1. How does a dry suit keep you warm?
Dry suits do not have any heating systems. They are designed instead to provide a layer of insulation around your body that keeps out cold water. This allows you to retain your own body heat which keeps you warm when you are in the water. Dry suits combine hoods, gloves and boots to ensure that your extremities are also insulated against the cold. This increases the effectiveness of the whole suit.
2. How can I improve the thermal insulation of my dry suit?
If you get cold when you are in the water then not only can you feel very uncomfortable but you could also start to feel slow and sluggish. This can be dangerous so to keep alert and focused you need to stay as warm as possible. Dry suits can keep you warm in the water and to improve the thermal insulation it is important to keep your head covered with a proper hood. A lot of heat is lost from this area and also the hands and feet, so gloves and boots are important as well. Layers are a key way to keep warm so you can also wear thermal vests under your dry suit. Make sure the lining of your suit and your under clothes are dry before you go in the water. Dry fabric insulates much better than damp/wet ones.
3. What are dry suits made from?
Dry suits are typically made from a coated textured Nylon fabric. This is extremely hard wearing and has a high tear and abrasion resistance. This type of Nylon is also breathable whilst at the same time being waterproof. This creates a comfortable suit that feels good to wear as well as keeping you warm when you enjoying the water.
4. Can dry suits keep you warm out of the water?
Dry suits are not only waterproof but they are also resistant to wind chill as well. This can help to keep you warm when you are both under water and also out in the open air. Dry suits will protect you whilst you are sailing from the cold and any wind driven spray. This is a practical way to stay warm and dry when you are out on the water.
5. Should I choose a front or back zip?
The choice of zip will be a personal preference as this does not make much difference to the suit as a whole. Back zips are easy to put on but you will need help with the zip. Front zips are easier to do up yourself but they can get in the way in certain conditions, such as if you have to wear a harness.
6. Are ankle socks or sock seals best for dry suits?
As your feet can get cold very quickly sock seals can be more suitable as they keep your foot much drier and warmer than ankle seals. Ankle seals can also be quite tight and can reduce the flow of blood to your feet if you have to wear them for long periods. This can make your feet feel cold and numb. Socks are also much easier to put on and they last longer. Socks can make your dry suit boots feel much more comfortable.
7. Why do I need braces on my dry suit?
Two piece dry suit designs can benefit from braces. These will ensure the trouser sections stays in place when you are bending down or crouching. This will ensure your dry suit fits comfortably at all times.
8. What is better Latex or Neoprene seals?
Latex seals are used on most professional dry suits. They have more elasticity than the neoprene and this means that they are easier to put on and provide a closer fit. Latex seals can feel a bit tight when you first wear them and you can trim these down if you are careful to provide a better fit. Latex seals should last for around 2 to 3 years if you look after them properly (refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for more care guidance). Neoprene seals are comfortable and provide good heat insulation. However they are not quite as stretchy as Latex seals and may not provide as good a fit. You can replace the seals on your dry suit yourself using a DIY kit. However if you are not a handy person then you should send your suit to a professional dry suit fitting service to get the seals replaced. This will ensure that you get the right fit for your seals.
9. What are bellows seals?
Bellows seals are used on dry suits. These are conical, ringed neck seals that are made from Latex (neoprene seals are not available in bellow designs). These seals allow you to bend your head forward easily without the suit catching/pulling or any gaps forming.
10. How do you care for dry suits?
Dry suits can be a significant investment so you do need to look after them to make sure they last as long as possible. Every time you wear your suit you need to wash and dry it thoroughly before you put it away. You can wash it in clean fresh water or use a gentle fabric cleaner (no harsh detergents though). Make sure you clean any sand or grit from out of the zip as this could damage the teeth the next time you wear the suit.
You need to hang the suit up to dry in an aerated place before you store away. Keep the suit out of extreme temperatures and sunlight. When you are storing or transporting your dry suit make sure you lay it flat and avoid putting anything on top of it. Also make sure the zip is laid completely flat as bending it can damage the teeth. Lubricate the zip with a bit of beeswax to make sure it remains free moving. Don’t use any oil based lubricants on the zip as this attracts grit.