Received my Kokatat Gore Tex Meridian dry suit today and have a few related questions...
First let me say that I ordered this suit from NRS. (Wasn't their normal stock item.)
The suit has Gore socks and a relief zipper. Kokatat's MSRP for the suit was $910. NRS gave me a price of $735. Less than their Gore
Dura suit which has an MSRP of $827. (Which also happens to be NRS's price.)
Plus they have their Boater's Bucks program which gives you 10% of what you spend before 12/31 towards a purchase after the first of the year. Which brings the real price down to about $660 or so.
Seemed like a pretty good deal if anyone is in the market for one. The suit seems very well constructed and incredibly comfortable. (With the exception of the latex neck gasket.)
Now the questions..
I'm curious what you folks think about stretching vs. trimming the neck gasket to make it fit properly. Some say stretch, some say trim. I'm thinking try stretching and if that doesn't work then resort to trimming?
I want to pick up footwear and a pair of gloves. I like the Chota mukluks and have waited to order them until the suit came. Now I wonder if stuffing the legs of the drysuit into the high mukluks would be uncomfortable? Is there room to fit the legs into the mukluks comfortably?
Wondering if a lower boat shoe which would cover the socks only would be better. Especially being that the drysuit has gore socks attached which should keep the feet dry.
Is there such a thing as a dry glove? Don't see any reference to such a thing. I assume there's good reason. NRS has several types of neoprene gloves. Any recommendations here?
Thanks again for any and all comments!
Don’t stretch the seals!
You’ll ruin the elastic properties needed to maintain skin contact. I speak from experience having been responsible for maintenanance and repairs on over a thousand drysuits used in offshore drilling helo transport in the Atlantic.
As to the mukluks, I wear my Chota lace-ups over a fairly bulky Goretex drysuit with no discomfort.
Sounds like you got a great deal.
Although Kokatat recommends stretching, I would only try stretching a little bit. If you try to stretch too much, it will damage the gasket. Personally I don't bother with stretching, I just trim. For trimming, I used a 2 liter coke bottle in the gasket, and a brand new razor blade. Trim one ring at a time until it fits snug, but not turning your head blue.
I use The Choata Muckluks, and they work fine, but I see no reason why a regular low cut paddling shoe wouldn't be just fine, as a matter of fact, it sounds like a good idea, because the Choata's do fill up with water if you end up swimming.
Gloves...the best choice for Dry Gloves are called "Nordic Blue".
Any other choices will not keep your hands truly dry. If you search the archives here for "Nordic Blue" you will find several threads about these gloves regarding sizing, types of gaskets, linings etc.
Stretch first, slice second.
Magoo sounds like he’s got far more experience with latex seals than I but I think he might be referring to overdoing it. I might be wrong. I’ve always been leary of cutting a $600+ garment. My tailoring is notoriously poor, y’know pant hems with a desk stapler sort of thing. Try taking a 2-3 liter soda bottle, fill it with boiling water (clean soda bottle that is) spray some 303 on the outside and insert it into the neck gasket. Let it sit overnight. Try on the gasket the next day. Repeat the process for another cycle or two. If it doesn’t relax a little then break out the sharp razor blade while it’s on the bottle.
As to gloves, as long as you have the boaters bucks worked up, try the paddling mits from NRS. Not dry but definitely warm has been my experience of doing whitewater or paddling offshore in the winter.
See you on the water,
take it to a scuba shop
They did an excellent job on mine with surgical shears. Wear it in a tub full of water or swimming pool to make sure it does not leak. A leaky suit is worse than no suit. IS THE RELIEF ZIPPER CLOSED? I fasten my keys to the clasp. My suit is for sale because am saving for kayakpro paddle simulator for winter.
Your neck gaskets
You definately have to carefully trim the neck gaskets on these things. They must include extra material for the two people in the world with six inch necks. I stretched mine over a football for two years and nevertheless caused myself irreparable brain damage before getting the nerve to trip one ring at a time with a sharp sizzor until it fit snugly but didn’t choke the life out of me. Wish I had done it sooner.
Be careful with the booties because they puncture easy. Also don’t forget if you’re wearing the drysuit instead of a wetsuit it’s probably because the water is so damn cold, right? So you’ll have to wear a few layers underneath . . … I’m just saying when you try the thing on in your apartment it’s not always the same fit as when you’re on the river because you usually don’t put all your stuff on in the comfy of your living room. And one more thing: the relief zipper is a godsend, but only if you can easily reach through all your layers to find your wiener. It’s much more difficult to pull down your bottom layers to pee because it’s a real pain to pull everything up and back into place.
Trim it or suffer, that’s the choice…
…for most people. Stretching doesn’t work unless the neck seal is very close to the right size. If it’s really tight, you’re going to have to trim it eventually, so you might as well do it at the outset and enjoy your suit rather than putting up with being choked.
Contrary to what some people may tell you, trimming latex seals is very easy. All you need is a snug fitting plastic bottle and a utility knife or single edged razor blade. Just take off a small amount at a time until the seal is tolerable. Use it a few times and trim a bit more if necessary, until it’s comfortable.
Not sure what the big deal is
Gonna have to remember to do an archive search prior to posting a question. After searching, I found a ton of references to this subject. Sorry to make you guys re-hash it again.
I stretched it overnight on a 2 liter bottle of steaming water. Didn’t seem to do much. Grabbed a razor blade and trimmed away. Took all of five minutes. Now it’s snug but comfortable.
Not sure what the big deal is cutting these things. A careful spin of a razor blade and it’s done.
The only thing worse than damaging an expensive dry suit would be wearing it and letting it choke the heck out of you. Gonna give it a “wet test” today.
It isn’t a big deal at all
Like you, I have no idea why people get so worked up over trimming a latex seal and go through all kinds of gyrations and discomfort in order to avoid it. It’s easy and quick to do and - unlike stretching - it works and doesn’t damage the seal.
Worst case, if you screw up, you install a new seal. They’re relatively cheap, easy to install and you’ll eventually need to learn to do it anyway, as latex seals are typically only good for 3-4 years of frequent use.
I trimmed mine with scissors and got a good smooth cut. Had done it previously with a razor and did not like the jaggies that resulted. Just press the gasket flat and cut across–do not try to angle the scissors down and make a circular cut.
Cut by increments, trimming only a narrow band and then wearing the drysuit to check the new fit. The gaskets should feel quite snug if they are to seal out water. However, wearing a neck gasket that makes you feel bug-eyed is just masochistic.
I can put my Chotas on over my drysuit legs despite having biker’s calves. Should not be a problem, unless you are wearing bulky underlayers such as thick fleece.
Nice Thread, Goldfish…
and everyone who responded. I’ve had my drysuit for about a week and got the opportunity to try it on just tonight. Stretched a little, then trimmed about 5/16" off the gasket- Presto! Thanks to everyone in this one-
Can only say that I’ve stretched gaskets
on two Kokatat drytops with excellent success. I could PROBABLY trim successfully, but even with animal surgery and harpsichord plectrum cutting in my past, I am leary of producing a hidden nick in a gasket which will tear under stress.
My drytop neck gasket has rings that
make it easier to trim straight. Getting ready to do that; thanks for the thread!
As far as getting Chota mukluks on over stuff: roll them down and then put them on. Carefully roll them up over the suit or whatever you have on. Make sure you have enough slack in the pants so you can bend your knees. If I had a suit with Goretex booties, I think I would go for shorter boots with good walking soles. Then you can walk safely and comfortably and deal with gear and boats. The mukluks are great to walk in, but get some water in them if you dump. I’ve swam in mine and not had them fill. Just make sure the top is snug.