Finding drysuit leaks?

I seem to have a problem with a small leak which dampens my right sock, but I can’t find it. I filled the bootie with water and saw nothing. I inspected the leg and saw nothing. I’m not sure what to do next. I guess I might be able to inflate the suit with air and try soapy water like you would on an inner tube. Is that done? Thanks.

Kokatat model?

– Last Updated: Nov-30-09 7:48 PM EST –

If it is a Kokatat G-Tex model they will hydro-test the suit for a nominal fee and fix the leaks.

air won’t work
If it’s a breatheable suit you can’t do the innertube trick. Air should leak out just fine even from a waterproof suit.

I Kokatat suggests turning the bootie inside out, then filling it with water to find a leak in the sock.

I’m not sure why it would work better outside in than outside out, but might be worth a try.

breathability is one way only NM

No, it’s not

– Last Updated: Dec-01-09 7:29 AM EST –

Waterproof/breathable fabrics pass AIR in both directions, though they are optimized for MOISTURE flow out of the garment.

Yes, inflation does work
You just have to figure out how to seal the leg while allowing air in. I’ve done it successfully on an entire suit by plugging the neck and wrist seals and installing a pump fitting on one of the plugs. I used an air mattress pump for pressure and soapy water to identify leaks. Although the fabrics are breathable, air will leak out through the path of least resistance, so holes are generally pretty easy to spot. BTW, it really helps to have two people doing this. Inflating my dry suit solo in the shower was quite an “adventure”. :wink:

Moisture tends to move out …
… because of vapor pressure being greater on the inside of the suit (vapor pressure increases with temperature, and it’s normally warmer inside the suit than outside). Actually, water vapor moves both ways across the membrane, but due to the difference in vapor pressure, the NET direction of movement is from inside to outside. Gasses not affected by things vapor pressure will move both ways.

Depending on the fabric; you might want to turn the leg inside out, fill with water and look for the seep. I found in tracking down a pinhole on a Stohlquist Body Pod Drysuit that the Eclipse fabric breaths so well that when filled with air (rightside out) and held under water that the entire leg fizzed air.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

Careful you don’t stretch that thing.

So, it must do that when you are…
…wearing it too! I mean, the suit has extra air space in it when you are wearing it, and that air becomes pressurized when you are immersed in water. Stands to reason a person swimming in this suit would find the whole suit fizzing like crazy, until enough air was expelled that the whole suit was pressed tightly against their body.

In an average dry suit, the parts of the suit most-deeply immersed will get squeezed tightly against the body, while other parts of the suit expand a bit to accommodate the displaced air. Never would have guessed that some suits just let the pressurized air “leak away”. I guess at least there’s probably no need to “burp” such a suit if it feels too puffy.

Food Coloring…
stuff the bootie so it’s surface area is smooth, then immerse it in a bowl of water to which you have added food coloring…(Just a little will do- not coloring Eggs here).

Wait a while, then turn the bootie inside out and look for the color on the liner…