Suit Diving - Equipment Requirements
So what equipment is actually needed to dive dry? Here is a quick list of
things that you may need to purchase or rent when dry suit diving. You can
contact Aquatic Adventures or your local dive center to find these or other
items needed to safely dive dry.
Make sure you have a suit that fits properly. An improperly fitted suit can
be a risk to your safety as it can trap air and cause an uncontrolled ascent.
Your local dive center can ensure a proper fit and help you decide which type of
material will be best suited for the diving you do. In addition, you may be able
to add accessories like pockets, relief zippers, and different types of seals
and boots to your suit.
Aquatic Adventures sells dry suits from DUI, BARE, Hollis, and Pinnacle.
Everyone of these manufacturers prefers that you are properly measured and your
measurements are sent in to them to ensure the suit is properly sized. Given the
expense of the dry suit and potential dangers involved in a poorly sized suit,
it is important that you have experienced professionals assist you in
determining your size and selecting your suit options.
Most manufacturers of undergarments will have at least three levels of warmth
for you to choose from. Like a wetsuit, the choice you make will be based upon
your ability to stay warm and the temperature of the water you are diving. Many
new dry suit divers start with a medium weight undergarment as it is adaptable
for the greatest range of environments. However, if you routinely dive in very
cold water, you may need the warmest undergarment you can get. Just remember
that you can quickly overheat on a warm day or in more temperate water if you
have a very warm undergarment. Most dry suit divers find that they need at least
two different undergarments, one for cool and one for cold water, when they
start diving dry a lot.
Dry suit hood
Unlike a wetsuit hood, the dry suit hood has no skirt and generally seals up
against the dry suit neck seal. Most divers use a neoprene dry suit hood. Dry
hoods are also available, but divers should understand that a dry hood made of
latex or other materials present unique equalizing issues. Use caution with
these hoods and make sure you are properly trained before using them.
Gloves are always a necessity when dry suit diving. You can choose from
neoprene gloves or mitts or, depending on your suit, dry gloves. Dry gloves plug
into the dry suit and keep your hands dry. Like the dry suit, you will need a
set of glove liners (similar to the undergarment) for your hands if you use dry
gloves. Talk to your local dive center to find out what options are available to
you. Some manufacturers like DUI have their own proprietary dry glove system.
Many offer SI TECH dry glove systems as options for their suits. Make sure to
discuss the advantages and disadvantages to the various glove options with your
dry suit sales person. Some glove choices can lock you into a system that will
not work well for you.
Extra inflator hose
You will need to add an inflator hose to your regulator that connects to your
dry suit. Not all inflators are the same, so make sure you have a hose that fits
your suit. You will also need to decide which side to bring the hose around and
whether you want to run the hose underneath or above the shoulder. You local
dive center can help you decide on the proper configuration of this hose and get
you a hose of the proper length to ensure comfort, convenience, and safety.
Large set of fins
Very rarely will a properly sized set of fins used with wetsuit boots fit a
dry suit. Most divers find that they need to go up at least one size when they
begin using a dry suit. Make sure to select a set of fins appropriate for dry
suit diving as well. Dry suits create far more drag in the water than a wetsuit.
As a result, some divers find that split fins or other soft kicking fins do not
move them through the water as well as they would like. Your local dive center
can recommend an appropriate set of fins for dry suit diving, but you may find
that your personal kicking style and comfort are the best judges of what will
work for you.