How much weight is too much?

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Seville

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I recently got done with my drysuit course. I have only done 2 dives with it but feel like I need to add a lot more weight. I am 5'10" and 210lbs, I have a DUI 50-50 drysuit, a really thick and buoyant pinnacle evolution undergarment. My bcd has 40 lbs of buoyancy and I use a steel 120 tank. In a 7ml wetsuit I usually use 22lbs of lead.

I have gone up to 29 lbs of weight in the drysuit. Once I get to about 2200 psi it becomes very tough to stay down if I am at a safety stop depth. When I take my bcd off at the surface and it is fully inflated it does sink a little. I am afraid if I add more weight, I would not be buoyant enough to be at the surface while fully inflated. I know my drysuit will keep me up but I am worried if I have some kind of malfunction with it. If I am at 30-35lbs is that considered dangerous?
 

Marie13

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If you need the weight, you need the weight. Don’t get caught up in the contest of he who wears the least weight, wins. Getting some of the weight off your BC can help if you need a lot. Something like a DUI weight harness is good. I needed a lot of weight single tank drysuit. The DUI harness worked well. I used just shy of 29 lbs and had a 40lb wing.
 

MiloR

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I recently got done with my drysuit course. I have only done 2 dives with it but feel like I need to add a lot more weight. I am 5'10" and 210lbs, I have a DUI 50-50 drysuit, a really thick and buoyant pinnacle evolution undergarment. My bcd has 40 lbs of buoyancy and I use a steel 120 tank. In a 7ml wetsuit I usually use 22lbs of lead.

I have gone up to 29 lbs of weight in the drysuit. Once I get to about 2200 psi it becomes very tough to stay down if I am at a safety stop depth. When I take my bcd off at the surface and it is fully inflated it does sink a little. I am afraid if I add more weight, I would not be buoyant enough to be at the surface while fully inflated. I know my drysuit will keep me up but I am worried if I have some kind of malfunction with it. If I am at 30-35lbs is that considered dangerous?
Just to clarify, you wear 22 lbs of lead in a 7mil with a 120?

I ask, and know everyone is unique, because in a 7 mil with boots and hood and an AL80 I wear 14#. My DUI drysuit and AL80 I wear 22#. I am 5'10.5" and 290# and I float well in just a bathing suit.

I think there is something else missing from this equation but not knowledgeable enough to know what it is.

FWIW, all these numbers are in freshwater. Not sure where you are diving.
 

ontdiver

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FWIW, on my first couple of dives many years ago in my then new dry suit I thought I had the right weight but actually wore too much undergarments. Looked a bit like the Michelin Man.

Take the time to dial in your weight and don't get discouraged. It will come.
 

sea_ledford

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I would advise getting more dives before adding more weight. You likely have air trapping in the suit. That is not based on your stated weight requirements, but on the " I have 2 dives" part. I took a tech class in a drysuit after I had 2 dives in one (maybe it was three). I had thousands of dives at the time and thought I was hot s**t. It was a disaster. Give it some time.

Depending on what 120 you have, it could be anywhere from -2 to -17 lbs when empty, so that makes huge difference in if you are in the correct ball park or not. If your bc hardly floats without you in it, you probably should move some weight to a harness or belt though.
 

Seville

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Just to clarify, you wear 22 lbs of lead in a 7mil with a 120?

I ask, and know everyone is unique, because in a 7 mil with boots and hood and an AL80 I wear 14#. My DUI drysuit and AL80 I wear 22#. I am 5'10.5" and 290# and I float well in just a bathing suit.

I think there is something else missing from this equation but not knowledgeable enough to know what it is.

FWIW, all these numbers are in freshwater. Not sure where you are diving.
yes i wear 22lbs with the 120 and a 7mm wetsuit.
 

Seville

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I would advise getting more dives before adding more weight. You likely have air trapping in the suit. That is not based on your stated weight requirements, but on the " I have 2 dives" part. I took a tech class in a drysuit after I had 2 dives in one (maybe it was three). I had thousands of dives at the time and thought I was hot s**t. It was a disaster. Give it some time.

Depending on what 120 you have, it could be anywhere from -2 to -17 lbs when empty, so that makes huge difference in if you are in the correct ball park or not. If your bc hardly floats without you in it, you probably should move some weight to a harness or belt though.
My suit is a little large on me. It is an xl but it is not too baggy on me. The arms are a little long. Here is a pic of me with it on.
IMG_2507.JPG
 

inquisit

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You absolutely need the weight you need in order to stay down. On the flip side, though, some wings may trap air or you may not have developed the technique of orienting yourself to fully vent. This would increase the amount of lead you think you need, but could really be eliminated. Carrying more than you need just makes things harder: buoyancy changes happen faster (harder to control), you have to kick harder for a given pace, air consumption is worse, etc.

There are three major aspects to consider:
  1. Your drysuit should handle buoyancy requirements if your wing fails. At the beginning of the dive, you're about 8 lbs heavier from the air you haven't yet breathed from that HP120, but still typically within the capabilities of a working drysuit.
  2. You would ideally have a large enough wing to float you if you flood your suit. The issue there is you're carrying lead to offset the normally buoyant suit. When the suit floods, you don't have that buoyancy to offset the lead you're still wearing. Dropping SOME weight may be an option (if you've arranged for that possibility). Be smart about how much to drop, as you want a controlled ascent.
  3. Your inflated rig has to float if you take it off. This is the more stringent criterion on wing size in my experience. That may mean a larger wing or just putting some of the weight on you (belt or harness).
Is 35 lbs of lead dangerous? Not necessarily, but do think about what you'd need to do in the three situations mentioned above. Also experiment with your orientation and have a buddy look at your wing at your next safety stop. The wing should be empty of air after you gently surface with reserve pressure in your tank (purge it down as a test at the end of the stop).
 

inquisit

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I just realized my previous post talked about air in the wing, but some people are trained to use the drysuit alone for buoyancy (and put nothing in the wing). If that's you, then at the safety stop with tank at reserve pressure, your suit should not be painfully squeezing you, but you should feel it lightly pressing on you. The picture you posted looks to me like a reasonable amount remaining in the suit to prevent squeeze.
 

MrVegas

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I actually started with 36 lbs of weight with a single LP108 and random stuff for undergarments and a regular jacket BC after not being comfortable staying down with less. Worked down to 30-32 with time and better undergarments (4th Element Arctic), and would probably be happy with less than that, but now I am diving doubles with a backplate and only 16lbs of weight. (Maybe could still drop a few pounds, but I'm comfortable there.) As everyone says - it takes what it takes. I think I felt better off being a little heavy with the drysuit.

By the way, I tried a Pinnacle "snowsuit" style undergarment (Tecline) and I could not get that thing to sink. I returned it and bought the Arctic. The Tecline was super warm but really buoyant.

A lot folks posting here might be diving a steel backplate, which could be 6 lbs negative, plus your BC might be a few pounds positive. The only way to really find out is to get your tank down to 500 psi and start shedding weight and see where you're still comfortable staying down.

I use a weight harness too for most of the lead -- that makes sure the rig can float if necessary.
 
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