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neck gasket fit?

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Okay, so I picked up my first dry suit this morning. I just tried it on. It says in the instructions not to trim the seals until I've worn it once, but if I put it on and make a small choking noise and turn purple in a minute...is it okay to at least stretch it some on something approximately the size of my neck? I've heard conflicting thoughts on this.


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The neck gasket does not have to be very tight at all to work just fine. Please, no purple faces! It is fine to stretch it over a large can or jar, but you may need to trim it as well to get a comfortatble fit. I bet my favorite "Mr. Fixit" could bring his trimming tools to the put-in on Sunday if you need to trim it down before the Rough Water Session ;-)


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That would be excellent. (You mind, Brian?) I'll try stretching it some tonight, too. (Liz is joining me early tomorrow AM to test run all the new gear and I don't want her to have to try a gasket tracheotomy rescue, lol...)

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Hi, Bethany. I'm fairly new to the drysuit, so my experience is

somewhat limited. My new Kokatat had a very tight neck gasket and I

needed to trim two rings from it. I have been advised by several in

NSPN not to stretch the gaskets excessively. After use, I put a one

gallon windshield wash plastic container in the neck, and two 20 oz.

plastic bottled water containers in the wrist gaskets. With the zips

zipped closed, you can rinse the suit without getting the inside of

it all wet/full of water. What I noticed, though, is the gaskets get gently stretched and they seem a little more comfy (not so tight)

afterward. I have also been advised to use 303 protectant on the

gaskets, and this seems to help as well.

See you Sunday!

Take care.


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I also recently got my Kokatat dry suit and the first thing I did was trim 2 rings off the neck gasket. The process is very simple. I put an empty 2 liter coke bottle with the gasket turned inside out, got a brand new exacto blade and carefully trimmed one ring at a time until the fit was still snug but not too snug. My brother was trying the stretch technique...it doesn't work, in fact you may damage the gasket if you stretch it too much.


P&H Capella...All White

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I can tell you my experience. I trimmed the neck of my new dry suit 2 years ago because it choked me too. Oh, how I wish I HAD NOT DONE THAT !! For 2 years I went around with a leaky neck. The neck will expand a little after 10 minutes of wear from the heat of your neck, or at least it seems that way.

I just got my suit back from the factory with a new neck gasket, I put it on and it choked as bad as ever but I DID NOT TRIM IT !! Last Saturday I wore it all day and it was just fine. After 15 minutes of feeling choked, it warmed, expanded a little and was comfortable but water tight. It seems more comfortable if you push it way down as low on your neck as possible.

If after an hour of wear its still chokes then maybe trim it but other wise DON"T DO IT !!

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As you can see, the trim vs. stretch factions are second only to skeg vs. rudder in religious ferver.

There is truth in both camps. Yes, wearing or stretching on a bottle does enlarge a gasket over time, but only a little. That may be enough. Yes, trimming can make all the difference in comfort without any compromise in the seal. But you must be trim very small increments to get the right fit or it will leak.

I lived and choked with my first neck gasket until it was tolerable but never really comfortable. When it split (prematurely due to stretching?), I got a new one and trimmed it right out of the box to perfect comfort. It hasn't leaked a bit in two seasons. I took about 1/8" or less on each of three passes (total of 3/8" or so) and wore it for 10 minutes or so after each cut to get the feel of it. I don't think I got past the first ring for the three cuts combined. Because the gasket is cone shaped, a tiny trim makes a big difference.

If you get religious about anything, make it 303 Protectorant. In season, coat your latex gaskets every couple of weeks. In storage, try to give an additional coat every month or two. It will double or triple the life of the gaskets. With regular use, expect about 2-3 seasons before they split.


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Hmm. Well, hopefully with extreme moderation it will work out, coz I'm thinking I don't have a choice. I stretched it a wee bit last night, and when I put it on this morning it didn't immediately set me into a panic. So, I walked around the house and ate breakfast with it on. It was truly extraordinarily uncomfortable, but I figured maybe it was okay. Until I caught sight of my Very purple face in the mirror, lol.

I cancelled paddling this morning so I could wait until I'm more awake to trim it.

Sharp exacto, soda bottle or the like, very small bits trimmed off at a time. Any other advice?


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I trimmed a ring off at a time (two in all) until the gasket was bearable - put a soda bottle in the gasket and use a craft-knife.

No leaks since the cutting and the gasket is bearable although will chaff my neck with prolonged use.

When I put my suit on for the first time I wished I'd done it with someone else in the house - horrible visions of me being found days later, quite still and head like a purple basket-ball.

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I had a real problem with neck gasket chafing as well, getting a "ring around the neck" that would last for days after a paddle. Tried KY jelly, olive oil, diaper rash cream, none of which seemed to last more than a couple of dunkings before the the pain in the neck returned. Some surfers suggested using Aquaseal silicone grease. Best thing ever (for me)! It'll wear off in a long surfing session but nowhere near as quick as the other stuff. Two applications max on a trip and no ring around neck to be found. The plus side is the silicone grease is use to protect latex gaskets, rubber hoses and such. The downside is that I have no clue whether the silicone is being absorbed into my skin and what it may do as a result... I suspect topological use is very different from leakage of implants.

Aquaseal Silicone Grease is sold in little plastic tubs (slightly bigger than a bottle cap) and can be found in dive shops.


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There are no absolutes when it comes to this subject, since people's neck sizes vary, as do the size and thickness of the seals on various products. People also have varing tolerances to neck, wrist and ankle constriction. What works for Ken Cooper may not work for someone else. I have NO choice but to trim the neck seals on my garments and I usually have to trim the wrist seals as well. For me, it's MANDATORY.

Kokatat seals seem to be about the flimsiest of the brands I've seen. They recommend stretching. Stohlquist uses thicker seals and specifically states that they won't stretch appreciably and should be trimmed to fit. Bomber Gear and Immersion Research also recommend trimming.

Stretching damages the seals, as they stretch by tearing on a microscopic level. For someone with a large neck, the amount of stretching required can do enough damage to seriously shorten the life of the seal. Additionally, it can literally take weeks to stretch a seal permanently. Why would anyone put up with uncomfortable seals for weeks when they can be comfortable in minutes?

Keep in mind, that a few drops of water sneaking past a seal are not a significant problem, but reduced blood flow to the head, hands and feet can be seriously detrimental. Erring on the side of comfort is the best way to go.

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Hi Bethany,

I had the same issue with mine, it was absolutely unbearable - purple, head-rush, the whole nine yards. I had no doubt if I wore it, passing out would be a reality. The fact that I apparently have a short neck as well which caused the gasket to roll down a bit over itself just applified the death grip on my neck.

With this said, I, also, got VERY strong advice against not doing this from people and especially Joel at NESC.

I tried streching it for about a week using a coffee can. Unfortunately, it still was incredibly unbearable.

I decided to do it and cut it. I carefully cut along to the second ring on the gasket. Well, it came out okay but almost TOO comfortable by comparison to before.

I was worried that I had gone too far, and last Saturday I went out to put it to the test. I did about 10 mins of some rolls and deep sculling at the end of the day to see how it react after a day of being worn. I feel that I spent an adequate amount of time with my head submerged. The bottom line is that it didn't leak, so I MAY have gotten very very lucky.

In hindsight, if you do it, I would recommend only cutting at most 1/4" at a time to get it to the right just bearable point. Additionally, remember that any imperfections in your cut are a weakness or risk-point for leakage, so do the best you can to keep a continuous and straight cut to minimize these imperfections.

Good luck!


"Would a knife help protect you against a ‘curious’ shark? I don’t know but I would like the option." - Trevor Gardner

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- Turn the garment inside out, so that you can see the ridges on the seal, if it has them.

- Find a plastic bottle that fits snug in the seal. You want it to stretch it somewhat, as it makes it easier to cut. Insert the bottle into the seal. A little baby powder on the inside of the seal will make inserting the bottle easier. This also works when putting on the garment.

- If the seal has trimming rings molded in, great, if not, you'll probably want to mark the seal for the amount you want to take off. I suggest taking off 1/4" at a time until you get close, then 1/8" until you're happy with the fit. For marking, I use a drafting compass set at 1/4" to make a line parallel with the edge of the seal. Believe it or not, pencil actually will show up on a black latex seal, if the lighting angle is right. Do not use a marker or a ball point pen, as the inks contain solvents and oils that can damage latex. You can also

choose to just eyeball the cut, which is surprisingly easy. It doesn't have to be perfectly straight, just smooth.

- Mark the point where you plan to start the cut. This makes it easier to finish it. You can mark the seal, the bottle or both.

- Place the garment on a large firm surface (floor, counter, hood of your car, etc.).

- Take a utility knife with a NEW blade or a NEW single edged razor blade, press it against the seal at your marked starting point and begin cutting, following one of the ridges on the seal (or the line you drew). Try to keep the blade in continuous contact if possible, as you work your way around the seal. This is easiest if you roll the bottle and garment as you cut.

- When you get close to your starting point, use your non-cutting hand to open the cut at the beginning, so you can see where you need to end the cut. Continue cutting, ending exactly where you started.

- You should be able to pull away the cut-off ring. If there are any places where you didn't cut all the way through, carefully go over them again with the blade. If you see any rough areas or small pieces of latex sticking out from the cut edge, trim them off.

- Try on the garment and repeat the process as necessary until you achieve a good fit.

BTW, you should save the cut-offs, as they make great rubber bands. ;-)

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What are you doing? Are you censoring me?

Read the last line of my message please.

"If after an hour of wear its still chokes then maybe trim it"

I'm just sharing my experiences and opinions, which is all that goes on here anyway.

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I am wondering why they don't use neoprene neck gaskets like I use on my diving dry suit. They are a whole lot more comfortable, don't leak, and there is no need to stretch them or trim them. I will be buying two dry suits next year for my wife and myself and I will try to see if I can adapt a diving suit seal to the neck of the kayaking dry suits. If it works I will go into the dry suit neck seal business...



Traffic Yellow over White

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I guess that Alex is right, I must have a skinny neck. My new next gasket fits perfectly. Hopefully it will still be waterproof.

The gasket on my IR drytop is neoprene. It is supposed to prevent chafing, which is does. I would be very interested in the results of anybody finding a compatible neoprene neck gasket and installing it.

The ankle gaskets on my drybib are very tight. I tried stretching them on progressively larger objects for weeks at a time. For one paddle they were much more comfortable, but a week later they had sprung back to their original size.

By the way, natural rubber (including latex) has the unusual property of shrinking when it gets warmer. This is why that loose belt in your car engine stops squealing after it warms up, most dramatic in the winter. However, it does soften and become more elastic as it gets warmer.

Dee Hall

Impex Currituck, Blue over Ivory

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For what it is worth, I listened to the "don't trim" group. Every time I put on my drysuit, I am sure I am within minutes of "death by purple face". As soon as I get on the water an start paddling hard, I forget it completely.

Would it be more comfortable but still tight if I trimmed it? Who knows. I haven't bothered.

Is yours "too tight"? How do you judge what too tight is when everybody rates theirs as a near death experience.

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Oh, great, now I can sit at home worrying that my fiancee is going to come home from cold-water paddling as a grape lollipop OR a human popsicle.

Clearly this means that next year I have to get my own dry suit so I don't miss the fun.

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