When you bought your very first drysuit, I’m sure you were really happy with it. Drysuits are meant to keep you dry until they don’t because of the tiniest hole. Drysuits can be very challenging at times, especially when you use them on a daily basis like us instructors do.
First Experience With My Drysuit
The first time I used a drysuit was probably at the end of 2016. The water was getting much colder due to it being winter. It was time that I did my PADI Drysuit Specialty. What an experience it was! It’s very comfortable and best of all, I was warm and dry! What more could you ask for? After my PADI Drysuit Specialty, I needed to buy my own drysuit. Drysuits can be a very big expense, but for me, it was totally worth it. I love my drysuit, but when it leaks, my relationship with my drysuit is not the best. I enjoy teaching the PADI Drysuit Specialty as I get to see most students have the same reaction as me when I did my PADI Drysuit Specialty.
Drysuits come in different materials, shapes, and sizes. The most common materials that are used for drysuits are Neoprene, crushed neoprene, and trilaminate.
Neoprene suits are beneficial in that they provide thermal protection, whereas, with others, you will need to wear additional undergarments. The neoprene suits are more form-fitted, which means less air to be used in the suit and offer the diver a more streamlined suit. Neoprene suits are economical in the sense that they are typically less expensive and eliminate the need to buy undergarments as well.
Crushed neoprene drysuits are basically a super-thick wetsuit that’s been crushed or compressed. Compression makes the suit thinner, waterproof, and reduces buoyancy changes as divers ascend or descend. Neoprene suits are warmer than trilaminate suits, but they are also heavier.
So with crushed neoprene suits, we will need to wear more weight than with trilaminate suits. Divers can wear lighter undergarments compared to trilaminate suits. Crushed neoprene tend to have back zips only
A trilaminate suit is made up of three thin layers of material laminated together. That’s where it gets it’s named “tri” meaning three. Trilaminate suits are the lightest weight drysuit of all, but the strongest types of drysuits. The suits dry very quickly after diving or rinsing. Trilaminate material is also available in a very thin, breathable configuration that is used for diving in the tropics. The cut of these suits can be a bit more comfortable than a typical cold water drysuit since the warm water suit is designed to be used with less insulation. For long-duration dives in warm water, this is an especially good way to keep warm in the tropics if you get cold very easily.
Front Or Back Zip
Which one appeals to you? It depends on how much you would like to spend on a drysuit and what type of diving you are doing.
I reckon that, depending on the brand, a front zip drysuit is more expensive than back zips. Front zip drysuits are easier to get out of as you can unzip yourself from the front and across your body. With back zips, you will need some assistance as it unzips from left shoulder to right shoulder along your back. While technical diving, in a twinset, you will learn how to do a valve drill (closing your cylinders) with back zip, will restrict you from reaching your valves. With a front zip, you will have more flexibility to reach your valves.
Overall, choosing your own drysuit depends on how much you are willing to spend on it and what type of diving you are going to use it for.
If you want to learn more about drysuits why not consider doing your PADI Drysuit Specialty with us.
Written By: Jasper Mulder