Dry Suit Care and Repair Guide

December 01, 2022

Man kayaking on lake in dry suit

A dry suit is an investment product and keeping it in tip top shape is not just important for your wallet, but a dry suit that’s no longer watertight can be downright dangerous. We’ve compiled some helpful advice for how to best care for your dry suit before, during, and after your day on the water.

How to put on a Dry Suit

Trying on a Dry Suit for the first time can be awkward. Find something to sit on- a chair or bench is better than the floor. Remove rings, earrings, watches and other sharp objects that might tear a gasket. Take your shoes off, step into each leg, pull suit up to waist and push feet through ankle gaskets or integrated socks. Cinch the waist draw cord. Slide left hand all the way through the sleeve and gasket; follow with the right hand.

With both hands, grab the opening of the neck gasket and stretch the gasket a bit while ducking into the suit and up through the neck gasket (this should be one motion). Do not pull the gasket over your head by pulling on the fabric or the base of the gasket. (Use the same care when removing.)

Close the entry zipper taking care to ensure it is fully closed and there are no gaps at the end of the closure. You can test this by squatting; the top of the suit will balloon up. If the entry zipper is not appropriately sealed air will escape from the zipper with ease. Once you're sure the zipper is sealed, burp the suit by crouching down and carefully slide your fingers under the neck gasket and allow the excess air to escape.

Here’s a video from our friends at NRS that may help:

Every Dry Suit differs slightly, feel free to reach out to one of our Customer Experience Experts who can answer any questions you may have. 

How to stretch the neck gasket

A neck gasket that fits snugly enough to keep water from leaking in can be very uncomfortable, especially if wearing a Dry Top or Dry Suit is something new for you. Often, if you just persevere and put up with that choking sensation for a while, you’ll get used to it, or the gasket will stretch on its own. Don’t go with a first impression; wear the garment for a while to determine if you really do have a problem. 

First find the circumference of your neck, using a cloth measuring tape or a string. Use that measurement to find a cylindrical object, like a terracotta pot, coffee can or vase, that’s a little larger than your neck. Be sure the object chosen doesn’t have any sharp or rough edges that can damage the gasket.

Peel the protective over cuff away from the gasket. Slide the chosen object into the gasket and let it stay in there overnight. Try the garment on again to see if it’s comfortable.

If it’s still too tight, repeat the process with the same form. If it’s still too tight you can pick a slightly larger form and let that sit overnight.

We do not recommend trimming the neck gasket, as a mistake will cause it to tear.

Here’s a video from our friends at NRS that may help:

Should you wear socks underneath your Dry Suit? 

In cold conditions, socks are worn underneath the suit for added warmth. In general, we recommend wearing socks all the time as it's more comfortable and keeps your toenails from rubbing on the material.

Dress for the water not the weather

Rain, sleet, spray, swims in the river and capsizes in the ocean affect everyone who participates in water sports. You’ll be safer, more comfortable and have more fun on the water if you have the right clothing for each paddling scenario. Being comfortable in all conditions comes down to one basic principle: maintaining a balance between the heat our bodies produce and the heat we lose to the environment. We highly recommend that you dress for the water temperature. 

How to wash your Dry Suit

When washing, always follow sewn-in care instructions. Every Dry Suit differs slightly so make sure to review this before washing.

Gasket care and repair

Latex gaskets need to be treated every 4–6 weeks to prevent drying and cracking. Outdoorplay recommends 303 Protectant. Small tears or holes in the gasket may be repaired with Aquaseal. Replacement gaskets and kits are available from Outdoorplay.

NRS Gaskets:

Repair kit:



Kokatat Gaskets:

Repair kit:


Zipper care

The zipper is one of the most sensitive components of your Dry Suit. Treat it carefully. The most common causes of zipper leakage are failure to close the zipper firmly, or dirt in the zipper teeth or closing end.

  1. Pull the zipper in a straight line, in a smooth and even motion. Avoid yanking or pulling to the side. Have another person help you if you cannot easily reach any part of the zipper. Be especially gentle in colder air and water temperatures.
  2. Never force a jammed zipper. Unzip, examine the jammed point for obstruction or damage, then carefully try again. Zipping over a piece of dirt or underclothes can derail the teeth and ruin the zipper.
  3. The zipper is most vulnerable to damage when you are getting in and out of your suit. Be sure the zipper is open completely, and try not to put force on the ends that could tear the zipper apart.
  4. Keep sand and dirt out of the teeth and the closing end of the zipper. Clean the zipper occasionally with mild soap, water and a toothbrush. Lubricate occasionally with a light coat of paraffin, beeswax for metal tooth zippers. For plastic water tight zippers, a dab of McNett Zip Tech Semi-Solid Zipper Lubricant in the closing end improves sealing.
  5. Dry Suits should be stored in a clean, dry environment. Metal tooth zippers should be partially closed with the zipper slide left about 2 inches open. This will help alleviate pressure on the sealing elements. Plastic water tight zippers should be stored in the entirely closed position. Store either hanging or loosely rolled.

If you have any questions about Dry Suit zippers please reach out to one of our Customer Experience Experts.

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Stacey JohnsonCustomer Experience ManagerStacey has been with Outdoorplay for over 17 years, sharing wisdom from her years of experience and passion for all kinds of kayaking (whitewater, recreational, and touring), stand-up paddle boarding, and rafting. When she's not out on the water, Stacey also enjoys camping with her family and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the Cascade mountains.