If you live in or travel to a cold region and like to play in the water, you've probably considered getting a drysuit. There's plenty to love about them when you're getting a session that just wouldn't be possible in a wetsuit. But if you're a new or prospective drysuit owner, you probably have some questions about how to take care of your investment so it'll keep taking care of you for years to come. Thankfully, Ocean Rodeo has put together a great FAQ with lots of useful tips!
Drysuit Maintenance FAQs
Should I rinse the suit off between sessions?
Short answer? Yes. Longer answer? You don't need to be super diligent. Obviously, a rinsed off and hung to dry suit will be much more comfortable to don before your next session though!
Should I hang my suit to dry?
Absolutely. Only when hung and in a well ventilated area will your suit be able to fully dry. Suits left wet overnight or in the trunk of your car will start to smell and may well also get stained with mildew or mold.
If your suit is starting to smell, we suggest a rinse in McNett's MiraZyme. This product is completely safe for your suit and will kill odor causing bacteria, etc.
How can I pack my suit for travel?
The best way to pack a suit for travel is to lie it face down on the floor and roll the suit from the legs up to the shoulders, folding the arms in over the rolled suit. This will help prevent any folding of the zipper.
Your zipper is the most expensive single component on your suit and should never be folded or kinked, as this can cause permanent damage to the zipper and a costly repair!
At the end of the season, how should I store my suit?
As described above, you are best to ensure your suit is fully dry before storing it for the season.
If possible, we also encourage you to hang the suit with the zipper open in a well ventilated area rather than folding and storing in a bin or drawer.
Crucially, the seals of your suit will require some special attention. Your seals are made from a high quality, hand dipped latex which is vulnerable to oil. You can use talc or baby powder to soak up residual oils off the seals or McNett's Seal Saver product to clean and protect your seals.
Best way to maintain my seals?
Your seals require very little maintenance. However, there are some good tips to be aware of.
Never don or doff your suit while wearing jewelry, especially on the hands or ears. If you see a nick in your seal, be sure to repair it before it grows!
Don't "pull" your seals on over your wrists or ankles. Use your hands to help the seals over your head, hands or feet to prevent undue stress on the seal.
At the end of each season, be sure to clean your seals with McNett's Seal Saver or similar product to absorb excess oils left on the seal. These oils can eat away at your seal when in storage. Talc or baby powder also helps absorb these oils and can be used.
What if I tear a seal?
In the unlikely occurrence that you nick or tear your seal, there is an easy fix. Contact us for a repair kit that can easily be ironed onto the seal to patch any small punctures, nicks or tears.
If the tear is too large to patch, we also sell easily applied replacement seals. These seals ship complete with a heat activated dry glue which bonds with the rubber. Replacing the seal is as simple as cutting the old seal back to approximately 3-4" remaining and bonding the new seal to the stump left behind of the old seal.
My seals are too tight - help?!
Our seals are designed to keep you dry not by being tight but by sitting smooth and flush against your skin. At no time should your seals be cutting off circulation or breathing!
If you feel your seals are too tight, you can easily adjust their size. However, 1st be sure that you've got the seal on such that it is smooth and flush against your skin and not folded back on itself as this will cause it to pinch.
If you still need to adjust your seals, we suggest that you 1st consider taking wine or pop bottles and stretching the wrist and ankle seals over these overnight. This will often relax the rubber significantly. You can use a medium sized kitchen pot for the neck.
As a last resort you can trim your seals to fit. Trimming the seals should be done 1-2mm (1/16th of an inch) at a time.
Water is getting into my suit. What now?
If your suit is brand new and you're experiencing water ingress, it is almost certainly due to one of two possible mistakes.
If you're getting wet close to the zipper (chest or groin) you've likely not fully closed your zipper. The zipper must be pulled fully closed such that the car is snug against the docking end of the zipper; there is a noticeable feeling when the zipper locks into place, fully closed.
If you're getting wet around the seals, check to make sure your seals are smooth against your skin. Folds, creases or tucks will allow water to slip into the suit. Be sure as well that no thermal underlayers are trapped between your skin and the seal as this will wick water into the suit.
If your suit is not brand new, it might be time to refresh the waterproof barrier of your VentOR materials. NikWax T.X Direct spray on waterproofing will dramatically improve your suit's breathability and waterproofness.
What if I rip or puncture the suit?
Your suit is made from extremely durable materials and will not succumb to rips or tears easily. However, if you do puncture or tear your suit, we offer easily applied patch kits that require little more than an iron and 5 minutes of your time.
Your suit must be dry and clean prior to applying the patch. Turn the suit inside out and follow the iron on instructions to apply the patch and get back on the water quickly!
Can I wash my suit?
If your suit gets stained with something like mud or dirt you can lightly scrub the area with a light solvent such as hand soap. However, never put your suit in the washing machine or dryer!!
Longer term, you might find that your suit needs a refreshing and is starting to smell a bit 'funky'. McNett's MiraZyme is an excellent option to clean and deodorize your suit.
Can I refresh the waterproofing on the suit?
Yes! Over time your suit's waterproofing will begin to lose its water repellency... this is normal. You may notice a feeling that the suit is 'damp' inside or that it is less breathable than previous. When you begin to notice these traits, it's time to refresh your suit's waterproof barrier!
NikWax T.X Direct spray on waterproofing is easy to apply and will dramatically improve your suit's breathability and waterproofness, breathing new life into your suit!
Are there any tips for zipper care?
Your T-Zip Master Zip is an expensive and highly advanced zipper and you should take care of it!
Included with your suit is a small packet of zipper lube, this is a simple silicone lube and can be replaced with McNett's Zip Tech if you run out. Use the zipper lube to keep the zipper moving smoothly.
If you're zipper car gets jammed with an obstruction (fabric, hair, etc) be sure to carefully back the zipper off the obstruction, do not simply pull harder!
If you feel your zipper is leaking, be sure to check to make sure you have it fully closed by pulling hard to make sure the zipper car is snug against the docking end of the zipper. If you are still getting water seepage, apply a bead of silicone or Zip Tech lubricant to re-seal the small teeth on the zipper.
Lastly, be sure not to ever fold or kink your zipper! This can cause the zipper to leak or, worse, to fail to close at all!