Drytop restoration question

This isn’t really a full blown restoration, but I do have questions I thought the board could help with. So, thanks in advance!

Pictures of my drysuit are attached. It has been put away in so-so storage (subject to temperatures, but dry and varmit-free).

The inside of the coated material is very “tacky”. Some stuck together in the time passed.

I have it apart, and under a lamp. What would y’all do to get rid of the “tacky”? Talc? Sawdust?

Next- You’ll see a small hole in the neck of the gasket. I think I may just use a bike patch, and smooth it. Thoughts?

Thoughts on restoring the latex?

Thanks, gang.



When gaskets get this way it’s time to replace them. Either DIY or send it in to the manufacturer or an outfitter that does this type of replacement.

There are numerous articles online if you want to DIY. It will take a fair amount of time the first time you try this, be it becomes easier the more you do it.

If it’s Kokatat or some other reputable brand with a great warranty, they will do a comprehensive check on the garment in addition to replacing the gaskets.

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That looks like the seam tape I had in my old Kokatat drysuit. I pulled it out of storage and wore it for a cold water paddle, then once I got back to the take out, decided to wade into the water to test it. Leaked like a sieve. Damn lucky I didn’t go over while out.

When i got home I noticed the seam tape was peeling off inside the suit. I sent it back to Kokatat and they said it was unrepairable, and gave me a discount on a new suit. Very generous consider the suit was 20 some years old.

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I had a Kokatat Gore-Tex dry top where the seam tape was coming off in a big way. I had bought it new when I bought my boat. It had been on a rusty hanger in the store that wore a small hole in the shoulder, and so the store offered it to me for $40 instead of $125. A bit of Aquaseal and I was good for about 18 years. I called Kokatat to see what they recommended to reseal the tape. They said it sounds like a warranty problem and to send it in. A couple of weeks later they called back and said that the dry top was not repairable and no longer made. They said that the Kokatat Rogue dry top was the closest thing to it and if that would be alright. I said fine. The only other question, was what color I wanted. This was a nearly $500 dry top.

Being Gore-Tex the original dry top had a lifetime warranty. Buying quality gear with a great warranty is well worth the higher price.


Yep, that old drysuit was not goretex, yet they still gave me a generous credit toward a new goretex suit. Kokatat’s expensive up front, but they’re worth it.

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Riverguy2, if the coating on the fabric is tacky, it’s shot and it’s only going to get worse. There’s no way to fix it and it will likely turn to goo or start to flake or peel off at some point. The neck seal can be replaced, but it would be a waste of money.

It’s time for a new dry top. As others have mentioned, this is a common fate with a lot of outdoor fabrics and it’s the reason some of us prefer to spend the extra for Gore-Tex. Essentially, it’s a lifetime investment. Buy it once and you won’t have to buy it again.


Thanks, everyone! Very helpful. Patience and experience. Today, the dry top came all apart. It is getting tossed.

The worst part is the inside coating of whatever it is that makes it waterproof. It’s almost like glue spilled! LOL

Thanks again, everyone. Now, I’m shopping.

Any recommends? Any “stay away froms”?

You did better than me. I didn’t mention that before that cold water paddle in my old suit, I had replaced the neck, both wrist, and both ankle seals myself. Thought I’d save some money by doing it myself. It was a royal PITA, and if I’d simply sent it to Kokatat to do it they’d have told me it was dead, and I’d only have been out the shipping expense, not the cost of the gaskets and glue, and time. (and dead brain cells from the Aquaseal fumes.)

One thing I would avoid is non-breathable dry tops.

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If the budget can handle it, go with Goretex. The lifetime warranty is worth it as several others have had positive experiences.

I know folks who use NRS, Level 6 and Kokatat dry wear and all like them. It may come down to availability right now, but I don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of those three. I just replaced my ~8 year old Kokatat paddling jacket, I will send the old one back to them to see if it is repairable as a spare, but I didn’t have time to do that right now so I just bought a new one. My Kokatat drysuit is going strong after 10 years, I did send it back for new gaskets and a pressure test about three years ago.

Well, now I have a new problem-

How to clean the goo that came off the dry top in the dryer. The dryer’s cylinder is coated with a fine layer of sticky red.

Should I take this to a “household appliance repair” page!? LOL
What would you guys do to clean the dryer?

Mineral spirits?
Paint thinner?


The missus gets home this weekend; I really need this taken care of.

OMG…you are so dead…lol


Line drying is the norm… I don’t think the dryer was a very well played move…you are so dead unless your wife was looking for a way to get a new dryer :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


How handy of a handyman are you? Most dryers, you can take the drum completely out of it, carry it outside and then get to work with a strong solvent, and scrub pads. Of course, if your wife comes home and finds the dryer in pieces scattered all over the laundry room…

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If you do go that route, be sure to wear full finger work gloves while taking apart and putting back together. These kind of appliances are notorious for razor sharp edges on the interior sheet metal parts.

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If you try any of those make sure you have lots of ventilation… or your wife will be mourning more than a messed up dryer!

Any of those solvents may work, but be damned sure that everything is completely aired out with no solvent remaining for when you turn the dryer back on you may need a new laundry room.

I agree with Nunio that it might be best to remove the drum and take it outside for health and safety reasons. Drum removal is pretty simple. Check the condition of the belt and rollers at the same time. Avoid flammable solvents near any other appliances that may be a source of ignition.

Be aware of the danger of spontaneous combustion with rags that have been used with flammable solvents.

The first thing I would try is a plastic scraper, such as an old credit card, to see if it will come off without using a solvent. Working in a cold environment might actually help. If not, go the other way and use a heat gun (or simply run the dryer) to soften the coating and allow you to wipe it off.

If you have to go the solvent route, I would start with something relatively benign like denatured alcohol. If that works, it should be an easy fix. Avoid mineral spirits/paint thinner, as it leaves an oily residue and the odor will persist for a while. If you need a stronger solvent, acetone or lacquer thinner should work. Acetone has the advantage of evaporating very quickly, so when you’re done cleaning, the fumes will be gone in short order. Run a fan into the dryer until you can’t smell anything in the drum.

Once you’re comfortable that any chemical fumes are below a dangerous level, run the dryer on the no heat setting for a while to thoroughly flush it it out. In order to make sure all of the goo is gone, throw an old sheet or a bunch of clean rags in the dryer and run it at high heat. The sheet/rags should pick up any residue.

Thanks for all the suggestions, friends!

Acetone worked like a charm. She comes home tomorrow! :sunglasses:

Just to beat the dead horse a little more :slight_smile: make sure it is very well aired out. Acetone is very combustible.