We finally received our SF Techs, my wife took the compressed Neoprene and I took the trilaminate TNT. The wife has a Kwark full length pyjama and I have the SF Tech Joggers and Sweatshirt (equivalent to 300 Insulate)... We both have the Rolok dry glove system, latex for the neck seal and silicon on the wrist.
Today was out first dive in a Dry Suit so it wasn't a typical dive, we were under instruction by our club and as such did the basic exercises, weighting up correctly, how to return oneself to an upright position after getting air in the feet and a couple of exercies about evacuating air quickly..
It was fresh outside this morning but the sun was shining, whilst we were preparing our gear on the surface, dry suit pulled only half way up wearing the undergarments it becomes very easy to sweat.... Someone mentioned this in the topic, but I didn't realise just how warm those undergarments are on the surface... Because of this I waited till the last moment before completely donning the dry suit.
We dive mostly from the shore and the entries are on a gentle slope which goes down to 3m, I was surprised by how quickly the suit tightens around the feet/legs... The water on the surface was around 13° ( 55° F).
At waist height we then swam about 5minutes to get the buoy where we start our dive. First remark, all the heat that was generated between the prep stage and now very quickly disappears. I expected it to far more subtle.
We started our dive and some exercises, so I wasn't aware of the cold/heat. We then headed off down to 20m for more exercises, I honestly expected to be warmer, but it took me a little while before I realised that I wasn't getting colder, and that alone is a major and very agreeable difference.
At 25m ( 70 feet) the temperature was around 9°(48°) and this is what surprised me the most, I was not any colder now than I was at the surface. There was none of that effect of increasing cold. there was none of that disagreeable cold wet suit feeling.
To cut the rest of the dive short, we ended the dive after 55 minutes and from start to finish the heat/cold remained pratically constant and this is new to me… A little bit of air from time to time and the cold seems to stay at bay, it becomes manageable.
At the surface it’s very, very agreeable to not start shivering
through a damp wet suit. and this is also highly agreeable.
So to sum things up and answer my own question, “How Warm Is A Dry Suit”, well it’s not actually warm, it’s seems to sit between the two, you are definitely not warm but at the same time you are not really cold. It’s kind of neutral but in a good way. (Obviously results vary and we are not using heated undergarments and mileage will definitely vary).
It was an expensive purchase but now we know that we can dive all year long which is nothing short of excellent.
PS : we didnt use the Rolok gloves today, our instructor asked us to wait until we have done 2 dives... My hands we by far the coldest part of my body at the end of the dive, head being second. Without any doubt we know that the gloves will also make a big difference.