Fall is quickly approaching and it's time to start thinking about pulling out your dry suit from whatever heap you've left it in since runoff ended. Hopefully you got lucky and everything is still in tip-top shape, but if not, here's a guide from CKS Online that will walk you through the gasket replacement process.
Latex gaskets are fragile by nature, and even more fragile when not properly cared for (don’t worry, we are all guilty of it!). Most dry wear manufacturers have bomber warranties, but none of them are going to cover gasket repairs or replacements. That being said, the most affordable and quickest way to replace a gasket is to do it in the comfort of your home!
What You Will Need
- Ripped gasket and garment
- New gasket sized appropriately, see charts below. (If you are still unsure of your needed size, your ripped gasket should have its size and manufactured date printed on the inside.)
- Aquaseal or similar repair adhesive
- Sharp scissors, box cutter, X-acto knife, razor blade or similar
- Properly-sized pot, bowl, cup, etc.
- One friend (optional, but very handy)
First, you will need to find out if your gasket is glued to the outside or inside of the garment fabric. In my case the neck gasket is glued to the inside of my dry top so I will need to flip the dry top inside out (keep your garment right-side in if the gasket is glued to the outside of the fabric).
Next, you will need to find an item that is the right size for your gasket, that you don’t mind potentially scratching, and that is okay to be out of service for 24 hours. Finding a properly-sized object is the most time-consuming part of the whole gasket replacement process. If you find an item that works well, keep it forever! Some ideas for neck gaskets include:
- Flower pot
- Tupperware pitcher
- Large coffee can
Some ideas for wrist gaskets could be:
- Nalgene or similar sized water bottle
- Oversized coffee mug
- Pyrex containers
- Small coffee can
Cylindrical objects definitely work best, but as you will see from my pictures, rounded bowls can make do in a pinch. The kitchenware item needs to be a lot bigger than you think and make sure to budget in plenty of time to find the right item for your gaskets. If you've given up on trying to find something, you can always purchase the Kokatat neck gasket or wrist gasket tool kits.
Once you’ve torn apart your kitchen looking for the perfect cylindrical object, work your torn gasket around your bowl, pot, cup or pitcher. You will want to make sure the base of the gasket is stretched tightly around the kitchenware item without any bumps or wrinkles.
Cutting + Sanding
Cut the gasket down to the base with your box cutter or similar and be careful not to cut any fabric. This is the part where you might scratch up your kitchenware.
Your cut won't be perfectly straight but that's okay!
Next you will need to use your sandpaper to sand the inside (which will be outside) of the old gasket and the outside (which will be inside) of the new gasket. Remember to reverse this if your garment is not inside out like mine (confusing, we know).
Sand both gaskets until you start to feel some texture.
This step is necessary to give the adhesive more surface area on both gaskets to stick to. Sanding a brand new gasket is about the most heart-wrenching thing you can do, but you've got to do it. You should be sanding both gaskets enough to feel some texture and see some white.
Next, apply a thin layer of Aquaseal around the base of the old gasket. A little goes a long way with this stuff.
A little Aquaseal goes a long way.
You may need to grab a friend for this next part. Flip your new gasket inside out again so that the sandpapered sides of both the new gasket and the old gasket base will be glued together. Line up the new gasket with the old base and press down on a small area. Be careful not to let the gasket touch the adhesive anywhere else.
Have your friend hold the gasket, garment and cylindrical object in place while you stretch the new gasket over the bowl and press into the adhesive ring as you work your way around the cylinder. Once the new gasket is securely around the entire ring of glue, press down again all the way around.
Let your garment and kitchenware item sit in place for 24 hours with no disturbances before testing your new gasket on the water. Your new gasket will be tight! Stretch it before and while wearing if you need to. Trimming gaskets is a very last resort option; make sure to try paddling in your new gasket a few times before considering taking scissors to your new latex.
Voila, you're done!