by Nick Lomas, kayaker extraordinaire and retail encyclopedia

First taste of cold weather….you pull your dry top/dry suit out of the closet….and tragic! You find the gaskets need replacing.  It’s time for some dry top maintenance.

How about some advice from Nick Lomas – one of our retail gurus and kayak extraordinaires here at ERA.

Be proactive
  • Sunlight is not a friend of your gaskets.   Leaving latex gaskets exposed in direct sunlight will expedite the need to replace.
  • If you have a slight tear in the gasket – use very sharp scissors and trim it very (really – very) carefully
  • Regular Gasket care can extend the life of your gaskets and save you costly gasket replacements. I find it best to treat gaskets with 303 when I bring it our of storage every year. Some companies recommend treating your gaskets every 4 – 6 weeks. I find that to be a tedious schedule but the key take-away is regular treatment is good for your gaskets.
How To 303
  • First rinse off your gaskets with clean tap water and allow them to dry completely, using a towel if necessary.
  • Coat your gasket with 303 Aerospace Protectent. A clean rag or old t-shirt can be useful to help spread and rub in a generous amount of 303 – those gaskets can soak up a fair bit. Be sure to treat both sides of each gasket.
  • Store your treated dry gear in a cool, dark place away from damaging light sources, oils and solvents
What if
What if your gasket looks like it is about to crumble….. most manufacturers will work with you on replacing the gaskets (this is true of Immersion Research and Sweet for sure).  A warranty on gaskets typically applies in the first year.  Plan on the fact that eventually, your gaskets will need to be replaced.  That’s not a defect but a result of getting good use out of it.
Follow these simple steps and your dry top/dry suit will be a good friend for cold weather/water paddling!

PS – ready to upgrade from a dry top to a dry suit? We carry Immersion Research’s Best – the 7-Figure and Shawty! Call us today to talk dry suit options.