Choosing a Drysuit | Mike's London Dive Shop
Select delivery and
currency options

Choosing a Drysuit

Drysuit diving - Alex Griffin

My van is the vehicular equivalent of Triggers Broom. In my mind I think of it as an excellent little runner but in reality large sections of it have been replaced at considerable expense. Its still worth doing the work because, despite the fact its a bit battered and old, the result is that I have a working means of transporting large amounts of kit about and I dont really care if the seats get wet.

Drysuits aren’t really like that. There’s something about a drysuit that once it starts to leak it just kind of never stops. A bit like a dutch child with it’s fingers in the dam, you go chasing around the various sources of each leak, fixing one, only for another to appear elsewhere. That’s why when people ask whether buying ex school suits or ebay specials is a good idea, I tend to suggest that they might as well add the £300 odd they pay for the second hand sieve to the price of the decent, brand new suit they will undoubtedly buy.

Drysuits must meet one specific requirement and the clue is in the name. A leaking suit is a misery to dive and, depending on how bad the leak is, they can be colder than a wetsuit all the way through to down-right dangerous if the water floods in. Buying an old leaking suit is a bit like saving money on a car by purchasing one without an engine. That’s why I usually recommend that if you’re looking to start diving in the UK then purchasing a decent suit is one of the best first purchases you can make. Following on from this, ill fitting, bulky suits are also a significant cause of issue for divers looking to perfect their buoyancy. Lots of professional divers and tec divers could  improve their skills by upgrading to a properly fitting suit. At it’s worst a bad suit can restrict movement, cause cramps or alternatively, if too big- particularly in the legs, cause severe buoyancy issues when air flows through the suit and pops the boots off the feet.

My main recommendation when purchasing a suit is to either go for a membrane or thin compressed neoprene. I would tend to avoid the thicker neoprene suits as they are heavy, bulky and cause some buoyancy issues when the suit compresses at depth before springing back to life on the ascent. The other issue with big, thick drysuits is that they stink. It doesnt take long to build up a heady fungal aroma in the damp recesses of the suit where the air never reaches to circulate. This treats your buddy to a blast of feculent ming whenever theyre lucky enough to unzip you.

Suits that allow some degree of tailoring are good too. There are lots of great off the peg sizes now but being able to choose the right fitting boots is a big plus. Socks and rock boots or the thinner tec boot styles will allow you to do the more technical style of kick as well as restrict the sensation of lots of air swilling around in a wellie effect you get with the thick rubber boot style.

A neoprene neck seal is warm and comfortable and if you can combine that with the sitech ring system on the wrists you have a set up that means its highly unlikely a ripped seal will result in a cancelled dive. Neoprene just tends to wear out and loosen over time as opposed to ripping and becoming useless. The sitech system allows you to swap out the wrist seals there and then if they rip as well as docking with a dry glove system. Front zips are great because they make you self sufficient but arent essential.

What about under-suits? Well the main issue with under-suits is the trade off between warmth, bulkiness and flexibility. The big sleeping bag style romper suits do tend to be very toasty warm but unless theyre particularly well made can sometimes be very bulky and buoyant. Theyre only suitable with membrane suits. More technical style under-suits can be used with neoprene and membrane suits. Combined with a decent base layer they will keep you warm under membrane and neoprene suits.

Once again, the dive centre is your friend. They can measure you up and make sure you get properly fitted! The Fourth Element Argonaut Drysuit can be fitted using the revolutionary Biomap tool which ensures you get the best possible fit

 So dont suffer in a knackered old bin bag full of holes with Frankenstein boots 2 sizes too big. Treat yourself to a decent well made drysuit and youll suddenly find UK diving much, much more enjoyable!

Join the discussion 0 Comments

Join the discussion...

All comments are moderated.

Related ArticlesRelated Articles

3 Must-Have Items For Ocean Adventurers and Beach Explorers

3 Must-Have Items For Ocean Adventurers and Beach Explorers

3 Must-Have Items For Ocean Adventurers and Beach Explorers When packing for your ocean adventure...
by Lauren Mogg 22/09/22
Top Tips on How to Keep Warm When Drysuit Diving

Top Tips on How to Keep Warm When Drysuit Diving

Top Tips on How to Keep Warm When Drysuit Diving When diving in cooler waters, you’re most likely...
by Lauren Mogg 12/09/22
Fourth Element Proteus 2 vs Xenos Wetsuit Comparison

Fourth Element Proteus 2 vs Xenos Wetsuit Comparison

Two similar wetsuits, but made for slightly different applications. They offer the same neoprene ... Read More
by Przemyslaw Tarko 16/06/22
Guide to Fourth Element Drysuit Undersuits

Guide to Fourth Element Drysuit Undersuits

Paraphrasing the old outdoor expression - "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable ... Read More
by Przemyslaw Tarko 14/06/22