Drysuit, got it! Repair and bootie advic

-- Last Updated: Jan-19-07 8:17 AM EST --

Okay, you all gave me super advice on the drysuit from my recent post, and I thank you. I knew after reading your advice that although other breathable fabric are good, Gore-tex is really (marginally, perhaps) the best. I learned that it's best to have a pee relief, and really crucial to have attached footies/booties.

Well, one out of three ain't bad.

I Bought It Now on eBay on this new Kokatat Meridian Gore-tex GME. Saved about $350 bucks off the new price (plus the shipping was lower and no sales tax). Outdoorplay.com wouldn't give this Paddling perks member the 15% off on drysuits.

Here's a link to one just like I bought (when I link the eBay ad, it gives you all my personal eBay info, so no can do). It looks like this but is mango. It's the Kokatat GME Gore-tex. No hood, pee zip or footies.
Anyhow, now I have two issues:

Issue #1: The arm tear. There is, and honest seller mentioned it and photographed it on this otherwise new with tags suit, a 1/4 inch tear on one sleeve. Shows a picture of it on the listing. Not on the gasket (thank God), but on the elbow cloth. How do I fix it? Epoxy? Some form of rubber cement? Did I get hosed?

Issue #2: It has no footies. I wish it did, but as it does not, any tips on getting the darn thing over my ankles, and more importantly, what do I wear on my feet for dryness and warmth? Thanks.

(PS I really have three issues, as I have no pee relief. But tsunamichuck assured us in my last post that a front entry suit can be peed out of even with a normal to above avg sized dinger. So, I'll try. Or I'll just pee in my suit and let it out the tear in the sleeve.)

Re the repair of the tear, while some likely know of good fixes you may want to consider sending it to Kokatat and having them do the work.

As to your feet - not sure that dry is really possible. But warm is with something like Chota boots or the equivalent from Mountain Equipment Cooperative and wool socks. Or for warmer water something like Seal Skinz neoprene socks under ankle-high kickers or similar.

Call them and ask, not sure about the zipper, but depending on the condition of the drysuit they can add booties. Booties are really nice. I’ve worn mine inside neoprene paddling shoes immersed in water, and hours later my warm dry socks are still warm and dry.

Rainy pass in Seattle
would do all that for you…

add booties…
It’s a snap to add latex booties to the dry suit. It was the first thing I did when I bought my dry suit.

Outerwear repair
There’s aplace in Connecticut called Outerwear Repair where we send all of our Gore-tex repairs. (I work in a ski shop.) Brenda has done some good work for us. I’m not at work right now, so I don’t have the contact information at hand, but if you google it, you can find it. They work on dry suits as well, I believe.


a small tear like that

– Last Updated: Jan-19-07 10:34 AM EST –

you get hot bonding tape for 'therm-a-rest' matresses that should work on that fabric.

The ankles: I use to peel the legs (of the suit, not mine..) inside out and stretch the seals with my thumbs while I wiggle my feet in. You're not trying that with socks on, aren't you?
I wear neopren booties (works for me) and will replace the ankle seals with attached socks as soon as the seals are worn out....

you can do it yourself
I’m with canoe, use a similar repair as you would with a thermarest pad, glue and cloth patch on both sides. Nothing wrong with calling the experts for better advice. Glue on your own booties, it’s not hard.

you can do the repairs to the suit and add the latex booties yourself, if you are so inclined, but adding a relief zipper would mean sending the suit out to the pros. You could sent the suit to Kokatat and have everything done but it is going to cost you, and really eat up most of that $350 savings, but not all of it. Good luck.

Temporary Foot-Sealing Method
Here’s a trick that I’ve heard some people use, but if it were me, it would probably be something to “get me by” for the time being.

Wear high-top waterproof boots, such as one of the Chota mukluks models, with your drysuit tucked inside. Now, take a pair of dishwashing gloves and cut the fingers off to create a pair of tapered latex tubes. These will nicely fit the taper of your lower leg. Slide those tubes over your lower legs, narrow side down, so that they cover the top margin of your boots (you might have to slide them up your leg before donning boots, then slide them back down over the boot). I’m sure it’s nowhere near as good as sewn-in booties, but people say this does a remarkably good job of keeping water out of your boots.

that reminds me
I bought a nice used suit for my kid ($30 on ebay…)some time ago that needs new wrist and ankle seals. As I know my kids (the suit will eventually get handed down to the younger fellow)and how they handle their stuff I want to put in neoprene seals instead of latex (more durable although not as tight). Can’t find them anywhere and might have to make them myself. Or does somebody here know about a source?

outdoorplay.com are hosers
Outdoorplay.com wouldn’t give you the 15% paddling perks discount? What hosers! It’s not really much of a discount, is it, if they don’t give it to you on items they sell.

What do you do for your feet now? I wear neoprene socks under neoprene zip-up boots, and it’s plenty warm/fine. Trimmed the gaskets with an exacto knife (carefully! around a beer bottle) until they fit.

Remember, you can have anything added: booties, a relief zipper, reflective tape, pockets, a hood …

Get Gortex booties! They are wonderful. $140 from Kokatat. What caused the cut? They are wonderful for repairs, and if is is a defect, there is no charge. My husband just had the booties added to a used suit he bought. He also had the legs shortened.

2nd the Gortex
I know you saved the $350 and for that reason it is hard to want to invest more as it diminishes the great buy and makes you rethink “should I have bought new”, but the Gortex booties are the best part of a drysuit concept. When you step out your wool socks are perfectly dry. That is worth whatever it costs, and there is no pressure on your ankles and it is like taking off loose slacks. Just pull a little on the toe and step out.

btw… Congrats on the suit. Now Ice is your only obstacle.


I’ve got the same suit
I had a neck gasket snap and had it replaced in Minneapolis or St. Pual…can’t find the slip right now, but they put a large neck on it so I didn’t have to trim it. I had to trim the ankles because it cut off the circulation to my feet. As far as the pee zipper I don’t miss it…just drop the suit if I’m out of the kayak and a pee bottle slips down the leg in the kayak. I’m not sure about the gortex booties yet. I tend to sweat a lot in my suit and the water collects around my ankles. I wear Chotas with the suit and the boots will fill with water, but have never had cold feet and the suit remains dry. I just raise the leg and purge thw water on entry or on land. I think the next pair of long Chotas I purchase will have laces to keep them on when swimming or doing wet exits. The boots I have now tend to slip off when filled with water. Sure is a nice suit and the polartec liner adds to the warmth without weight in the early spring. Tom

congratulations on your new drysuit, cool doc. I think you’re going to like it.

Wonderful advice, all.

– Last Updated: Jan-20-07 9:48 AM EST –

I learned from your input that, yes, as thought, booties are super nice. Sems some of you use the booties inside Chotas... some use the Chotas alone and seeem to do okay. I think I will try to buy some Chota Mukluks-which I was considering anyhow--and then see if that plus some poly or wool socks is adequate. Like the dish glove thought, too. If not good enough, off the suit goes to Kokatat for the add-on boots.

As for the peeing, looks like my Nalgene bottle will now serve a dual purpose. Just not simultaneously. But that does solve my issue for the peepster. No need another potentially leaky zipper.

As for the sleeve tear, I'm happy to see that none of you wrote, "You dolt! A drysuit with a tear is like a spacesuit without oxygen." I will try either the therma repair kit, or epoxy, or Kokatat. If any other ideas, just post and I will try.

Thanks, my fellow paddlers.

Makes several products for maintaining and repairing dry suits and other Gore-tex stuff.

Including a tear repair kit. Press-on/iron patches.

When You Swim…

– Last Updated: Jan-20-07 1:37 PM EST –

not if...

integral booties with underlying socks and then tuck inside light water shoes are far better than chotas. I bought chotas before putting on booties. Afterwards, the chotas are only for shoveling snow. Try swimming with chotas on. Aside from not being warm once flooded, it's a bear to kick and to drag through the water.

I actually think the booties are more important than the relief zipper in terms of protection. Zipper is a just a convenience that may save you several minutes on shore.


Ankle seals vs. booties?
If you wear neoprene socks with the seal on top of the sock isn’t that as good as integral booties?

So many people love their Chota’s that I have sometimes doubted my plan to do without them.

On the drysuit repair topic; who sells the best variety of replacement seals of various sizes? Thanks.