My Drysuit makes my head blood red

-- Last Updated: Jan-24-07 10:31 PM EST --

I got my drysuit today--you know, the one where you all gave me good advice about the tear (very small, I see), and great advice from you about the booties.

I have worn it for 30 minutes. In fact, I have it on now, typing to you on my living room couch. Beside the front zipper of this Kokotat Meridien GRE being a super bear to get closed alone (any tips?), the latex gasket is causing my head to balloon up. My face looks like I just drank a bottle of Chianti and forgot to belch.


PS it is the proper size according to the Kokotat site, and fits me in every other way. I'm getting faint.

trim the gasket, carefully

Trim the top, say, 2 inches off?

– Last Updated: Jan-24-07 10:32 PM EST –

I'm choking to death here. I thought it was tough getting my squash through it, but man, this is making cider out of my Adam's apple.

The top of my head feels like trying to put down a ragtop on a sports car while rocketing 70 mph on a country road.

I'm going to lay down now and await more of your advice.

Can’t make that call for you
Not without seeing you wear the drysuit, anyway.

The neck gasket will always feel uncomfortable when you first don the suit, but it shouldn’t be choking you. I don’t really notice it after the initial “oh, here we go again” of putting it on.

Mine had raised rings at small intervals, so I trimmed it once, wore it a few times, then trimmed another slight ring off. Don’t cut off a large amount all at once. I think 2" might be too much to start with. Try less at first, wear it, and see how that feels–not after 30 seconds but after 30 minutes.

I used sharp scissors to cut mine. At first I tried the razor-and-bottle routine but that was too awkward and started a jaggy (bad). Scissors worked very well. I pushed the neck flat so that one smooth, slightly curved cut across the gasket did the trick. It would have been more difficult to cut down from the top opening and then make the 90 degree turn and circle around.

Zipper Tips
The other folks handled the gasket problem. Now, as to the hard-to-work zipper, depending on how it’s oriented on your suit, and depending on the nature of the problem, here’s something that MIGHT help. If you find your arm is in an awkward position that’s not good for grip and pulling power at some point along the zipper’s stroke, it may help to put a long string on the tag, with knots at strategic locations. I did that on my drysuit, changing donning and duffing the suit from a two-man operation to something I can easily do myself.

Zipper care

Gasket Trimming

It’s too late…
…we haven’t heard back from the doctor. I think he’s passed out on the couch

And if you choose to trim your neck
rather than the gasket

That’s funny!

– Last Updated: Jan-24-07 11:03 PM EST –

Thanks, TSC. Very much.

Thanks all of you, Great replies, and I have shed myself of the suit, and indeed the neck has on the inside some lines and I will trim it. Carefully. I bet some out there use the suits and do not know about the trim lines. I wouldn't have.

Pikabike and garyr, great. Thanks

I will try your zipper idea, GBG.

I am saved, jmdn. I will live another day.

Another way to handle the gasket
is to place an object in it like a small pan or a soda bottle and let it stretch the gasket. That is all I had to do to mine and it has stay ok for over a year now.

A Balloon Animal
is exactly what I felt like after trying on my drysuit for the first time. Thought my head would pop like an overripe casaba at any moment from the slightest exertion, like attempting to zip it up. Tried the soda bottle, even a basketball for an entire month and finally ended up trimming the gasket carefully, ring by ring. Use a very sharp pair of shears, rather than an X-Acto or razor blade. A small ‘mis-slice’ could end up as a larger tear when the gasket is stretched. Beeswax works well on the zipper/s-soft and easy to apply-it should be available in a block from your local hardware stores. My biggest complaint about drysuits stems to their lack of breathability, even with the highest zoot materials. Not sure anything can be done with this. Simmering like a boil in bag of Birdseye vegetables, I pull the neck gasket away periodically to vent, a fair imitation of a check valve.

Trimming works better
Latex has good memory properties and tends to return to its original shape after stretching. Stretching it enough that it doesn’t return to shape fully damages the latex material and generally only works if your neck size is pretty close to the seal size to begin with. If you have a big neck, you’re going to have to trim the seal anyway. Trimming doesn’t damage the material and you don’t spend days or weeks waiting for stretching to work, if it ever does.

BTW, a little talc applied on the inside of the seals makes them slide on easily.

be careful not to trim
the gasket too much. Take off only one ring at a time and see how it works for a period of time. After trimming mine it can feel a little snug at first and then it seems to relax a little bit and feels fine.

I had the same thing.

– Last Updated: Jan-25-07 12:12 PM EST –

Most of us probably did the same thing. When I first got my suit I thought my eyes would pop out and I always felt a moment away from passing out. I finally trimmed and it has been perfect. (OK! I didn't have the guts to trim my neck gasket, so I had Paddle_Lupe do it for me.) She took a tupperware bowl and pushed it through the neck from the outside in and exposed the streched rings. She took an Ex-acto(sp) knife and trimmed two rings first, and then on my suggestion, she took one more. Now, when i put the suit on, at first it seems tight. I still get that alarmed feeling for the first few minutes. After that, I stop thinking about it and before you know it, I am at the take out and forget that I have the suit on. PERFECT.

Just be careful, one of those little segmented rings can make a big difference. Also, one ring too many leaves you with a SEMI-DRYSUIT.


Dry suit
I timmed mine 3 times. The first link below is a photo of me wearing mine for the first time. Notice my face is unnatural in tone.

Cooldoctors wife sent me this one last night. Here is taking a break away from posting on

Andy :slight_smile:

It’s too late to trim the frosty physician free now! It be like an explosion at the haggis factory!

Too bad Ed Wood ain’t still around makin’ movies, cause I think we’d have the protagonist for, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEPTIC PLANT. Mulder! Scully!

You’re right about that trimmin’ bein’ tricky business. I’d wish that when I’d recently trimmed the ankle gaskets on a pair of Black Rock pants that I’d had someone assist in rotating the metal thermos cylinder while I held the scalpel. When I was done, even as carefully as I thought I’d proceeded, I still had one-too-many Glenn Close shaves, a.k.a. Jagged Edge. Took some precise and painstaking vascular surgery thereafter.


For years we used bees wax which came in tubes like chap stick to lubricate scuba diving dry suite zippers or silicone spray, both these items can be purchased at a scuba diving shop if not at your kayak dealer. I am still saveing to purchase my kayaking dry suit and maybe today the recomend different lubricates.

As far as trimming the neck seal remove very little at a time, it doesn’t take much to make a difference and if you take to much off it will have to go back and have a new seal put in.

I see on the kokatat site they recomend lubricateing the seals with 303.


Trimmed or not, the latex gets WAY
more stretched when going over one’s head. The stretching done with a 3 liter soda bottle is only a little more than that produced by one’s own neck. (Your neck may differ.)

I have had excellent results from stretching. Trimming is fine, I trim my sprayskirt tunnels, but if there were a problem withs pre-stretching latex gaskets, I’m sure I would have seen it by now. Maybe I just know how to do it.

Is this you? Just saw this in a
downstate newspaper.