Ever cut a dive short because your hands were just too cold, or you are always afraid of ripping your drysuit seals at the most inopportune time? I have and always am, my hands always get cold and it is no fun trying to work your power inflator or deco bottle clip with ice cube fingers. My drysuit didn't come with Zipseals, they just had standard latex seals attached to the drysuit with glue. I came across SITECH's Quick Glove system, which allows you to change out your seal with any type, and you can use a simple pullover glove to stay dry and warm.
The system is incredibly simple, with three components, a cuff, a stiff ring, and a seal of your choice. The SITECH Quick Glove comes standard with silicone seals.
So how do you do it? First you must take off your old seal, which can be done with a hair dryer, but preferably a heat gun. In my case I had some finishing tape to take off before I got to the seal. You have to be careful, if you go to quick you will have small slivers of the tape left behind which are really hard to get off.
After you take off the finishing tape your next task is to remove the seal, and carefully if you would like to have a backup seal in your save a dive kit. Again with the heat gun you slowly work your way around the seal warming it up as you go, and careful not to rip it.
After it is removed, its time to test out the cuff to see it is going to fit. In this case, it does not. I will have to trim off some of the suit in order to make it fit.
I take a little off at at time, trying my best to keep it straight. You also have to take into consideration the thickness of the glue, as in this case I had to go even further to ensure a good fit. Now, the overall length of the arm is also a concern. Given the quick glove system adds a little length I was comfortable with the alterations I was making.
Now that it fits nice and snug, let the fun begin with the glue! I love to use dry adhesive tape, there is virtually no mess and it allows you to move things around before you actually active it. With aquaseal you better be quick and spot on, otherwise you will have a mess on your hands. Before you start gluing you have to prepare the surface, if not the glue will not stick and you pretty much be able to pull the seal and glue right off the suit. To remove all of the oils from the surface you are going to glue I use, Methylethylketone (MEK). Make sure you are in a well ventilated area, preferably outside.
Once you have cleaned all of the surfaces you can now start to prepare the adhesive tape. I have them cut in strips to go on the cuff itself, and then on the outside as well. I like the extra strip on the outside as reassurance, not that it really needs it. The finishing tape has adhesive of its own. The tape when dry is a white color, when heated it turns clear.
I like to get all of the bubbles out now, so I will take a roller around the cuff now, with the tape backing still on. Once you let the glue dry, its now time to check out the fit again with the cuff.
Now that it ready to go, time to heat it up again and roll it out. I then run another layer of adhesive tape for the finishing tape, make sure you don't go to liberal on the length and have excess sticking out. Once you get finishing tape roughed in, you can heat it up and roll out all the bubbles. I like to take a o-ring pic and run it in the small gap closest to the cuff to ensure that I get a good seal. Once you are all done you can install the seal.
For the dry gloves I prefer a simple yet effective "chemical" glove that you pull over. The raised edge on the cuff seals and keeps the water out. I also prefer the longer ones which make donning the gloves much less of a pain.
Keep these in mind when you are thinking about a drysuit, or if you have a drysuit and you are tired of getting ice cold hands. We can also install these systems at the shop for you, if you don't want to brave the process yourself.