How to choose a diving suit: from the size to the most suitable type of suit based on the activity you intend to carry out.
If you are wonderinghow to choose a diving suit, you are probably new to diving. For this reason I want to give you a complete overview so as to leave you free choice. Why? Whythere is nobetter wetsuit but only the one that will become your favorite based on personal needs!
Types of diving suit
The packs are divided into two major categories:
- wetsuits in neoprene and semi-dry suits
- dry suits in fabric or neoprene
Neoprene is a good insulating material but has a lower specific weight than water so it will tend to make you float, keep this in mind when choosing the weights (ballast).
In the family ofwet suits, as you have seen, I have also included thesemi-dry suits, these are so called because they allow the entry of a certain amount of water through zippers placed on the neck, cuffs, ankles, seams ... Let's see all the details.
If you want to choose a wetsuit for freediving, you can read the articlehow to do underwater fishing.
How to choose a wetsuit: things to know
In thewet suits, the layer of water that forms between the inner lining and the diver's body heats up to a condition of thermal equilibrium.
On the market you will find two-piece wetsuits. Generally more suitable for those who want to freedive or for those who dive purely in summer or at limited depths, therefore in waters at temperatures above 10 ° C. Two-piece wetsuits are easier to put on but are unsuitable for those who suffer from the cold. The overlap between jacket and trousers can take place at the waist or with dungarees, forming a double protection. Thetwo-piece wetsuitsthey are produced with or without belt. Typically the thickness of these suits is 5 mm.
They are not missingone-piece wetsuitswhich offer a lower internal water exchange and therefore tend to maintain a thermal equilibrium for longer times. In contrast, theone-piece wetsuitshave a zipper on the bust, you can solve this problem by wearing an undersuit. Typically the thickness of these suits is 3 or 5 mm.
The thickness of the suit is important because it is what guarantees you protection from the cold. Personally I tend to suffer a lot from the cold so I use 5 or 6 mm wetsuits even in midsummer and for dives up to 18 meters, for deeper dives I even opt for the 7 mm in midsummer or a semi-dry suit. But as I said, these are subjective choices.
How to choose a semi-dry suit, things to know
In my opinion, it is an excellent choice because it allows you to dive even in spring, when the waters are colder and in summer it protects you from the cold at great depths.
The semi-dry suits are stillwet suits, have a greater thickness, 6-7 mm and have the characteristic of minimizing the exchange of water. The zipper is generally placed on the shoulders to not hinder the movements, they can have a zipper at the wrists, ankles and around the neck. These wetsuits are generally applied with smooth neoprene finishes that adhere better to the skin, limiting the entry of water to a minimum.
How to choose a dry suit, things to know
If you are wonderinghow to choose a dry suit, he is probably planning a dive in cold water. Thedry suits do not allow any passage of water, so, when you finish a dive, your body is completely dry!
Inside, the drysuit has a latex or neoprene glove and the shoes (soft or rigid) are integrated into the suit, so there is no risk that water can penetrate from the ankles.
If you wantchoose a dry suit, know that there are different materials, if in the case of a wetsuit the predominant material was neoprene, here there are special high-density neoprene or fabric drysuits to which layers of polyurethane or rubber are added to ensure maximum waterproofing.
All thedry suitsthey are equipped with a valve powered by a low pession whip which is connected to the diver's cylinder and allows air to enter to reach equilibrium with the external pressure, this prevents the suit from collapsing. Theredry suitalways integrates also a safety valve that allows to expel any excess air.
Since the materials that make up the drysuit do not provide good thermal protection, underneath the drysuit you need to wear undersuits that will remain dry.
How to choose the size of the diving suit
The size of the suit is a crucial factor. If to choose a model (wet, semi-dry, waterproof, split, smooth, two-piece, one-piece….) You can rely on your personal tastes and your aptitude to suffer the cold, you can't go wrong with the size!
A wetsuit that is too large will condemn you to too many water changes (which result in heat loss) and will cause you to have difficulty in centering your buoyancy. A wetsuit that is too small can cause you problems with blood circulation and movement.
Each manufacturer (Mares, Cressi, Henderson…) has its own table with measurements of waist, bust…. and respective body weights. According to the table, choose the right size and remember that the wetsuit is not unisex, so you will have to choose a women's or men's wetsuit according to your build. In the photo above a partial table to choose the size of the Cressi wetsuit, similar tables can be found on the website of Mares and other manufacturers.
Please note: I did not mention the shorty wetsuit because it is more suitable for those who want to choose a snorkeling or freediving wetsuit.