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Dry suits

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ayll38

New Member
Dec 11, 2003
9
0
0
Hi

I'm in need of some advice. I will be purchasing my first dry suit and have not a clue as to which type or what to look out for when choosing a dry suit. Can anyone give some clues along with any makes in particular?

Thanks
Alan
 

jeannette

Tech Editor
Feb 28, 2003
10
0
0
Hi Alan,

It's really tricky to offer advice, beacuse it's really very personal. Ideally, try and find a shop as part of a school - they may have a couple that you could try.

There's two main types - neoprene and membrane. I have tried both and I like both for different reasons and applications.

It will depend a lot on what kind of diving you intend to do, and what duration your dives tend to be and will be in the furture.
Price is also a consideration and whether you will get an off the peg or need made-to-measure. Let's say if you are over 7 feet tall, you may not have as many choices.

Good makes to look at include
03 - for custom made neoprene suits of excellent standard and are top end of the market on price.
DUI - custom and off the peg - again top end of the market - offer neoprene and membrane suits.

Let us know a little more about what you are interested in and we will be able to offer some more info.

Cheers
Jeannette
 

ayll38

New Member
Dec 11, 2003
9
0
0
Hi Jeannette

Thanks for your reply.

I'm planning to use a dry suit for winter diving, I'm located in Hong Kong so its still pretty warm waters compared to places like UK, the air temperature here in winter gets to around 5-10 degrees celcius, I'm not sure what the water temp would be like though, maybe slightly lower.

However, I'm looking for something that will be versatile enough so that later I could use for diving to greater depths like around 100m, without needing to buy a new suit. I haven't started diving that depth yet, but have plans to start soon.

Over here in HK it is easier to get a ScubaPro dry suit, do you know if that make is any good in terms of quality and reliability. And how does it compare with the makes you mentioned? I don't think I hear that many people on the board mention about this make for dry suits, or on many other boards.

Are neoprene and membrane suit for different types of diving?

Thanks
Alan
 
L

londonsean69

Guest
Alan

The new ScubaPro membrane suit is very nice. I was going to get one, but got an Oceanic Aerdura instead. Several of the instructors at my shop have got the ScubaPro and all rave about it.
I would go for membrane everytime, but thats personal opinion. As far as water temp goes, decent undergarments like xerotherm or fourth element, plus some thermals will beat just about any cold. I was in 5 degrees in February, and only used a little diamond 200gm thinsulate, feet got cold but then again I forgot my socks!!
My new Oceanic has, like the ScubaPro, neoprene boots, so you can use thinner socks.
I went for the Oceanic because it came up at the right price, was a perfect fit, is very hard wearing, and is also used by our armed forces, so it must be tough!!

I hope this helps, and if all else fails, you could go for electric suit heating!!
 

jeannette

Tech Editor
Feb 28, 2003
10
0
0
Hiya,

Hmm - so many things to consider - I will assign one of the writers to do a full run down I think:D

I would say that membrane suits are much of a much and it's probably a good way to go where you are; because you can use as many or few undergarments as necessary. It's much more versatile in that way.
I dive with my membrane drysuit in the red sea, in spring, with just t-shirt and shorts underneath. I find that I am much more comfortable because when I get out because I am not being chilled by the wind.

Neoprene and membrane is mainly down to personal preference. I like either but generally don't fuss so much about my kit as other people do.
You may find at extreme depths, that a thick neoprene suit does tend to crush and lose it's thermal capability. But generally bottom times are short and on ascent the neoprene regains it's thermal properties for the long stops.

I don't think you will go too far wrong with the one that you mention at all to be honest. Just be careful of tearing this kind of suit and finding yourself very cold indeed - get smoe good quality under garments that will help with this - the ones mentioned by Sean are good.

Have fun - Hope that helps.
Jeannette
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
188
54
HMMM, Drystuits

Here's an area which I have had a lot of experience in. I have owned about a half dozen different drysuits over the past 20+ years and have tried even more. Since we do almost all of our wreck divng in water less than 40 degrees (5C) I have had a lot of time to think about these suits- especially when doing extended deco hangs in a flooded suit.

My first two suits were neoprene. They were the only things around at the time and they are cheap, compared to membrane suits. Other than that I wouldn't waste my money on them. The bouyancy changes are much more drastic than on a membrane suit and they material will eventually get pinholes in it as the material disintegrates while you wear it. The loose bouyancy and warmth with depth and require lots of extra air in your BC to compensate- which can wreck your trim underwater and make you more unstable. They are the cheapest suits out there.


My next two suits were Vulcanized Rubber, Vikings to be exact. These were great suits at the time as they were the first totally dry drysuits that my friends and I ever owned. They are still used for divng in contaminated water because they can be cleaned very easily. The main reason I went away from this type of suit was Zebra Mussels. Those are the sharp little clams that invaded the Great Lakes about 10-15 years ago and slice through these rubber suits like a hot knife through butter.

Next suits up were the DUI variety. My CF200 was very comfortable and quite durable. It took FOREVER to dry though- there where whole weeks in the summer time where my suit never completely dried out. Compare this to a Viking, which can dry out in less than 15 minutes an a sunny day, and it became a bit of a pain. Still, it was one of my favorite suits, but a bit of a pain to try and repair.

After that I went to a TLS-350. This was my favortie suit, and the one I would buy again. It was light, dried fast, easy to repair, nice to travle with, allowed for easy adjustment of undergarments for diving in all temperatures, and cheaper than the CF200. For the diving that you plan on doing I would highly recommend it.

Next suit was a DUI CLX-450. Since I liked the TLS suit so much I thought that I would try this suit since it was extra reinforced. I hated it. The suit was just too bulky and hard to move in. Not as bad as a neoprene suit, but nowhere near as comfortable as the other suits that I have owned.

DUI is only one comapny that I would recommend. Another suit that I have used, and many of my freinds have as well, are the Diving Concept's drysuits. They make customsuits in any kind of material, except vulcanized rubber, and come in cheaper than a DUI suit. Northern Diver makes a very similar range of suits- I think that the two companies where once merged. Hunter/Gates makes TLS, CLX, and rubber suits. They are excellent suits if you don't mind your zipper across your shoulders.

There are lots of genaric suits out there, by Scuba Pro, Oceanic, Zeagle, DiveRite, Dacor, Mares, ect. But they are all made for them by other, drysuit specific, companies.

Look for a TLS suit. Try to get one with a front zip, and then go for the best deal you can get in your local market.

I hope that helps,
Jon
 

ayll38

New Member
Dec 11, 2003
9
0
0
Thanks Jeannette,Sean and Jon for your advices, its really helped me decide what to go for and what to look out for.

Membranes certainly sound a lot more flexible in controlling level of warmth, which I hope will allow to have the one suit for different types of dives. I don't think I'd like to own more than one, especially at that kind of $.

I'll try to look for a TLS in Hong Kong, however, I think I would be hard pressed to locate a dealer, and I am not too keen to order overseas as I know the shipping would be horrendous and I would not be able to try out first. It would good to be able to compare the TLS and ScubaPro though.

Happy and safe diving
Alan
 

jrk

New Member
Aug 24, 2004
1
0
0
Re: HMMM, Drystuits

Originally posted by Jon
Here's an area which I have had a lot of experience in. I have owned about a half dozen different drysuits over the past 20+ years and have tried even more. Since we do almost all of our wreck divng in water less than 40 degrees (5C) I have had a lot of time to think about these suits- especially when doing extended deco hangs in a flooded suit.

My first two suits were neoprene. They were the only things around at the time and they are cheap, compared to membrane suits. Other than that I wouldn't waste my money on them. The bouyancy changes are much more drastic than on a membrane suit and they material will eventually get pinholes in it as the material disintegrates while you wear it. The loose bouyancy and warmth with depth and require lots of extra air in your BC to compensate- which can wreck your trim underwater and make you more unstable. They are the cheapest suits out there.


My next two suits were Vulcanized Rubber, Vikings to be exact. These were great suits at the time as they were the first totally dry drysuits that my friends and I ever owned. They are still used for divng in contaminated water because they can be cleaned very easily. The main reason I went away from this type of suit was Zebra Mussels. Those are the sharp little clams that invaded the Great Lakes about 10-15 years ago and slice through these rubber suits like a hot knife through butter.

Next suits up were the DUI variety. My CF200 was very comfortable and quite durable. It took FOREVER to dry though- there where whole weeks in the summer time where my suit never completely dried out. Compare this to a Viking, which can dry out in less than 15 minutes an a sunny day, and it became a bit of a pain. Still, it was one of my favorite suits, but a bit of a pain to try and repair.

After that I went to a TLS-350. This was my favortie suit, and the one I would buy again. It was light, dried fast, easy to repair, nice to travle with, allowed for easy adjustment of undergarments for diving in all temperatures, and cheaper than the CF200. For the diving that you plan on doing I would highly recommend it.

Next suit was a DUI CLX-450. Since I liked the TLS suit so much I thought that I would try this suit since it was extra reinforced. I hated it. The suit was just too bulky and hard to move in. Not as bad as a neoprene suit, but nowhere near as comfortable as the other suits that I have owned.

DUI is only one comapny that I would recommend. Another suit that I have used, and many of my freinds have as well, are the Diving Concept's drysuits. They make customsuits in any kind of material, except vulcanized rubber, and come in cheaper than a DUI suit. Northern Diver makes a very similar range of suits- I think that the two companies where once merged. Hunter/Gates makes TLS, CLX, and rubber suits. They are excellent suits if you don't mind your zipper across your shoulders.

There are lots of genaric suits out there, by Scuba Pro, Oceanic, Zeagle, DiveRite, Dacor, Mares, ect. But they are all made for them by other, drysuit specific, companies.

Look for a TLS suit. Try to get one with a front zip, and then go for the best deal you can get in your local market.

I hope that helps,
Jon

Hello Jon,
I've been thinking of getting rid of my cf200 and moving towards one of the Viking suits. I am assuming that the v. rubber suits would be much drier. Did you feel that you felt drier in the rubber suits by Viking that the other trilam or neopreme suits you have tried? Appreciate the time.

Randy
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
188
54
I felt drier in my Viking than my CF200, but not compared to my TLS 350 and CLX 450- both of which I put dry hoods and dry gloves on. I felt equally as dry in the TLS suit as my Viking.

I was still pretty excited when I wnet to a viking as it was the first real drysuit I had ever worn- my first two were 1/4" neoprene and while being warm, they are never truly as dry as a membrane suit.

Viking is a much heavier suit than the tls, or clx, but not as heavy as the Cf200.

I hope that helps.

Jon
 

wreck-tekkie

New Member
Aug 29, 2004
2
0
0
43
Hi John,

I also need a new drysuit and I was thinking about the DUI CLX 450. But in one or your previous mails you stated that you hated it. I aggree that the TLS 350 is much lighter any maby more comfortable but all my dives are wreck dives on the northsea with a lot of penetrations and also a lot of work with air lifts so a lot of the time I sitting in or on top op the wreck. so I'm a little bit worried for the TLS 350.

Is the CLX 450 really that bad? How is it comparing to the CF200? Is is less or more comfortable.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best Regards,
Duncan
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
188
54
Duncan,

I did plenty or wreck and salvage dives in my TLS 350 without much of a problem. The only time I ever put a cut in the suit was topside after a dive- and I patched it thatnight so I could dive the next. The suit is so nice and light, for easy movement, drying, and travel that I would still have to call it my favorite

I would still pick a TLS for most of the dives and, then, put on a pair of coveralls over the suit for the really dirty work- like airlifts and such.

Or, the Cf-200 was also a really good suit- and a close second to my TLS as a favorite suit to dive. It was very comfortable and I enjoyed wearing it much more than the CLX-450. Just be prepared for the extended drying time and increased difiuculty in repairing the suit yourself.

Hope that helps,

Jon
 
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