What's going on w/ my dry suit??

pawsplus

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So frustrated. The last 2 times we did rolling practice at the lake, I was WET afterwards under my dry suit. It's not a lot--just a little. My shirt was wet towards the top and around the back and front. The zippers all look good. The neck gasket looks perfect. All the tape is good. WTF??? It's probably not enough of a leak to cause a serious problem in an Actual Emergency, but it doesn't make me happy. Is there a way I can diagnose the problem? This is a Kokatat suit.
 

kayakwriter

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So frustrated. The last 2 times we did rolling practice at the lake, I was WET afterwards under my dry suit. It's not a lot--just a little. My shirt was wet towards the top and around the back and front. The zippers all look good. The neck gasket looks perfect. All the tape is good. WTF??? It's probably not enough of a leak to cause a serious problem in an Actual Emergency, but it doesn't make me happy. Is there a way I can diagnose the problem? This is a Kokatat suit.
You can leak test a suit. It's usually easiest to spot leaks with the suit turned inside out, so you've just got white surface to look at. Close all the zips. Plug the wrist gaskets with soda cans or similarly sized cans. Lay the suit out on a tarp rather than bare ground or driveway. Use your hand to hold the neck seal closed around a garden hose, and fill'er up. Easiest with two people - one filler, one leak spotter. The leak spotter should have a Sharpie for marking spotted leaks, and you may have to do the test in two stages, draining it and letting the outside dry before turning it over to check the underside for leaks.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I've found drysuit holes by using a bright LED light inside the suit in a complelety dark room (get in a closet with the suit if necessary). As kayakwriter says, turn the suit inside out first.

A friend had his drysuit abrade right through the membrane layer on the right shoulder of his Kokatat Expedition, next to the zipper - tens of thousands of paddle strokes flexing the fabric under the PFD strap did it, I guess.

I've also gotten wet clothing when the cuffs of my base layer got too close to the latex wrist gaskets - it's amazing how much water can wick inside via clothing. I haven't (yet) had the same thing happen with the neck gasket, but I could imagine an underlayer with a turtleneck or high collar doing the same.
 

cougarmeat

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You didn’t mention if your neck gasket was latex or neoprene. Neoprene hit the market a few years ago as a more comfortable option. Admittedly, it wasn’t as waterproof as latex. It was acknowledged it would let a little water in. The idea was, in practical use, with a PFD, that neck area would not be submerged that much. But when you do rolling practice, you are submerging the neck gasket again and again and again - and that’s only one roll :)

If you have long hair, that might have been tucked into the gasket, creating tiny gaps.

I knew a beginning golfer who was unhappy with herself because she couldn’t make the same shot perfectly 10 times in a row. I asked her how many times she’d be required to hit that shot 10 times in a row in competition. Answer: Never. It was just important she be able to do it once - when required. So with the dry suit. Sure - in absolute worst case (or roll practice) you’d be underwater again and again and again. But I’m guessing in most cases you’ll make the roll or not. If not, you may try a reentry and roll. But then you’ll be in the water but not under the water, your neck will be above water or only subject to splashed, not complete submersion.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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If not, you may try a reentry and roll. But then you’ll be in the water but not under the water, your neck will be above water or only subject to splashed, not complete submersion.
I always have to get my head under water to get properly into my boat when doing a re-entry and roll. As they say, YMMV!
:)
 

dvfrggr

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So frustrated. The last 2 times we did rolling practice at the lake, I was WET afterwards under my dry suit. It's not a lot--just a little. My shirt was wet towards the top and around the back and front. The zippers all look good. The neck gasket looks perfect. All the tape is good. WTF??? It's probably not enough of a leak to cause a serious problem in an Actual Emergency, but it doesn't make me happy. Is there a way I can diagnose the problem? This is a Kokatat suit.
pawsplus,
Over the years i've sent in 2 of my Kokatat drysuits in for gasket replacement and to my surprise was told the gortex had failed... delamination... gortex itself warrants its material and Kokatat asked what color suit i wanted in replacement. In retropect i experienced what your describing and just assumed it was me "sweating like a pig". I was a very happy paddler to recieve replacements but not everyone has had the ease of getting Kokatat to warrant delamination that i was " just offered" If your water tests bear no fruit there might be some advise on WCP on the process of making a delamination claim with Kokatat. wish you well on wearing a "dry" dry suit:)
 

nootka

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If your suit is not well burped, air inside the suit will come out the neck gasket, and this creates a temporary pathway for water to come in.
 

cougarmeat

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John - yeah, I misspoke or mentally moved on to a paddle float rescue. When I “reenter” I’m underwater. My point was, when you tip over, hopefully you won’t be doing it again and again. I recalled, when neoprene became a popular option for the drysuit neck, it was acknowledged that some water would get in. And if you were engaged in rolling practice, that water quantity could accumulate to a higher volume than you’d experience in “real life”.

I stuck with latex. I do envy the GoreTex, built-in, booties that are now pretty standard. I have to pay more attention than I’d like to be careful not to put a puncture in the bottoms of the latex “feet” (use a changing “rug” etc.)
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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I stuck with latex. I do envy the GoreTex, built-in, booties that are now pretty standard. I have to pay more attention than I’d like to be careful not to put a puncture in the bottoms of the latex “feet” (use a changing “rug” etc.)
Pinholes in the Goretex socks are very common, and I've had very minor leaks along the stitching on the seams (even though there's tape on the inside). So I always have a piece of foam floor mat in the car for changing on, keep sand and pebbles away from the socks, etc.. So you won't gain much in 'ruggedness' with GoreTex socks, I fear.
BTW, tent-type seam sealant on the outside of those seams helped with the leaks/weeping problem.
 

Jurfie

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Ugh, my drysuit is 12 years old now and I finally started using it again after a few years away from paddling. Second time out and I blew my next gasket. Went for another paddle the next day and tore my left wrist gasket. Time to send for repairs! Yes, I can probably try and do it myself, but the next gasket split right at the base, so no chance to adhere a new one to it; all the instructions I’ve read said to leave the last 1” of the old one. :frown:
 

kayakwriter

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Ugh, my drysuit is 12 years old now and I finally started using it again after a few years away from paddling. Second time out and I blew my next gasket. Went for another paddle the next day and tore my left wrist gasket. Time to send for repairs! Yes, I can probably try and do it myself, but the next gasket split right at the base, so no chance to adhere a new one to it; all the instructions I’ve read said to leave the last 1” of the old one. :frown:
It's a PITA, but latex does deteriorate over time, even when not use. I wipe down my neck and wrist seals with 303 Protectant every couple of months even if I'm not using the suit, more often if it's getting a lot of exposure to UV. Hope your pro-repairs last a long time.
 

dvfrggr

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all the instructions I’ve read said to leave the last 1” of the old one. :frown:
Jurfie,
Watch the Kokatat wrist ankle video, he mentions to remove the old gasket leaving just a little bit along the edge of the fabric and leaving the gasket that's attached to the fabric. I replaced 3 wrist gaskets this summer and slowed the video down so I could determine how close to cut next to fabric. I decided on a 1/4". If you take a look at your existing wrist gasket you'll measure 1" of gasket on fabric to edge. That tear right up to the fabrics edge will not have an effect on you replacing the wrist gasket on your own if I understand your concern rightly. Top wrist seal is my replacement and the bottom is the original, the 1/4" cut i used makes the Kokatat wrist seal kit a little easier to use. It was Covid lockdown time and I wasn't willing to go shopping for the right size plastic bottle which from past memory worked just as well.
Good Luck
Dave
wrist seal replacement.jpg
 

Jurfie

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It's a PITA, but latex does deteriorate over time, even when not use. I wipe down my neck and wrist seals with 303 Protectant every couple of months even if I'm not using the suit, more often if it's getting a lot of exposure to UV. Hope your pro-repairs last a long time.
Yeah, I’m not surprised they gave up. 12 years is a long time, and while I was pretty careful to maintain them while I was actively paddling, I didn’t do anything for the past few years and it just stayed in storage until a few weeks back. It doesn’t owe me anything and I’m surprised they lasted this long.

Jurfie,
Watch the Kokatat wrist ankle video, he mentions to remove the old gasket leaving just a little bit along the edge of the fabric and leaving the gasket that's attached to the fabric. I replaced 3 wrist gaskets this summer and slowed the video down so I could determine how close to cut next to fabric. I decided on a 1/4". If you take a look at your existing wrist gasket you'll measure 1" of gasket on fabric to edge. That tear right up to the fabrics edge will not have an effect on you replacing the wrist gasket on your own if I understand your concern rightly. Top wrist seal is my replacement and the bottom is the original, the 1/4" cut i used makes the Kokatat wrist seal kit a little easier to use. It was Covid lockdown time and I wasn't willing to go shopping for the right size plastic bottle which from past memory worked just as well.
Good Luck
Dave
Thanks Dave, I got a quote to replace all three for $189 + tax (including the gaskets). A neck gasket is $70 on Amazon and wrist gaskets are $50 each so unless there is a significantly cheaper supplier, I’ll probably just let the pro do it this time as those prices are bananas and local options are few and far between these days.
 

CPS

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Jurfie, Western Canoe and Kayak in Abbotsford has Kokatat gaskets. $25 per wrist and $50 for the neck. I think necks are out of stock at the moment. I can check when we're getting stock in when I'm in on Tuesday if you'd like.
 

dvfrggr

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I used CKS which has good prices and service here in the states. I didn't see the great price they have for NRS wrist and neck seal kits, any members have experience with using NSR replacements for Kokatat suits?
Screenshot_20201115-174620_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20201115-174643_Chrome.jpg
 

Jurfie

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Jurfie, Western Canoe and Kayak in Abbotsford has Kokatat gaskets. $25 per wrist and $50 for the neck. I think necks are out of stock at the moment. I can check when we're getting stock in when I'm in on Tuesday if you'd like.
Thanks, that’s much more reasonable. I just checked their website and it says the large neck gasket is indeed out of stock. Can you find out when the next shipment will come in?
 

JohnAbercrombie

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If you can wait a few weeks for them to arrive, gaskets are much more reasonable from seaskin.uk
Just a bit over $20 CAD for a set (neck +wrists) + shipping....so buy a few
I've dealt with them before and the gaskets are excellent quality - similar to the Level Six gaskets.
Some of those prices quoted above are outrageous, IMO.
You'll have to find Aquaseal and some places won't ship it, though MEC did ship it to me recently.
 

JKA

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Jurfie

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If you can wait a few weeks for them to arrive, gaskets are much more reasonable from seaskin.uk
Just a bit over $20 CAD for a set (neck +wrists) + shipping....so buy a few
I've dealt with them before and the gaskets are excellent quality - similar to the Level Six gaskets.
Some of those prices quoted above are outrageous, IMO.
You'll have to find Aquaseal and some places won't ship it, though MEC did ship it to me recently.
Dang! For that price, I can wait. Would you recommend the standard or heavy duty versions?

I’m also betting someone has an alternate to having to buy a neck gasket replacement tool? It looks like a piece of 1/4” plywood cut into a circle would work fine. It would be a good excuse to buy a jigsaw...:sneaky:
 
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