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Knowing which wetsuit thickness adapts best to your needs is fundamental to choose yours. In this way, you will be able to practice your favorite sport comfortably without being hot or cold.
Neoprene is a material used to make suits for different water sports, such as surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and of course, scuba diving. Thanks to them, we can dive all year round and practically anywhere in the world no matter how low the water temperature is.
As you know, the human body loses heat 25 times faster in the water than out of it, that’s why the scuba wetsuit thickness is designed to slow down the cooling and protect us.
How Does Your Wetsuit Keep Your Body Warm?
Wetsuits and semi-dry suits are permeable. In other words, they allow a thin layer of water to pass through and keep it between our body and the suit. Our skin heats this water, so the heat loss is slower.
The very small air-filled cells in the wetsuit material provide us sufficient insulation to keep this film of water warm. The wetsuit thickness depends on them. However, we must keep in mind this insulation, affected by water pressure, will reduce when we descend, and it will be less effective. The microbubbles in the neoprene are compressed by the water pressure and the deeper you go the more pressure on them. The thicker the wetsuit, the more it will be affected by this phenomenon.
In contrast, drysuits are watertight and keep the diver isolated from water. They can be made of neoprene or trilaminate. These materials do not really provide heat on their own, but the diver can wear thermal clothing under the drysuit.
Neoprene Wetsuit Thickness And Another Kind Of Suits.
Wetsuits are the thinnest and most flexible exposure suits. They are recommended for use in water temperatures above 59°F (15°C). There are different thicknesses, the most common are: 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm. Dressel Divers rents 3mm wetsuits in the Caribbean. As you know, the water temperature in this region of the planet ranges from 78.8ºF (26ºC) to 87.8ºF (31ºC). That’s why this scuba wetsuit thickness is enough to keep your body comfortable. Besides, they also allow us protect us from the environment.
You can find full wetsuits, two-piece ones, or shorty’s in your scuba diving gear store.
Semi-dry wetsuits are the option for those who dive in waters with a temperature between 50°F (10°C) and 68°F (20°C).
Semi-dry suits are 4 to 7mm thick and go one level further than wet suits, reducing water entry and exit.
The zippers of semi-dry wetsuits are reinforced, increasing their water tightness. However, they are less flexible than wetsuits.
As we have already indicated, drysuits are completely waterproof suits, and they keep the diver dry without contact with water. They are recommended for use in waters from 39°F (4°C) to 59°F (15°C) and are the preferred choice of expert divers. However, they have a drawback you have to learn how to use them. The diver injects air into the drysuit for two purposes: to prevent compression during the dive and to increase thermal insulation. Logically this is a procedure that requires training and experience for maximum comfort and safety.
Scuba Wetsuit Thickness Guide According With Water Temperature.
Although the water temperature you are going to dive in will be the most important indicator for choosing your wetsuit thickness, we cannot forget that there are other variables to take into account. For example, your tolerance to cold or wind speed and air temperature. We advise you, if you are cold, to choose a wetsuit with a thickness just slightly higher than the one recommended in this table and to add gloves, booties, a vest and a hood to the set.
||SCUBA WETSUIT THICKNESS
|+ 82ºF (28ºC)
||Shorty, 1/8” 3mm
|Entre 77 ºF (25ºC) y 80ºF (27ºC)
||1/8” 3 mm
|Entre 70 ºF (21ºC) y 77ºF (25ºC)
||3/16” 5 mm
|Entre 59 ºF (15ºC) y 68ºF (20ºC)
||1/4” 7 mm
|Entre 50 ºF (10ºC) y 59 ºF (15ºC)
|-50 ºF (10ºC)