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DrySuit Undergarments:
A Quest to stay warm and comfortable

By Ab Kurk

After diving in Canadian waters for almost 10 years I learned a thing or two about dry suit and undergarments. My first 250 dives here in the cold water (6-8 C) were in a 7mm O’Neill dry suit. Even though neoprene suits smell, and are not that comfortable, I only needed a thin undergarment consisting out of a long sleeve t-shirt and a pair of jogging pants.


As I continued diving, and my O’Neill was showing its age, I was seduced by a Shell Dry Suit. A Shell suit is a thin membrane that keeps you dry but does not give any thermal protection. Shell suits are more flexible, and that provides comfort and freedom while diving.


Because Shell suits provide minimal thermal protection, a more substantial undergarment is required. Good undergarments are not cheap. Most people’s first reaction is going to layer fleece items they already own. This might keep you warm, but will restrict the mobility of arms and legs and probably induce cramps while diving.


I have used undergarments with waist bands and ones that are basically sleeping bags with arms. I have used ones made out of fleece and ones with fluffy fillings. To me the two most important features about an undergarment are; it needs to keep you warm, and it should not restrict your mobility.

 

KelpSince I am 1.85m (6.1 ft) tall male, and shaped like a snowman, I like the baggy style with no waist band. Currently I dive with a Weezle undergarment and I love it. All I wear underneath is a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and I only wear those so not to scare people when I take my undergarment off.

 

The bottom line is if you need thick layers under your primary undergarment, or it restricts your movement you probably have the wrong undergarment. When buying an undergarment make sure that fit is. You do this by seeing if you can touch your toes or move your arms with easy without any restriction. 


You won't know how warm your undergarment keeps you until your first dive. Talk to your dive buddies, or your dive shop, and ask what they are wearing and how they like it. When doing this you need to include the wimp factor. Gauge how tough they are compared to you and adjust the thickness needed. I have never had a dive in Canadian water that I had to end because I was too warm during a dive, so in my opinion thicker is better.

 

Weezle SocksLet’s not forget your feet. Nice comfy warm feet make for a nice and happy diver. I have always used socks made for diving. These have been either fleece or socks made out of the same material as my undergarment. Currently I am using the Weezle socks, and I love them. I believe in loose and fluffy socks that don’t restrict the blood circulation.

 

The conclusion is warmth and range of motion are the two primary features you look in for your undergarment. Colours and patterns are secondary

 

 

Special thanks to Deirdre from Ocean Quest and Weezle Diving Services for the special service I received.