leaky drysuit

Today I tested my drysuit to check that everything was working as it should and to make sure that I would have enough time to fix a problem if I found one. The zipper seems to have developed a leak at the very end where it closes. I doubled checked it and it was completely closed. It’s a plastic zipper that has ti-zip written on it. Any ideas what could be causing this or how I could fix it?

Also has anydody ever tried to replace a neoprene neck gasket with a latex neck gasket? Is it even possible? The neoprene neck on my drysuit leaks really bad. After is gets wet it expands a lot and goes from too tight to too loose.



Dive shop
I don’t know where you live. Assuming somewhere near cold water, a good, local dive shop should be able to replace your zipper, if neeed be, and switch the seals for you.

If none nearby, I can reccomend a good one in PA, that will do it via mail.

try george or barb at kayak academy in washington state they are very helpfull

Zipper ends…
…often have a dab or two of vaseline or a vaseline like substance that helps to seal the end of the zipper. Could the problem be remedied by something this simple or is there some irreversible damage?

I thought T-zip sent out a small tube of lube with their products–I’ve got a deckbag I use on my tandem with a t-zip closure. Not sure if that substance is for what I’m referring to above, however. Good luck.

Candle wax
I rub a little candle wax on the metal zipper of my suit every now and then. If I don’t it gets hard to close and weeps a little right at the end.

dive shops sell wax
for dry suit zippers. comes in a tube like chap stik. may allow your zipper to go all the way to the end. am not sure about replacing a neo with a latex neck gasket–what brand is your ds?

are you sure this is a real drysuit and not a semi-dry suit?

Same thought
The plastic zipper and the mention of neoprene gaskets doesn’t sound like a really robust drysuit to me either, unless it’s the newer Stohlquist BodyPod. Which this doesn’t sound like.

I like my SuperNova suit with the neoprene neck gasket for what it is, but for myself and my husband the neck leaks like crazy once you actually go swimming or spend a lot of time upside down.

As above, it it is a decent suit you can probably get the neoprene gasket replaced with a latex gasket, neck or elsewhere. It usually costs between $70 and $100 in the northeast for a neck gasket, and will assure dryness.

But it may be a good idea to seal the suit up, put the body of it in water and confirm where things are leaking. If the suit is in bad enough shape, and/or the membrane delaminating, it may be a better idea to relegate the suit to limited uses and go for a new one.

Suit testing
My test method may be outdated, but still works. Turn the suit inside out. Get a shop vac with blower function, and stick the nozzle in a sleeve or in the neck. Clamp off the wrist and ankle gaskets, but leave at least one open until you inflate the suit, so as not to overinflate. Regulate the pressure by playing with the clamps until the suit is firm but not stretched.

Wipe the suit down with soapy water and a sponge, watch for bubbles. Mark the leaks by circling with White-out correction fluid or whatever works for you. Deflate suit and repair with diluted Aquaseal, hot-melt repair tape, or whatever method your manufacturer recommends.

I repaired hundreds, if not thousands of breathable and non-breathable suits this way.

Thank you for the replies. I have a Gul drysuit that I bought last winter. Overall the drysuit is in great shape and isn’t leaking anywhere else. I thought it was a ‘real’ drysuit when I got it. It was marketed as a drysuit and not a semi drysuit and I really didn’t know too much about drysuits at the time. Also it was the only one I could find that would fit. I’m too short for a regular sized drysuit and this one came in junior’s sizes.

Gul Suits
Yup, they do advertise them as drysuits. But the only time I have ever heard of “Glideskin” gaskets is from their site, and I susupect from your experioence they are not as dry as latex despite the promises. They seem like decently made suits aside from that, though they are a little dark for visibility.

You’ll need to take the suit into a dive shop I think to have them assess it for a latex gasket. I took a look at my semi-dry with a neoprene neck gasket, and I can see it talking a couple of extra steps for a shop to get the rim prepared for a latex gasket on it. Start there, see what you want to do based on what they say.

other end of zipper

Any advice a zipper that weeps at the bottom end? I tried sealing the bottom inch or 2 with Aquaseal, but the damn thigs still leaks, I think it’s unbeatable.


I can tell you, but you won’t like it!
I’m afraid the only cure is a new zip, otherwise learn to live with the seepage. A small amount is not life-threatening. Zipper replacement is a bear, with lots of clean-up required and much fumbling with a seam ripper. We did discover that often what seemed to be a leaky zip turned out to be seepage around the seam that migrated to the bottom of the zipper.

A Cotol-thinned coat of Aquaseal brushed over the seam sometimes worked, but stiffened the zip area somewhat. Aquaseal next to skin can be really uncomfortable, so rub talc into the coating while still slightly tacky.

other option
If your suit is not repairable, or if you can return it under any warranty, you may want to consider ravenspring drysuits. They can make custom sizes, and have children’s sizes. I have no personal experience with them, but have read favorable comments on this board.


Yes, I can live with the seepage, and the suits not worth a zipper replacement.

Where on the seams have you found they tend to leak? Although, if I pond water up on the zipper, it does appaer to be dripping directly throught the teeth. Maybe it just looks that way.

And thin the Aquaseal with what? Considering it hasn’t worked, I wish I’d put on less Aquaseal, and I’m considering trying to take off my 1st attempt and try again - if you have any good suggestions.

Thanks, PY.

More bad news
If water passes thru the zip with simple pooling rather than via pressure, the zip is likely done.

I just checked MEC for Cotol, and don’t see it in their lineup anymore. Cotol is a brand name for toluene, a nasty chemical that thins Aquaseal nicely and may speed drying. Dive shops should be familiar with it. If you still suspect seam seepage, apply a thin coat of Aquaseal to the seam tape edges alongside the zipper. We found that under pressure, water would get in around the tape edges and seep through the stitches.