If you have a drysuit, there is a better than average chance you burp it and if not, have probably have an opinion on why not to.
Burping a drysuit is when you force the air out of it, usually by squatting as you open the neck gasket a little bit. This lets a lot of the air out of the suit.
Personally, I always burp my suit because I find that being in the water with a drysuit full of air is uncomfortable/weird.
However, I discovered another good reason to do it periodically.
A few weeks ago, I squatted down to burp my suit and felt a rush of air come out the neck. This is because the neck gasket wasn’t fully sealing and air was finding a way out. I was able to get to fit a bit better, but it was clear that the gasket was wearing out and no longer working correctly, especially when I would roll and feel a tingle of water down the back of my neck.
Of course, regularly swimming is probably more important for testing, but in this case, I got a nice heads up that the gasket needed to be replaced before I even got on the water.
Replacing the Gasket
I ended up replacing the gasket on my own and so far, think it is working well. Kokatat has a video on how to replace it and the place I bought it from included a helpful printout that was much more detailed.
I opted to make my own “tool” rather than purchase the official Kokatat neck gasket tool for $60-80.
Finding a circle to make the clamp was a little tricky. I went to the local craft store and I think a floral craft ring might work well, but they didn’t have one in the right size. In the end, I found a spool of wire in the garage that had a heavy-duty cardboard top that was almost perfect.
The diameter was 9.5″, which seemed to be about right for my drysuit, although it is possible a 10″ circle might work better. For the outside clamp, which is basically a circle cut in half with the center missing, I found that a 1.5″ wide outer circle band worked well. I initially tried 2.5″, but that was too tight to fit around the rest of the gasket.
I think it more or less went well, although next time am going to go with a little less glue and be more careful putting it on. I ended up with a slight overhang on one end, a bit more glue then I would like squishing out from between the old and new gasket, and a few spots f glue on the inside of the gasket.
Otherwise, I am pleased with the results, although still need to do a proper float/roll test later in the week.