I'll never forget the first time I ripped a neck gasket. I was three days into a two-week solo sea kayak trip on Lake Superior's north shore. It was early May and ice still sheathed the sheltered bays; my drysuit was a critical margin of safety against the deadly cold water. When the latex seal shredded, so did my confidence. I fretted away the cold evening. The next morning I resolved to jury-rig a duct tape repair. It was ugly but it worked.
When I got home I replaced my first gasket--a project I've repeated just about every two seasons ever since. Neck, wrist and ankle gaskets are a drysuit's weakest links. Fortunately, they're easy to replace at home. Here's what you'll need:

  • New latex gaskets (can be ordered from your drysuit's manufacturer or purchased at your local paddling shop)
  • Aquaseal adhesive (one small tube is enough to install one neck gasket and two wrist gaskets, with some to spare)
  • Sturdy cardboard (or better, ¼-inch plywood) cut in a circle, 10.25-inch in diameter; sand smooth if using plywood
  • Sturdy cardboard (or better, ¼-inch plywood) cut in a "donut"-shaped ring, with an outer diameter of 10.25 inches and an inner diameter of 7.25-inch. Cut this ring in two to create two U-shaped pieces and sand smooth if using plywood
  • Sturdy cardboard cut in a 8-inch-diameter circle
  • 1 medium soup can (19 oz.) or yogurt tub (22-24 oz.) for replacing wrist and ankle gaskets
  • 60-grit sandpaper
  • Two-sided tape; masking tape; waxed paper
  • 8-12 spring clamps
  • Scissors
  • 303 Protectant