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July 27, 2019 4 min read

Water sports are fun and exciting activities. When we submerge our bodies in the water, the body tends to lose heat. To avoid the danger that arises from excess loss of heat from our bodies, it's important to be equipped with the right swimming or diving equipment. This is the reason why wearing an exposure suit be it a wetsuit or drysuit is an unquestionable requirement. The body temperature changes in response to the temperature of the surrounding. When we dive in cold water, the temperature of the body reduces. An exposure suit helps the body retain its warmth when underwater and also protects the skin of the diver from the harsh sun conditions.    

 

Wetsuits

A wetsuit is an exposure suit that is made of tiny cell foam material filled with numerous little air gas pockets seized inside the structure.    

 

Features of Wetsuits   

Tiny Foam Material 

The suit helps retain the heat in the body when swimming or diving. The material lets in a little amount of water to pass through the wetsuit; once inside, water fills the space between the inner layer of the material and the body. This tiny water layer is then warmed up with the temperature of the body hence making your body to be warm and well-insulated as you dive or swim.    

 

Made to Fit the Body  

A wetsuit especially that used by divers is made to fit the body. This helps the body not waste its heat to the surroundings and not allow water to pass through the suit.    

 

Thickness    

The temperature of the water will determine the kind of wetsuit to pick. A thick wetsuit works best in cold waters; because they offer more protection and insulation, while thinner wetsuits work bests in warmer waters because they provide lighter protection. When looking for a good wetsuit, it’s important to pick one that fits well with your body. The thermal performance of a particular suit usually varies from one individual to another depending on the body.    

 

Drysuits   

What is a drysuit?   

As the name implies, this suits keeps your body dry. The suit is made of materials that do not allow water to pass through and most of them are made from either; neoprene foam, vulcanized rubber or hard nylon.    

 

Features of Drysuits

Waterproof 

The suit is sealed from the neck to the wrist, and it also has a waterproof zipper that does not allow water to pass through. A dry suit as well reduces energy wastage to the surrounding, it retains the heat in the body making you warm in cold waters.  

 

Baggy  

A dry suit can be worn with other clothing or other protective layers inside. When worn, they fit more loosely to the body. The space between the body and the suit is thus filled with an insulating air layer. The insulating air can be controlled with the inflator valve which is located in the center of the chest of the drysuit, the valve enables you to add more gas as you dive deeper. When ascending, the drysuit has an exhaust valve which helps you vent the air.    

 

Difference between Wetsuit and Drysuit  

Thermal Insulation   

To reduce heat wastage and keep the body warm when diving, the wetsuit utilizes a layer of water to insulate the body. The water is usually warmed by the diver's body and for a dry suit, the body is insulated by a layer of air. When worn, the suit fits loosely to the diver's body, this generates an insulating air layer between the body and the suit. Also, with its loose fit nature, a drysuit can as well allow you to wear extra clothing underneath to generate more thermal insulation.      

 

Mobility  

Because of its tight fit, wet suits often facilitate underwater movements. Drysuits, relying upon the material used to make the suit, are heavier and baggy and this may result in some slow mobility in water. This implies that they can be much slower than with a wetsuit.     

 

Durability  

Drysuits are expensive and durable. The suit is made of high-quality materials that make it last for a long time and able to work in different surroundings. Wetsuits are a bit affordable, though its lifespan depends on how you maintain and care for the suit.   

 

When You Should Wear a Wetsuit or Drysuit  

The water temperature is the most crucial element to consider when deciding on the suit to wear, this may still be subjective to some extent. It's good to follow these guidelines when you want to wear either a wetsuit or drysuit.   

  1. When the water temperature is between 10-27, its best to wear a wetsuit;
  2. Put on a 1-2.5mm wetsuit when the temperature is above 24;
  3. 3mm wetsuit is good for waters between 15-24;
  4. 5mm wetsuit is for 10-15 while 7mm works best for temperature below 10.
  5. A full dry suit works best in temperature below 10.
Liz H.
Liz H.


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