It’s a good idea to clean and store all of your paddling gear for the winter. Ideally before the snow comes and you start thinking about skiing and snowshoeing and whatever other winter activities you partake in that are decidedly more interesting than putting summer gear away.
Kokatat has some good ideas for storing your dry suit and dry top since they have components that age over time if not stored properly.
Protect your investments
- Prior to storage wash gaskets with a gentle soap to remove contaminants (sunscreen, insect repellents, lotions). Treat latex gaskets every 4-6 weeks, inside and out, with 303 Protectant™. Rub it in and let sit for a few minutes before wiping clean with an absorbent cloth until gasket is dry. When using 303 Protectant™ avoid getting it on other parts of the garment.
- Wash your garment. When washing, always follow sewn-in care instructions. With dry suits and dry tops Kokatat recommends using warm water, delicate cycle, gentle powdered soap (or Nikwax® Tech Wash™), with no bleach or harsh chemicals, and high water volume, in a front loading machine. Rinse well (which may mean running it through a second time, inside out with no soap OR use a warm shower). Line dry.
- To restore DWR (Durable Water Repellent) or water beading to the outside of a garment, Kokatat recommends Granger’s XT Proofer Spray or Nikwax® TX-Direct Spray-On™. When using the Spray-On product apply when garment is damp. Line dry. Heat is necessary to set the DWR into the fabric (the bottle tells you to use a dryer). Kokatat recommends using an iron, on medium to low heat. Keep the iron moving. DO NOT iron gaskets or zippers.
- Keep the garment clean, rinsed as needed, and hang dry. If the suit will be stored in a clean environment, the zipper should be left open. This will help alleviate pressure on the sealing elements. In dusty or dirty environments, store with the zipper closed. Store either hanging or loosely rolled. Do not store dry suits or tops in the same room with gas appliances or other combustion exhaust. Do not store dry suits or tops in excessively hot and/or humid locations or where latex gaskets are in direct sunlight. High heat and humidity, extreme dryness, exhaust fumes from cars or gas appliances and exposure to UV and ozone can destroy or shorten the life of gaskets.
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See other self repair guides from Kokatat.