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Understanding DS Undergarments

Discussion in 'Diving Into New Gear' started by rob.mwpropane, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane Manta Ray

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    I hope this is the right section, if not apologies.

    I have recently started diving a 5mm Hyper Compressed Northern Diver Drysuit. I'm reading a lot on which undergarments to get based on weight, but I'm having a hard time understanding the differences.

    For instance, I think I'd like to get a base layer of Marino Wool, but what exactly do the weights mean? 150g, 200g, etc.? I get that the heavier the material the higher the weight, but I can't seem to find where they correlate to other undergarments. If I look at a Seaskin undergarment;
    Seaskin Undersuit High Wick Thinsulate 150 - Seaskin Custom Diving Suits
    it's 150gsm, but how does that match up with say a 200g merino base layer?;
    https://www.rei.com/product/101404/rei-co-op-merino-midweight-base-layer-bottoms-mens
    I just have a hard time looking at pictures and believing the Seaskin being lighter than the merino wool layer? Am I missing something?

    I bought my drysuit used (barely) to go cold water diving locally here in Maryland. Cold water to me was 42f 2 weeks ago and I imagine it'll get colder as the winter goes on. I'd like to dive all year in this suit in the quarry. I have a base layer of fleece so far from regular winter clothes, but I need to add more.....I was cold (but dry) on my last dive.

    I'd like to have a better understanding of undergarments so I can make an educated decision moving forward. I also don't want to spend an arm and a leg on undergarments just because it has some diving brand name on it, truth be told it could be pink for all I care.

    Thanks.
     
  2. AustinV

    AustinV Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NoVA
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    I have a trilam suit (so slightly different than yours) that is new to me and I am exploring the same thing. So far i have only used the Otter Polar D (which I am told was equivalent to the Otter quilted 200 undersuit, but less bulky) and a set of thin merino long underwear as a base layer. That was fine for me down to about 41-42 degrees. I also have a fourth element Halo 3D undersuit which I haven't tried yet.
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  3. lexvil

    lexvil Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
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    Wool is much heavier than synthetic so for the most part it’s much heavier for a given insulation quality, 200g fleece is warmer than 200g wool.

    Wool is less susceptible to compression than fleece or thinsulate, it loft that help some keep you warm, it takes air to get loft, it takes weight to hold the air down (to a point) the bubble can cause compression on the lower side.

    I bought the heaviest weight wool I could find, which isn’t really all that thick, I find it works for me, some people prefer a synthetic base layer, usually until they try wool.

    Your neoprene suit has buoyancy of its own, at the temps you’re diving think of wool as a base, you’ll need other insulation on top of that.
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  4. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane Manta Ray

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    Do you remember the thickness merino layer? Where did you get yours at? I've read REI Coop is one of the better places, plan was to drive over there this weekend as it's supposed to rain all weekend...

    What type of suit (I imagine that matters). Thanks for your explanation. So you went with say a 400g base layer?
     
  5. AustinV

    AustinV Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: NoVA
    320
    115
    43
    I got mine off of Amazon, I just checked and while I had researched several base layers that were merino, the one I settled on is a synthetic blend. I went with a brand called ColdPruf, Quest series (they have several series). That with the undergarments that came with my drysuit kept me warmer than I expected.
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  6. lexvil

    lexvil Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    2,596
    2,207
    113
    I just went to amazon and found “expedition” weight, they are vague on actual weight because it doesn’t correlate to synthetic, woolX and minus 33 are two brands I use, the stuff isn’t cheap but I find it the best for base use.

    I dive both a compressed neoprene and a trilam, I use waterproof 3D undergarments and like those a lot. I’m much warmer in the neoprene and if it weren’t back zip I doubt I would use anything else. When it at the colder end or if I just don’t feel like being as cold at the end of the dive I’ll add a waffle fleece shirt between the wool and the 3D.
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  7. Zef

    Zef Divemaster

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    The term gsm and fabric weights refer to grams per square meter. They provide a rough way to compare different fabrics. When it comes to fleece, typically the higher the number the thicker the fleece.

    Looking at the products you linked to, it might be difficult to imagine one finished product being lighter than the other, but understand that the Seaskin product is only referring to the weight of the thinsulate insulation, not the outer polyester shell. If one were to take a square meter of each of the fabrics as listed in the product descriptions, one would find that the thinsulate material that seaskin uses would be "roughly" 50 grams lighter than the rei wool product.

    -Z
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  8. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane Manta Ray

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    That makes sense, thanks.
     
  9. StefinSB

    StefinSB Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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    I got my Merino base layer from these guys:
    Icebreaker.com. Make sure you get 100% Merino and not a synthetic mix.
     
    Dark Wolf and rob.mwpropane like this.
  10. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane Manta Ray

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    Holy moly that's expensive, lol. I'm sure it's great stuff though.
     
    Dark Wolf likes this.

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