Friday, October 15, 2010

Drysuit neck seal repair

As I put on my drysuit last Tuesday-evening, the neck gasket tore. First I was a bit disappointed because I was so excited to do a rolling session with a new kayak that I am reviewing at the moment. The vulnerability of the latex-seals of a drysuit is an issue, but don't dramatize it: unless your planning a long swim- or diving party, even with a broken neck gasket a drysuit offers quit a lot of protection: I put the hood of the Kokatat-GTX-Expedition-drysuit on, pulled the cords tight and could do 10-15 rolls before I noticed the first water intrusion.
Nevertheless: I want my drysuit to be dry - so it's time for a repair.

At a closer look I noticed another little tear in the top-end of the neck gasket and that the gasket is dried out at the end. So actually it's time for a replacement (the second one in 2-3 years). I am going to order a new neck seal, but first I used this occasion to check if I manage to repair the neck seal with simple means. I want to check if it's possible to do a quick provisional repair when I have a misfortune like this on a trip.

My bike repair kit stores the essentials for the repair: glue (TipTop blue- solutie/rubber glue: I use the blue professional one - but the standard bike-tyre repair glue must also do), a piece of an old inner tube to cut off some patches, and a piece of sand paper to scrape the gasket and the patches for better adhesion. The pair of scissors isn't in the picture. Repairing the gasket turned out to be as simple as fixing a flat tyre...

I applied a patch on both the inner and the outer side of the gasket...

... and cut off about 1 centimeter of the top end of the gasket (=the most dried out part) .

The complete repair was done within half an hour - I am curious how long this provisional repair lasts!


Tony said...

Hans, I did the same type of repair earlier this summer which I posted on my blog. I suffered another tear in another place 3 months later so then decided to replace the entire gasket. The original repair was still good though.

The object of my repair was to see how practical it was in the field in the event it happens in the middle of an extended trip.

Keep us posted.

Tony :-)

Hans Heupink said...

Hi Tony - it's funny to see how we share the same experiences and write about it! The similarity of our posts about the drysuit repair is crazy, the timing also - completely independent on both sides of the ocean!
I neglected the weblogs a bit lately and missed your post last month (busy, with work, family and kayak-union-buzz...) - but still enjoy reading your blog - kayaking in Newfoundland sounds very tempting!

padallen said...

I'd never thought of doing this before. Although I've never needed to fix a broken gasket on the river before, I'll be keeping this in mind just in case! Very good idea, and it looks quite sturdy.

michielv said...

Hi Hans, just to let you know: the usual bike tire repair glue ("solutie" in Dutch) works like a charm. I did a repair to the neck gasket of my drytop about 10 years ago and it lasted for at least 5 years. After that the neck gasket was due for replacement but the repairs were still pretty solid.

Hans Heupink said...

Hi Michiel - impressive! my impression about the repair is also that it's really solid.