Drysuits are designed to keep your body warm and dry when you’re submerged in water. These specialized diving suits help prevent hypothermia by maintaining a seal against the water, trapping a layer of air between the suit and your skin.
Drysuits are often worn in colder climates when divers need to stay in icy water for extended periods, but they are also appropriate for warmer zones when diving starts to increase the risk of dehydration or exhaustion.
In this article, we will guide you on how to dry a drysuit and the best practices for maintaining your underwater gear.
How Does It Work?
Drysuits maintain a seal against the water by covering your body from head to toe. These suits are typically made of rubber, with latex neck and wrist gaskets that form an airtight barrier.
Drysuit manufacturers make drysuits for specific water temperatures, so it’s important to choose one rated for diving in cold conditions (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit). In colder climates, divers often wear a second layer of insulation under their drysuits to stay warm.
In addition to providing insulation, drysuits also help you control body temperature through wicking, which refers to how they absorb and move sweat away from your skin. Your body produces excess heat when you’re submerged in water, so divers must increase blood flow or risk overheating.
Moisture from sweat saturates the insulating layer of a dry suit, which increases heat loss and brings it back to a comfortable temperature. Wicking allows you to move moisture away from your skin through channels in your drysuit.
Drysuits come with a variety of features for divers who want additional control over their body temperatures. Diver’s typically worn two layers of thermal underwear beneath their drysuits, allowing them to remove one or both depending on water conditions.
Many suites also include zip-off arms that enable you to strip down when you get too hot or need more mobility while underwater. Similarly, wet/dry zippers let you easily exchange insulating layers of clothing without having to take off your whole suit if conditions change. Drysuit boots are also designed for warmth and insulated drysuit gloves help prevent hypothermia.
Types Of Suits Available
There are two types of dry suits used for diving. semi-dry suits and fully dry suits.
Semi-dry suits only cover the upper portion of your body, so they’re ideal for warmer climates because the most diverse overheating occurs in their legs.
Fully Dry Suite
Fully dry suites are most often worn in colder temperatures. These full-body rubber or neoprene outfits protect divers from hypothermia by keeping water away from their skin. They have latex neck gaskets, wrist seals, and boots to help maintain a positive pressure with the outside environment.
Dry Suit Care & Maintenance Guide
How To Clean, Store, and Maintain Your Dry Suit is a simple-to-follow guide with tips on how to clean, store, and maintain your dry suit. All you need is the information below to get started.
1. Basic Steps For Drysuit Maintenance
Locate the owner’s manual for your specific make of drysuit. Since materials are made differently, maintenance requirements vary depending on brand or style. Read through the manual thoroughly before diving into any maintenance routine for your drysuit because different suits have different needs.
Most suits come equipped with removable front zippers that allow you easily exchange insulation layers while underwater after they accumulate moisture from sweating inside the suit. Washing your drysuit is a straightforward process that takes around 20 minutes to complete, but you shouldn’t need to do it too often if the suit has removable front zippers because all you have to do is detach them and exchange them for dry ones between dives.
Letting your immersion in water dry out naturally after washing should give your suit enough time to air it while also getting rid of any bacteria or algae that could potentially thrive inside the neoprene.
2. Materials Used For Drysuits
Drysuits are made from neoprene (a synthetic rubber), PVC (a thermoplastic material), nylon, Gore-Tex (an advanced waterproof fabric), or other materials like polyurethane (used sparingly). Not all materials are used for drysuits, but most are made using similar steps.
3. How To Wash Your Drysuit
Unzip the front zipper of your dry suit and detach it if possible before washing because this will make things easier to handle once you have the suit submerged in water. Use a tub or bucket that is large enough to completely submerge your drysuit so that all surfaces can be cleaned easily.
Fill up the container with warm or tepid (not hot) water and use either soap or detergent depending on what your manual recommends. Ensure that whatever cleaning products you use are thoroughly rinsed off of the rubber material because residues left behind could cause damage over time; however, some cleaners like vinegar can help disinfect your drysuit instead of doing it harm.
If you can’t get the front zipper detached, use a pair of snips to make an incision on either side of the rubber strip that goes around it before submerging the entire outfit.
Slowly move the drysuit up and down in the water while scrubbing each surface thoroughly with a soft brush or sponge because this will clean off any dirt, algae, or bacteria effectively; for stains that are harder to remove, try using lemon juice on them before putting your suit in soapy water.
You should also turn your suit inside-out if possible because some types of stains show on neoprene on its exterior but remain invisible once flipped outwards.
After washing is complete, slowly stir your suit in the water to release air bubbles that accumulate between layers of material. Once all bubbles have been released, let your suit dry naturally either by suspending it on a hanger or hanging it up to drip dry. Do not use a towel or other fabric to scrub off stains because this can damage rubber neoprene material over time.
4. Proper Handling Of Your Drysuit
Proper handling of your drysuit is critical for longer durability and better performance, so be sure to follow these guidelines; failure to do so could result in compromises that will cause you problems during dives:
- Keep zippers open when not submerged underwater
Keeping zippers closed under high pressure can strain zip seams and sealant tape which causes leaks over time. Always keep your zippers open when you are not using your drysuit to prevent this from occurring.
- Do not pull on the fabric too hard while wearing gloves
Because of how pliable and elastic neoprene is, it will stretch out under long-term stress; for example, allowing your hands to get stuck inside gloves that are caught in a zipper or putting strain on the fabric near seams because of tight-fitting gloves worn underneath during cold weather dives can cause tears and holes. Avoid these possibilities by simply slipping your hands inside and pulling them free without tugging on glove seams too hard; the same advice applies to other types of diving equipment like BCDs or even watches if you leave them on during drysuit dives.
- Keep your suit from sun exposure
Sunlight affects neoprene rubber negatively because its ultraviolet radiation breaks down the material over time, making it weaker and more susceptible to breakdowns that cause leaks. To preserve waterproof integrity, keep your suit covered when not diving or store it inside a dark container where light cannot source the drysuit easily.
5. Drysuit Repair And Maintenance
Now that you know how a dry suit works and how to take care of it properly, here are some ways to fix common problems:
If a zipper gets stuck due to debris becoming lodged in between teeth, try using pliers or snips to cut off excess fabric near the problem area and access the zipper track.
Next, apply some lubricant like paraffin or graphite powder on teeth to help free up any stuck material; once all snags are removed, place a piece of strong string where the cut was made before replacing fabric over the closure strip to tack it down under pressure.
If your gaskets become damaged after long-term use and no longer block water from entering through seams, you can replace them by removing the old seal and threading in new ones via needle and thread.
Be sure to stretch each gasket gently before positioning them so that they fit securely against plastic windowpanes without too much slack because loose gaskets will cause air leaks as well as allow water seepage.
Leaks Around Neck:
If the rubber material near your neck becomes worn out after extended use, you can reinforce it by placing a strip of adhesive-backed Velcro around the area where both ends meet in front to create an extra barrier against water leakage.
If you prefer not to mess with sewing or gluing materials, you can opt for waterproof tape instead; in some cases, empty neoprene wetsuits are sold with Velcro closures already attached which can be used for this purpose (no sewing required).
Zip Seam Leaks:
One common cause of leaks at zipper seams is when too much stress is placed on them during regular diving sessions, so avoid putting strain on zip seams by simply keeping them open unless you are properly submerged underwater.
If a leak still forms after removing stress from the zipper, you can make a quick fix by applying waterproof tape to affected areas and over any loose teeth to keep water from seeping in.
If a drysuit fails during a dive or becomes damaged faster than expected because of debris exposure, salt exposure, or other problems, it may become necessary to replace the entire suite at some point.
Make sure your money is well spent on high-quality items like Seaspot neoprene drysuits or Aquaz Drysuits which are made with strong materials that will hold up longer than cheap alternatives.
FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)
What Is The Difference Between A Wetsuit And A Drysuit?
A wetsuit is worn in the water and a drysuit is typically used on land for colder conditions.
What Kind Of Environment Would Require A Drysuit?
Drysuits are typically worn when you are in the water with high rates of iced content-either really cold or really warm. They can also be worn when diving starts to increase the risk of dehydration or exhaustion.
Why Would I Need A Spare Seal?
The water pressure during dives can cause tears and holes in your suit over time, so having a spare seal will allow you to replace it if it gets damaged before going out on another dive. Spare seals also come in handy when one seal has been stretched from use, not yet broken.
What is the purpose of a neck dam?
A neck dam holds water out of your suit by trapping it between your body and the seal. It also prevents air from escaping because there are no open areas for pressure to escape through.
What Is An Adjustable Drysuit?
An adjustable dry suit has material around the legs, arms, torso, and collar that are made with fasteners so you can tighten or loosen different areas as needed to fit comfortably without impairing mobility too much. This enables divers to do more strenuous activities during cold dives while remaining warm.
Is Dry Suit Expensive?
Drysuits can range in price depending on the material and features, but you will generally pay more for a full dry suit than a 3/2 or 5/4 wetsuit with similar capabilities.
What Is The Difference Between Zippers And Sliders?
Zippers are more prone to fail than sliders because of their nature. They also allow water to enter through them easier than sliders which have teeth that hold the fabric together tightly when zip up.
How Long Can I Keep My Drysuit On During Dives?
When diving in cold temperatures, it’s important to get out of your suit as soon as necessary to avoid overheating and passing out from hypothermia. However, if you’re comfortable enough after exiting the water, you can keep your suit on to warm up for extra protection against hypothermia.
What Is The Purpose Of Having A Hood?
Hoods cover any parts of your body that are not covered by other dry suit accessories like gloves or boots, so they are essential for keeping head and neck areas warm without adding too much bulkiness to the rest of your outfit. They also keep your entire face shielded from cold water, which makes it possible to breathe through the nose or mouth rather than just through the mouth only.
Can You Swim In A Dry Suit?
It is possible to swim in a dry suit but it’s not recommended because of the drag effect. It is better to wear a dive skin under your drysuit to make moving through the water easier and more streamlined.
How Do You Choose Between 1st, 2nd, Or 3rd Layer Insulation?
As you go further into colder waters, bodies lose heat faster which makes an extra layer of insulation necessary for warmth. Diving suits are typically divided into three layers: first (top), second (middle), and third (bottom). The outermost layer protects against debris exposure while the middle layer keeps you warm enough during entry-level dives to prevent hypothermia. For diving in really cold climates, divers need three layers plus gloves and boots to prevent hypothermia.
What Is The Purpose Of Gloves?
Gloves are used with your drysuit to add warmth and grip on objects underwater by creating a watertight seal around your wrists. They also protect sharp ocean materials like shells, rocks, and coral that can injure you while diving.
What Is The Purpose Of Boots?
Boots keep feet from getting cold during dives in colder climates. They enclose your entire foot at a 180-degree angle which makes it easier for divers to walk through the sand without slipping or getting stuck while searching for things to collect. To make sure all areas stay warm while wearing boots, it’s important to wear wetsuit socks under them so any areas not covered by the boots are still well insulated to avoid hypothermia.
Are Dry Suits Good In Cold Waters?
Drysuits are the best option in cold waters because they trap air between your body and your suit so water can’t seep through easily. They provide insulation when diving in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means divers can stay submerged for much longer than with other types of wetsuits or exposure protection. Also, you don’t need weights since there is no buoyancy difference when compared to wearing a wet suit.
Does A Dry Suit Keep You Dry?
Drysuits keep divers warm and completely dry by trapping air between the suit and your skin. The pressure of the trapped air helps maintain a watertight seal around your body to prevent seeping in any kind of liquid including fresh or saltwater, sweat, urine, or vomit.
You’ve done your research and now you know that a dry suit is the best option for wet winter activities. But what exactly are these suits? Drysuits keep water out but allow body heat to escape so divers can stay comfortable in cold waters.
This article has covered everything you need to know about how dry suits work, the types of suits available, tips on caring for your suit, and FAQs about them. With this knowledge under your belt, you should be ready to make an informed decision when choosing a new or used drysuit. We hope this guide will help you care for yourself with ease. Happy diving!