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"Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?
One is consistent with a free people and the other requires a police state. Pick one." ~Cool Hardware52
I, alone, am responsible for my health and safety, my actions and inactions.
"If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?" ~Sydney J. Harris
If the vest has a hood and snugs up better outside your suit, then I would wear it on the outside. I have a few friends whose body size dictates this method. I have a few friends whose body size dictates wearing a hooded vest under their 1 piece. In either case the general consensus is having any hooded vest is a lot warmer than just having a hood.
Now if you're just buying a vest w/o an attached hood, then I'd buy one which you could fit under your suit.
To answer your question directly though, buy a vest that fits comfortably over your full suit, what ever size that is. This of course means taking your wetsuit into the dressing room.
Bring the wife, leave the kids
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Destinations so far: Útila and Roatán, Honduras; Galápagos, Ecuador;
Hurghada and Marsa Alam (Brothers, Daedalus, Elphinstone, St. Johns, Zabargad), Egypt; Larnaca, Cyprus; South/Central Atolls, Maldives; Protea Banks, South Africa
I got hooked on those Thermalution heated rash guards from heatedwetsuits.com this winter. I bought one of the 70m suits (200ft depth rating) last fall for the surf season and have carried it over into my dive season. I've worn the surf vests with the hood attached, and tried over/under the wetsuit. Nothing beats my Thermalution. You do have to wear it under the wettie, though. Doesn't do you much good on the outside.
I do a lot of meg tooth dives early in the season. The double Thermocline we get around 110ft in May/June isn't quite as bad when you can change from low-med-high settings for heat in your wetsuit. Kinda like a constant, on demand, pee flow in the wetsuit, without the stink, ha ha ha. Love it!