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Old 07 September 2006, 11:28   #1
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Dry suits

I imagine at least some of you use dry suits when ribbing - what are they like to wear for a prolonged period from the point of view of:

1) getting too hot and sweaty on a reasonably warm day

and/or

2) being impervious to wind chill on a really cold day (without wearing other stuff on top)

I've never even worn a dry suit, its an expensive thing to buy and I know nothing at all about diving kit, but I'm thinking about getting one and just wondering what the pros and cons are compared to just wearing ordinary clothes and waterproofs, it would obviously make launching and recovery easier if you did have to get wet, I don't really intend to fall out of the boat so it's not really required for that, I just wondered if being environment-proof was a benefit worth the cost....?

Opinions please
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Old 07 September 2006, 11:35   #2
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There's really three types of drysuit - one for diving, with air dump, etc, a commercial immersion suit which leaves you about as mobile as the Michelin man, and the more usual overclothes drysuit as used by RNLI inshore boats.

The more normal types are now available in goretex, so are fairly breatheable, but are never going to be wonderfully cool when it's hot. Also, a drysuit has no thermal properties itself, so for colder weather a "woolly bear" type undersuit is of use.

Try Polar Bears for diving drysuit, Typhoon, Crewsaver or numerous others for "normal" drysuits.

I'd recommend going for one with boots attached though, it prevents the feet from getting really sweaty and is a tougher, easier option than the lates "socks" used by many.

Make sure you correctly measure and adjust the latex seals on wrist and neck though, otherwise they'll either let in water or cut off circulation to your head!
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Old 07 September 2006, 11:36   #3
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My other half swears by her drysuit and woolly bear-keeps her warm in allsorts. The woolly bear undersuit is a wicking material so keeps sweat off too.
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Old 07 September 2006, 11:37   #4
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Stephen,

They are good for the not so warm periods of the year and if you have to get when launching etc.

They have no heat retention properties and you need to wear warm clothing under them if the water is cold. They are a bit of a pain to put on but the breathable ones don't sweat that much.

The worst thing about them is that once on you are stuck with them. I think Ravenspring do a wader type bottom with a sealable waistband. Probably the best way to go if your not going to do lots of wet work.

But I do like the Drysuit during the winter months. Gives you a sort of smug feeling when wading/swimming ashore in November.

I've never been to the Falklands but if I ribbed down there I should imagine I would alsways wear a drysuit. The major issue with them is when you want to go into a bar or restaurant. You really need to take it off then. If you take one off in public you look a right dork stretching it over your head.

If you wanted to be really safe though I guess we should always wear a Drysuit. Just doesn't seem right during the summer months.

You say they cost a lot. I got my son a nice Typhoon Drysuit for about £170. Its a nice bit of kit. Only missing the boots. My Ravenspring cost over £300 is not much better than the Typhoon but at least it has the boots fitted.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07 September 2006, 11:46   #5
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Course, you could buy one of these...
I bought a couple of them VERY cheap on ebay (£10 each for used ones) for when mates come out with me and they've got no proper waterproofs. They work ok and keep you warm and dry over normal clothes. They've got integral gloves too that tuck away though the gloves aren't waterproof. The neck seals aren't fantastic but are better than a slap in the face.

I hope my mate in the pics doesn't see them!


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Old 07 September 2006, 11:56   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster
I've never even worn a dry suit, its an expensive thing to buy and I know nothing at all about diving kit, but I'm thinking about getting one and just wondering what the pros and cons are compared to just wearing ordinary clothes and waterproofs
Get one. You won't regret it.

DO get a breathable one, DO get one with a fly zip, DO wear it even when you don't think you'll need it.

When things get horrible, a drysuit is the only way to stay really dry. You can layer underneath to suit the conditions - some people have all in one "woolly bears", but I prefer jeans, t-shirt and a fleece. You'll feel hot getting the boat ready and starting off, but you'll soon feel the benefit. If it gets really cold you can wear a windproof jacket over the top for extra warmth.

Other benefits:

Not faffing around trying to keep dry when you're launching and retrieving makes everything easier, quicker and safer.

If you do happen to eject yourself from the boat when you're at sea, a drysuit (with suitable clothing underneath) is more likely to protect you from hyperthermia than "waterproofs" are.

Downsides are price (but they're not much more expensive than a decent set of "waterproofs") and comfort (some people just don't get on with the neck seals).

A seach through previous discussions here should turn up a fair bit of information and opinion!

John
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Old 07 September 2006, 12:17   #7
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Gul make the best drysuits if you are going to be reasonably active as they are cut and have wear patches etc. to suit dinghy sailing. I'm not sure what the current ones are called as they've just changed them but we have a number of them that have served on boards, dinghies and ribs and are still breathable, dry and not badly worn!!!

Match them to a decent thermal underlayer (breathable again) and a good nylon thermal base layer (all the manufacturers do them but we stuck with Gul) and you won't believe how warm and comfortable you can be WITHOUT looking and feeling like the l'homme Michelin!

Purple Marine are always worth a look for deals.
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Old 07 September 2006, 14:14   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett
Get one. You won't regret it.

DO get a breathable one, DO get one with a fly zip, DO wear it even when you don't think you'll need it.

When things get horrible, a drysuit is the only way to stay really dry. You can layer underneath to suit the conditions - some people have all in one "woolly bears", but I prefer jeans, t-shirt and a fleece. You'll feel hot getting the boat ready and starting off, but you'll soon feel the benefit. If it gets really cold you can wear a windproof jacket over the top for extra warmth.

Other benefits:

Not faffing around trying to keep dry when you're launching and retrieving makes everything easier, quicker and safer.

If you do happen to eject yourself from the boat when you're at sea, a drysuit (with suitable clothing underneath) is more likely to protect you from hyperthermia than "waterproofs" are.

Downsides are price (but they're not much more expensive than a decent set of "waterproofs") and comfort (some people just don't get on with the neck seals).

A seach through previous discussions here should turn up a fair bit of information and opinion!

John
I could not disagree with a word of that. I for one am prepared to put up with neck seals etc as the benefits outweigh the hassle, I use a Ravenspring breathable one and the folks there at Ravenspring couldn't be more helpfull, although I know a lot of the folks here on Ribnet prefer a WOSS. Above all else, get a fly zip, ooooh the relief .... without having to take the whole thing off
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Old 07 September 2006, 14:31   #9
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I have got gull too,The lightweight dark blue and more heavy duty red and blue with wear patches and pockets which can be handy.I dont regret getting them with socks as i bought six so your not restricted to who in the family wears them as they grow very quickly.I also find you can wear trainers so when you call for lunch somewhere just slip off suit and put trainers back on.Down side as pointed out before your feet can sweat more than in fitted boots.
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Old 07 September 2006, 14:35   #10
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The other thing you could consider For 99 pounds is a floatation suit great warmth and wind protection but dont go padling
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