Thank you very much for the trimming ideas. It’s good to know you can safely take some material off.

Trim 'em
I stressed over the discomfort of my neck seal and tried stretching it over a number of items. My frieds just told me to just wear it and I would it would stretch to fit or I would get used to it. Somehow I never got past the Marty Feldman stage of bug-eyedness. I finally cut one ring off and I am a happy guy. Just do it.

check with nrs
Kokatat’s gaskets do not change in size so if you trim them all you do is change the length of the latex seal. I called them when I tried to trim and it did not make any difference (my wifes hands were turning funny colors). Kokatat told me that their wrist gaskets were not made to be trimed. NRS might be different so I would call before I cut.


Stretching takes a long time, but will
eventually yield a good result. Trimming is fast, and works well if you are careful. Recent gaskets have been made heavier than gaskets ten years ago, and this means that stretching can take weeks. Once I thought I had over-stretched some Kokatat wrist gaskets, but after leaving the stretching devices (20 oz plastic soda bottles) out for a week, the gaskets were fine. I am now working on some Stohlquist gaskets which are really heavy, and for which the manufacturer said not to trim. Just takes time.

Ancient debate: stretching vs cutting
Most of the drusuit=owning paddlers in new england who I know are gasket cuttercutters. When you stretch the material it turns fron black to grey as microcracks form in it. IMHOP That much further down the road to destruction. That’s why we cut. YMMV

Don’t know about stretching , but cutting sure worked for me. However, getting into the damned thing can only be described as ‘Chaplinesque’, to coin a phrase. When I finally getting my head through the neck I’m almost too knackered to go kayaking.

Streching works
having worn dry suits and tops the gasketscan be very tight.Iuse shampoobotles for ankles and wrist. use a juice containerfor neckspry 303and it should not crack.


My Kokatat does
The gaskets on mine are graduated and I was able to trim about 1/4 inch off to make them comfortable. It’s a 2003 model so unless they changed gasket styles for 04 you should be able to trim.



Go ahead and trim them
…if you want. Maybe Stohlquist has changed their gaskets from what’s on my drysuit (bought in 2003) but I trimmed them and they are holding up perfectly well.

Wrist seals are “bottle” shaped, so…
…when you first start trimming them, the diameter of the opening doesn’t increase, but it does reduce the pressure on the wrists. Once you reach the tapered part of the gasket, the diameter increases pretty rapidly as you trim, so remove only a little at a time until you acheive the desired fit.

When trying on dry tops…
…one thing that really helps is to bring a small bottle of talc and put some on the seals before you squirm into the jacket. The difference in ease of sliding through the seals is dramatic. The neck seal may still choke you, but at least you won’t rip your hair out getting in and out of it.

Stohlquist recommends trimming

– Last Updated: Nov-10-04 2:28 AM EST –

In fact, they say so on their web site and in the instructions that come with their tops and suits. Kokatat is the one that recommends stretching, cruel bastards that they are! ;-)

As Peter pointed out, stretching damages latex seals and is at best marginally effective. Unless the seal is really close to being an acceptable fit, trimming will be necessary and there's no point in wasting the time and effort involved in stretching.

Powder the seals
A bit of talc on the inside of the seals makes it easy to slide right in.