Neck Gasket Fit

I’m trying to trim a neck gasket on a dry suit to fit my neck comfortably but I don’t know where it should be worn. High or low on the neck, or is it a matter of preference.

gasket fit
I usually go low, otherwise it chokes me or hits my adam’s apple. I’d advise that you trim a little bit less than you think, try it for a day, and then trim more if you have to. Try to make really clean cuts. Good luck.

Low for me…
…below my Adams Apple. It seals just fine there.

Have you worn the gasket for a couple of outings or tried stretching it over a jug? When my Kokatat was new, it seemed tight, but after a couple of days on the water it felt fine. It seemed to loosen up quite a bit and I’m glad I did not trim it.

If you do trim, cut carefully and evenly. I just replaced a ripped gasket for a customer at the shop. It looked like he cut it with a meat cleaver! No wonder it tore out…


Strething is mostly a waste of time…
…and it really only works if your neck seal is pretty close to the size of your neck to begin with. Attempting to stretch a seal any substantial amount will damage it and shorten it’s life.

That’s only bnystrom’s opinion, but
while stretching has worked well for me, it takes too long for most people. If you want to get the drysuit into use promptly, you’re going to have to trim it.

The biggest source of stress and degradation to neck gaskets is the stretching that occurs when they are taken on and off. Use your fingers intelligently to minimize convulsive stretching when you don or doff your drysuit.

Stretching has never…
…ever worked for me. In two suits and three seals I have patiently tried stretching over a number of different sized and shaped items. This thread shows up on all boards a few time each year and there are proponents in both courts. Cut-don’t-stretch and Stretch-don’t-cut. It’s never fully resolved.

I’m with bnystrom here. Stretching is a waste of time for me. A Kokatat seal with two rings carefully removed is what works. I won’t even try to stretch my next seal.


Again I say, if you need a good fit
quick, you had better trim. Gaskets now are often made thicker, heavier, than before, and that means that stretching will take so much longer that it is not practical.

With thinner gaskets, and with one thick neck gasket (Stohlquist) I have been successful with stretching, starting with gaskets that were unbearably tight to begin with. But I can’t recommend a method that works so slowly.

As I have said before, the real solution to this is for drysuit makers and sellers to provide garments where the gaskets can be ordered and received with the gaskets already about the right size. Why are we asked to accept expensive garments that don’t fit, and then to have to trim or stretch them? Who’s paying for this?

Glad the gaskets start small
I have a small neck and very small wrists. Didn’t have to trim a thing on my Kokatat Womens Size S.

Wear my neck gasket high which mates well w. the neck gaiter and scullcaps I prefer. Adam’s apple is not a factor '-)

If they started larger I’d be SOL - paying drysuit prices for splashjacket performance.

It would be nice if they made different circumferences of gaskets within a suit size range but that would be quite a nightmare to stock for the retailers…

Agree w. the comment above that many people weaken or tear their suit seals cuz they don’t cup their fingers inward when donning or doffing the suit… or they wear watches or jewelry that snag. I also watch people w. dangling earrings pull on their neck gaskets- that is a real potential hell of an OUCH!

A nightmare to stock? Don’t think so.
When bought at “retail” these are fairly expensive garments, and the cost should support correct gasket sizing.

No rules, it is a matter of preference
I don’t even think about where to wear it. When it is trimmed for comfort, that should take care of itself.

I can report that a looser fit than I would have thought optimal still works great. I trimmed my neck for comfort, and have now lost over 60 pounds now. My neck gasket, which was snug before, has a very light tension on it now. But it seals just fine. There is no need to have an uncomfortable tension.

don’t go too far.
When I first tried on my drysuit I felt like i was going to go cross-eyed and pictured myself passing out on the water from lack of blood flow to the brain. :slight_smile:

I was sure I would need to trim it. But after a short time I didn’t even notice the neck gasket. I don’t know if the gasket stretches a bit, or if it’s just a matter of getting used to it.

So, especially if this is your first neck-gasketed-garment, don’t go nuts trimming it right away. To some extent it might get more comfortable on it’s own.

Neck Gasket
Try to slip your head in and pull evenly to keep the gasket from rolling or doubling up. I thought I would have to cut mine when I first got my suit but I’m glad I never did. Putting it on as a single layer distributing the elastic pull over a larger neck area made it quite comfortable. This also works on the arm gaskets to prevent cutting circulation at the wrists. With practice it’s easy to put the dry suit on and prevent gasket doubling at the beginning of the day. Its tougher if you take it off for a lunch break and try to but it back on when your sweaty and the gasket is wet. Another good reason to pay extra for a relieve zipper. I find it comfortable enough to leave the dry suit on by just opening the zipper for fresh air circulation during extended stops. Give it a try before you cut.

sizing already a retail nightmare
It’s exactly bec. drysuits are expensive that the typical paddleshop does not want to carry a multitude of size options. Ties up $$ in inventory.

Currently there’s the size range for the body XS - XXL

Add another range for bootie sizes XS to XXL.

Plus option to have no booties.

Add another range for female drop seat in body sizes

XS - XL.

Add another range for female lowered front relief zip,

same body ranges

Add another range for male relief zip or not. In each

of the body sizes.

Add another range for back zip vs. front chest zip… you get the idea.

I don’t blame the mfgrs and retailers one iota for

saying trim your own.

I certainly blame them. The key
elements in a drysuit, the gaskets, USUALLY do not fit off the rack. I don’t want their whining about stocking stuff, I want a system to put the right drysuit with the right gaskets on the right customer.

Just think about how many possible customers are deterred from even buying a drysuit or drytop when they try one on in a retail store and feel like they’re being strangled.

Just because a situation has existed for many years does not make it smart, or right.

There is a system
It’s called custom ordering. Six weeks if you’re lucky.

blame away
for all the good it will do you.

I am not here to convert you. I am somewhat surprised

that you are so oblivious to the economics of a small business. Or maybe you are not oblivious, you are just indifferent. Which is your prerogative.

Paddleshops are not Cabela’s or Dick’s, they cannot afford to tie up a lot of dollars in a deep inventory for an item only a very few will buy. Plus Cabela’s and Dick’s do not stock drysuits, nor do they have the staff savvy enough to advise on their purchase.

I would rather have paddleshops around so I will buy from them. Trimming gaskets is not hard and not a dealbreaker for me. Those who feel differently can ask the big box boys to pressure Kokatat, Palm,

Stohlquist etc. to make all kinds of suits w. all kinds of gasket sizes and see where it goes.

The best way to minimize stresses…
…on neck seals is to apply talc to the inside before donning the suit. It will slip over your head - and hair - with very little effort and no need to use your fingers to stretch the seal. Removing it requires careful use of the fingers to “walk” the seal back off your head, but I find that putting all 8 fingers in the front and lifting the seal up over my nose, then sliding my fingers to the back and lifting it up over my head works well and doesn’t stress the seal excessively.

You’re missing the point…
…which is that the seals are MEANT TO BE TRIMMED TO FIT, allowing a relatively small range of suit sizes to fit a broad range of people. I’ll never understand the resistance to trimming seals among kayakers, as it is STANDARD PRACTICE in other activities that use dry suits, such as diving.

It would be completely impractical for dry suit manufacturers to offer multiple seal sizes in addition to suit sizes on anything other than a custom basis. Retailers would never stock them, as there is no way they could afford to do so. Unless we want to pay $1500 for off-the-rack dry suits, it’s not going to happen.


– Last Updated: Jun-17-09 11:07 AM EST –

It's a common fallacy that a seal needs to be tight in order to work. As you have discovered, that's absolutely untrue. A diver friend of mine once showed me a rule of thumb that I have lived by ever since. If you can't pinch the seal gently with your thumb and forefinger and lift it off your skin, it's tighter than it needs to be. I typically trim mine until they're just slightly tighter than that, knowing that they will relax slightly with use and achieve a perfectly comfortable fit.