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Drysuit underwear temp range recommendations


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#1 rtrski

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:49 AM

I know a lot of this is 'personal preference' and everyone has a slightly different comfort zone. But in general is there a fairly standard chart somewhere that equates a given thickness or grade of drysuit insulation to a given temp range?

As stated in the subtopic I'm specifically interested in under a 3.5 mm crushed neoprene type wetsuit (Waterproof brand, D10 Pro), as that's what I've got arriving shortly.

For my first real "open" (well, cavern, but certainly non-pool) dives with it I'll be in a mine at 58 deg (F). For that temp I'm thinking even just a thin set of polypropylene undies as more of a moisture transport/wicking material vs. a lot of airspace "loft" or "fleece" layer should be enough. Prior experience has mostly been in the 70deg (F) plus range. Last trip, 3-tank days with 1 hr per dive at 78deg water temps with a 2/2 shorty I was getting a bit chilled, but in general I don't think I'm that cold-natured.

I will be wearing a hood and wet gloves - both probably 3-5 mm thicknesses.

In the long run also interested (but no immediate plans) in the Pacific NW or even joining one of the WP Alaska trips. For that I'm guessing "go for broke" with undergarments, even under neoprene vs. trilam...

Edited by rtrski, 22 March 2012 - 07:51 AM.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#2 Aquapaul

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:28 AM

That crushed neoprene suit will have quite a bit of warmth on it's own. I would think you wouldn't need much, just enough to wick moisture like you say and to keep you skin from getting pinched. I live in Michigan and when our lakes get to that temperature a lot of us dive in just blue jeans and a sweat shirt, not ideal but warm enough.
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#3 rtrski

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:50 AM

OK, so by comparison to you, I'm definitely on the 'wimp' end of the thermal comfort preference scale. Just jeans and a sweatshirt in 58deg water? Or did you mean those are your 'liner' inside the drysuit???

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#4 Timmoranuk

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:15 PM

IMHO crushed neoprene dry suits (2.5mm) do not have as much inherent warmth as thicker 'standard' neoprene (5mm). I use both weights of suit by O'Three - the 'Ri' and the 'MSF'. I couple these with either Xerotherm or Arctic undersuits by Fourth Element. I always use a base wicking layer by Snowbee.

The Ri and Xerotherm is the summer, recreational combo and the MSF and Arctic is the winter or technical combo.

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#5 Aquapaul

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:00 PM

Ya, those are our liner. 4th Element is pretty good stuff not to bulky for the warmth you get, 4th element has a wicking layer you can buy too, my wife loves hers. I don't think you are wimp at all, I get cold with my 3mm in 78 degree water, I may be the wimp here.

The one thing that you need to consider with insulation is that the more you add the more lead you will need. Sure don't want to be cold but don't take any extra either.
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#6 Rainer

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:25 PM

Jeans and a sweatshirt would be pretty awful (dangerous even) if you had a major flood and any sort of in-water obligation.

Our local SoCal waters are usually 50-60F, depending on area and time of year. If I'm doing multiple dives per day or dives requiring decompression obligations, I'll usually take a 400g Thinsulate undergarment. That's with a crushed neo suit. I'm not carrying a lot of bioprene, I hate being cold, and I know what happens if a suit floods. When only doing one dive in a day, especially in warmer water/weather, I'll break out the 300g Polartec. Just easier to gear up in those and MUCH less weight, but I'm also MUCH colder generally.

We aren't moving around too much (often critter hunting, often using scooters), so that definitely contributes.

I'm at the point where I'm seriously considering adding a heated vest for such temperatures...

That crushed neoprene suit will have quite a bit of warmth on it's own. I would think you wouldn't need much, just enough to wick moisture like you say and to keep you skin from getting pinched. I live in Michigan and when our lakes get to that temperature a lot of us dive in just blue jeans and a sweat shirt, not ideal but warm enough.


Edited by Rainer, 22 March 2012 - 05:27 PM.


#7 rtrski

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 05:15 AM

Thanks for the replies so far. I like the 'bioprene' joke. I've got a bit of that helping me, true enough. :D

Just a recreational diver BTW - no intent whatsoever of ever having a deco obligation. Yes, I know, it may still happen, I do dive with a computer and with a backup timer (watch) and memorized basic ND times, but my dive planning certainly (including multi-dive days) currently revolves entirely around staying in no-deco range. That and diving single tanks (generally AL80) also means that my longest dive is likely to be on the order of 80 minutes even in the most shallow conditions. But I do need to consider the whole non-moving/critter hunt type of dive activity as well.

Based on feedback so far I'm leaning toward starting with something in the 250g type range (low profile thinsulate, a bit more than just a wicking fleece but not a true quilted undergarment) for the upcoming mine dives.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#8 bvanant

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:47 AM

Thanks for the replies so far. I like the 'bioprene' joke. I've got a bit of that helping me, true enough. :D

Just a recreational diver BTW - no intent whatsoever of ever having a deco obligation. Yes, I know, it may still happen, I do dive with a computer and with a backup timer (watch) and memorized basic ND times, but my dive planning certainly (including multi-dive days) currently revolves entirely around staying in no-deco range. That and diving single tanks (generally AL80) also means that my longest dive is likely to be on the order of 80 minutes even in the most shallow conditions. But I do need to consider the whole non-moving/critter hunt type of dive activity as well.

Based on feedback so far I'm leaning toward starting with something in the 250g type range (low profile thinsulate, a bit more than just a wicking fleece but not a true quilted undergarment) for the upcoming mine dives.

Look at the 4th Element stuff. Warm enough for the 54F dives here in Socal and in two parts so it is a lot easier at bathroom time.
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#9 Timmoranuk

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:00 PM

One point which may be useful to make is that an undergarment should be readily permeable to air and not made from zero porosity material. A friend had a serious problem during an ascent as the rip-stop outer material of his undersuit created a seal around his shoulder dump and he was unable to vent gas other than by pulling open his neck seal. He now wears an Arctic...
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#10 davehicks

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:43 PM

Another vote for 4th Element undergarments. I've been using them for about a year now in temps down to 45F. Comfy and warm, they stay warm when wet, and dry quickly.

One point which may be useful to make is that an undergarment should be readily permeable to air and not made from zero porosity material. A friend had a serious problem during an ascent as the rip-stop outer material of his undersuit created a seal around his shoulder dump and he was unable to vent gas other than by pulling open his neck seal. He now wears an Arctic...



#11 davephdv

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:03 PM

I got a bare, double layer polar tech and had no problems in Alaska. In S Cal I use a single layer locha polar tech.

Both were cheap. Especially the locha. It is sold to hunters, not divers so good but cheap.
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#12 rtrski

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:22 AM

Drysuit arrived. Looks pretty good. I actually dug around in my closet and found a Pinnacle "Bioply" suit I'd bought at some point along the line, intending to layer it under a 5 mil wetsuit for a little more thermal protection (and easier donning). It's a thin layer of lycra over a polypropyline fleece, about 1.5mm thick. Figured it might cut it as an insulator layer beneath compressed neoprene down to say 58-60deg. It was humid and 70 degs when I was trying everything on so it didn't feel like it was wicking the best - might add a layer of Underarmor (dryfit more or less) beneath.

Drysuit itself fits very well over this - nothing binding. Legs are a hair long (could probably remove about 1" length from them and still do a complete deep knee bend in it) but crotch-to-shoulder height is perfect, so don't think I could have changed sizes.

Neck/wrist seals were pretty tight - face got nice and red while trying on :lol: , but going to try the lube-with-pure-silicone and stretch them (1 liter coke bottles for wrists, 2 liter for neck...don't have my own AL80 tank to use here) before I risk trimming back any. From what I've read that's a better recommendation for latex seals anyway. (Concurrance from the peanut gallery????)

Hoping to gear up and try it out in the pool in a week or so, get an initial feel for lead requirements.

Did look around for 4th element and also perused Scubatoys recently, but had already found the Pinnacle in the closet so didn't even try anything on. Will definitely remember recommendations though for later, thanks again for feedback!

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#13 JimSwims

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 01:41 PM

Latex seals will tend to need trimming rather than stretching to change their fit as they will retain most of their original tension. I know it's a bit daunting
taking to them with a blade. One of the many reasons I ended up going to Neoprene seals for both Neck and Wrist. The tank trick can loosen them a little
bit when new but ultimately if too tight trimming will be necessary.

With the base layer, as you know, its most important that it is high wick to keep moisture away and avoid any chill.

Cheers,
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Edited by JimSwims, 02 April 2012 - 02:03 PM.

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#14 rtrski

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:35 AM

Well, I may still need to cut, but I'm trying the procedure mentioned here:

http://drysuitsplus....rysuit.care.htm

Will leave the seals stretching for a week or so as indicated and see. Found that site while researching possible alterations out of curiosity (the aforementioned leg length issue) although I'm in no rush. And I do also like the idea of Waterproof's new silicone seals for neck and wrists - fondled some at a store and they were amazingly more pliable than latex...almost to the point I wondered if they would instead not form a good seal, although I was assured that was not the case).

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#15 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 12:02 PM

I use a membrane suit (Whites Fusion). This suit offers supreme flexibility - ideal for photography and for a wide range of operating temperatures - but offers no thermal protection. So I rely entirely on undersuits for warmth. I am a big fan of Fourth Element.

I have dived this suit from 28˚C down to 1˚C. I dive in Celsius, but these are my approximate under suit choices. I don't like being cold - so tend to over dress compared to some - as I am immobile photographer.

28-26˚C. (83-79). Fourth Element Base Layer
26-23˚C. (73-79). Fourth Element Xerotherm
19-23˚C. (66-73˚F). Fourth Element Base Layer and Base Layer
15-19˚C. (59-66˚F). Fourth Element Arctic and Base Layer
13-15˚C. (55-59˚F). Fourth Element Arctic and Xerotherm
8-13˚C. (46-55˚F). Fourth Element SubX and Xerotherm. Might wear Arctic top instead of SubX jacket at the higher end of this range.
5-8˚C. (41-46˚F). Fourth Element SubX and Arctic and Base Layer.
1-5˚C. (33-41˚F). Fourth Element Sub X, Arctic and Xerotherm.

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p.s. I have added approximate ranges in F (thanks google)

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#16 rtrski

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

Alex - thanks for the comprehensive list. I liked 4th Element's website temp slider tool on their website too, but did note it was 'calibrated' for membrane suits. Tried to find a local shop that carried them but the only one close to me they indicated has changed ownerships and no longer does.

Just as an aside, I tried the Whites Fusion - it was the suit I got my drysuit training in, but since it was 80 (F) in the water, I didn't wear anything underneath it but basically cotton 'pajamas'. Maybe that's the reason...but I really, really *hated* the sensation of the Fusion. It was like wearing a garbage bag with a panty stretched over the top of it. Gave me the creeps. :P By comparison the Waterproof is clunky and heavy feeling out of the water, but even squishing all the air out of it with nothing much underneath, I didn't mind the sensation (haven't tried in the water yet, that was just a land try-on).

Yet I read rave reviews of the Fusion all over. Just goes to show...diff'rent strokes.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#17 Cary Dean

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:07 PM

I have a DUI suit that I've used for years and never really did like the one piece
undergarments so I have been relatively happy with a variety (depending on
conditions) of Patagonia polypro undergarments and some of their new light
but surprisingly warm synthetic fill jackets. I wait till they're on sale BTW...
Probably why I haven't tried the 4th Element stuff yet - Though it does look
like a really nice system.!

Edited by Cary Dean, 10 April 2012 - 04:08 PM.

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