Life of Neck Gasket

My two-year old Kokatat suit has a neck gasket that’s starting to show tiny cracks and feels a little gooey. In the past, I’ve gotten 4 or 5 years of like from a gasket.

What are other people finding for gasket life? I do my own replacements, so it’s not a big deal, but I expected a longer life for this one.

Cheers, Alan

life of neck seal
I’ve known people to tear them in the first few uses (pulling a fist-sized piece out of it). Others last 4-5 years. Perspiration, sun-tan oil, skin oils & such can do a job on the latex. The seals should be rinsed with fresh water and occasionally treated with 303.

After that, it’s “the luck of the draw”.

It varies
I’ve gotten 2 years on an already used gasket that was showing signs of wear long before it split, and recently I went through a brand new factory installed neck seal in about 3 months (probably 15 days of use).

During those 3 months I was using glide, and also used that gooey neck saver thing that Kayak Academy sells. One of those may have shortened the life of the gasket, but I don’t know for sure.

I get less than that for neck
by lots - though I wear mine more frequently than most. My skin chemistry is just tough on the darned things. Wrist on the other hands, I have gotten four years.

Ten years…

– Last Updated: Nov-28-11 8:08 AM EST –

on de same gaskets on me Kokatat GFER. Must be de lack o' follicular abrasion fro' puttin' me a'mighty purdy scalp through it, ah's reckon.


2 years - that’s low
I would say from experience with others as well as myself, 4-6 would be a good average. 303 it regularly. Don’t store it near heaters and I read where the fumes from oil burners and gas burners attacks the neoprene. Obviously sun exposure is the worse enemy. You can also just get a bad batch of seals that don’t hold up well.

I have an obsessive friend who vacuum bags his dry suit in the summer and stores it in the dark. His seals last forever.

Gasket Care
Rinse the gasket after using it - get off all body oils, sweat and especially sunscreen. 303 regularly - if you can manage to do it every other month, year round, it would be excellent. On my personal suit I do the gaskets to that time frame but on my fleet of suits for demo, I make sure to 303 the gasket prior to using for the season and then before I stop using them for the season, so about 2 x a year. If I loan the suit out for any length of time, I 303 before I send it out.

This fall I changed a gasket out of an old suit - 1997 that was just starting to go. I thought that was an exceptionally long time for a gasket!

If you are going through a lot of gaskets, look at how you are storing them. Perhaps they are near the wood stove??? That is a sure thing to prematurely ruin a gasket. In the furnace room in your basement? Same thing…

Some people’s body chemistry or sunscreen usage will cause the gaskets to prematurely fail. Nothing can be done about the body chemistry (medicines/food). To prevent the sunscreen failure, put your sunscreen on at home and give it time to sink into your skin before putting on the drysuit. That will make a big difference. While on the water, reapply with a sunscreen stick instead of the liquid. Never use the sunscreen sprays - way to hard to control where it goes.


Thanks Suz,

Good advice about the sunscreen pre-application. I’ll try that.

Furthermore, I’ll take this conversation as a reminder to go remove my suit from it’s drying line, and 303 the gaskets.


Not all gaskets are the same
Gasket manufacturers each have their ““own”” blend.

Various thicknesses and material blends = XYZ life

I’ve been told it’s hit-or-miss and nobody guarantees

a seal will last XYZ weeks, months, years, etc.

It could rip on trip number 2 or trip number 220.

Long trips might require a ““seal kit”” in the hatch.

After messing around with ““other”” seals from

god-knows-where at scuba shops specializing in dry suits

–I’m sticking with original manufacturer equipment.

Mine lasted much longer than that
It began by getting sticky at 4 yrs and ended by getting a small tear, at age 5. I replaced it myself using Kayak Academy’s field kit.

I always rinse off my drysuit after use, both inside and out. Hang it up outside only long enough to stop dripping, then bring it inside out of the sun’s UV.

The gooey silicone thing
I bought one of those and immediately discovered that I would need to trim my neck gasket to use it. I held off doing so. The gasket is OK for my neck in fresh water.

I wonder if a tiny amount of vegetable oil smeared on my neck would prevent neck burn? Would need to be obsessive about keeping it from touching the Gore-tex.

Not 303
Local dive shop recommends using unscented talc on the seals when not is use. I’ve had then last 4 years, and only one. The talc seems to be working.

Use both
Unscented talc on the gasket just before putting it on and immediately after taking it off, the latter soaks up oils that might not have made it into the latex yet. That’s the usual dive habit.

303 for periodic maintenance, that’s in general.

The two of these together do add length to the life of my gaskets.

more than 4 years
My Kokatat GFER is 4 years old and the gaskets seem as good as new. I apply 303 on both sides of the gasket before every use, use only alcohol-based not oil-based sunscreens, rinse well after each use, and apply 303 during any long storage periods.

alcohol-based sunscreen?
Can you tell me more about the alcohol-based sunscreen?

Your obsessed friend may know a thing or
two. Do a search on “latex deteriation” and you’ll see why latex is such a poor product. As far as how long will a neck gasket last? It depends on the material, use and care. My neoprene gaskets are five years old and they’ll probably never need to be changed.


Some of the Bullfrog brand sunscreens are advertised as oil free and have an alcohol base. I have been using Bullfrog sunscreens for 3 or 4 years and prefer them over everything else I’ve tried.

First, I think your problem is too much paddling. You should get a full time job so you can’t paddle nearly as often as you do and then your gaskets will last longer.

Your post spurred me on to do my Fall inspection and treatment of my dry wear collection. All of the gaskets are fine, showing no signs of cracking, splitting, or gooeyness. Only two garments have dated gaskets, because the others have all been replaced with generic brands. My newest drysuit’s gaskets are dated July 2008. My dry top’s gaskets are dated September 2002. I purchased this as ‘new’ in 2005, although it had probably been worn once and returned since I found disposable contact lenses in a pocket. Who knows how (if) it was treated and stored prior to my purchase. These old 2002 gaskets appear to be just as sound as the 2008 gaskets, so gaskets may last for at least 9+ years (or not). Also, this old dry top has probably been worn as much or more than my drysuits. I treat the gaskets about three times a year and store them lightly folded in a bin in a dark closet.


Thanks John
I’ll look for that.


right, Bullfrog
that’s also the alcohol-based sunscreen I use. It seems to soak into the skin well and works well for a long time even when taking waves in the face.