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Suit Advice for Very cold Conditions

Aaron Furman

Member
Nov 3, 2017
3
1
13
58
Portugal
Hi, This is my first post!

I'm planning to travel to Norway (North of Tromso) this November to swim and freedive with orcas, although, honestly, I hate cold water. Love cetaceans!

I normally use 7mm open cell high waist pants and jacket in the 14 degree centigrade water near Lisbon, Portugal. Some people would be fine with 5mm here, but not me. Conditions in Norway will likely be 3 to 6 degree water and 0 to -3 degree air. We'll be diving from a RIB or other small boat and will step into cold weather survival survival suits over our wetsuits between dives. Most of the people say they will use dry suits with a ton of weight, but that sounds really awful to me. My tentative plan is to use one of the two setups below:


10mm Yamamoto open cell/nylon lining high waist pants and top + 3 mm open cell/skin vest + 7mm socks and gloves
or
9mm Heiwa open cell/skin long john pants and top + 3 mm open cell/skin vest + 7mm socks and gloves


First off, do you guys and girls who know cold water think that this would be enough to stay warm?
I know that the 9mm outer skin option will be a lot warmer while wet above water and there will be plenty of entries, exits and waiting on the boat. Do you think that will be enough of a plus to balance that the suit is 1mm thinner? I worry about not having that extra 1mm while in the water.

Thanks in advance everyone.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
You'll need a lot of lead! Take a look at Daniel Man's youtube videos. He has, I think, 2 on halibut spearing in Norway, one on diving Iceland and one or two in diving Denmark. Also another on the kit he packs. I think he has a 9mm suit and/or 10mm suit.

7mm for Portugal?! Low body fat/metabolism?
 

Oldsarge

Deeper Blue Budget Bwana
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 13, 2004
2,789
529
203
73
On the banks of the Willamette
You must be young and healthy. Ever since I moved to Portland my 9mm suit has hung in the garage. The water up here is just too blamed cold for me and Norway? Brrrrr . . .
 

marco15499

Laguneros Spearfishing
Apr 4, 2011
192
64
68
North Miami, FL
You better get a custom made smoothskin wetsuit. No lining at all, just neoprene. But ebing custom, it would fit better avoiding water circulation and air bubbles.

Polosub, Eliossub, Marea and others offer many options. In Portugal, you have Picasso, who have off the shelf smoothskin (chicle) wetsuits.
 
OP
OP
Aaron Furman

Aaron Furman

Member
Nov 3, 2017
3
1
13
58
Portugal
You'll need a lot of lead! Take a look at Daniel Man's youtube videos. He has, I think, 2 on halibut spearing in Norway, one on diving Iceland and one or two in diving Denmark. Also another on the kit he packs. I think he has a 9mm suit and/or 10mm suit.

7mm for Portugal?! Low body fat/metabolism?
Thanks for the YouTube video advice. Really helpful! I wouldn't call myself that low body fat - just hate cold water.
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,842
1,525
418
Sunny Britain
You must be young and healthy. Ever since I moved to Portland my 9mm suit has hung in the garage. The water up here is just too blamed cold for me and Norway? Brrrrr . . .
Didn't realise it was so cold there Sarge - I'm assuming Portland, Oregon. No Gulf Stream warming on the West Coast I suppose.
 

stefpix

Member
Aug 15, 2015
47
8
23
53
Brooklyn NY
stefanogiovannini.com
You could just add a 3 mm vest. Main issue would be finger tips and feet. I am in NY. Dove in 5 centigrade here. 5 mm suit or 5 mm + vest. I have 5 mm gloves. But in cold water the fingerprints feel cold and constrained.ni would get one size up cold water gloves and socks. Also if your fins are tight your feet may feel colder.

how long do you plan to stay in the water?
I would, do a run or some physical exercise before getting into the wetsuit, so you warm up. Are they going to provide weights up there?
It is something on the bucket list. Is it very expensive?
 
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OP
Aaron Furman

Aaron Furman

Member
Nov 3, 2017
3
1
13
58
Portugal
You could just add a 3 mm vest. Main issue would be finger tips and feet. I am in NY. Dove in 5 centigrade here. 5 mm suit or 5 mm + vest. I have 5 mm gloves. But in cold water the fingerprints feel cold and constrained.ni would get one size up cold water gloves and socks. Also if your fins are tight your feet may feel colder.

how long do you plan to stay in the water?
I would, do a run or some physical exercise before getting into the wetsuit, so you warm up. Are they going to provide weights up there?
It is something on the bucket list. Is it very expensive?
Yes it is very expensive but, as you say, bucket list. Luckily getting to Norway from Portugal is cheap.

I am planning to bring a 3mm ultra-skin vest and 7mm gloves and boots. They will provide weights. I expect I will need a lot of them. I think 5 centigrade with a 5mm would kill me. Much respect.
 

stefpix

Member
Aug 15, 2015
47
8
23
53
Brooklyn NY
stefanogiovannini.com
PS also I would not bother for thicker pants, maybe you can just get a thicker top. But I would def go one size up with the gloves. Better roomy than tight.
I went in the Long Island sound in April the year before. water was around that temperature. I did get a very cold sensation on my face, some soreness in my nose like when sometimes you eat some ice cream, but the face adjusted. I had 5mm + 3mm open cell vest on top of it. But first thing to feel cold after a while, toes and fingertips. But it was sunny 15 C on land, makes it much nicer. I would wear the wetsuitbefore getting on the boat, maybe wear it indoors, and wear a puffer windproof jacket on the boat.
Which organization did you use? how long is the dive? how many dives?
 

hteas

Well-Known Member
Mar 9, 2005
945
132
148
72
Anchorage, AK
I noticed a real increase in comfort changing from a 7mm top tp a 9mm top, staying with 7mm long john and 7mm 3-finger gloves and socks when winter diving in Alaska. The smooth skin outer is definitely a good idea. Just watch out when putting it on and taking it off. They can be very fragile.
 
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