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I am a novice diver even though I have been diving since 2001 I have only about 30 dives. I want to get a lot more diving done so I bought some gently used equipment including a ProSub Dominator BC, it is in excellent shape I tested it in a pool before I bought it and had it checked at the dive shop. So it is a good piece of gear. Now that I moved though I have no dive shop near by and wanted to know if it was ok to use during a drysuit dive in the Great Lakes this winter, and also an Ice Dive I would like to make this month?
Last I would like to buy my own drysuit but have no experience with the different brands. The only one I have used was a friends Abyss 4mm which was amazing but pricey. Any ideas on an entry level drysuit?
Take time to read and research dry suit topics. There are different kinds, and have different pros and cons.
One that seems to have not done well is the Pinnacle Black Ice, a crushed neoprene suit that seems to spring leaks and not repair well.
You'll find die-hard DUI fans, but they are hugely expensive and have a history of needing to be re-worked several times to fit well.
I don't know anyone who does not like their White's Fusion, me included. It is a tri-lam, meaning a shell, so ALL warmth is provided by the undergarment. I also know people that love the Bare's Trilam (I forget the model), and they seem to withstand the test of time.
I am not a dealer nor affiliated with DRIS, I am simply recounting my findings after doing the same research last year.
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As always you should do as much research as possible, especially for a drysuit purchase. It's like buying a car, your going to have it for a long time and you want to make sure you get the right one.
I'm one of those die-hard Dui fans, but when it come to replacement time, it's going to be hard to justify the expense. I like the self-donning Trilam suit for my diving in New England. I'm going to take a good at The Bare Trilam Tech Dry. Scubastore.com has it for $1314.00, that's an unbelievable price on a great suit. You would be hard pressed to find a better suit for the price. Bare Trilam Tech Dry. Suits Dry, Scubastore.com, buy, offers, dive
Your BC would be fine with a drysuit in cold water.
The big thing with BCs in cold water is ensuring you have enough lift to float the rig when it's off you, and to compensate for the loss of lift in your exposure protection (wetsuit compression at depth, or dry suit flood). From looking at the lift numbers for this BC, unless it's an XS, you should be fine in cold water.
Dry suits come in a bewildering spectrum of materials and prices. An entry-level suit which a number of friends have bought is the USIA suit. We've also seen folks pleased with the ScubaPro EverDry suits, which are very well priced. (Their drawback, to me, is neoprene neck and wrist seals, which limit dry glove options.) If your budget extends a little farther, the Fusion, as Jax said, can be a very good choice. But fit is everything in a dry suit, and if you are very far from off-the-rack sizing, a custom suit may be the only option, and that makes things significantly more expensive and more complicated.
Most people tend to use their Drysuit (especially when starting out) to control their buoyancy. Since you need to add air to it anyways to keep the squeeze off and to keep you warm. One Word of caution stay away from Neoprene neck and wrist seals. They are pain in to manage and if they don't fit right they leak like a sieve(and are annoying to replace). The other part of drysuits is the thermal layer(s) you need to wear underneath. Since that is where most of warmth of a drysuit comes from especially with bi and trilam suits neoprene suits require less though since they have some inherent thermal protection anyways and don't use cotton based thermal layers as soon as the stuff gets wet it drops its thermal capabilities. Dig around the forums there are lots of good discussions on thermal layers and drysuits. The iggest thing is don't rush too much and end up like I did having to buy a second suit like I did.
Dont forget your LDS . If you're gonna take a "Dry Suit" class ,might not hurt to see which one the instructor like. 'Specially seeing that if he teachs "Dry Suit" he probably spends a lotta time in one and has a good idea of what he likes & what he's found that is a pain in the a$$.Not to mention sometimes you can get a deal on "rental" gear, you never know when a shop is having a few $$$ problems and needs to liquidate a few items.
By the way I dont dive dry I never go in water below 44º, but if I was to do cold water ,that's the approach I would take.
First thing that I suggest is to get some experience, fins a mentor or a shop to dive with. Things tend to happen faster in cold water when the bottom falls out of the bucket. Welcome to Great lakes diving...you will want that drysuit!