I’m attempting to stretch the latex gaskets on my dry top, and having little success. I’ve had two glasses inside the wrist gaskets for two days and have not noticed any change. What has worked for some of you to stretch them? A friend of mine had his wrist gaskets too tight on a long crossing and got tendonitis from it, so I definitely don’t want them too tight.
Give it time
That’s really the only thing that works. If I need to stretch a gasket, I leave it on the form for a week or more.
Some wearing time will stretch them a little, too.
can be trimmed
Many people successfully trim their gaskets. I’ve trimmed two neck gaskets and never had a tear.
I found stretching temporary
Once I decided to take the jump and trim the gaskets, I stopped talking like Truman Capote while wearing the suit! Seriously, Before my Greenland trip I stuck a good sized mixing bowl in the neck gasket for at least a month. I tried it on before I left and it was a great, comfortably secure fit. A week later in Greenland, I put that sucker on and the gasket returned to its former self and I was back to talking like Truman, and my face looked like a big zit ready to blow. Don't fear the knife, trim and breath easy, if you muff it, you can always replace 'em.
I have tried to stretch latex gaskets
without any success either. I was kind of intimidated about cutting the gasket and ruining it, but cutting the gasket worked out great. Just cut a little bit at a time so it isn’t too loose. I cut about a 1/4" off the wrist gaskets and it helped relieve that problem also. The different drysuit manufacturers use different latex gaskets and it seems like some people have had success with stretching them. I didn’t, so I cut them.
don’t understand why you’d want thinner
That’s what you get when you stretch them. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but having the choice, I’ll trim and keep the original thickness.
Trimming works fine
I used a pair of sharp scissors. I squashed the gasket flat and made an arcing cut across. No problems with tearing or jaggies, and it only took a few seconds.
Just cut a small amount first, wear it and see how you like it. If it’s still too tight, cut another small amount. You can always cut more but you can never put it back.
Trim neck only.
The wrist and ankle gaskets are not designed to be trimmed. It’s the shape - at least on Kokatat. It think all the other brands are the same. (according to Kokatat)
When you stretch a gasket, put something in there that really stretches them. Don’t be afraid.
Why not trim the wrist gasket?
My wrist and forearms would really start to bother me after paddling for a while, so I decided to trim the wrist gasket’s, 1/4", and it worked great. No more problems with the wrist or forearms. I don’t see any good reason not to trim them if they are too tight.
Probably no reason, but some wrist
gaskets come with no trim rings, and with indications by the manufacturer that trimming is not their intention. This was true for my Stohlquist. If stretching had not worked, I would have trimmed them.
I want a broad, low-pressure region
on my neck, not a narrow region. That’s why I use stretching.
What has worked for me is using a
3 liter plastic soda bottle for the neck gasket, and 20 oz soda bottles for the wrist gaskets. Stretching takes time. I have not noticed any tendency for gaskets to “go back” and get tight again, at least not over several successive days of use with no stretching of the gasket. However, for long term storage, I put the stretching bottles back in.
Note that a 3 liter soda bottle is only a little bigger in circumference than my neck, and so does not impose an unusual strain. Some may need smaller bottles, and some may need larger.
I would never dissuade anyone from trimming, but I like the broad, gentle pressure of a properly stretched gasket.
Some SMART manufacturer could make a lot of money by offering gaskets that don’t need trimming or stretching, because they have been selected based on actual measurements on individual customers.
The shape of wrist and ankle gaskets are a narrow tube connected to a wide tube. The narrow tube is designed to distribute the tension on your wrist and seal it. To cut it back, you would have to cut the entire narrow tube off since it’s not tapered and back a ways into the spread into the wide part. You would be left with a thin piece of rubber digging into your wrist or ankle.
The neck gasket is a very long graduated tapered funnel. When you cut back a ring or two, you are still left with a section of the rubber that lays flat against your neck and not the edge of the shape as it would be on the wrist.
No downside to trimming
I was told by Barb and kayakacademy.com that the gaskets are supplied for the smallest possible necks and designed to be trimmed to size for all but the pencil neck people. It makes all the difference in the world, and I don’t see a downside. It takes just a couple of minutes to do.
The fit does not have to be strangulation tight - it should just feel snug. That is how mine feels with three rings trimmed off, and it does not leak a drop.
The downside is the narrow contact
area, which if tight enough to keep the water out, imposes more pressure per square millimeter than a properly stretched, untrimmed gasket. Still, it is usually possible to get a comfortable contact area through trimming. Usually.
After trimming a 1/4" off my wrist
gasket I still have a good inch of tight seal from the gasket that works fine. By trimming the 1/4" off, makes less tension on the overall gasket and I can feel the difference. It’s still water tight and I don’t get wrist and forearm pain anymore. It works for me. It’s kind of funny how latex gasket’s bring up so much controversy. They really are a very poor product and it will be nice when we won’t have to deal with them anymore.
If it works it works
I wish they would just make the gaskets for humans and not ET.
100% of users complain about them being too tight. Why don’t the manufacturers listen?
I trim ALL of my latex seals
Wrist seals can be trimmed, just like neck seals.
If it’s trimmed properly…
...it's comfortable and seals well regardless of the width of the contact area. You have admitted that it takes weeks to stretch a seal via your method. I'm not willing to wait for weeks for a garment to be comfortable, when I can trim it and use it comfortably in a few minutes.
Take your time and trim on ring at a time until it is reasonably comfortable.
I was happy to discover this a couple of years ago- a neck gasket really does not have to be tight at all to seal properly.