Trimming Latex Gaskets
Latex gasket basics
Tight fitting gaskets are an essential part of any dry suit or dry top as they provide a watertight seal at the neck and wrists. We use multiple sizes of latex gaskets across our size range to ensure a comfortable fit and a dry seal. The gaskets we use will fit most people well right out of the box however some people may find the gaskets to be too tight. If you're not sure whether the gasket fit is too tight it's probably fine. If your face or hands turn bright red as soon as you put a gasket on that's a sign your gasket may be a little too tight. In this article we'll cover some methods you can use to make your gaskets fit more comfortably.
Do you really need to trim your gaskets?
Before you trim a gasket you want to be sure it's totally necessary. When gaskets are cold they're going to be a little plasticky and won't stretch as well as a gasket at room temperature or body temperature. Let your dry suit or dry top warm up and give it another try. If your suit is warm and your gaskets are too tight the next step is try stretching your gaskets.
The first few times you use a dry suit or dry top the gasket will loosen up a little bit. That little bit might be exactly what you need for a comfortable fit. You don't need to suffer through using your suit or top a few times to see if that's the case. You can find something in your house that's slightly larger than the circumference of your neck or wrist, stretch the gasket over it and leave it for a day or so. You can use a yogurt container, tupperware, piece of PVC pipe, a water pitcher or really anything that's roughly a cylinder shape and slightly larger than your neck circumference. After you stretch your gaskets give them another try. That might be all you need. If your gaskets are still too tight the next step is to trim them.
Things you'll need:
A brand new utility blade.
A form - something to stretch the gasket over to make the cut. We use schedule 40 PVC coupling sockets. 5 inch for neck gaskets and 4 inch for wrists. As discussed earlier many household items will also work just know that you'll probably end up making a score mark in whatever you use during the cutting process.
Put the gasket on the form
Turn the gasket inside out and stretch it over the form. Note the rings on the inside of the gasket. These rings will guide your cut.
Making the cut
Carefully start the cut following the ring as a guide. Go slowly and don't lift the blade until you've gone the whole way around the gasket and arrive back where you started. Trim only one ring at a time. You can always take more rings off but you can't put them back on.
Inspect your work
Once you've removed a ring check the cut to be sure it's smooth the whole way around. If you see any peaks, valleys, or nicks you'll want to carefully trim them off. The image below shows an example of sloppy cut with a nick that will almost certainly cause the gasket to tear prematurely.
Some gaskets are not meant to be trimmed
If the gasket doesn't have rings it's not meant to be trimmed. In this case you'd need to install new gaskets of a larger size to get a proper fit. Many wrist gaskets fall into this category. The image below shows a trimmable conical wrist gasket on the left. The gasket on the right is a non-trimmable bottle style wrist gasket. Trimming a bottle style wrist gasket is not recommended as it won't make the gasket any more comfortable and it will cause the gasket to leak. Bottle style wrist gaskets that don't fit properly must be changed to a larger size gasket.
Still have questions?
Reach out to our customer service team. We're here to help.