Drysuit Zipper Care and Maintenance
Drysuits are only dry when the gaskets and zippers are undamaged and working properly. Latex gaskets will probably eventually need replacing, but you can easily repair them yourself.
On the other hand, replacing a drysuit zipper is definitely not DIY, and it’s a very expensive repair. Preventative care, such as regularly cleaning and lubricating zipper teeth, will help preserve zipper health. Also, using good techniques to roll and fold the drysuit for transportation to and from the water will help prevent fatal damage.
In this video, NRS Repairs guru Josh Gile goes over all the tips for ensuring that the zipper will last the life of your drysuit.
Regular cleaning of the zipper is an excellent habit to adopt. Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner & Lubricant is an excellent product. The brush gets down into the teeth, and along with the liquid cleaner, removes dirt, sand, river gunk and salt deposits. It works on metal, plastic and nylon zippers.
After cleaning you need to lubricate the zipper teeth for smooth functioning. The Zipper Cleaner & Lubricant does leave a lubricating film, but Gear Aid Zipper Lubricant Stick will last much longer. Apply it to the open zipper, then the closed zipper and move the zipper car up and down the zipper to ensure the lubricant gets evenly spread along the teeth.
When storing your drysuit at home, hang it on a substantial hanger in a closet away from sunlight. Don’t store it near a combustion device like the home’s heating system, as the ozone generated by it can damage the latex gaskets.
When traveling with your suit, you’ll need to make it more compact. The important thing to remember is to NOT crimp the zipper. Doing so can break the zipper and render it useless.
As mentioned, replacing the zipper is very expensive. The video demonstrates two different techniques for rolling the suit while protecting the zipper.