How to choose your diving suit?

What are the different types of diving suits? Which one to choose according to the water temperature?Subea give you the answers in this simple and practical guide.

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A neoprene suit will often be one of the first things that you buy, for comfort and hygiene.~~But it raises many questions : what are the different types of suits? Which one to choose according to the water temperature?~Subea give you the answers in this simple and practical guide.

There's a rule when choosing a diving suit: the thickness of the suit is proportional to the coldness of the water.~Warning : this information is only ​​for guidance. Everything obviously depends on how you feel, how tired you are, the length and frequency of your dives, the quality of your suit (age, fit, cut, etc.).

The different types of suits

WETSUITS~~These are the most common! A wet suit is made of neoprene - rubber polymer filled with air bubbles – with a thickness between 0.5 and 8 mm.

What does it do? It traps water between the suit and your body, so it warms up and creates a thermal barrier between your skin and the outside.

There are a large number of wetsuit models : for warm to very cold seas, from just a top to a shorty or a full body suit, for men, women and children. These models can close either in back or in front (easier to close). These flexible and versatile suits are suitable for snorkeling and diving.

When purchasing, keep in mind that their flexibility decreases with thickness and depends on the qualities of the cut and neoprene.

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SEMI-DRY SUITS

These are wetsuits with little or no water circulating inside, thanks to seals at the neck, wrists and ankles, coupled with a watertight horizontal back closure. As the water inside doesn't circulate, there is less energy loss. Even though the body is wet, the major advantage of these suits is they retain heat during your dive.

Warning : a semi-dry suit requires someone else’s help to close it. Nevertheless : these suits are increasingly appreciated by recreational divers in waters of 10 to 20°C. It is a good compromise between ease of use, waterproofing and thermal comfort. Try one!

DRY SUITS

In this case, thermal protection is provided by the clothing that you wear under the dry suit or by the dry suit itself, depending on its material - coated fabric or neoprene, respectively - plus a layer of air that you adjust just like a BCD.

They're especially suitable for experienced divers who praise their efficiency in very cold water or during long rebreather dives. However, a dry suit is less tough, requires regular maintenance and is quite expensive.~There are no dry suits in the Subea range.

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Adjust your thickness to adjust your warmth!

To avoid having a suit for each condition, several products can be added to your suit depending on the temperature.~Improve your thermal insulation with a hood, a neoprene undershirt, a neoprene top with a hood, a 1 mm under-shorty or a 5.5 mm over-shorty.

Better to try on your suit first

Your neoprene suit should be like a second skin, with the best possible fit. At first, it will probably feel tight, compressed and you'll have trouble putting it on, especially in the Decathlon store where it's 20°C.~But don’t worry, this is normal and temporary, because the neoprene crushes under the effect of pressure, giving you more freedom once you’re in the water! Once you’ve got your suit on, practice a few arm movements and some bending to check that you can move freely : it mustn't be too tight around the neck, arms and rib cage, so you can breathe well and, of course, without hindrance.

Finally, there are suits for women and children, adapted to their respective body shapes!

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Article co-written with

Alexandre, retail assistant at Decathlon in Toulon
I'm a retail assistant at Decathlon in Toulon and have been a diving instructor for 4 years. Before joining Decathlon, I was in the Navy where I went on a lot of operational dives. During my time in the Navy, I got my diving certificate, which got me to the equivalent of FFESSM (French Federation of Undersea Studies and Sports) Level 3 today.

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