Latex vs neo neck gasket & choices

For a dry top with farmer johns, for swimming, I’m wondering if it’s worth going with a latex neck gasket. Water’s going to seep in through the neoprene waiste gasket anyway, right? How often does the latex neck typically need to be replaced? Neo should last 10 years I would think. No risk of blowing out a neo gasket either.

I could get a Kokatat XCR action jacket (neo neck) new on sale for $175, or a used Wave (latex neck) at a reasonable price, or a new Tropos Helix (latex neck) at list for $216. Which way would you go?

Paul S.

My recommendation is for the latex
gaskets. I recommend rubbing on the appropriate gasket lubricants more often than i do. I find with my dry suit anyways that the gaskets lasts about 3 - 5 years before something repacement is necessary. I estimate I use my dry suit perhaps 30+ times during the year and dry top a dozen or more times a year. Hope that helps.

To consider…
If you have/get a roll, you’ll find that in colder water a properly mated dry top and good skirt will keep most water out of the cockpit. So in that case the latex neck gasket would be of value. But that also means a top with a double tunnel - don’t recall if that’s true for all of the choices.

You do have the boat for these skills. I don’t know what your plans are, but you may find yourself there by spring if you do winter pool sessions.

I’ll admit that I blow out latex neck gaskets in less than a year. But I also wear the drysuit virually year round (for other reasons than warmth). I figure in one year with me the drysuit gets at least two years of wear for most paddlers, figuring that we are in the water at least twice and often three times a week for six months and almost every day for most of July.

As to neo necks - while they don’t necessarily blow out they will stretch out. The exception I’ve found are the Immersion Research neoprene straight necks, and apparently the Stohlquist body pod ones hold up well too.

What are you trying to achieve with this jacket? That is, what conditions does it have to handle? If you are going to be out in nasty weather and spray and all, the extra heat trap from the latex neck may be of value regardless of things like a roll.

what they all say
If you’ll be paddling in 50 degree water solo, off the shore, in conditions, even with buddies, you ought to use a dry suit. It isn’t a big deal, to sweat in one. I like the neo necks, and wouldn’t worry about neo versus latex. But you do need total body coverage, not a dry top over a farmer john. You can stay cool by slowing down and by eskimo bow dipping and learning to scull/roll.

Roll and ocean wave play
I’m passionate about learning to roll. Alsea bay has a sand bar at the mouth. At low tide it’s about 4 ft of water there. The waves coming in from the ocean break there of course. On incoming tide it’s a great place to play in rough water. I’d like to do that too, with freinds of course.

Paul S.

Pros and cons
Latex seals better, can be trimmed to fit comfortably, but must be replaced periodically (it’s not expensive nor difficult to do).

Neoprene cannot be trimmed to fit, so either it fits you well or it doesn’t. It’s more durable, but once it’s shot, it will probably have to be replaced at the factory, if it’s possible to do so at all. It might be a good idea to research this before making a purchase.