Buying new kit is an expensive business. But by following a few easy guidelines you can help keep your kit in good condition which will keep you dry and save you some cash along the way.
A number of simple things can be done that are’t difficult or expensive but can add years onto the life of your kit.
Rinsing your kit in clean water (no soaps or solvents) will help remove any nasties that you may have picked up in the water. It also gives you a chance to check out the condition of your kit as you rinse it down and hang it up to dry.
Check for holes:
Check out the taping on your dry kit. If you have any loose tape you can glue it back down or if it’s in a real mess you could send it back to the manufacturer for repair. Stormsure glue works pretty well for this job as well.
Avoid/Protect from UV:
For all kit UV is a killer. It breaks down sysntheic fabrics, PFD foam, ropes and latex seals. I try to dry my kit out of the way of direct sunlight if I can. Thankfully I have the garage setup so I can handle dripping wet kit without getting water all over the place.
Latex seals can be protected from UV by using Aerospace 303. It can also be used to protect most things from UV degradation including plastics and GRP. I have tried the liquid from diving shops for seals and used talcom powder but none of it has been as good as Aerospace 303. Kayaks and canoes stored out side can also benefit from a coat of this stuff every so often.
Sitting or standing on your kit can cause serious damage. PFD foam can break down if it is compressed. Ropes that are stood upon can have grit and dirt driven into there core, which can lead to failure long term.
When I get changed I use an old rubber car mat to stand on. This saves standing on my deck or other kit to keep my feet clean/dry when I’m getting changed. A rubber mat is also less likely to blow away than a foam changing mat.