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Lavacore pro's/con's

Discussion in 'Lavacore' started by azntenshi, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. azntenshi

    azntenshi Garibaldi

    What are the pro's and con's for Lavacore? Is it really effective to keep you warm? Which style is best for warm water under a shortie?
  2. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    The big pro for me is that it's very flexible and comfortable. Not like wearing a wetsuit at all. Easy to don and doff compared to a wetsuit as well. I think it's comparable to a 3mm roughly but not as warm as my 5/7. Of course what you need in what water varies greatly by individual; generally I wear my lava core in water that is roughly 70f. 60f-70f and I don the 5/7. Lower than that and I don't dive. At around 78f I just use a skin.

    I've only used the full suit lavacore and can't comment on the other cuts.
  3. MRadke

    MRadke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Wisconsin
    I use mine in warm water without a shorty. I dive in a lavacore shirt and board shorts and am good down to 70 degrees, depending on time spent at that temp. Last trip, surface temp was 79 and bottom temp was 73. We spent over 20 minutes at max depth and I was cool but not uncomfortable. I'm sure that if I were set up for more time at depth, I would want more thermal protection, but with an AL80, we were pushing our NDL as it was.

    Pro - The shirt dries fairly fast, especially when turned inside out
    - The shirt instead of a shorty lets me pee at depth without stinking things up, chalk me up as not liking to pee in a wetsuit.

    Con - Even though lavacore claims zero bouyancy, I found it necessary to soak the shirt up well before attempting to descend. The fleece tends to trap a lot of air initially, but a quick swim before boarding the dive boat cured the problem.

    - The shirt could use a half length zipper to make donning easier.
  4. opie712

    opie712 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cookeville, TN
    My wife's loves her full suit says its the best thing ever made she normally dives a full 5mil in 75-80 degree water gets cold super easy now she's wearing the lava core and 3 mil shorty only downside I've seen to it it takes a while to dry the whole suit will be dry except the arm and leg cuffs but well worth the money in my book
  5. oldflounder

    oldflounder Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Hampshire/Maine seacoast or Lake Winnie
    I started going the Lavacore route last winter when I purchased the full suit to use under my drysuit in case of a flood.
    I like it so much that I have almost the whole ensemble [meaning socks, gloves, hood, pants, vest, longsleeve shirt and full suit.] On hindsight I wish I had bought the vest w/hood since I use them so much. Because of my Alfred Hitchcock physique, I need to use suspenders to keep my pants up when I get out of the water. The material soaks up a ton of water and is about 3 times heavier when saturated.

    Lavacore is not cheap. You will spend the same as a good wetsuit. The beauty of it is you don't even know you are wearing it and you can mix and match. It also goes well under a drysuit and does not add to the constriction like a wetsuit or snowmobile-type suit does. It's like wearing regular street clothing. If you seal up all the openings with hood, socks and gloves, there is no water circulation between the skin and material.

    I have been using it all summer for shallow lake diving, an hour at a time. The temps were in the mid 70's most of that time. The thermocline in places is at 22' and drops 8-10* so I stay shallow and recover lost fishing gear for fun. It is in the upper 60's now and I have started wearing the vest. I think it is ideal for extended warm water diving. You can leave it on between dives and it dries out quite well. On the other hand it is slow drying overnight especially under humid conditions. It must be turned inside out and even then takes a couple days to get bone dry.

    I would strongly recommend it in place of a wetsuit if you are doing a lot of snorkeling or shallow water diving above 68*. For a little colder than that I will be adding the full suit on top of the pants,vest and shirt. Any colder than that and I will get out the 7mm.
    mo4391 likes this.
  6. mathauck0814

    mathauck0814 Assistant Instructor

    I use their hood for almost all of my dives. Wind proof and surprisingly warm in the water. As has been mentioned, it does take a bit to dry.
  7. Dr. Lecter

    Dr. Lecter Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC/Honolulu
    I use a longsleeve no hood shirt out here in HI. For most dives, I just wear the lavacore and a pair of dive shorts; for particularly long decos, I use the lavacore as a nice minimal insulation under my fusion drysuit. I do need to look at getting some socks from them to make putting the drysuit on easier. So far it has held up well and the fit isn't horrible, even if it's tight in the chest and loose everywhere else.
  8. JohnoAU

    JohnoAU Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Australia
    I'm 6ft/186cm and a little heavier than I'd like, but the XL long sleeve top and socks have been great, nice fit, a little snug around the under arms, but you've got to expect that a little with it being designed to wear under wetsuits. It's kept me nice and warm in the water under a 7mm wetsuit.
  9. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Figured I would bump this instead of starting a new thread. I'm thinking of getting a Lavacore to wear under a rented 7mm wetsuit for a dive in water that will probably be in the high 50s, maybe low 60s F if I'm lucky. I can easily rent a hood with the wetsuit, but I'm wondering if a Lavacore with an integrated hood would be better. Not sure if I want a full or jacket style. Any recommendations or ideas for things to consider would be appreciated.

    Also I've heard of pouring warm water into your wetsuit before splashing in, and I'm thinking of getting a thermos for that purpose. This feels like a really stupid question, but to those who have done this, how do you get the water to the right temperature so that it's still warm when you're ready to use it, but not scalding?
  10. Addicted2H2O

    Addicted2H2O ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    @Esprise Me I don't own a Lavacore shirt, as the one I tried on simply was way too tight. Instead, I went the Sharkskin Chillproof Climate control top as it was much more comfortable for me.

    SharkSkin ChillProof Climate Control Trilaminate Micro Fleece Long Sleeve Mens Top

    It's a half-zip without a hood and honestly I think you'd be better served getting something without a hood anyway. It's not going to keep your head as warm as neoprene. I was diving a "quarry" with water temps right at 50F and although I was a little "chilly" I wasn't necessarily cold. At least not until I got out of the water and the 15-20 mph wind and 40F ambient air temp hit me. The second day I dove a 5mm farmer john with a 5mm jacket over it and my Sharkskin base layer and honestly wasn't really much warmer than the previous day. The last dive the second day I used my ffm rather than a conventional mask & reg setup and was much more comfortable. Both days I used a SeaSoft 6mm drysuit hood designed to be used with a ffm and my head was nice and warm. Seemed like I was losing most of my body heat from my cheeks and exposed facial tissue rather than my core or anywhere else. I think either the Lavacore or Sharksin base layer will add the warmth you're looking for at those temps with a 7mm suit and hood. Myself, I'm normally pretty comfortable in just a 5mm and hood in water down to about 55F. I have made dives in 50F water in just a full 5mm and hood and been fine, but adding the Sharkskin layer made a world of difference.

    So maybe do some research and see which option you feel works better for you. I've read comments, etc. on both and the conclusion I drew is that the Sharkskin was a little better quality and a little more comfortable but YMMV. Either way I think it'll give you that added warmth you're looking for. I'd recommend (if you can) try on both and see which one you like better as far as fit and ease of movement. Then decide.
    Esprise Me likes this.

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