Dry Wear Checkup and Repair

Dry Wear Checkup and Repair

Unless you live in a cold climate where boaters wear dry tops, dry pants and drysuits year-round, fall is the time to pull your dry wear out of the closet and make sure it’s ready for action. Here are some tips on what to look for and how to fix any problems you might find.

Latex Gaskets and Socks

Hopefully, the latex gaskets and socks were in good shape when you put your dry wear away, and you remembered to rub in some 303 Protectant. Regardless, examine them closely, gently stretching the latex while looking for any signs of tears or weakness. If you don’t spot any problems, lube them up with 303 and count yourself lucky.

If you do spot a problem with a gasket or sock, it’s time to replace it. You can take the garment to a local paddle shop that does repairs or send it to the NRS Repair Department. But how about doing it yourself? It’s not hard, it saves you money and time, and it’s a great boater skill to have. We have the supplies you need and an excellent video with step-by-step instructions. Keep in mind that if one latex component develops problems, others may not be far behind. So, consider replacing multiple pieces at the same time.

The gaskets are the most vulnerable part of your dry wear. To get the maximum life from them, follow these guidelines:

  • Sunscreen, insect repellants and other chemicals can damage latex. Clean the gaskets after each use and regularly apply 303 Protectant to help prevent deterioration.
  • UV light breaks down latex. Apply 303 Protectant to the gaskets, and store your dry wear out of direct sunlight.
  • Be careful of rings, earrings, watches and other sharp objects when donning and removing your dry wear.

Even with the best of care a gasket can fail unexpectedly. To avoid spoiling a trip, or worse, creating a dangerous safety issue, it’s important to know how to do an emergency field repair. The video in “Dry Wear Latex Gasket Emergency Field Repair“ shows you how to repair a gasket tear with Tear-Aid Patch - Type A. Tear-Aid is a great repair material that belongs in every outdoor person’s repair kit.

Restoring DWR (Durable Water Repellent)

Dry wear fabrics are given a DWR treatment by the manufacturer that causes water to bead up on the surface, instead of soaking into the fibers and interfering with breathability. This treatment is long lasting, but eventually abrasion and soiling will overpower it, leading to “wetting out” of the fabric and loss of breathability. Test your garments by spraying on some water and seeing if it beads up and rolls off.

If the fabric is wetting out:

  • Sometimes just washing away soiling on the garment with cleaners like ReviveX Synthetic Fabric Cleaner or Nikwax Tech Wash will restore the DWR. If this doesn't work, you haven’t wasted a step as it’s necessary to clean the garment before using a DWR-restoring treatment.
  • There are a number of good DWR treatments available. We recommend 303 High Tech Fabric Guard, ReviveX Spray-On, Nikwax Direct Wash-in and Nikwax Direct Spray-On. Closely follow directions for best results.
  • The article “DWR: You May Not Know It, But You Need It”, covers the steps for restoring DWR.

Zipper Care

  • Avoid bending or crimping a dry zipper. A broken zipper cannot be repaired and replacing one is very expensive.
  • Use products like Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant and Gear Aid Zipper Lubricant Stick to clean and lubricate zippers. This will help them operate much more smoothly and make them less subject to damage.

If you have questions, give us a call at 877.677.4327 or email service@nrs.com.

Boat Safe!