Latex Neck Gaskets: How Tight is Right??


Just got my first dry suit (a Palm Torrent). I have never used a latex neck gasket before (have only used neoprene).

How tight is right?

I trimmed it a bit (put it over a 2 liter soda bottle and carefully trimmed with sharp knife). Cut off about 2 lines.

It is still rather tight. My eyes are not bulging anymore, but still feel a bit of pressure in the eyes from the tightness.

How tight do I need it to be in order to seal right?

I have a size large suit, and have about a 15.5 inch neck.

Is it better to wear the gasket higher or lower on your neck for the best comfort and seal?



too tight
If you’re feeling pressure around the eyes, it’s too tight. A properly fitted gasket should feel slightly uncomfortable for about 15 minutes or so and then be perfectly comfortable. You should be able to easily pull the gasket away from the skin at least a little with just two fingers.

For the neck, I tend to wear my gasket lower so that I can more easily turn my head.

Tight enough to hold out the water!..
…Which is not exactly helpful.

Sounds to me as though it’s still a bit too tight.

But I’ve never heard of a good guideline like, “1”

less than your neck size."

Some people claim that stretching them is the best way.

If it was mine, I’d probably trim one more line

off, try it on, etc. it shouldn’t be painful.

Too tight if…

– Last Updated: Dec-30-05 2:46 PM EST –

It's too tight if... you try to burp and it comes out the other end!

Fat Elmo

Good, sound, practical…
…advice we can all live by.

I’d stretch it on a form only one

– Last Updated: Dec-30-05 9:28 PM EST –

inch bigger in ciccumference than my neck for a day or two. Then trim it a bit. After three trips and two trimming sessions you should forget you have it on once it's been on for the first 15 minutes. See Nystrom's comments on this subject. He and others in NSPN have long advocated trimming to the edge of comfort. I would say you are still a bit too tight.

I have found that my gasket has
stretched a little because of the regular insertion of my fat head. Maybe you should try a little stretching to get that more comfortable fit. Just be sure to not over stretch.

What I Did

– Last Updated: Dec-31-05 6:32 AM EST –

When I first tried on my new dry jacket it was miserable. No way was I paddling in this torture device. I took off two rings. Naw. Still wouldn't paddle in it. Cut off one more ring. Still uncomfortable but bearable. It's stretched some and now it seems to be just right.

And lower on the neck works for me. When I brace and roll I throw my head way back so it naturally pulls down low.

Try a short paddler
There is a point when you first start acclimating to latex neck gaskets where it is too tight to walk around in comfortably, but works out OK for paddling. That’s because when you are getting used to that new feeling, it can be harder to manage without the diversion of paddling. So you ideally shouldn’t make that final trim before trying to paddle a short bit in it.

But if you see a real redness around where the neck gasket runs when you take the suit off, it is too tight.

I find that lower down on my neck is better because higher up seems to find a spot that can leave me a little queasy feeling after a long time of paddling. Doesn’t happen if I keep it lower, or with the lighter weight gaskets like in the Kokotat suits.

cut vs stetch issue
Reasonable people here sometimes disagree about the stretch vs trim to fit issue.

After talking with many paddlers, kokatat, etc. there is quite allot of harm done by only stretching it to fit. Basicallly what you are doing is aging the gasket, as latex has incredible memory, that is how it fits over your head. kokatat say it is ok but not great to stretch it a little, this is what happens naturally with wearing it for a short while.

What they do promote is trimming it very carefully, evenly with leaving straigh edge, a small amount at a time and wearing it for a short while. 0bviously, the danger here is that you go too far. As some say they wear the gasket a bit lower allowing you to turn your head more. i suggest trimming the gasket to fit the Smallest part of your neck first and then in time going further if necessary.