Have Dry Suit - Need Advice

Woo-hoo! I have a Dry Suit. I am wearing it right now (kinda like that kid who wore his Green Bay Packer shirt for five years). My face hasn’t exploded yet, altho I am having a little trouble swallowing. Haha. I seem to remember the salesman telling me something about what to do to make make the zipper slide easier, but that was two months ago. I forgot. At least I remembered to “burp” myself.

Help, I’m trapped
My mom asked, “Are you going to sleep in that?” So I decided it was time to take it off. I have my head out and left arm. Can’t get my right arm out. Can’t get zipper down all the way in the back. 93-year-old (almost) Mom doesn’t have a lot of zipper-pulling strength to help me.

Can I use the escape hatch?
Can’t unzip it all the way, can’t get arm out. Should I try to escape through the drop seat? (That zipper is probably difficult to use too.)

hook the zipper
hook the zipper on a corner or wedge it into a crack, and then use your body to pull it open.

Paddle Partners
We claim to paddle with partners for safety reasons, but the reality is that we need each other to help get our crap on and off :slight_smile:

After two years, I have finally figured out the arm in and out sequence. For two seasons i would inadvertently pull out the wrong arm first and not be able to get the other out. Stand there stuck and helpless and then have put the out arm back in and reverse the sequence and off it comes.

Welcome to the club :slight_smile:


I’m Free
OK, no need to dial 9-1-1. I got out. I can see where this dry suit thing is going to take practice before I even get near my boat or the water. I won’t even mention the drop seat … and its real purpose.

Need wax
Go to your nearest dive shop and pick up some drysuit zipper wax. Make sure your zipper is clean and give it a good rubbing on all sides. Do this every few times you use the suit and it will be much, much easier. Wax is cheap.

When you store your suit, open the zippers up but leave the end of the zipper a couple of inches from being fully open – this will prevent the zipper from getting stuck in the fully open position (this is what Kokatat recommends).

With regard to the neck, you should be able to swallow without problems – you may need to stretch your neck gasket a bit. Put something like an ice-cream pail in the neck gasket and let it sit for a few days. You should notice a big difference in comfort.

Hope this helps,



Getting free

– Last Updated: May-13-08 1:24 AM EST –

The way that I get in and out of my Kokatat Goretex Meridian suit is to put my right arm in first, then the left, then slip the neck gasket over my head. I do the reverse order to get out of the suit. I do find that the zipper has to be all the way open for me to get out of the suit.

I find unzipping the suit to be not so much a problem as starting the zipper to close it. To start the zipper, I put my right thumb in the zipper loop, and hook my left thumb in the flap that covers the zipper. I pull in little 1/4 inch increments until the zipper is closed enough that I can pull it with my left hand. It definitely works easier when the zipper is lubricated with zipper wax.



ditto the zipper lube advice
Waterproof zippers need lube or they won’t function for this old gal. It’s probably fear mongering but my jacket came with the lube and it says using anything but may eat the fabric blah blah. Sure looks like soft wax to me but I won’t argue cause my dry jacket cost too much!

From another female…

– Last Updated: May-13-08 1:46 PM EST –

Yes, (I find that) the drop seat can be a pain in the butt to get open and closed. Fitting simile I guess. I had my Coastie suit out last weekend, which has the drop seat, and finally decided it was easier to wait until we got to the launch point than try to use it.

As to getting head, arm and torso in and out, if you have a zipper fully in the back the Kokatat advice may not apply. Or, you have Kokatat and you weren't able to get the zipper open over your shoulder enough that you could get the second arm out. If it is the zipper fully in back like the Stohlquist, they have an arrangement similar to what divers use for the rear zips. I believe there is a very long pull cord that comes down, and you can find a long hook that is intended to pull it. Or you can do what a lot I've seen do and paddle with someone else who can help.

If it is the Kokatat, and it's just that last few inches, this is what I do. I start the zipper at the bottom with my right hand, but switch to the left near the top. At that switch I hold a lower part of the zipper down while I keep pulling back with my left over the shoulder, and that usually releases enough so that head and arms come out OK.

You may also find that some under layers make it easier than others, slide better. The women's sizing in Kokatat is a little close on size thru the shoulders for me, not a problem since I go with Unisex for other reasons anyway, but I have noticed that diff.

You'll also find that salt is your enemy on those zippers. If you are paddling on the ocean, it'll take extra diligence with cleaning and lube.

Zippers in dry suit
The zippers must be lubricated from time to time.

Use the Zip-Wax commercial stuff, or just common parafin (the stuff used in canning), or a candle works fine.


Among other things, silicone makes it almost impossible to replace the zipper in the future.

I use paraffin
I keep a block in my paddling box, and wax the zippers about every other use or so. Works great, and is dirt cheap.

My friends use it as much as I do, and the one block I carry has lasted more than 3 years - and I paddle a lot.

I’ve found some of those specialized zipper lubes to be messy – paraffin just flakes off.

try pure beeswax
If you don’t buy the zip wax, buy pure beeswax from a hardware store. I wouldn’t suggest any candle wax unless it is only beeswax. Not sure of parrafin as Wayne suggested.

Just remember that whatever went into the drysuit last, that’s the first part out! You will get the hang of it.

Celia has it right when she talks about switching hands and holding the zipper.



I have never waxed a zipper and no problems - but I’d like to keep it that way. I’ve had two Kokatat gore-tex suits (long story) and second one is new this year. Both suits seem to have the same zipper.

Not that I’m Superman or anything, but I don’t really feel like I need to put wax on the zipper. Is it still a good idea to use it? Will it help keep junk out of the zipper, or attract to it (thinking of dirt, sand, etc)?

baby powder
I keep a bottle of baby powder in the dry suit pocket when the suit is not in use, and then keep it handy for disrobing when the suit is in use. It makes it much easier to get the gaskets on/off my hands and feet. Maybe you were smart enough to get built in booties, but I wasn’t. A short pair of socks makes it much easier to get my feet through the leg gaskets.


not necessary if not necessary:)
If you zipper is smooth zipping and zips easily then probably no need to do anything.

If hard to zip or you feel like you are manhandling it to get it open or closed, probably need a bit of zip wax or beeswax on the zip and you will see a remarkable difference.

I have had to work it in to really frozen zips that people have not cleaned in awhile and gotten them freemoving again.

Probably fresh water isn’t as hard on a zip as salt water.


Zipper Wax and Talcum Powder
My favorite is Max Wax Zipper Wax


I also pour unscented talc powder inside my dry suit gaskets after wearing. It absorbs oils etc… and makes it much easier to put on next time.

Finally, I 303 the gaskets at least once a month.

Hadn’t thought of the salt vs. fresh water, and salt isn’t an issue for me. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

Such a tease!
So, what are you wearing?

“I’m wearing it right now…”

So what color is it?

I am feeling very attracted to you…



Get a room…