Looking at a Dry-suit (DUI vs USIA)?

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Hostage

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I have been diving for less than a year and I would like to try to get in the water a little earlier than normal. I live near Lake Ontario and a couple hours away from Alex Bay. I am looking for a dry suit, there are all variations in prices, so I am curious of what to get, etc. I am interested in doing wreck diving and the prices seem to vary from $600 to many times that. What features do people need and use? Is a pee-valve worth it? I think my bladder has higher capacity than my scuba tank. I also heard that suspendors are very useful. I never used a dry suit, though I am currently using a 7mm FJ w/ a 5mm Jacket.

Lastly when it comes to undergarments, can you just use something you already have or is there some certain thing you have to wear. Right now I do XC-Skiing (10-30*) and I do feel very comfortable wearing a base layer for wicking, a fleece vest, then just a water/wind proof shell. Granted XC skiing is a workout and scuba shouldn't. I guess I am wondering I can get by with what I already have, than pay a premium for that I most likely already have.

Regards,

Doron
 

CAPTAIN SINBAD

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I dive a USIA bi-lam suit and I would highly recommend it. If you guy this from DiveRightinScuba they sell it for 600. Here is the link to the suit that I purchased.

AquaSport Drysuit - Dive Right In Scuba - Plainfield, IL

Its one third the price of most shell suits and performs just as well. Packs lighter and with the right undergarments I can dive any temperature. It is bilam instead of a trilam and so far it has worked very well. Construction and workman ship is very well. I do not believe in adding bells and whistles because the less bells and whistles the less things needing repairs frequently ya know.
 
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Hostage

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I dive a USIA bi-lam suit and I would highly recommend it. If you guy this from DiveRightinScuba they sell it for 600. Here is the link to the suit that I purchased.

AquaSport Drysuit - Dive Right In Scuba - Plainfield, IL

Its one third the price of most shell suits and performs just as well. Packs lighter and with the right undergarments I can dive any temperature. It is bilam instead of a trilam and so far it has worked very well. Construction and workman ship is very well. I do not believe in adding bells and whistles because the less bells and whistles the less things needing repairs frequently ya know.

Thanks for the quick reply, I am thinking I do like the KISS/less is more concept, esp when your life counts on it. I just want to separate what is the best way of doing it from "car salesman" approach.
 

ddmattos

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Bi-lam or Trilam....just make sure it fits and is not too baggy. Get a balanced p-valve. You don't have to hook up for every dive, but you should. Nothing worse than diving with cramps. You should frequently drink water, even between dives.

Take a look at or if possible try out the DUI and Santi lines. See the quality in seams, boots, and valve placement. The dump valve little further back on the arm makes for easier dumping when horizontal. I chose the Santi E-Lite after test diving the DUI Flx-Extreme. It was Santi, hands down. Yes expensive, but it fits like a glove and I dive it always no matter the water temp. Just change the undergarments.

"Dive Dry, Dive More!" So true.

Don't skimp on undergarments. I tried. If your local dive store carries Fourth Element undergarments, bring your base layer and compare it to the Fourth Element's Drybase. The Drybase not only wicks the moisture away from your skin, but keep it away within reason with no thermal properties. You will see and feel the difference. The moisture doesn't evaporate into the air like on land. Also the Zerotherm (can be used as a warm base layer) and Arctic need less air to keep you warm which leads to less weight needed. I buy my gear from Diveseekers (link to undergarments). (Wash your undergarments with little soap on gentle cycle and they will last for a very long time.)
 

nimoh

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I dive a DUI FLX Extreme that I bought last summer. I checked into a lot of places, read a lot of reviews, and bought the suit I did because I thought (and still think) it was the best (for me).

How much better? - not a lot, and probably not enough to justify the added price, but oh well, it is only money
 

TSandM

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Like everything else in diving (and probably in life) there are tradeoffs, and to some degree, you do get what you pay for. Bilaminate materials are not known for holding up as well as trilaminates, and when bilam delaminates, the suit is done for. In addition, suits like the USIA are not as tailored, which means you will have to deal with more air-trapping and buoyancy may be a little more challenging. That said, the suits are inexpensive (and frequently very attractive!) and a good way to get into a dry suit if your budget is small.

Another suit that our students have been giving good reports on is the ScubaPro EverDry. It's a neoprene suit, and comes with neoprene seals, which DOES limit your choice of dry gloves, if you decide to use them. But the $1000 price point with undergarment is a pretty good deal.

I would HIGHLY recommend getting purpose-made undergarments. Yes, they are sometimes ridiculously expensive. But unlike most outdoor wear for skiing or mountain sports, diving insulation has to work when it is wet. Anyone who dives a dry suit will eventually have a leak or flood; discovering you are soaking wet when you have a 30 minute swim back to your entrance/exit point and the water is 50 degrees is not a happy situation (BTDT). Thinsulate and other materials which are designed to continue to insulate when sopping are worth the extra money. Hypothermia is at best no fun, and at worst, potentially lethal.
 
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Hostage

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I was thinking of opting out of the p-valve, as I never peed in my FJ/Jacket out of the 12+ dives I have done. How much does a p-valve add onto costs and maintenance?
 
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Hostage

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Like everything else in diving (and probably in life) there are tradeoffs, and to some degree, you do get what you pay for. Bilaminate materials are not known for holding up as well as trilaminates, and when bilam delaminates, the suit is done for. In addition, suits like the USIA are not as tailored, which means you will have to deal with more air-trapping and buoyancy may be a little more challenging. That said, the suits are inexpensive (and frequently very attractive!) and a good way to get into a dry suit if your budget is small.

Another suit that our students have been giving good reports on is the ScubaPro EverDry. It's a neoprene suit, and comes with neoprene seals, which DOES limit your choice of dry gloves, if you decide to use them. But the $1000 price point with undergarment is a pretty good deal.

I would HIGHLY recommend getting purpose-made undergarments. Yes, they are sometimes ridiculously expensive. But unlike most outdoor wear for skiing or mountain sports, diving insulation has to work when it is wet. Anyone who dives a dry suit will eventually have a leak or flood; discovering you are soaking wet when you have a 30 minute swim back to your entrance/exit point and the water is 50 degrees is not a happy situation (BTDT). Thinsulate and other materials which are designed to continue to insulate when sopping are worth the extra money. Hypothermia is at best no fun, and at worst, potentially lethal.

From what I read USIA is more custom and can take longer to get a suit than normal. TBH when it comes to fit, I have more issues finding "my size", as those are always the ones people buy. I am a pretty standard figure. Though shoes on the other hand are hard to find. My feet are shaped more like flippers, so finding a shoe that is wide enough at the tip is harder than you think. Sometimes I have to go up a half size as a lot of shoes taper in.
 

ddmattos

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I was thinking of opting out of the p-valve, as I never peed in my FJ/Jacket out of the 12+ dives I have done. How much does a p-valve add onto costs and maintenance?

About $185. Very low maintenance. You will need one as your dives become longer and if you go tech later on. Stay hydrated. You can get one installed later. No need to send back to the manufacturer if you have a competent LDS, But just get one.
 

rhwestfall

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DUI Service Department Price List - http://www.dui-online.com/pdf/Service_Price_List_Retail.pdf - right off their page toady.....

I chose a DUI CF200 because of it being carried locally, and they do custom scratch builds (not cut up a regular - I'm 6'7", 36" inseam, and 38" sleeve but skinny - nothing would fit me on any rack). Went with regular latex wrist & neck seals (zips were just showing up and added $$$). It all was a balancing game. Couldn't afford a pee-valve because I had to buy undergarments, rock boots, new fins, and a back-inflate BC (old conventional one I had wasn't going to cut it).... at times I wish I had sprung for it, and when this one goes back for new seals (will put in zips), I will likely put in a pee-valve. Maybe another pocket too. You can put in a "relief zipper" instead, but that seems to be a more likely to fail item than a pee-valve...

Seems like most can/will put stuff on later if it becomes important to you.

Interesting observation - the Thousand Islands are (with the exception of spring) fairly warm to dive wet. Cold kicks in when you stretch the season (SI when wet), or numerous dives in a day. Ontario - that is a whole different story - dive dry!!!!
 
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