Just wondering how often others have to replace their neck gaskets? I just had another gasket rip. I replaced it about a year ago and have used the drysuit about a dozen times since. This is my third gasket failure in about as many years.
That’s a real bummer. The wrist seals on my semi-dry top have lasted 2 years, through probably 25 uses with no apparent wear.
Just curious, how ofter do you treat your gaskets with 303?
Do you make sure to keep your suit out of hot trunks and sunlight?
As an educated guess according to many paddlers I paddle with, I would say an average is 4 years with care. I know of one paddler who is on a 7th year and like you occasionally one goes prematurely.
Be carefully with sunscreen too. That deteriorates gaskets.
lube them up!
Just this morning I posted a reminder to NSPN and CONNYAK to lube up their gaskets PRIOR to putting them on for the season. Gaskets should be 303’d every 4-6 weeks year round. I know most of us, including me, aren’t very good at that. So, least we can do is pull out the dry tops and suits and lube the gaskets up. Should save you a bit.
IF with proper lubing, you still get premature gasket failure, then I would look to a couple of different things.
How/where are you storing your suit/top - should be away from motorized appliances, out of the sunlight and loosely hung or folded with air circulation.
What “stuff” are you using on your neck or wrists that could interact w/ gaskets - sunscreen, bug stuff, face lotion, perfume…
And lastly, some people just have different oils that they secrete. Ever take a look at the armpits of undershirts? Some people’s discolor and disintegrate, perhaps it is from their sweat and perhaps from the deodorant.
One customer I knew of regularly was changing out gaskets that failed permanently - she brought her dry suit in to show me at an event. I took one whiff of it and asked her where it was being stored as it smelled of wood smoke. Turns our she stored it in the living room near the wood stove… So lots of things can be happening to the gaskets, so if you have premature failure, take a look at these things and see what you can do to prevent.
BUT - right now, get out the 303 and lube them up!
Did you trim for fit, or stretch?
Also, have other users comment on how you don and doff your drysuit. The way you handle the gasket while working it on or off your head can create local stress that contributes to eventual failure.
I keep it hanging in a closet in the basement, apply 303 about every third use.
RE; trim or stretch
I trimmed about 3/16" off of the top, had it stretched on a coffee can and used an X-acto knife. Nice smooth cut, no wiggles or nicks. I tried the stretching thing first but had no luck as the latex had a memory and just returned to original size after a couple of days. I don’t use sunblock or insect repelant, I learned that lesson the hard way.
talk to Don Goss
He replaced his drysuit gaskets with glideskin neoprene ones for just that reason. I’ve seen them in person and they are pretty impressive. If my gaskets ever blow out, I definitely will have to give that option a real consideration.
Here’s Don’s web album with the pictures… Hopefully he’ll jump on this thread and give his insights in person.
Do you use plastic hangers?
Do you hang your drysuit on a plastic hanger? It emits fumes that destroy latex.
are very sensitive to the environment we use them in which can make them a poor product for our use. I really doubt that you'll see much of them in a few years.
If you want to make some custom fitted gaskets out of neoprene that will be much more comfortable and dependable, it isn't that difficult. The link that Alex posted can walk you through the process I used and you'll probably never have to replace the gaskets again. Making and installing the first gasket can be a bit intimidating but the next one will be much easier. Let me know if you have questions about it.
Not a bad idea but to say they won’t need replacing ever again is wrong. If that was the case, my first neo skirt would still be fine…
The beauty of latex is that it has great memory and when stretched over the head it goes back to neck size. It is really the best material for that. BUT it isn’t the most comfortable nor the most long lasting material but it does keep you dry.
Replacing latex gaskets with neoprene can be done but I am sure it will have to be done again when they stretch out and don’t keep you dry any longer.
The words I used were
Probably not have to replace it again. Neoprene can be repaired and is very durable. Neoprene has made some big advancements over the years and works very well for this application. Speculation on how something will work without trying it doesn’t help.