Repairing Gaskets is an easy and useful skill to know. In most circumstances, sending your dry tops off to be fixed by someone else, as it is expensive and time consuming. You can buy the supplies online through Immersion Research or any other kayak outfitter. No need to worry about using supplies from IR on other brands, as all gaskets are universal and aquaseal works all gaskets. Personally, only buy IR replacement gaskets, IR is cheaper than Kokatat and it performs to the same quality as Kokatat! I have kokatat dry tops and the IR replacement gaskets perform excellently! It isn’t necessary to purchase a special frame for repairing wrist gaskets however, if you plan on repairing neck gaskets, I highly recommend buying the frame from Kokatat. It is sold on the Kokatat website and is highly worth the investment.
1 Tube of Aquaseal
Popsicle Stick or disposable spoon
Nalgene/ Circular Frame
Step 1: Cut
First, turn the dry top/drysuit inside out, you will be doing all of the work from the inside. Now its time for the hardest step on them all, cut the old gasket off! Be sure to leave 3-4 inches of the original gasket, this is were you will be glueing the new gasket to. It is better to leave too much of the original gasket than not enough! Also, you can always cut more off if needed.
Step 2: Sand
Sand the remaining of the original gasket and the part of the new gasket you will be glueing. Sand whichever side you want against your skin. Personally, I prefer the shiny side as it makes it easier to take on and off. Either side works, and it’s all about works best for you. When sanding, the purpose is to scratch the gasket so the glue will stick better. I use 60 grit sand paper but, I also sand very lightly once around the rim of the gasket. Now insert the gasket into the frame.
Step 3: Glue
Apply the aquaseal to the original gasket, and evenly spread with a popsicle stick. The aquaseal doesn’t need to be a thick layer but enough to completely cover the pre-existing gasket.
Step 4: New Gasket
Once you have applied the glue to the gasket, pull the new gasket over the frame. Make sure it is even around all sides of the gasket, and there are no lumps underneath it. It takes two hands to do, so either have a friend help you or hold the arm of the dry top with your feet to hold it steady.
Step 5: Dry
Let the top dry for at least 8 hours for the seal to completely dry. I usually wait overnight before taking my top out on the water. Waiting longer to remove the frame and introduce it to water doesn’t do any harm to the top and will ensure a waterproof seal.
WEAR GLOVES- I’ve found that fixing wrist gaskets leaves the most glue residue on my hands. Wearing gloves makes it slightly harder to work with the gasket but its worth not getting aquaseal on your hands! Aquaseal often doesn’t come off for days after the fact, picks up all the dirt off of everything you touch! The disposable gloves found at the doctors office will suffice.
DRY IT OUT- The top must be completely dry for the aquaseal to work. Dry the top out completely, including the neoprene cuff, before you start working!
I hope you find this of use!