Drysuit Undergarments & temp ranges (Fourth Element)

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jjmochi

Contributor
Messages
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Location
Singapore
# of dives
200 - 499
Hi

I recently decided to order a Fourth Element custom drysuit, and can get a J2 & Arctic in my size second hand for ~50% off. I'm thinking of getting the Xerotherm new as well and not sure how I should be layering as I run very cold vs typical guidelines. I can't find temperature guidelines for Xerotherm/Arctic online.

To give a sense of how cold I run I currently wear a 3mm in 29-30C, a 5mm in 27-28C, a 7mm in 25-26C, a 7mm+5/3mm hooded vest down to 20C (can last but feel very cold after 30min). Coldest I've dived was 16C where I wore ~15mm of neoprene on my core (7mm full + a rented 3mm shorty + borrowed 3mm hooded vest + 2mm vest) and still wanted to gtfo b/c of cold after 30min. I mostly go on dive trips where I am diving 3-4x/day for 7-10 days straight (liveaboards).

For drysuit I've only tried with my J2 in 29-30C waters, and I was very comfortable/not too hot but did come up a bit damp afterwards. My next trip will have water temp in 20-22C range with possible thermoclines down to 16C on some dives. I have the used J2 and Arctic now and am debating whether to order the Xerotherm, or if I can get away with just J2 and Arctic. The surface temp will be 25-28C I think.

I've tried the Arctic in my 26C AC'ed room and it felt pretty hot. Would it be overkill for 20-22C diving? Would I be better off with J2+Xerotherm combo instead? Or even something like J2+Uniqlo Ultrawarm stuff?

Does the below plan look about right for someone who runs really cold?
J2 for 29-30C
Xerotherm for 25-28C
J2+Xerotherm for 22-25C
Arctic for 18-22C
Xerotherm+Artic for 16-18C

How much additional weight do you add going from J2 > Xerotherm > Arctic? I'm using 3kg w J2 now, instructor guessed it should double for Arctic.
 
I have Xerotherm, Arctic, and Halo-3D. I think I've only worn the Arctic while cave diving in Florida and Mexico where the water is 22-25°C. I've never worn just the Xerotherm. It was purchased to wear under the Halo 3-D that was supposed to be the warmest insulation ever, and wasn't. When diving in the Great Lakes, bottom temps are typically 3-6°C, and I wear Patagonia midweight base layer, Xerotherm, and the Halo 3-D. I sometimes added a heated vest too. I recently switched to a Santi BZ400E, and it is warmer than the Xerotherm/Halo 3-D combo. YMMV
 
I ended up going w Xerotherm for 27-29, Arctic top w Xerotherm bottoms for 23-26. At 23 I still felt chilly but much warmer than I'm used to feeling in my 7mm wetsuit. I reckon I can tolerate up to 20 in Arctic w the pants. If I layer Xerotherm and Arctic maybe I can handle 16-20. I only regret buying the J2 as I don't feel hot in Xerotherm even in 29-30 water but do feel cold in J2 when it drops to 27ish, so J2 is reserved for 29-30, in which case I can manage w a wetsuit.
 
You need what you need and you need enough lead to let it work.
Luckily I only need 2kg even in the drysuit! And turns out I don't need any lead w my 3mm wetsuit.
 
I love the Xerotherm's. Use these for anything between 20-28 with thermoclines down to 15 in the teens/low 20's they can run a little cold but I have never spend extended periods of time at those temps with just the Xerotherm's after that would add more layers.

But I can easily do 4+hr dives in mid 20's with just the Xerotherm and am more than comfy and that is scooter dives with lots and lots of deco so basically very little exercise/heat generation. For reference when I do dives like that in a semi-dry 6/5 wetsuit I am always cold.
 
Luckily I only need 2kg even in the drysuit! And turns out I don't need any lead w my 3mm wetsuit.
How much extra lead did u need with xeoterm and actic
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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