For both comfort and safety, you must wear a certain sort of scuba diving suit depending on where you dive. That’s when many divers begin to debate whether they should wear a wetsuit or a drysuit. While water temperature is the most crucial thing to consider while choosing the correct suit, there are other factors to consider as well.
To learn the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit, keep reading. And, in case you want to experience the best scuba diving in Maui, get in touch with Scubabarry!
Water temperature is the most important consideration when deciding between a wetsuit and a drysuit. While your personal tolerance to cold should be considered, most scuba divers utilize a drysuit while diving in temperatures below 60° F/16° C.
In a 7mm double-layer wetsuit, some divers can dive in temperatures as low as 50° F/10° C, while others put on their drysuit while diving in seas below 75° F/24° C. It’s basically a matter of personal choice.
While drysuits are most commonly associated with cold-water and ice diving, they are also worn by certain divers in the tropics. Some do it because they’re cold-sensitive and dive many times a day, while others are technical divers who dive in helium-rich mixes that remove a lot of body heat.
When used appropriately, both wetsuits and drysuits can help to reduce heat loss. By trapping a tiny layer of water between your skin and the garment, a wetsuit keeps you warm. The small layer of water is then warmed up by your body to a temperature close to your usual body temperature.
On the other hand, most drysuits aren’t intended to keep you warm on their own. Unlike wetsuits, they keep all water out of the suit, allowing you to stay dry while wearing it underwater. Adding insulating underwear to a drysuit for warmth allows you to dive comfortably in cold water.
Wetsuits are made to be as near to the body as possible. A wetsuit must be well-fitted and well-sealed to perform correctly, since if it isn’t, the warm water layer will be constantly replaced by cold water from the sea or ocean. Your body would then use energy attempting to warm the fresh water, causing you to become chilly.
The flexible fit of a drysuit allows you to wear insulating layers underneath it. Unlike wetsuits, which retain a barrier of water between your skin and the suit, drysuits preserve an insulating layer of air between your skin and the suit, which you can adjust using the suit’s valves. You can inflate as you fall and deflate as you ascend.
Wetsuits are more comfortable to wear and help you to move faster due to their snug fit. Drysuits are bulkier, yet recent design advances have made them more pleasant to wear.
Nonetheless, they tend to slow you down a little more than wetsuits and require some getting accustomed to.
Closed-cell foam neoprene, a synthetic rubber substance recognized for its capacity to insulate the body, is commonly used in wetsuits. Small nitrogen bubbles in the neoprene used in wetsuits can decrease heat transmission from the body to the cold water on the outside of the suit.
Companies have experimented with materials such as spandex, neogreene, ariaprene, and yulex throughout the years, but neoprene remains the most popular choice for wetsuits.
Vulcanized rubber, foam neoprene, crushed neoprene, and heavy-duty nylon are all options for drysuits. A wrist seal, a neck seal, and a waterproof zipper are also included.
Latex rubber, foam neoprene, and silicone rubber are commonly used for sealing. Most drysuits include a plastic waterproof zipper that runs diagonally across the torso or across the back of the shoulders.
With increasing depth, wetsuits lose part of their intrinsic buoyancy. You’ll also need to adjust the weights or gas if you lose buoyancy. Not to mention the fact that a wetsuit will always give some more buoyancy, to the point where someone who just dove in wearing a dry bulky wetsuit may have difficulty descending.
Because of the air retained within, drysuits have greater intrinsic buoyancy than wetsuits, but they are also simpler to manage. They don’t compress as you go deeper, and you may alter the buoyancy by putting or taking air into or out of the suit.