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

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OP
H

Hostage

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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!!!!

How cold is Thousand Islands right now? I do have a 7mm FJ and a 5mm Jacket and was diving till September. I could have gone more, but couldn't find people to go with. I have been meeting more divers, so that helps. Even though I am not interested in ice diving, I want to extend my seasons, especially in mild winters like this one.
 

rhwestfall

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right now, the surface would be a killer - dive dry!!!! What I was describing is the typical summer temps in the Thousand Islands (search an ongoing thread about temps somewhere here). The mouth of the St. Lawrence at Ontario is relatively shallow, so it is the warm surface water spilling into the river (unlike the deep cold water for example off Kingston on the Wolf Islander (thermo was 39 at the deck), or the St. Pete off Pultneyville) so things like the Keystorm are quite possible to dive wet, and many do for the recreational diving there.

Cooler air temperatures (spring and fall, or the occasional dreary day can be quite unpleasant when you dive wet) are a "no-big-deal" when you dive dry, and the spring water is COLD!!!!! A DS is pure heaven, but you still may not find folks to dive early or late....
 

TSandM

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A p-valve is a convenience, if your dives tend to an hour or less in duration. The cost is as stated above, and they are not difficult to install yourself. They require no maintenance beyond rinsing and disinfecting after use.

I didn't have one for about the first four years I dove. I did the "waddle of shame" out of the water on many occasions, though!
 

CAPTAIN SINBAD

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Before diving a USIA I tried a Whites and then a Dive Rite 905. I truly hated the Whites because it had skin crawling on top of skin and I just did not like the feel of something being crushed against my body. Then I tried a DR 905 and what a difference! Drysuit diving became so much easier. Finally I tried the USIA and I could not feel any buoyancy or fit difference between the two. The only difference was that USIA was lighter and crispier whereas 905 was bulkier and more rugged. TSandM is correct to point out that in a bilam suits in theory are not as durable as trilam. This is how the difference was explained to me by the manufacturer.

A trilam suit has a layer of fabric with water proof chemical sprayed on it. Then another layer of fabric is pasted on the other side so as to sandwich the waterproofing chemical in between. A bi-lam suit has one layer of fabric with the chemical prayed but does not have any thing sandwiching the chemical from the other side. The designers believed that since nothing from within the suit will come and hit it, the second layer is not needed. The result is a suit that is almost half the thickness and weight of a trilam. The only thing you have to watch out for is that you can not dive clothes that have buttons and buckles because they would run against the surface causing the exposed chemical to wear off. If proper soft undergarments are used then the chemical really has no reason to come off because the sandwich effect is generated by your own undergarment.

For 150 or 200 dollars more USIA can custom tailor you a suit. In 750 or 800 bucks if you get a custom made kick ass suit that is not bad. Even if it is a little less durable you can buy three of those for the price of a trilam. I dive and travel a lot lighter than if I had purchased a heavy trilam.
 
OP
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Before diving a USIA I tried a Whites and then a Dive Rite 905. I truly hated the Whites because it had skin crawling on top of skin and I just did not like the feel of something being crushed against my body. Then I tried a DR 905 and what a difference! Drysuit diving became so much easier. Finally I tried the USIA and I could not feel any buoyancy or fit difference between the two. The only difference was that USIA was lighter and crispier whereas 905 was bulkier and more rugged. TSandM is correct to point out that in a bilam suits in theory are not as durable as trilam. This is how the difference was explained to me by the manufacturer.

A trilam suit has a layer of fabric with water proof chemical sprayed on it. Then another layer of fabric is pasted on the other side so as to sandwich the waterproofing chemical in between. A bi-lam suit has one layer of fabric with the chemical prayed but does not have any thing sandwiching the chemical from the other side. The designers believed that since nothing from within the suit will come and hit it, the second layer is not needed. The result is a suit that is almost half the thickness and weight of a trilam. The only thing you have to watch out for is that you can not dive clothes that have buttons and buckles because they would run against the surface causing the exposed chemical to wear off. If proper soft undergarments are used then the chemical really has no reason to come off because the sandwich effect is generated by your own undergarment.

For 150 or 200 dollars more USIA can custom tailor you a suit. In 750 or 800 bucks if you get a custom made kick ass suit that is not bad. Even if it is a little less durable you can buy three of those for the price of a trilam. I dive and travel a lot lighter than if I had purchased a heavy trilam.


Sounds like a very interseting point, so if you take care of it, it will last? Though does this also stop you from using things with zippers?

What are the undergarments like, etc?
 

CAPTAIN SINBAD

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I have used undergarments with zippers but just as an added precaution I put a tape on the metal "zipper-head" so that the metal does not scrape the suit surface. What I would never do in a bilam suit is to dive in jeans with a metal buckle :). How many of us do it anyways right? Someone posted a review of this suit and the reviewer was claiming hundreds of tech-dives on it and the suit was still going strong. It is a very solid suit so I dont expect any problems. The other thing that I wanted to ask the manufacturer was that even if the chemical wears out after many many years of diving, can they not spray some back on it and make it ready to go? Unless there is no physical puncture, I believe they should be able to just invert the suit, spray the water-proofing once again and send you for less than 25 bucks. It should function like brand new provided you had not put a hole in it.

If you get in touch with USIA and ask them this please let me know too.
 

VooDooGasMan

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Since this thread went USIA, I will testify that I watched a guy dive at least 200 dives for four years with no leaks just replaced wrist and neck seals once that I know of. he had there undergarment with zipper. and seen many of these suits around.

The owner was towards military so I would believe that coating is gonna be very durable, weather a military suit or a sport suit. I like the fast drying of the suit.
 
OP
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I think for the money USIA seems like the best choice. I was talking to a local dealer yesterday and he says they have a lot less overhead, which helps them reduce the cost. I like this dealer as he seems to be a down to earth guy, compared to the "big shop" in town, which feels like they are just trying to make a sell. He advise me to not bother with a p-valve and said to go with something a little brighter, which I was going to anyway.

I guess the next step is to find out which USIA suit I should get. I am a new diver (less than a year). Have less than 20 dives under my belt and I want to extend the season and do some wreck dives eventually. My biggest limiting factor is how often my fiance will allow me to go out on the water as she is a non-diver. I wonder if all the suits are bilam or are some trilam? I prefer to get what I need, compared to going out and buying the most expensive one.
 

boat sju

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But unlike most outdoor wear for skiing or mountain sports, diving insulation has to work when it is wet.

Actually, most outdoor wear is Polartec Fleece, Thinsulate, or Primaloft just like the expensive drysuit undergarments.
 

zider

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I think for the money USIA seems like the best choice. I was talking to a local dealer yesterday and he says they have a lot less overhead, which helps them reduce the cost. I like this dealer as he seems to be a down to earth guy, compared to the "big shop" in town, which feels like they are just trying to make a sell. He advise me to not bother with a p-valve and said to go with something a little brighter, which I was going to anyway.

I guess the next step is to find out which USIA suit I should get. I am a new diver (less than a year). Have less than 20 dives under my belt and I want to extend the season and do some wreck dives eventually. My biggest limiting factor is how often my fiance will allow me to go out on the water as she is a non-diver. I wonder if all the suits are bilam or are some trilam? I prefer to get what I need, compared to going out and buying the most expensive one.

From what I understand, the drysuit sold by HOG is a rebranded version of the Techniflex and is made to order by USIA. I have head good things about this suit and am planning on checking it out at the dive show in Chicago this weekend. There are a number of active board members who are dealers for this suit if you are interested. Best of luck on your search.
 

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