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Dry suit gasket longevity


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I sent my dry suit to Kokatat for a leak and they informed me that my 3 year old gaskets were slightly cracked.  That amount of time seems a bit short.  

How long do they typically last?   I will admit that i probably only applied 303 a few times.  And since they have it, they are probably worth replacing: wrists $110, neck $95. 

What do you think??

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Since the suit is already in Kokatat's hands, I personally would have them go ahead and replace all the gaskets.

There is a bit of a trade-off between more durable thicker gaskets, and thinner gaskets most but not all individuals find more comfortable. If you go with the "thick" also known as "Coast Guard" gaskets, 303 them whenever they are not shiny, and keep them from ever touching suntan lotion or any petroleum products, you can maximize your gasket life.  However, this summer Kokatat told me they were having supply issues getting "thick" gaskets.

I have anecdotally heard from two individuals that the Kokatat "standard gaskets" of today seem thinner and are failing earlier than "standard gaskets" did in the past.  Hardly a scientific study, but it might be true.  It is certainly easy to believe that Kokatat may have changed suppliers, or that their suppliers might have made manufacturing changes to save a penny or two on each gasket. 

If your suit was NOT in Kokatat's hands, most New England scuba diving shops have heavier duty gaskets in a wider variety of sizes in stock.  A gasket failure while scuba diving is a much more serious matter than most gasket failures while kayaking.  The shops generally have you test the fit of the bare gaskets, then optionally have the dive shop install the gasket.  This is also generally the fastest approach to replacing a gasket on a rush basis if you don't do it yourself with a spare gasket already on hand.

Back in the days when a Kokatat representative routinely held drysuit information sessions for NSPN, the representative used to advise letting the experts at Kokatat replace every other generation of gasket.  The reasoning was that Kokatat would fully remove the old gasket, and apply the replacement to bare fabric.  Most home replacements instead trim off the portion of the failed gasket that is not glued to the suit, then attach the replacement gasket directly to the remnant of the old gasket.  That approach being easier to implement, and far less likely to damage the drysuit than fully removing the old gasket.

I've replaced gaskets at home, but I find it stressful, and my work has never been as attractive as Kokatat's work.  Now I normally just send in my suit for a warranty evaluation, and if they don't give me a new suit have Kokatat replace all the gaskets with fresh "thick" gaskets.

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Thanks, everyone.  That was very helpful.  And to Bill’s comment, I believe they will need to go down to the fabric which is more of a Kokatat repair.   

Also, as many mention, it is a bird in the hand.  Thanks! 

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