What is the difference between latex and silicone seals on a drysuit?

Latex and silicone seals are both used as watertight closures around the neck, wrists, and ankles of drysuits. These seals prevent water from entering the suit and help maintain a dry interior. However, they have different characteristics and advantages, and the choice between them often comes down to personal preference and specific needs. Here's a comparison of latex and silicone seals:

Latex Seals:

  1. Material: Latex seals are made from natural rubber latex. They are elastic and provide a snug fit when properly sized.

  2. Comfort: Latex seals can sometimes feel tighter or more constricting than silicone seals, especially for individuals with latex allergies or sensitivities.

  3. Durability: Latex seals are generally less durable than silicone seals and may have a shorter lifespan. Exposure to sunlight, heat, and certain chemicals can cause latex to degrade over time.

  4. Seal Integrity: Latex seals can form a very tight and secure seal when correctly sized, but they may be more prone to accidental tearing if pulled forcefully.

  5. Replacement: Latex seals are typically more affordable to replace compared to silicone seals.

  6. Stretch: Latex seals may have a higher stretch capacity, allowing for a better seal even if the user's movements vary.

  7. Maintenance: Latex seals may require more careful maintenance, such as regular applications of silicone-based seal conditioner to prevent drying and cracking.

  8. Allergies: Some individuals may be allergic to latex, which can cause skin irritation or more severe reactions.

Silicone Seals:

  1. Material: Silicone seals are made from silicone rubber, which is a synthetic material. They are softer and generally more comfortable to wear.

  2. Comfort: Silicone seals tend to be more comfortable for many users, as they are less constricting and cause less irritation.

  3. Durability: Silicone seals are more resistant to UV exposure, heat, and chemicals, which contributes to their longer lifespan compared to latex.

  4. Seal Integrity: Silicone seals provide an effective and comfortable seal without feeling overly tight, reducing the risk of tearing due to stretching.

  5. Replacement: Silicone seals are more expensive to replace than latex seals.

  6. Stretch: Silicone seals have less stretch compared to latex, which can impact fit flexibility.

  7. Maintenance: Silicone seals require less maintenance and are less prone to drying or cracking over time.

  8. Allergies: Silicone is hypoallergenic and generally safer for individuals with latex allergies or sensitivities.


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