Dry suit storage tips

Mowog73

Paddler
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
85
Location
SW Ontario
My paddling season has come to an end for this year and its time to put the dry suit away until the ice goes out in the spring. The dry suit is hanging from the floor joints in the furnace/storage room on a wet suit hanger. It doesn't get hot in the furnace/storage room, 18 to 20 C, and its not hanging next to the furnace.

The dry suit is clean, but I was wondering what to treat the latex gaskets with to ensure they last as long as possible and how often should they be treated? I've read some people use 303 Protectant, which I do have but is it the right stuff to use?

Thanks for your help.

Mark
 

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
942
Location
Bend OR USA
I treat the gaskets with 303 at least at the beginning and end of the season. I know, I know; for some of you there is no "end of the season". Sigh ...
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,267
Location
Victoria, BC
If I'm not going to be using a suit for a while, after making sure it is clean and dry, I put talc on the gaskets and roll it up and store it on a shelf. If I have a suitable plastic bag handy, I put the suit in that.
My (unproven) hypothesis is that oxygen (and especially ozone, so I'd keep it far from a furnace spark ignitor) causes the latex gaskets to deteriorate.
303 is advertised as "the world's most effective UV protectant", but it may help even when the suit is indoors? It may have other benefits.
I make a lot of efforts to keep sunscreen and other greasy stuff off the gaskets. Giving the gaskets a good wash with detergent and hot water periodically would be a good idea.
A friend - who is very careful to protect his face and neck from the sun, using zinc oxide sunscreen - recently gave me an old drysuit that was on the way to the trash. The wrist gaskets - which had been replaced once - were in excellent shape. The 3rd neck gasket was a mess of 'goo'.
 

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
942
Location
Bend OR USA
I've had headphone pads disintegrate just sitting in a drawer; same for plastic climbing boot liners. I've seen things damaged, wear out, erode with long-term exposure to UV. But to just sit there, inside the house, and turn to mush-ish, ... it kinda, sorta, seems like the engineers who selected the material composition planned for it not to last.
 

Tangler

Paddler
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
111
Location
Nanaimo, BC
I like to rinse all my gear in fresh water after each use, but I have wondered how practical that is with a full drysuit. Easy enough to rinse it but how to dry it?
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,267
Location
Victoria, BC
Latex needs only 'latex-safe' chemicals to contact it, so anything that's petroleum-based will damage latex gaskets. (Analogy=latex condom safety).
There are silicone neck gaskets used in diving drysuits, but they can't be glued, so require a mechanical fastening system.
Not very practical (or cheap) for a paddling drysuit.
I think some zinc oxide sunscreens are basically 'old school' vaseline + zinc oxide powder or similar?
And even 'regular' sunscreens seem a bit greasy especailly if they have 'skin conditioners' added.
Almost as bad as insect repellents in the olden days which would dissolve almost anything if they leaked in the pack. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,267
Location
Victoria, BC
I like to rinse all my gear in fresh water after each use, but I have wondered how practical that is with a full drysuit. Easy enough to rinse it but how to dry it?
I usually hose myself off in the back yard, then hang the suit on a hanger from a hook in the basement joist. I put a plastic bin underneath to catch the drips.
Friends have told me they hop into the shower wearing their drysuits and then hang them to dry.

My other paddling gear (sprayskirt, booties/shoes, pogies, gloves) goes into the washing machine for a 'Rinse and Spin' cycle.
 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
109
Location
Kootenays BC
I usually hose myself off in the back yard, then hang the suit on a hanger from a hook in the basement joist. I put a plastic bin underneath to catch the drips.
Friends have told me they hop into the shower wearing their drysuits and then hang them to dry.

My other paddling gear (sprayskirt, booties/shoes, pogies, gloves) goes into the washing machine for a 'Rinse and Spin' cycle.
I would have never thought of throwing my neoprene gear into the washer.
I will have to try it.

I am going home in about a week, then probably heading North to work.
So I will be happy if I get out once or twice more
 

Tangler

Paddler
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
111
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Thanks John.
I was wondering more about rinsing the inside.
I know how smelly my fishing waders can get and they have a big opening at the top. Also the possibility of body oils from sweat being not good for the materials in the long run.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

CPS

Paddler
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
243
Location
BC
Every once is a while I'll wash my drysuit in the tub. No soap, just water. I give it a swish and that's about it. Just need to be mindful when you pick it up that you lift from the feet so the water has a chance to pour out.

I'm waiting for my gaskets to tear so I can replace then. They've been looking like they could go "at any moment" for about a year and a half. Once I get new ones I'll probably be more diligent about using 303.
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,267
Location
Victoria, BC
Thanks John.
I was wondering more about rinsing the inside.
I know how smelly my fishing waders can get and they have a big opening at the top. Also the possibility of body oils from sweat being not good for the materials in the long run.
I've washed my drysuits in the washing machine occasionally.
From the Kokatat website:
With dry suits and dry tops Kokatat recommends using cold water, delicate cycle, gentle liquid soap, with no bleach or harsh chemicals, and high water volume, in a front loading machine. Rinse well (which may mean running it through a second time, inside out with no soap OR use a cold shower). Line dry.
 

Mowog73

Paddler
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
85
Location
SW Ontario
Hmmm, I suppose there could be a bit of ozone generated when the furnace starts, there is no pilot, has to be an ignitor, guess I'd better find a better place to store it. Maybe hanging in a garment bag and in a closet, don't have a spare drawer to put it in.
 
Top