Drysuit suggestions for moderate to warm-water diving

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Xaman Ha

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Hi all,

I’d like to get your views on drysuit choice. I know this is an often-discussed topic on this board and I’ve looked at most of the threads from the last ~10 years. Alas, this hasn’t given me the clarity I was hoping for so here I go. It would be great to draw on this board's awesome knowledge. :thumb2:

TL/DR: Looking for a drysuit for recreational diving in relatively warm waters (16C / 60F and up).

My buddy-wife and I get cold easily. I begin feeling chilly (during longer / repeat dives) in 24C / 75F waters when wearing a 5mm wetsuit + hooded vest, and she's even more sensitive. For this reason, and to do more diving in Europe, we are interested in drysuits.

Requirements

Our diving is recreational, we are GUE Fundies and PADI AOW qualified. It's possible that we venture into Tech 1 territory during the next couple of years but we will not be doing any cave or wreck penetration in the foreseeable future. The waters we are planning to dive in will range from 16C / 60F to 30C / 86F. All of our diving involves some travel, but I’m not overly concerned with shaving off the last pound in my luggage.

We are interested in trilaminate drysuits, not neoprene. A made-to-measure option would be nice. It should be a suit that will work with our relatively warm water diving (I do understand that with membrane suits, it’s the undergarment and not the suit that provides insulation). Due to a lack of serious penetration diving, we probably don’t need the most bulletproof model, but quality is important to me, nonetheless.

Price-wise, we are not on a strict budget but I don’t want to waste money and feel like a top-of-the-line suit would be overkill. If something below EUR 1,600 / USD 2,000 could be found, that would be ideal.

Models

We are looking for a suit that fits the criteria just described and can be purchased in Europe. Below are the models I’ve looked at so far – happy to read your thoughts / experiences and also very open to other suggestions.

“Budget”
- Seaskin Nova
- Avatar Travel Drysuit (link)
- Rofos RS356 (link)
- Waterproof D9X (their wetsuits fit me well)
More expensive to top of the line
- Ursuit Lite or Heavy Light (link)
- Fourth Element Argonaut 2.0
- Santi Emotion+ / Elite+​
Which model(s) would you recommend?

Additional questions

Breathability: Given the warm air temperature in the places where we typically dive, does a breathable membrane offer noteworthy advantages? From what I’ve learned, it will be significantly less durable, but some folks find it much more comfortable when out of the water. But does this second point make a noticeable difference when I could just leave the top off until I do my final gearing up?

P-valve: I am not planning on getting one yet, since we are not doing very long dives at the moment and I understand it can be installed later, if necessary. Agree?

Seals: Is there a preferable type for the type of diving we do? Otherwise I’m leaning towards neoprene seals.

I'll be thankful for any input!
 

Marie13

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Why neoprene seals? Silicone is very comfortable. Hated when I had a latex neck seal for a while.
 
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Xaman Ha

Xaman Ha

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Why neoprene seals? Silicone is very comfortable
Hmm yes you may be right, and silicone may be more UV resistant. I was under the impression that neoprene is more durable and comfortable, but I have not been able to compare the different seals.
 

Marie13

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Hmm yes you may be right, and silicone may be more UV resistant. I was under the impression that neoprene is more durable and comfortable, but I have not been able to compare the different seals.

Neoprene seems to be more fiddly. Don’t you have to mess with folding them inward or something like that?
 

grantctobin

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Hmm yes you may be right, and silicone may be more UV resistant. I was under the impression that neoprene is more durable and comfortable, but I have not been able to compare the different seals.
Silicon is more UV resistant but more prone to tear upon small nicks in the leading edge. Neoprene wrist seals either lay flat (Scubapro, Pinnacle, some others) or require a roll in, like nearly all neoprene neck seals. They’re comfortable and can generally be patched with aqua seal. The first user replaceable, non glue-in neoprene neck seal was released in the past twelve months and fits the si-tech system.

I use Kubi rings at the wrists and a si-tech system at the neck to be able to replace silicon or latex seals in the field. One consideration is whether you value this capability. The other is the likelihood of using drygloves. In Europe and considering taking Tech 1, I’d be very surprised if you don’t end up with a dryglove compatible option long term. As such, most neoprene wrist seals are out of contention.
 

jale

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Hi
Regarding water temperatures and places of diving and travelling, I am in the same situation as you and I used to have indeed a trilaminate with changeable silicone seals and played with different unders.
Now I used a "cheap" compressed neoprenne drysuit. It folds as small as a 5min wet suit, it is easy to "wet" to keep you cool if you are too hot and with neoprenne seals it is easy to repair if needed. When it is around 16C, I just used a wool top and a pair of running wool socks under that you can also use as travelling gears :).
I also used socks, alone if it is boat dives or/and with a pair of old running shoes.
I still dive my trilaminate but for colder water.
 

lexvil

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Go with the first one on the list,Seaskin, add the pee valve, you don’t have to use it but if you’re warmer your dive time will increase, si tech oval wrist seals and the quick neck with silicone seals for both, buy spares with the suit so you have them if you need them. Plastic zipper, it can be mostly closed when you roll/fold the suit for transport, less susceptible to damage. Neoprene socks, better option in any situation, in my opinion, but much easier to transport.
 

jale

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Silicon is more UV resistant but more prone to tear upon small nicks in the leading edge. Neoprene wrist seals either lay flat (Scubapro, Pinnacle, some others) or require a roll in, like nearly all neoprene neck seals. They’re comfortable and can generally be patched with aqua seal. The first user replaceable, non glue-in neoprene neck seal was released in the past twelve months and fits the si-tech system.

I use Kubi rings at the wrists and a si-tech system at the neck to be able to replace silicon or latex seals in the field. One consideration is whether you value this capability. The other is the likelihood of using drygloves. In Europe and considering taking Tech 1, I’d be very surprised if you don’t end up with a dryglove compatible option long term. As such, most neoprene wrist seals are out of contention.
You can do T1 in Europe without dry gloves...South of Europe is not that cold in summer :)
But you are right...once you start it is always more and more equipment :)
 

bobmaggi

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I recently got a neoprene neck seal to try out on my tri-lam suit. I was surprised at how comfortable it was, very soft and no uncomfortable squeeze on the neck. IMO it was more comfortable to wear than even my silicon seals which I have trimmed for a good comfortable fit. The need to fold the neoprene over was very easy, no different than the process to make sure the silicone/latex is flat against the neck.
I can recommend the SeaSkin Nova suit, this is my 5th dry suit (Great Lakes wreck diving can be rough on suits plus I do a lot of diving so suits eventually start leaking through the material). It fits very well, is comfortable to wear and seems to be of good quality material and workmanship. All new suits start out that way, I’ll let you know how well it is after 100 dives....
P-valves are a great addition if you are doing longer dives, many of my dives on the rebreather are deco diving so a p-valve becomes essential! Just make sure the valve is OFF if not connected, otherwise it can become a bit damper inside the suit.
There are breathable dry suits out there. My previous dry suit was a 4th Element Kevlar. Very comfortable on the surface due to its breathability but unfortunately I found out that Kevlar makes for a leaky suit. 4th Element stopped making that suit after only a couple of years and switched to another fabric. There are some other fabrics that are breathable but I don’t have any experience with them.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

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