The human body loses the heat several times faster in water than outside it, and that is one of the core reasons why having a neoprene suit is almost always necessary when we go diving. As much to pass cold as to suffer heat is especially uncomfortable when we are diving, turning a pleasant experience as it should be the diving in a torment that you want to finish. It is imperative that you know what neoprene suit to buy and which we should use at any time.
What are neoprene suits?
Neoprene is a type of flexible synthetic rubber invented in 1930 that has an excellent insulation capacity. In our case, that of divers, the millions of gas bubbles (nitrogen usually) that this tissue keeps allow the skin of the diver to be isolated from circulating water around, reducing the speed with which water "steals" heat from the body. This allows us to stay longer under water without cooling too much. The neoprene suit makes diving in cold water possible.
But as we know, the more we get down, the more the air is compressed. It is exactly offering less insulation since there is a smaller separation between the skin and the water, something that we have to have Take into account when choosing the diving suit. Other aspects that will determine the body heat that we lose will be the thickness of the suit, the quality of the closures or the good or poorly adjusted that the suit remains. All this makes us enter more or less water, which we keep more or less heat.
The neoprene suit also protects us from chafing, bumps, accidental contact with rocks and even wildlife, saving us, for example from damaging us with rocks, a fire coral or a jellyfish).
You can read the detailed review of the best wetsuits
What types of wetsuits are there?
Neoprene suits are classified according to the temperature in which we are going to dive, which will determine the type of suit to buy and its thickness. Each manufacturer uses different fibers and qualities in the making of the suit, gluing and sealing of the zippers, technology in the design of the joints for the entrance of water. Many factors determine its quality and price. In addition to the suits are added elements that allow greater flexibility in different areas, reinforcements in areas such as knees and elbows, reflective materials for night dives, hoods, zippers in various places, etc. In fact, choosing a diving suit is not an easy task, and it is necessary to try several until you find your suit, exactly as it happens with the diving masks.
These suits are used in very warm waters, between 20ºC and 30ºC. These suits leave the legs and arms uncovered (although some shorts cover arms but not legs), and their goal is to keep the stomach and chest warm. They also do a crucial job protecting against scrapes and blows from the bottle, the jacket or the leads. its thickness varies between 1 mm and 4 mm and are often used a lot to snorkel
Full wetsuit of 5 mm or 7 mm
These are the suits that we all associate with the image of neoprene suit or diving suit. They are garments that cover the whole body (legs and arms included) and are used for water temperatures of between 12ºC and 20ºC degrees although it is true that quite possibly with a suit of cheap or poor quality neoprene will pass cold below 15ºC. These suits are made in thicknesses of 5 mm and 7 mm being the 7 mm suitable for less than 15 º and in many cases, the latter, come equipped with hoods. If you are in cold, it can be a good choice.
As with everything about diving equipment, the choice depends on your economy and whether you plan to dive a lot, but inexpensive wetsuits usually end up being expensive, you will be cold, and you will not feel comfortable. It may seem like huge amount of money, but from 150 $ you can find excellent neoprene suits that with the proper maintenance will last you years.
Semi-dry between 5 mm and 7 mm
The semi-dry suits are used when the water temperature drops below 15 degrees and depending on the value you have and the quality of the suit you can hold up to 8ºC or 10ºC. The
difference with the wetsuits is that the entrance of the water is minimal to have more seals closures by hands, feet and back. Of course, out of the water, we will spend much more heat than with a damp.
Here the price begins to rise since the quality of the closures and the materials is much greater. It is best that you to a store and try several, sweat (make the seller sweat). Stay with the one that best suits you, with which you are comfortable and then buy it where you can find the best prices, either in online or physical store. We are talking about costumes starting at 300 $, and it is advisable not to go wrong and look for the best discounts possible.
The significant difference between dry and wet suits is that in dry suits the water does not enter the suit as it manages to maintain total insulation. These suits are used for dipping into the cold waters below 12ºC and for deep dives from 30 meters. These suits lose much of their insulation capacity when the temperature is lower. Of course, by not sticking to the body allow you to wear thermal garments under the suit. The dry suit comes equipped with valves with which it is introduced or eliminates air inside the suit and that your body heats. This suit is only recommended for experienced divers, who know how to properly control their buoyancy since you will remove and add air to the suit while you are diving, which will affect to a large extent your buoyancy.
It is an expensive investment, and in many cases, they recommend doing a course that costs around $200 to learn how to use it. You can also do a couple of simple dives in shallow depth with some fellow experienced with these types of suits and test their operation. As in all other suits, there are different materials, fibers, and qualities with which these suits are made influencing their price.