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Women VS Men - Who feels warmer?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Who is warmer in your experience, women or men?

  • Women

    Votes: 5 26.3%
  • Men

    Votes: 11 57.9%
  • Equal

    Votes: 3 15.8%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
Jun 19, 2002
It would be interesting to get an honest projection of the "general" tendency to become uncomfortable with cold, when comparing women to men. Maybe there is not a general tendency, but from conversations and experiences, I have thought there is a tendency for women to experience discomfort to cold significantly sooner than men. Again, as a majority rule, not saying there isn't individuals that are contrary to this. I am looking for the sensation of cold discomfort as the primary interest, not who reaches hypothermia first.

So, information that would be useful, but all is optional:

Sex: M
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 165lbs
Age: 29
Neoprene(mm) vs. Minimum Temp vs Max Dive Time vs Dive Activity:
Open-cell Neoprene, Heiwa Low Density, custom fit
3mm/10C degrees/1 hour/line diving; 3mm/10C degrees/2-4 hours/recreational swimming/diving; 5mm/4C degrees/1 hour/line diving; 2-4 hours/recreational swimming/diving
Diet: Lots of carbohydrates, very little amount of meat (avg. once every 2 weeks), protein through various beans, quinoa, hemp, considerable amount of oils and vegetables.

Remember, that dive time should be the time in one dive session with no exiting the water for a rest/warmup period. It should also be the time before you reach any serious hypothermia or control loss, except for fingers/feet. By line diving I am intending competitive training type diving. Resting at the surface with little movement, and dives to depth spaced at least 5 min apart from surfacing to next dive.
Last edited:
There was a show on the discover channel about this a while back that delt with open ocean swimmers experiencing cold. I think that this question has to do with the amount of body fat. Women naturally have a higher amount of body fat then men, so they should be able to handle cold water better then men, I believe that was the concolusion reached.
I think you are addressing a different point. I am talking about the sensation of cold to a point of intollerable discomfort. What you may be referring to is the end product of who will last longer before hypothermia sets in. These are two totally different things.

But even then, I would not easily agree with that...

The idea that it is solely based upon the amount of fat, or even mainly, seems to be very erroneous. Metabolism, blood thickness, extent and speed of blood shunting, hair, general blood circulation, muscle mass, distribution of fat, etc... all affect the sensation and effects of cold on a body.

I think if their study was serious, what they probably tested was, extremely similar bodies and training where the body fat became the deciding factor.

I am considered to be very lean, some would say skinny, and have been estimated to have about 8-10% body fat. I am definately warmer than women with more body fat that have challenged the same environments as I. If it was down to body fat alone, then it would not make sense that in the same room, people experience dramatic differences in temperature, even when they have the equivalent amount of fat. With every partner I have been with, all having more fat than I, I have always been extremely hot, and them the extreme opposite. They can't get enough of my heat, and I need to get away from them so I don't overheat.
Oh, I also meant to mention that cold adaptation is most likely a HUGE factor! If you compare people that have been training in the same circumstances, then yes, most of their adaptations will be similar, and extra fat becomes an added factor on top. But people have studied and determined that cold adaptions are profound. Body fat could actually slow the cold adaptation, giving men an advantage.

So, my query here is not trying to see if given the same person in all ways, woman and man, after years of training to the same harsh conditions, are they going to have equal ability to be cold. Instead I am looking for the average person/participant in cold activities and out of these, how do women compare to men. This may include factors such as who has a higher tendency to dive more frequently in the cold, who gives up when their body is slightly cold as opposed to shaking cold, who has a faster, more thorough diving-reflex, etc... I think definately this will bring different results.
Remember that I intend this thread to answer from experience, not from theory.

As an example, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank is a cold water trained diver, with considerable experience, and more or equal body fat than many of the fellows diving in the same conditions. She consistently comes out shivering and shows complete discomfort in the same conditions, with an extra 2mm of neoprene, and staying in for half the time as the guys. Body fat definately is not the deciding factor here.
Hey Tyler

I think that women are naturally slightly anaemic because of their monthly blood loss. Perhaps this affects their endurance to cold in some degree regardless of body fat. Have been giving the subject some thought in the quest to figure out why my girlfriends hands and feet are perpetually ice cold:D
Haha brilliant post! Guess I couldn't have hit it on the head better. Thanks for the reference.
Interesting thread, thanks Tyler. I held off getting on to this thread because I don't have anything analytical to offer, just general observation. I'm long and real skinny, even more than Tyler, and get cold easily compared to most of the guys I dive with. Body fat or maybe body mass/ surface area ratio must have some effect. However, I've noticed that lady divers tend to feel cold faster than me. Not a very large sample nor are they generally as much of a water fanatic, but the trend is pretty obvious. Part of that may be explained by activity level. In my limited sample, ladys tend to move around less than guys (down Sven). That would tend to generate less heat and shorted their period of comfort in the water.

I believe that ones body mass and % of body fat has a lot to do with it, thus smaller or leaner individuals will feel colder earlier, and if you are like me and BOTH small and lean - you're pretty much screwed! :waterwork Because we simply don't have the same amount of "insulation"!

As for activity level - during the course of the dive I can't find that to be a factor with the exception of DECO - when there is no thermocline present.. But on the bottom and during the active part of the dive, I've kept pace with x-military divers, dived in wicked currents, and I will still lose the dexterity in my fingers to the point where I can't clip a reel back onto a d-ring, or remove my stage bottle at the end of a dive! I've also surfaced and taken off my dry suit to find white patches of skin on the bottom of my feet and toes. My husband who usually is in the water slightly before me and out after me has never experience either of these. But the same will hold true with snow skiing, he'll be taking another run down the mountain while I am dashing thru the lodge to find a place to defrost my feet!

There is definitely cold conditioning as well - those that live in colder climates will have more "brown fat" (that is what keeps Eskimo's warmer). I am much more adapted to diving in 40 to 50 degree water than some one of my same size and stature that lives in the Caribbean! I'm also wondering if your personal level of tolerance plays a part in this... each person has their tolerance to pain.. they may have that as it relates to cold as well.

I can say switching from open circuit to closed circuit really helped with my thermal "stamina" and I have noticed the recent switch to neoprene counter lungs (keeps the loop warmer) that I've been able to add another 10 minutes or more to my bottom time (in 50 degree water) as compared to the vinyl lungs.
Not to discount the physiological differences, but perhaps culture plays a role also. Men are generally culturally conditioned to not "be wimps" as was said earlier, and women the opposite (Generally, I've known some tough chicks). Perhaps women just vocalize their discomfort more and men less. When in actuality they feel the same amount of discomfort.

Just a thought...

picksmither said:
Men are generally culturally conditioned to not "be wimps" as was said earlier, and women the opposite (Generally, I've known some tough chicks). Perhaps women just vocalize their discomfort more and men less. When in actuality they feel the same amount of discomfort.
That won't explain why I'm wearing short sleeves and still open a window in the classroom on the brink of winter while the girls sitting next to me will be donning their third layer of cloths already. And I'm more to lean/average regarding fat tissue(not american average!;)). I have the same expirience as Tyler and Connor regarding women partners getting colder (except one case only).
Therefore I totally buy what's written in NoBubbles' link.

On the other hand tolerance is definitly something that varies. I'm a warm weather dweller, any girl from a cold climate would probably outlast me (in water.;)).
I work in cold and severly cold environments occupationally, and I have experienced that those around me often need to wear gloves, jackets, and other thermally protecting devices. One interesting phenomenon relating to thermally insulating devices is that such devices will eventually become cold themselves. I have found that there seems to be a relationship between a substances resistance to aquiring heat and a substances resistance to releasing heat. Maybe body fat is harder to cool, but a lot of a woman's extra body fat is subject to the thermal consequences of blood shunting, which will cause it to cool quicker. Once this body fat becomes cold, I am suggesting that it will stay that way for a longer duration than will other shunted extremeties.
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