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My kayaking drysuit has become porous in a couple of places, mainly around the knees. I'd like to prolong its life at least for the rest of this paddling season.

After paddling the other day I found my legs and especially feet were wet. I'd had to wade into shallows a couple of times sorting boats out after swims. At home, rinsing my kit, I put a hose inside, and while the suit was mainly as waterproof as expected, there were at least 2 areas that allowed water to seep out. There are no signs of damage on the outside, and only the very slightest hint of abrasion damage on the inside. The picture below shows the inside of this region, along with an old repair to a hole caused by barbed wire (clicking on the image to view full size makes it a little clearer). I'm not even sure that it's real damage, but I do find myself kneeling on rough ground at times.

Possible damage to inside of drysuit

As these areas are normally damp on the outside anyway, they don't really need to be breathable. Is there anything I can do to repair it?

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I would try to pinpoint exactly where the water is getting in from. Is there one little leaky spot within the whole abrasion or is it uniformly leaky? From your description of water "seeping" out it sounds like the fabric's layers are at least in tact enough to keep the pressure low. Since it is low pressure you can just cover the leaky area with Tenacious tape or a similar gear repair tape. It'll be thin, flexible, and waterproof. For comfort purposes you can even put it on the outside of the drysuit in the affected area. They make a bunch of colors so you can even match it somewhat to your fabric color if you care about that. It won't be breathable but it's a small enough area that I wouldn't worry about that too much.

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  • As far as I could tell with the hose it was an area no more than a few cm each way - or perhaps 2x3". As the drysuit is black, I could easily match the outside, but it's quite near an original curved reinforcing patch on the knee so some careful cutting might be in order. Comfort won't be an issue inside - I normally wear quick-drying hiking trousers underneath so wouldn't feel the edge. Maybe I'll do both faces
    – Chris H
    Jan 4, 2022 at 22:22
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    Just be aware that a double face repair will be stiffer. Depending on where it is on the drysuit it could get annoying. Also, consider just blue taping the patches in place and making sure it is comfortable with your kayak(s) outfitting before actually applying them. I'd be afraid of feeling that edge every time I engage my knees.
    – noah
    Jan 4, 2022 at 23:13
  • I'm really not too worried about the edge - though maybe I will be when the tape turns up in a few days. Perhaps it's not the kind of thing I find uncomfortable
    – Chris H
    Jan 5, 2022 at 9:33

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