Re-Sealing Drysuit Seams

Okay, early this spring I got my hands on a military surplus drysuit for what seemed a very modest price. It’s made from some type of breathable fabric that works very well, and it’s very easy to put on. I’ve never needed to put it to the test, but have been wearing it now that the water is cold. I now see that the fabric tape that is glued over all the seams (on the inside of the suit) is pulling loose all over around the shoulders and upper arms. It seems that rowing, especially while wearing a PFD over the suit, is something this suit was never meant to tolerate, or maybe it is just too old and detriorated to tolerate it (though it doesn’t actually appear old).

I should, and will, find out how badly the seams leak where the tape has pulled off, but in the mean time let’s see what you guys can tell me.

  1. Does it seem reasonable that rowing, especially with a PFD over the top, would peel off the seam-sealing tape of a drysuit in good condition? And maybe one shouldn’t assume that because a drysuit has stood up to kayak paddling it should also stand up to rowing, unless there’s a good reason why that should be so (lots more body movement when rowing).

  2. What’s a good way to repair this? Glue the tape back down? Using what kind of glue? Seal the seams? Using what kind of sealant?

  3. Do drysuits designed for paddling have the seams sealed with glued-on fabric tape, or does this sound like a less-than-ideal sealing method?

I always wondered
whether those suits on ebay would be worth their money… How much did you pay?

As for one of your questions:

my BARE drysuit had the same issue and I glued the tape back on with aquaseal. Works.

I believe, it’s the same tape they use for tent seams. I’ve also seen hot bondable tape (you have to iron it on) in the UK.

I’ll try that
I’ve seen Aqua Seal mentioned in various posts here before, but never paid any attention to what people were using it for. I’ll have to do some checking to see where I can get it.

As for what I paid for the suit, I seem to remember that it was $200. I got it from a local paddling shop that had gotten a whole bunch of them.

One of the best seam sealers is…
‘Seam Grip’ from Mcnett, the stuff is fantastic, it is plyable when dry, sticks like nothing else and way more permenant than most.

You can also purchase Melco iron-on Seam tape from McNett or one of their retailers.