Drysuit Types

If you have been diving during our Wellington winter, you will have noticed that the water temperature has dropped slightly. If your wetsuit is not keeping you as warn as it used to, you need to do something about that. Your choices are to replace the wetsuit with one of our Titanium weave suits or get a drysuit. To make a wise choice, you need to understand the drysuit types that are available.

‘Heck’, you say, ‘I can’t afford a drysuit’. You might be surprised at the economics of a drysuit. Firstly, they are easy to maintain and repair. Sure, they are more expensive to purchase than a wetsuit but they last much longer. Wetsuits do wear out, in fact a year of constant use may destroy a wetsuits thermal properties. When the neoprene bubbles breakdown the suit gets thinner and insulation starts to deteriorate. When that happens, you need to replace the whole suit to stay warm. A drysuit does not loose insulation as that is the job of the undergarment. The drysuit simply keeps you dry so the thickness is almost irrelevant!

Now you need to know what drysuit type to look at. The two basic types (regardless of fancy Trade names) are neoprene and tri-laminate. The neoprene drysuit is made from closed cell neoprene and suits range from 2mm to 10mm in thickness. In Wellington waters, 2mm is too thin and 10mm might be too inflexible for most divers. The best range, for warmth and flexibility is 4mm. The tri-laminate is a thin ‘skin’ made of three layers of tough material – nylon, polyester, or other materials. Both drysuit types are designed to trap a layer of air next to your body within your undergarments – and that is what keeps you so warm.

To keep you dry, the drysuit has seals around the neck and wrists. Booties or socks are part of the drysuit. Both drysuit styles are bulkier than the tight-fitting wetsuit and this may cause some minor drag. The advantage is that you can wear thicker undergarments under the suit during the colder months and thinner during the warmer months – just like we do with clothing day-to-day. There is a difference in the thermal properties of both styles; neoprene drysuits are warmer than tri-laminate drysuits and therefore require thinner undergarments. Both the neoprene and the tri-laminate drysuits are incredibly tough and hard wearing – ask any hard-core diver, Instructor or Tech diver. 

Now we need to make a decision on drysuit type. If you are a keen year-round recreational scuba or re-breather diver, I would recommend a neoprene 4mm drysuit. It is well made and very affordable. Life could be six to ten years or consistent use. It is also easy to maintain, repair and change the body-shape. If you are a Technical diver, Instructor or Scientific diver, I would recommend the tri-laminate drysuit. They are very hard wearing with a life of perhaps fifteen years. They are also easy to maintain and repair. Tri-laminate fittings are baggier as the excess material collapses onto your frame as you reduce undergarment layers.

Our recommended drysuit types are the neoprene Scubapro Everdry 4 (4mm) and the tri-laminate Fourth Element Argonaut 2.0 (which come in three models). Both come with hoods, accessories and a range of options. To make sure you choose the best drysuit types for your Wellington diving activities, come in and discuss what drysuit type is best for you. 9 Marina View, Mana, Porirua (Wellington).