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Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:49 pm
by Franky
My drysuit has started leaking again. Last time it happened (a year ago), the suit was still under warranty. I sent it back to Typhoon, and they did a thorough job of replacing the tape along the seams. However, a new small leak has developed, and I see this as likely to be a recurrent problem. Good though Typhoon's customer service is, I don't want to keep being without my drysuit for 2-week periods.

I gather it's possible to buy the tape oneself (e.g. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=114305). Is it worth doing this, and fixing the suit oneself? I'm not so sure, since somebody in the aforementioned thread says that re-taping drysuit seals is not a simple task. Does anyone do it themselves? If so, how easy is the tape to get hold of?

My drysuit still functions adequately. I just come off the water with a damp patch on my outer thermals around my lower back. I don't even need to capsize to feel the water coming through. It doesn't seep through to the lower thermals. So it's no big deal. I had just hoped that my drysuit would still be genuinely dry after 2 years. Was I expecting too much, do you think?

Thanks,

Franky

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:04 pm
by Jim
Much easier to apply seam tape if you have a proper machine to set the temperature and pressure right. I probably wouldn't bother trying to do it myself again.
Also if you pay for proper re-seaming they usually test the seam afterwards, but that might depend on how much you pay.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:06 pm
by Mrstratos61
I had some tape from a pair of Orvis waders. Easy repair to feet of a typhoon suit. Warm iron with a tea towel

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:38 am
by PlymouthDamo
Franky wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:49 pm
Is it worth doing this, and fixing the suit oneself? ... If so, how easy is the tape to get hold of?
If your only problem is a leaking seam, then it's definitely worth buying some tape and doing it yourself. However, my experience has been that heat-applied tape doesn't work unless you've got some specialist kit to heat it. Instead, just use good-quality 2-part drysuit repair glue to stick new tape along the seam. This is easy and bomb-proof if you do it properly.

Franky wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:49 pm
I had just hoped that my drysuit would still be genuinely dry after 2 years. Was I expecting too much, do you think?
No - a good quality suit should last a very long time if cared for properly. I wouldn't be too outraged if it sprang a leak after 2 years though - so long as it was repairable, e.g. a pin-prick hole or a weeping seam. If the suit material has gone porous, or all the seams have started leaking, then that means the quality of material or manufacture was poor and you'd be better off dumping it and getting something better.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:54 am
by Franky
PlymouthDamo wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:38 am
If your only problem is a leaking seam, then it's definitely worth buying some tape and doing it yourself. However, my experience has been that heat-applied tape doesn't work unless you've got some specialist kit to heat it. Instead, just use good-quality 2-part drysuit repair glue to stick new tape along the seam. This is easy and bomb-proof if you do it properly.
Thanks. Is there such a thing as specialist drysuit repair glue, or will Super Epoxy work?
Franky wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:49 pm
I had just hoped that my drysuit would still be genuinely dry after 2 years. Was I expecting too much, do you think?
No - a good quality suit should last a very long time if cared for properly. I wouldn't be too outraged if it sprang a leak after 2 years though - so long as it was repairable, e.g. a pin-prick hole or a weeping seam. If the suit material has gone porous, or all the seams have started leaking, then that means the quality of material or manufacture was poor and you'd be better off dumping it and getting something better.
Well, I located a small missing patch in the inner fabric, about 3 mm in diameter. So a bit more than a pin-prick. The plasticky outer layer is still intact, but I assume not watertight (otherwise you wouldn't need the inner layer!).

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:41 pm
by Chris Bolton
Is there such a thing as specialist drysuit repair glue, or will Super Epoxy work?
Epoxy would not be suitable, it's too rigid and would just crack when the suit flexes. I would use Aquasure. It's a flexible sealant, not a glue, so you don't need tape, just apply a thin layer of it over the leak and leave it overnight to cure. It's very strong when cured, and once opened it will go off in the tube if you aren't careful - so clean the nozzle and the cap carefully, make sure there's no air in the tube when you put the cap on, and put the tube in the freezer until you need it again.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:25 pm
by Franky
Thanks for the replies. I will check out Aquasure - this sounds like the way forward for me.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:35 am
by Mark Mulrain
Franky wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:49 pm
I just come off the water with a damp patch on my outer thermals around my lower back. I don't even need to capsize to feel the water coming through.
If you are getting wet without even capsizing, perhaps you have worn through the fabric rather than the seams themselves leaking.

Franky wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:49 pm
I had just hoped that my drysuit would still be genuinely dry after 2 years.
Obviously not all drysuits are created equal. The same is true of the owners, some people really do abuse their suits. Tough to give a definitive answer here. Some suits will last much longer than 2 years (if treated correctly). I've seen some suits last mere weeks.

Do you think you are hard on the suit? Perhaps it would be an idea to get something built with more durable fabric next time?

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:58 pm
by Chris C
Just a thought, I am pretty sure Typhoon have a 3 year possibly longer warranty so I would get it back to them, anything you bodge/ repair yourself will null and void the warranty. They do a fantastic job and a very fast turn around time.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:02 pm
by Franky
Mark Mulrain wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:35 am
If you are getting wet without even capsizing, perhaps you have worn through the fabric rather than the seams themselves leaking.
Well yes, as it turns out. The hole I found was in the fabric just below the seam. I was thinking of applying a seam "extension", sticking-plaster style.
Obviously not all drysuits are created equal. The same is true of the owners, some people really do abuse their suits. Tough to give a definitive answer here. Some suits will last much longer than 2 years (if treated correctly). I've seen some suits last mere weeks.
I rinse my suit thoroughly in cold water after each use (at Lee Valley) or after each trip (if I've been on a river for a weekend). I don't give it a kiss after each session - do you think that would help? :)

I can imagine that the chlorinated LV water isn't ideal for drysuits. But enough people wear them there, and many people say their suits are still as dry as the day they bought them.
Do you think you are hard on the suit? Perhaps it would be an idea to get something built with more durable fabric next time?
As above - no, I don't think I am hard on it. Sadly - viz. your signature link - I can't afford an IR suit :) Mine is a Typhoon Multisport 4 Hinge. My budget was ~£500. I know I should probably factor in the fact that, expensive though that is, drysuits are specialised items and have a limited market. A £500 drysuit isn't going to be the same quality as a £500 coat.

It's no big deal. It's still a lot drier than separates. I'd just like to keep it "dry-ish" for as long as possible.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:16 am
by Eggy_the_Viking
The Multisport is a cracking bit of kit, I've got the none hinge version and one of the club coaches has the hinged one and swears by it - he's got a couple of them. The one thing he did say was he had to change where he put items in his clothing to reduce internal wear on the drysuit; example he use to keep his car keys in his pockets but noticed it rubbed the drysuit leg seams.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:28 am
by Mark Mulrain
Franky wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:02 pm
I was thinking of applying a seam "extension", sticking-plaster style.
I think this stuff would probably be better - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mcnett-Gore-Te ... th=1&psc=1
It'll give you a bigger surface area and therefore a better bond to the fabric. Easier to do an effective repair by yourself.
Franky wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:02 pm
chlorinated LV water
I'd imagine some fabrics do better with the chlorine than others although I couldn't tell you which and have no real proof behind that. Are the people who own dry drysuits at LV wearing typhoon or other brands?
Franky wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:02 pm
your signature link - I can't afford an IR suit
Here was me thinking I was being very non biased by not mentioning any brands! Haha.
The suits that do last longer are a bit of an investment. Most people do tend to find that they save in the long term as far as £ per year goes.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:54 pm
by gp.girl
Franky wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:25 pm
Thanks for the replies. I will check out Aquasure - this sounds like the way forward for me.
Will second Aquasure. My brief ownership of an almost completely dry typhoon repaired with a lot of it was a great advertisment :)

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:03 am
by Franky
Eggy_the_Viking wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:16 am
The Multisport is a cracking bit of kit, I've got the none hinge version and one of the club coaches has the hinged one and swears by it - he's got a couple of them. The one thing he did say was he had to change where he put items in his clothing to reduce internal wear on the drysuit; example he use to keep his car keys in his pockets but noticed it rubbed the drysuit leg seams.
Indeed. The first leak in my suit was due to the buckle of the braces rubbing against the seam on the lower back. Since Typhoon repaired the seam (with what looks like thicker tape), that particular problem hasn't recurred. But I do bear in mind that drysuit material isn't by any means bomb-proof, at least not in the lower to mid price range. (Dam-X suits sound like an exception because they're made of non-breathable rubber, and I might consider a Dam-X next time, as I'm wondering how much actual breathing a breathable suit does when it's covered with water and has a thick BA over it.)

Thanks again for the replies.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:59 pm
by Chris Bolton
I'm wondering how much actual breathing a breathable suit does when it's covered with water and has a thick BA over it.
I have a DAM-X and Typhoon Ps220. The difference in breathability is noticeable. The DAM-X is robust and will last longer, so gets used for day trips,when I can dry it at home before the next use. The Typhoon is kept for multi-day camping trips, as I won't be able to dry suit or thermals before wearing them again.

Re: Drysuit tape - is it worth buying your own?

Posted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:32 pm
by Franky
Well, I bought some Aquasure, and so far it seems to have fixed that particular leak... But unfortunately, I've now found 3 or 4 more. Last weekend at Lee Valley I was so wet and cold towards the end of my 2-hour session that I ended it early.

I've now applied Aquasure to the new holes, but I'm not optimistic that my dry suit is ever going to be dry again - the holes are appearing almost as fast I can plug them.

The holes have all appeared near the seams - I'm guessing that this is because the seams hold material in place, and therefore subject the surrounding material to more stress.

I suppose it's possible that my dry suit is too small, although it feels loose enough.

Guess I will be going upmarket for my next dry suit, which I may be buying sooner than I expected...