So after all the hand wringing, convincing the spouse, rolling your spare change, online shopping, and surfing the message boards you finally pulled the trigger on a nice new drysuit. Now what do you do? Despite the initial investment, just buying a drysuit isn’t quite the end of the story. Making the investment in proper training, experience, and accessories will serve to enhance the overall comfort and experience of drysuit diving.
The first thing you need to take a closer look at even before you leave the dive shop with your new suit is what you’re going to wear under it. If you purchased a crushed neoprene suit with its own inherent insulating properties this is a little simpler. If you made the choice for a shell type suit, quality undergarments are a requirement here. A couple of the main considerations for an undergarment are that it first be moisture wicking. The entire dry diving experience is negated if your undergarment keeps moisture on your skin. The second consideration would be the insulating properties you require. Do you regularly dive in near freezing waters? Or do you take your underwater adventures in more moderate temperatures? What are the topside conditions usually like at your favorite dive destinations? Another substantial consideration is comfort. Would a 1 piece or 2 piece undergarment serve you better?
The next consideration before you throw your suit and undergarments in the trunk of your car in the dive shop parking lot is gloves and a hood. Of course you have the option of just unpacking the same old gloves and hood that you used with your wetsuit from your dive bag. While that is a potential option, is it the best option? Will your wetsuit hood with the tuckable neck work with your drysuit? Most likely not. So take a stroll over to the display of hoods designed for drysuit use and try a few out. When it comes to gloves, do you really want to have stinky wet hands from using those old neoprene gloves from your wetsuit days? Or would you want nice, warm, and dry hands after that long dive in cold water? If so, there are a myriad of options to get you set up and completely dry from the neck to the tips of your fingers. While ring systems have an initial investment, they will provide years of happy, dry fingered dives with minimal maintenance and ongoing investment. With that it is definitely worth a closer investigation, your digits will truly thank you for it!
Now that you have your drysuit, proper undergarments, and adequate protection for your head and hands you can finally hit the water with your shiny, new comfortable and warm dry suit! Diving locally in January, how cool would that be? Of course there is the next consideration of how you will learn how to dive in a dry suit. Check back for our next article on how to further enjoy your dry diving experience!