Neck gasket replacement

I managed to pull the neck gasket out of my Kokatat Wave dry top while taking the top off. Once it started to come apart the rest of the gasket pulled off with very, very light pressure.

I bought the top used. There is no trimmed gasket left on the fabric collar. (The seller told me that when he bought it used, the neck gasket had been melted and he had it replaced by a kayak shop.) There is a thin layer of glue, I assume aqua seal, around the fabric collar. I’m unable to peal the glue off. I’m thinking wipe the glue surface with rubbing alcohol, then sand lightly, then glue the new gasket on. Sound right?

Would acetone dissolve cured aqua seal? Do I want to get the old glue off the fabric first? If so, how do I do that?

I did read the Kokatat repair instructions. They give two scenarios though.

  1. Trimmed gasket left on the collar, in which case you clean it with acetone or 99% rubbing alcohol, then sand it.

  2. Just fabric, in which case you clean it with acetone or alcohol.

    I need to know about scenario 3, glue on the fabric collar.

    I’ll try emailing Kokatat support, but thought I’d ask here too. As usual, I’m in a hurry. I want to kayak Sunday so want to repair the gasket Friday night or Saturday morning.


    Paul S.

Just Follow Kokatat’s Instructions
Don’t try to remove the glue. I alway try to completely remove the gasket rather than glue to a piece of the old. I’ve had good luck but once in a while I can’t get the old to come off. also has some good instructions and sells a variey of replacement gaskets that may fit your neck size better than Kokatat. I’ve have really good service from them.


If you can’t peel the glue off…
…it’s probably bonded well enough that it will make a good base for the new seal. Toluene and MEK are the best solvent for cleaning the old seal, but dentatured alcohol will probably work OK. I would avoid acetone, since much of it is recycled and can be contaminated with oils.

I prefer to use seals from OS Systems (, as they’re high quality and available in several sizes, which minimizes the amount of trimming you need to do. If your neck is 16" or larger, get the largest size. I also use their glue and I like it better than Aquaseal.

Kokatat’s instructions are excellent. If you make the forms out of something durable (I used 3/8" plywood), you can re-use them indefinitely. I covered my forms with clear packing tape to prevent glue from sticking to them. Make sure that you use double-sided tape to hold the seal on the ring and the neck of the garment to the disk. If you skip this step, you won’t be happy with the results.

Gonna use the same gasket for now.
The gasket is still in pretty good condition. I’m guessing it has 30 +/- 10 uses left in it, which would translate to a couple years as I only paddle on cold water in the fall and winter. I think the risk that it will pull out again from the collar is bigger than the risk that it will tear. Once I make the jigs, this shouldn’t be a big project.

How many of you keep a backup gasket? Problem is if it isn’t needed for a year or two then it’s ageing before use. Later I’ll buy a dry suit and the farmer john and dry top will be my backup.

Paul S.


– Last Updated: Oct-09-06 12:45 AM EST –

This appears to have worked great. The Aquaseal that oozed out on the underside of the gasket is very very stuck to the gasket, so I think it should all hold together well. I’m actually glad now that the gasket had pulled off because I got to add another tool to my “tool box” and see how easy it is to replace a gasket. Unless something goes very wrong with this, which doesn’t seem likely, I would never pay the $65 (90 with gasket) to have it “professionally” done. It's just a glue job.

I haven’t seen details on this process outside of "follow the Kokatat instructions" (which is good advice), so I’ll include a few.

I used 99% rubbing alcohol for cleaning. Is that the same thing as denatured alcohol? Then roughed up the surfaces with 220 grit sand paper. Next lower I had on hand was 100. I probably would have used about 150 if I had it on hand.

Brian, I was thinking of making permanent jigs out of 3/8 plywood also. I’m not sure I would have done though if I hadn’t been pushed a bit by hearing from someone who had. The packing tape for covering was brilliant! I never would have thought of that. My stiff fabric with the glue on it would have just buckled the wax paper once I taped to it, so this idea helped me a lot.

Scotch double sided tape didn’t hold the fabric down on the jig at all. Poster tape didn’t do well enough either. (Again, my fabric may have been stiffer than usual.) I went out and got outdoor carpet tape, the black stuff, very sticky, worked well. Indoor carpet tape might also work well, though not as sticky as the black. The scotch DS tape did hold the rubber gasket to the jig ok though.

No way I could get the fabric actually flat around about a 1/2" ring at the edge of the circle neck cutout. The fabric was slightly conical, so it had to bunch somewhere. I tried to even out the bunches and not have sharp creases. Every inch or two, I’d have about an 1/16 to 1/8” hump in the fabric. I DS taped all the way around the perimeter. The directions seemed to read like I could space the tape out some.

I used plenty of Aquaseal, about 0.75 oz. Directions called for 0.5 oz but I wanted to make sure the humps got filled with glue. Weighted the gasket down with 4 bricks and a 12” square concrete stepping stone. As I suspected the relatively high viscosity of the glue, and the weight, evened out the hups in the fabric to a kind of continuous ripple around the 1/2” perimeter of the neck opening. Upon inspection after dry and removal of the jig, the fabric has about 3/8”wave length (3/16” half waves) ripple around that 1/2" ring at the edge of the neck cut out. The other inch or so of the fabric glued to the gasket is flat.

The glue oozed out all the way around on both edges. There’s a nice bead on the top fabric side. On the under side of the gasket, under weight, the oozed-out glue is pressed onto about 5/8” perimeter of the exposed rubber. I hope that won’t abrade my neck.

There were still some fumes coming off after 14 hours when I removed the jigs, and the excess glue on the rubber is still a little tacky after 24 hrs. Therefore I didn’t use the jacket today. I won’t need it now for at least a week. I'll reply here if I have any problems later with this glue job.

I didn’t razor blade away the excess double sided tape as the instructions recommended. It didn’t cause a problem. The excess glue stuck to the DS tape about the same as it stuck to the back of the hard plastic packing tape coating, and not a problem to get to release. I removed the packing tape from the 10” jig after use as it would have been hard to get all the glue off. I’ll just re-surface it when I use it next.

Now that the jigs are made, I’d say this is a one hr job, with a 48 hr wait time.

Also, I don’t see what advantage the purchased kit would offer. The gasket didn’t want to slide around at all when I weighted it down. The Aquaseal was very sticky and viscous right out of the tube. The temp was probably about 67 F in the house during application.

Paul S.

Isopropyl alcohol
90% rubbing alcohol, is not the same as denatured, which is usually ethyl alcohol (etoh) Etoh is a more powerful solvent.