Kokatat neck gasket

Help… I am being strangled in my new Kokatat drysuit. I recently bought a Meridian suit in XL, where I thought I might be a L until I tried one on. I have fairly average 16 1/2" med/tall neck.

I took it out for a maiden voyage a couple days ago, and if I don’t think about it, it is not too bad, but man is it tight. I have tried the suggested approach to stretch the neck by pushing a cook pot into the neck opening. I tried a 4 quart sauce pan on and off for a couple days, and it doesn’t seem to do anything. Also the inner gasket does not want to stand up, but rolls back on itself a couple turns.

I understand I can begin cutting back the outlined circular rings on the gasket but am reluctant to start that quite yet, but I may be close. Do these things actually loosen up some?



stretch or cut
Some people have had some luck buy stretching the gasket over something smooth and large. I tried this using a glass vase. Didn’t seem o do much in my case.

I now trim rings off of all my gaskets.

neck seal is indexed
Find a large bottle and put it in the neck. Cut of small sections until it seals but is comfortable.

I have been told that some latex gaskets
will stretch but my experience was that mine wouldn’t stretch and I needed to cut it down a couple rings to get it comfortable. Most drysuit manufacturers use different types of latex gaskets so stretching might work on some. Once my latex gasket blew open on me unexpedily I started using neoprene gaskets. There’s no comparison is comfort and dependability.

In recent years, some gaskets have
been made thicker, and take a lot of time to stretch. And there still doesn’t seem to be a system so that a customer can get a drysuit or drytop with a gasket that is “close.” Meanwhile, you can buy dress shirts with exact neck sizes.

I’ve always had success stretching gaskets, but the last gasket that came on my Stohlquist drytop took months to stretch to a comfortable degree.

So my advice has to be, if you want to put the thing to use anytime soon, start trimming rings off of it.


– Last Updated: Dec-21-13 3:58 PM EST –

They do loosen up. But you might die first. I believe that Kokatat neck gaskets only come in small, medium, and large sizes. So a large and extra large suit will have the same size neck gasket (I think).

If you need to trim the gasket do so very conservatively. The rings are a guide. You may not want to cut the gasket all the way down to the first ring. I would take off at most a quarter inch at a time.

If you trim the gasket, use a very sharp knife, something like a razor knife or Exacto knife. I use a surgical scalpel with a fresh blade (because I have them around). Stretch your gasket gently over some appropriately sized can, bottle, or other cylindrical object, and as you cut be very careful to cut cleanly and not leave any notches. If you have any notches in your cut, the gasket will tear when you put it over your head.

I bought a Palm semi-drytop with
neoprene seals, but they are a bit tight, and there is no provision for trimming them. They do not seem to stretch, and my past experience with neoprene in wetsuit type garments is that they do not stretch. In fact, thicker neoprene will shrink over the years due to loss of nitrogen from the tiny bubbles.

If someone happens to find a drytop on the rack with neoprene neck and wrist closures, and it is comfortable when tried on, I say go for it! But I would NOT buy such a garment if it was not initially comfortable.

Trim it
I bought a Kokatat replacement neck gasket Large, and o had the same issue (my neck is similarly sized as yours). It would not stretch. After I trimmed it t was fine. I used sharp scissors, making sire the beginning and end of the cut met closely. No issues and much more comfy. As suggested, a sharp knife over some cylinder inside would work well too.

Adam’s Apple…
…I’m a trimmer and even at that I find that I have to pull the gasket below my Adam’s Apple. If not my eyes want to pop out of my head.

Have you tried that? It seals just fine.



My NRS Mission has a very wide neck

– Last Updated: Dec-21-13 9:18 PM EST –

Without any trimming it is all-day comfortable and easy to put on and take off. Perhaps, source one of these as a next replacement. Mine is whatever comes on their largest size suits, which are admittedly tailored for the comfort of someone at least 50lb heavier than I am at 190lb...

On the other hand, the ankle gaskets on my NRS dry pants are still very tight after 5 years of light use - I had to trim them significantly to begin to be comfy, even though I have relatively thin ankles.

Trim it as others have suggested
One ring at a time, make sure to cut SMOOTHLY and not leave nicks that can develop into tears later. You might be able to stretch it some over time but do not fear the removal of one ring at a time.

Trim it
I had to cut two rings out of mine. Used a plastic bowl and a hobby knife with a new blade.

They do stretch over time
but many tear before people get comfortable (and some new do). Trim if you need to, but do not cut it to make it too loose now or you will be replacing the gasket later on as it stretches. I have a drytop with gaskets dated 2002 that are still good and they have stretched to the point they are comfortable, yet still watertight. All gaskets require cleaning and proper care. I’ve also had ca. 2009 gaskets that have been replaced because they tore. Kokatat uses two sized gaskets: small and large. When replacing gaskets consider generic gaskets. They are usually available from XS through XXL sizes.

Just cut one ring to start
Use sharp scissors.

Wear the suit a couple of times and see if that’s enough trimming. If not, trim one more and repeat. Stop before it actually feels comfortable when putting on the suit–you want to err on the side of a little too tight, for obvious reasons.

Thanks for the feedback from everyone. I think I may have to trim a little. I’ll be careful.


Good decision

– Last Updated: Dec-23-13 7:15 AM EST –

You can either screw around for weeks trying to stretch or trim it and make it usable immediately. If you use a blade to trim it, use a plastic bottle or jug in the seal, so you don't dull the blade as you cut. Put the suit on a flat surface that will allow you to roll it as you cut. Try to make the cut in one continuous pass if you can.

Trim it
I used a 2 liter soda bottle to stretch gasket as I trimmed it with a sharp Exacto knife till I obtained the proper fit.