What drysuit undergarments for new drysuit diver in SoCal?

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diverrex

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After 6 years and 225+ dives of diving wet I think I am finally going to make the switch to diving dry. Not sure if my wetsuit has become compressed or I'm just getting less tolerant of the cold but I just don't enjoy diving in 54 degree water as much as I used to. I spend too much time looking at my computer thinking "I can make XXX more minutes of this". I went to the DUI demo day in December and am headed back out this weekend. Very likely I'll end up getting a DUI FLX Etreme. I hear lots of conflicting info on undergarments. I used the DUI Polarstretch in Dec and thought it was fine. Some love the Thinsulate. But I know lots of people like Fourth Element with some saying the Artic is fine, others like Halo 3D, while others think Halo 3D is too warm for our waters. I hear others that like the MK3, Thermal Fusion and all kinds of other choices.

So for those diving dry in SoCal what undergarment do you use?

And with a year round temp range between low 50s and higher 60s do you:
1. just use the same undergarment all year?
2. have two or more different undergarments?
3. or layer in the winter months? If so with what?

Any other stay warm tips while diving dry in our winter months?

Deco diving is not in my future but I would like to do 60 minute dives in 52 degree water and not be cold.

I put this in the SoCal section instead of Exposure Protection because I am most interested in what local divers use, but of course feel free to pitch in no matter where you dive dry but pleae help me make sense of your comments by telling me the temp range where you dive.

Thanks for any info.
 

MaxBottomtime

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I used Thinsulate for a few years but was still too cold. I have Polartec now, but it wasn't until I switched to dry gloves that the cold stopped bothering me. My hands get cold first. During the last dive I made using neoprene gloves, my fingers were so numb that I couldn't push the shutter on my camera.
 

Peter_C

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Today I would look closely at the Thermal Fusion. If not, Thinsulate like the DUI XM450.

I dive Polartec under my 400g Thinsulate, and stay mostly warm until the water hits 48 degrees and 50+ minutes tick by.

An Otter Bay 12mm hood keeps the head much warmer than a 7mm hood. Yes people use them in SoCal.

Dry gloves I find are not only warmer, but far more dexterous than a 5mm neoprene glove. The key is the dry gloves need to fit tight to your hand. Most people seem to think their hands are really bigger than they are. The glove does not need to go past the end of your finger tips as you want them tight there, and it definitely doesn't need to go up into the V of your fingers. The extra air stored there will keep you warmer.
 

livewire

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So for those diving dry in SoCal what undergarment do you use?

And with a year round temp range between low 50s and higher 60s do you:
1. just use the same undergarment all year?
2. have two or more different undergarments?
3. or layer in the winter months? If so with what?

Any other stay warm tips while diving dry in our winter months?

I love that you posted this question, as I had the same question myself when I started diving dry in So. Cal. I'm mostly diving off the beach in Laguna, and I dive a Whites Fusion. Trouble is, like you, I'm still figuring it out... And I've been figuring it out for a couple of years now. The moral to the story is that despite the advice you gain here (which will be good for sure!) you will probably have to go through a course of trial and error to adjust to your own personal preference.

For undergarments I dive a Whites Glacier Mk2 John, plus Under Armour ColdGear top underneath, ski socks, and wet 3mm gloves, wet 7mm hood, all of which is fine to about 60. I dive that Mk2 all year. My dives are usually 75 minutes, occasionally 90.

In the winter, when it's 54-55, I add a layer: I dive with the above plus a polypropylene top and long johns. My wet hands still come out cold. I don't remember it being this uncomfortable in the past, so I just bought some 5mm gloves, but haven't dove them yet. Yes, dry gloves are warmer, but I don't own them, and I'm a little lazy to buy and fit them since I think I might be able to hack it for the relatively short period of time that the water is below 60. If our water got into the 40's it would be a requirement, but as it stands I'm going to try to survive with 5mm wet gloves.

When water gets to high 60's (68+) I dive wet.

You should also know that I'm one of the coldest divers I know, so if your cold tolerance is better than mine (which is likely) you may be able to get away with less than what I wear.

Another tip: Eat something before you go. Complex carbs, proteins, something along those lines. In So Cal many divers, myself included, get up early skip breakfast and go. This is not helpful for trying to preserve or generate body heat, since you likely haven't eaten for about 12 hours since dinner the night before and the fuel tank is empty.
 

2ndjetty

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I've been diving wet for years and just got a Scubapro drysuit in December. The undergarment in the link below is awesome so far, along with a wicking top. Note that I don't have experience with other undergarments. Hope this helps.

SCUBAPRO - POLAR SHELL undersuit
 

merxlin

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I dive a Fusion so there is no thermal protection there. I use the 4th Element Arctics and if necessary I layer them over an UnderArmor Cold Gear Base 3.0 top. I use heavy merino wool socks. I'm good to 53-54 degrees.

I started with the Whites MK 2, but it was too bulky for me.
 

fnfalman

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Rex,

I used the MkII Whites Fusion undergarment coupled with the UnderArmor Cold Gears when I was up in Boise diving in the winter.
 

tracydr

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I just tried out my Softwear by Janice. I flooded my drysuit in 53 degree water and still stayed toasty warm.
Plus, they are very flexible compared to thinsulate, which is why I originally bought them, and fully washable.
I'm going to get an extra pair for days like today! Oh, the socks are nice, too! I may add the vest for really cold water, though don't know when I'll need it. I didn't even have my smart wool on today. Maybe when my dives get longer or on days with more dives, I guess.
You can't beat the price, plus its custom fitted!
 
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BluewaterSail

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I just tried out my Softwear by Janice. I flooded my drysuit in 53 degree water and still stayed toasty warm.
Plus, they are very flexible compared to thinsulate, which is why I originally bought them, and fully washable.
I'm going to get an extra pair for days like today! Oh, the socks are nice, too! I may add the vest for really cold water, though don't know when I'll need it. I didn't even have my smart wool on today. Maybe when my dives get longer or on days with more dives, I guess.
You can't beat the price, plus its custom fitted!

Tracy, does that company have a website?
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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