I have to confess - I became a bit of a cocktail diver, which means at some point in my diving carrier, I gave up on UK diving. Recently a couple of my mates convinced me to take a boat diving trip off the South Cost. I fell in love with cold water diving again, feeling excitement, enjoying the fresh air and ultimate freedom being out of the house in the sunshine, finally. Winter does not mean giving up on your hobby. Scuba diving in wintertime in the UK will keep you active, happy - the visibility in the water is improved, and some may argue that the dive sites are less crowded. Surprisingly, there were quite a few friendly faces at Chepstow last weekend, so I guess it depends on a dive site.
Here at Mike's, we dive year round - we are in for the banter, friendship and shared reluctance towards weekends spent on the couch in front of the telly. With a broad range of exposure suits, undergarments, and cold water diving equipment, year-round diving is much more accessible and enjoyable! So let's look at what we have we got that will keep us warm?!
Full face mask - puts a smile on your face!
Full Face Masks also called Integrated Dive Masks (IDMs), are the ultimate cold water diving equipment and have recently taken the market by storm. Not only they are super comfortable to wear, but the icy pinching feeling will be a thing of the past. You can see more and more of these every year on the local dive sites. I love diving in my Integrated Face Mask. It has a fantastic panoramic field of vision, offers natural breathing, and additional safety as the regulator is integrated into the mask. Still, a few other advantages of a full face mask include:
- Full face cover, which keeps cold water away from the entire face!
- No fogging up thanks to the air circulation system
- Experience natural breathing, no mouthpiece, and a comfortable orinasal pocket
- No jaw fatigue as there is nothing to bite on
- Automatic pressure equalization at each inspiration thanks to the integrated breathing apparatus
- Flood free as the system purges water through the draining/exhalation valve.
- Ocean Reef Optical Lens Support - you can install selected prescription lenses.
- Connect to your buddy teams with this ultimate Ocean Reef's GSM Mercury Underwater Unit
Great Value for money Drysuits!
If you missed a new drysuit in your Christmas letter to Santa, there are fantastic value for money drysuits that will keep you toasty warm during cold water winter diving in the UK and will not break your bank. The great thing about Neoprene drysuits is that you do not need a very thick undersuit, as neoprene already gives you a lovely thermal shield.
- Fourth Element Hydra Men's Neoprene Drysuit
- Fourth Element Hydra Women's Drysuit
- Scubapro Everdry Neoprene Drysuit Men's
- Scubapro Everdry Neoprene Drysuit Ladies
However, if you are after a more versatile approach, you may want to choose a trilaminate drysuit. A trilaminate drysuit will not offer you any thermal protection, but this means it is more versatile. Depending on your undergarments, you can use your trilaminate drysuit in warmer waters with very light undergarments and in frigid waters by choosing havier, arctic undersuits.
- Scubapro Evertech Dry Breathable Men's Drysuit
- Fourth Element 2.0 Argonaut Flex Drysuit
- Waterproof D3 Ergo Men's Drysuit
Insulate yourself from the cold!
Going straight for the thickest undersuit for winter diving isn't necessarily the best option. There are significant advantages to opting for a combination of layers. Having a range of thickness garments will allow you to mix and match to achieve the best choice for your dive, but it will also allow you to tailor your final system for the best performance.
Coldwater diving equipment is the key to success in any extreme sport. Even the best drysuit will not perform fully without a good quality undersuit. Having a suitable layer of undersuit will keep you warm and enhance your cold water diving experience, enjoying cold water diving more and for longer. Here is some of our selection of undersuits for every occasion and budget:
Still not sure what type of undersuit you need or how thick it should be? Read our Choosing a Diving Undersuit guide for some helpful advice about different kinds of undersuits, materials and thicknesses and how they pair up with the various drysuits on the market.
Heated Undersuits - Wired revolution
The fantastic invention of heated garments means we can enjoy even colder waters. Thermalution heated vests and suits include different grades, which will work in a range of diving conditions, ensuring that the most critical areas of your body will have the correct circulation level. Thermalution products combine fashion and functionality and are produced in a comprehensive range of sizes from XXS to XXXL. All suits and vests are equipped with a wireless controller and designed to be durable, extremely flexible and fully washable.
Since the early days, Santi has diversified by developing, testing and refining more drysuits, undersuits, heated systems and a range of accessories to go with them that have earned Santi one of the best reputations in the diving industry. All their products are trialled and tested in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea.
Mittens as good as kittens!
There are two options for winter diving - a good 5mm or even better 7mm neoprene gloves are a must. These will fit the above neoprene drysuits.
- Fourth Element 7mm Hydrolock Gloves
- Waterproof G1 7mm 3 Finger Diving Gloves
- Fourth Element 5mm Kevlar Hydrolock Dive Glove
- Thermalution Full Set Stand-Alone Heated Gloves
If you already have a trilaminate drysuit, this may be the best time to upgrade, taking full advantage of our wide range of dry glove drysuit systems to keep your hands comfortably warm during cold water diving. The Waterproof Ultima Dry Glove System is a complete system that can quickly and easily be fitted to both Waterproof Drysuits fitted with the Integrated Silicone Seals (ISS) system and any other drysuit fitted with standard latex seals without the need to alter the suit in any way.
Kubi Dry Glove System is a complete dry glove system designed to fit your drysuit's existing latex or silicone cuff seals. It uses aluminium rings that are incredibly light, yet strong and the natural rubber glove comes with 100% cotton flock lining.
Nothing better than a hot cuppa on a cold day!
Remember staying hydrated during winter is as important as in summer. Your body still needs to function correctly, and many divers tend to drink more coffee over the winter months, so it is vital to keep your hydro balance and stay hydrated.
Someone once said, "necessity is the mother of all inventions." This saying could not have been any more appropriate in scuba diving. There is nothing better than keeping your hands and feet comfortably warm through the entire dive. The most recent research into the connection between thermal stress and decompression illness suggests that maintaining the cool-warm ratio of your diving profile reduces the risk of decompression illness during scuba diving. This means staying adequately cool on the descent and bottom while keeping comfortably warm during the ascent and decompression works the best. It is necessary to mention that overheating is deemed as much dangerous. Excessive heat during and after your dive can contribute to the decompression illness as much as the extreme cold. Modern heated vests, undersuits and gloves are the ultimate tools in assisting in proper thermal regulation throughout the dive.
Mike's Dive Store is all about providing the best exposure protection for the type of diving you do. If you have any questions or you are not sure which heated undersuit to choose, do not hesitate to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.