The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part – petty
I had a student in a class recently who told me a story of the new Gore-Tex dry top his parents bought him last Christmas. From there it didn’t go well. Whenever he put on the dry top, his head and his hands turned red and swelled up like balloons. He’d lose feeling in his fingers. He complained of not being able to breathe very well. His parents wanted to return it right away. He didn’t. He’d read on the internet that dry gear could be uncomfortable and he simply needed to “get used to it”. Finally though, his parents won out. They sent it back.
When I heard this story, I could envision the whole thing. I’d heard it before. I’d been there myself actually. When you don’t have any frame of reference and just do a bit of web surfing, you quickly come away thinking dry gear is meant to be uncomfortable. Of course that’s not the case. When those of us who wear dry gear regularly use the word, “uncomfortable” we don’t mean strangled, swelling and red.. That’s something completely different. We usually mean it in the same way that some guys don’t like wearing neckties, more phobic than threatening. Your head should not be turning the color of a discarded beet.
Happily today my favorite delivery guy showed up today with a cool new black Kokatat Gore-Tex Rogue Dry Top. This gives me the opportunity to walk you through the steps I take to make the top nice and comfortable. It will take me a few days to get it where I want it, but you’re welcome to follow along.
The first thing I did this evening of course, was just try on the top. I put on a few base layers under the top just to be sure I’d have extra room when it got cold outside! The top fit fine. The only downside was that I had to pull on the neck gasket the whole time or I’d go woozy from the lack of oxygen. I could also feel my pulse thumping away in both wrists. This is the situation the student I mentioned above had found himself in. Of course, I’ve been here before so I know what to expect.
You read a lot online about trimming gaskets, but we don’t want to go there. Not just yet anyway. The latex will stretch a bit. I can’t tell you how much exactly, but over time the latex will become more comfortable on its own. To rush things along I’ve put wide jars through both wrist gaskets. (see the picture above) If you don’t have jars try soda cans or a bit of fat PVC pipe.. whatever.. just something round that you can stretch the latex over. For the neck gasket a coffee can is great. I found an old vinegar bottle myself. Again, anything round that will stretch the latex yet won’t tear the gasket will do. Now the hard part comes… The waiting. I’m going to let my gear stretch out over night and try it again tomorrow. I’ll probably then have to let them stretch another day or so. I’m going to give them time. I’m not in a hurry to trim anything. Once you start cutting… Well, as they say, “You can’t go back.”
I felt bad that the student I mentioned didn’t know what to expect when he first got his new dry top. He probably went through a lot of unnecessary disappointment and discomfort when in fact he and his parents were making pretty intelligent decisions.
* Update: All it took was overnight with the jars to make the wrist gaskets comfortable. The neck also loosened up quite a bit, but I might have to do more with that yet.