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Old 03-06-2010   #1
odessa, Texas
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 8
Dry top neck gasket is too tight

I have never owned a dry top before, but I recently won a nice Kokatat Helix dry top in a contest; however, the neck gasket is so tight that I haven't been able to use it yet. Should I trim the gasket so I can get some blood flow to my brain? Or can these gaskets be stretched out without resorting to cutting them, and, if so, how does one do that? If I trim the neck gasket so that it will fit me now, is it going to eventually stretch out so much that it will leak later? I need some advice from those of you who have dealt with this issue. Thanks.

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Old 03-06-2010   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
I would recommend trying to stretch it out first, cutting as a last resort. I used a 2 liter soda bottle to stretch out the neck before or maybe a coffee can, depends on how much room you need. Use anything that has a circumference similar to your neck or wrists. I left good sized coffee can in my neck gasket for a quite a while in one of my dry tops before it was usable.

If you do cut, use an exacto blade and most of them have ribs in the gasket that allow you to cut down in layers. Be careful, cut too much and it becomes a useless piece of gear.

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Old 03-06-2010   #3
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
I agree with Freakus..... stretch rather than cut. I use a volleyball, leave it on there for a couple days, before ever trying to wear a new one. Another great tool is one of those highway traffic cones....... you can measure where your neck size is on the cone, then stretch the gasket down to just beyond your mark and leave it. Damn, I need to acquire another one of those cones.....
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 03-07-2010   #4
Airborne2504's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 420
Coffee Can

Yep, I agree with Freakus too. Cuttting as a last resort. And I agree with the coffee can too, that's what I used, left it in the neck gasket for about 4 days. Fits great, I can breathe, and no leaks.

- Alex
If you're going to stick it out there, don't be afraid to get it cut off.
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Old 03-07-2010   #5
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 163
I'm glad I read this, I was planning to cut mine and the only reason I haven't done it yet is that I usually screw up. Thanks for the timely advice.
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Old 03-07-2010   #6
Horserump, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 458
It's kind of like having a really weak person trying to strangle you.... It will streach
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Old 03-07-2010   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
For stretching, measure your neck circumference and find a round object that is an inch or two larger to stretch on. I just used my thumb and middle finger on each hand to get a close enough estimate. Too small of an object won't do the trick and too large might stretch too much. I'd also consider doing the wrist gaskets the same way. Stretch on something just a bit bigger than your wrists.

I did this with a kokatat drysuit and it worked for me.
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Old 03-07-2010   #8
Mmcquillen's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 267
Your very lucky that you got a kokatat dry top, so i would say dont cut it period. it after two weeks or so it will stretch out and it will be comfy but still completely waterproof.
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Old 03-07-2010   #9
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
My experience with latex gaskets

I wear a size XL dry top.

I am a over the hill boater who has purchased many dry tops and several dry suits over the several decades I have been boating.

The only dry or semi dry top I have ever had that did not require cutting was a IR semi dry shorty dry top I just purchased a month ago. It had the neoprene neck and arm gaskets and I was able to stretch both out over a period of several weeks.

I just purchased a Kokotat Rogue Dry top. This is the second one I have purchased over the years. I stretched the latex for a week over various sized cans hoping it would stretch out so I could get it over my head and hands. I ended up having to cut the wrist gaskets quite a bit and the neck gasket quite a bit.

Over the years I have used a lot of Stolquist dry tops and one dry suit and had to do the cut routine on all of them.

I weigh in around 215 lbs, 17 1/2 inch neck and wear a regular size XL shirt.

What I have done lately is after doing the stretch latex routine (hoping it would stretch out) then carefully cut the neck and wrist gaskets with a pair of sharp scissors, being very careful to not cut a nick.

I have attempted to do the razor blade routine and at least for me the scissors work better for a smooth cut.

Since I have to cut latex anyway after the test put on, it seems to me that it is best to cut latex right out of the box so you do not over stress the stretch factor of the latex. But, like I said above lately I have been doing the stretch first hoping to get a reasonable fit, but have always had to end up cutting latex.
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Old 03-07-2010   #10
DragonUSMC's Avatar
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 42
I really have never had a neck...

I tried the coffee can but also had to cut my neck gasket. maybe you little twig people can just stretch it out but, mine was litteraly making me pass out it was so tight.

Stretch all you need to but if its too small its too small... dont be afraid to trim. Just like building cars... you cant be afraid to start cutting shit off.

" This is the perfect war. They want to die, and we want to kill them".
Sgt Maj Henry Bergeron USMC:
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