a friend of mine ordered a new kokatat suit and it came with a rubber neck gasket…she has an average size neck(i tried it as well) and it feels like you can’t breath…we realize that this is how the water stays out…i have a kokatat with a neoprene gasket and it’s my understanding that this would get moist (minimal seepage) but i find more comfortable. also her suit came with power liner…the zipper goes from front to back where as the dry suit goes in an arch in the back…this seems a little odd that the liner would have a zipper going in the opposite direction. has anyone tried to use this system? i could see this being a comedy show whatching someone trying to use this. i think she should keep it so we all get a good laugh. no , but really …would anyone like to share any thoughts?
The neck gasket can be trimmed along the concentric rings on it with a sharp razor. Just take it one ring at a time. They’re much harder to put back on than they are to take off.
I’d also advise that the first time I put on a latex gasket, I thought I was going to black out. But after wearing it around for an hour I stopped noticing it. I never ended up trimming that gasket, and it turned out to be a good size for me. I don’t know if it stretched a bit, or whether I just needed to get used to the feeling a bit. Either way, I’d wear the suit for a short time before deciding whether to trim it.
She’ll probably need to trim the seal
Dry suit manufacturers have to accommodate a wide range of paddler body dimensions in their products, so they have to use the smallest size seal that they think their customers are likely to need. Trimming the seal is the way you customize the fit to the paddler. I generally use the same method that Nate outlined, but you can also trim them with SHARP scissors, such as high-quality sewing scissors.
Sounds like your friend has a Kokatat suit like mine w. the ‘rainbow’ relief zip at the back.
If that is so: Yup when that is unzipped and the power liner zip is undone from front to back she will be able to do what needs to be done.
There are two schools of thought: trimming vs. stretching. Search the archives & see what sounds better. There are proponents of each here. I’m neutral since for whatever reason all the gaskets on my gear feel & seal great out of the box. Who knew the chances?
Also as a word of encouragement: If any gasket is in tight but bearable (not blackout) range it will stretch a bit w. use and the paddler frequently acclimates to it. It’s not the type of garment we habitually wear (kinky people aside) so your friend should give it a chance.
Tight is right and what she is paying for. Can’t go back if she overtrims unless the gasket is replaced.
If the gasket is as tight as you say,
I think trimming is the best option. Stretching takes a while, and meanwhile, you are not getting use of what you paid for. I’m one of the most ardent stretchers (gaskets, truth) on the board, but with today’s tougher gaskets, I can’t really recommend it as a practical approach.
Sorry FF, you’re wrong
There is absolutely no good reason to put up with a neck seal that's uncomfortably tight. It does not need to be tight to work properly, so what's the point in suffering? The smart thing to do is to trim it to fit correctly, so she can use the suit. End of story.
everyone has a different
idea of what is ‘tight’.
You have yours, I have mine and she will have hers. Therefore nobody’s wrong.
I’ll try to explain better: if she trims too much too soon and doesn’t do some paddling inbetween intermediate trims, it’s likely she will overcompensate and the result will be a loosefitting gasket which defeats the whole purpose of a drysuit.
Yes it can be cut out and replaced. But sheesh, on a brand new drysuit? You are handy and have prolly done dozens. Whole diff. story for novices.
I know of one instance in which a person had to be cut out of a suit that was strangling him.
Neck gaskets are tapered, so that the same seal can be installed on all suits and then trimmed to fit the neck of the wearer.
Seals can be made from latex or neoprene.
The neoprene ones can be stretched, typically over a salad bowl.
The latex should be trimmed. It only has to be snug, not overly tight. Overly tight can be painful and make for a miserable day. After trimming, make sure that there are no jagged edges, since this can be a place for a tear to start.
OK I have a new Kokatat GFER dry suit coming in next week which will be my first dry suit. I did try on a suit on a couple of weeks back with the Kokatat Rep who was very accommodating. As expected the neck gasket was very snug, so what is the protocol for trimming the neck gasket and how snug should it be?
I’ve trimmed gaskets on both drysuits and drytops. Just be conservative and take out a circle at a time. And do so over a length of time until you find it comfortably snug.
I’ve trimmed 5 rings off my recent Kokotat drysuit and I don’t even notice it around my neck now. No reason to suffer through it.
Wear it around a bit
It doesn't sound like either of you are accustomed to how a latex neck gasket feels to start with, so I'm in the don't risk over-cutting camp. She should wear the suit around a bit - like put it on for 20 minutes, leaving it unzipped - and go do something around the house to see if it gets more comfortable. She should just make sure to wear shoes and sandals to protect the Goretex booties. If she really can't breathe, taking one ring off is probably a safe start. But as mentioned above, you can't put back any of the neck once you've cut it off.
What size is this person, and what size suit did she order? The women's small or Unisex small suits come with a small neck gasket, but unless she is a pretty big person or overweight the medium to large gasket that comes on the suits next size up should not be hugely tight on her.
As to the zipper, yeah it sounds like the liner is unisex and the suit has the drop seat. The liner should have a two two way zippers that meet if they did this right - my liner is from MEC so I am not sure how the Kokatat one works - so she just sets the two zippers to meet somewhere under where the drop seat opens.
If it's not a double zipper... it's more complicated and I am not sure how that gets solved.
there are advocates of stretching and those who prefer trimming. I’m not inclined to argue which.
If you go the trim route: As Damon (razor) & I have posted - Be conservative, take off a little at a time.
Inside the neck gasket are concentric rings. Take off a ring at a time, stay on the line.
Some put a half liter plastic bottle in the neck gasket to hold it in place so it’s not flopping around while you cut. Try it and see how it works for you.
I would use a razor blade or xacto knife not a scissor so you can get right on top of the line. I base this on other precision cutting I have done on mat boards, metal, wood etc. IME it is easier to stay straight and apply even pressure while pulling down, towards you.
Whatever you cut with, avoid jagged edges, or cuts on an angle,as they can develop into tears.
Cut ring by ring, wear it a bit around the house or wherever, and trim til it is fitted but comfortable. It is supposed to be tighter than a turtleneck. It is not supposed to make your eyes bug out.
You have to go for somewhere in the middle and what that means for you. No one on an internet board can tell.
Be conservative! Realize that you will adapt to the feel of the gasket, and they do stretch out a little bit over time w. use.
Good luck & enjoy your new drysuit! They are the bomb!
Are you a preschool teacher?
The internet at it’s finest
No, hell no.
Why-you want to enroll?
But I do watch out for people running w. scissors
And the difference between “wear
it around a bit” and “stick a 2 liter plastic soda bottle in it and wait a week” is???
Last I knew soda bottles don’t breathe
Cranky huh? What a lot of people are missing here is that both the OPer and the paddler who got the suit are not used to latex neck gaskets. So there is a reasonable chance that the sense of the gasket being too tight was as much a matter of not being used to it as truly being too tight. Especially if it isn't a women's or a unisex small - the neck gasket on the next size up is (to repeat myself) not so small for a female neck. I have both sizes.
Also, I tried the soda bottle for a week on my first dry top. Want to guess what the effect was on the neck gasket? Bupkiss in terms of how it felt on my own neck.
If the soda bottle could breathe the same way as the paddler, and report back how it felt at the end of a week, that'd be great. If you find a soda bottle that can do that, I'll see you on TV.
BTW, I have not taken any part in shots about your being the hall monitor. Gratuitous silliness like this could tempt me though...
I’ve successfully stretched several neck
gaskets with 2 or 3 liter soda bottles. It does take a while, and often a week won’t do it. But the result is a comfortable gasket with a wide area of gentle contact.
Bnystrom insists that stretching will not loosen a gasket, or will damage it irreparably. But he denies that repeatedly pulling a gasket on and off your head will cause cumulative damage. So there you are.
I think most folks are better off trimming their gaskets, because as I said above, when one has sunk bucks into a drysuit, one wants to put it to use NOW or at least tomorrow.
part of the problem. Most people pull on the gasket the wrong way and get too forceful with it. This repeated pulling will damage the gasket. Why not trim it properly and have a gasket that will last much longer than an uncomfortable tight one that is probably going to rip from the repeated stress. Having to pull a tight neck gasket and struggle getting it over your head just doesn’t make much sense.
I have always handled gaskets very
carefully when taking them on and off. Once a gasket is properly stretched, it’s easy to get on. And a trimmed gasket is just as much at risk from bad handling when donning/doffing as a stretched gasket. I’ve already said that I think most people should go ahead and trim. I’m just tired of hearing baloney about what stretching supposedly does, or doesn’t do.