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One more thing.. Thinsulate is a product of 3M. They make a couple of different types of it (see above), but it's all 3M. "Polartec," while a generic word for classic fleece these days, is actually a brand name of Malden Mills under which lots of fabrics are categorized.. Polartec Classic is the classic high quality fleece.
TOOO many fabrics, i get the rough idea, but there is way too much on the marketplace for different applications for me to just go find what i want without a serious discussion with stuff in my hands!!
Want to go cheap, get a custom fleece suit from Janice - 300wt will probably be happy down to low 50's. Wear a thin wicking layer underneath.
Want to be warmer, get a Thinsulate suit from DC or DUI. Will depend on your area. Wear a thin wicking layer underneath this, too.
I agree completely. BTW, Janice gets her materials from Malden Mills so it is high quality stuff. Again, fit can be more important than thickness so strongly consider the custom suit by Janice. She sells 100, 200, and 300.
Ok so i put in an order with Janice (softwear), 200wt w/100wt vest just in case i head out west again Now i will go hit a few stores in the next day to find some wicking underwear. Thanks for the help and advice thus far. Will think 300wt or a thinsulate replacement should i head north and stay there for long enough
Then with the wicking layer, i would guess either the powerdry mediumweight or powerstretch expedition weight - but i cant be sure if this would be too much with the 200wt fleece insulation, i guess i can only try. I think the mediumweight sounds more enticing (and its half the price) as its aimed at stop and go type of action, so more suitable to the action of my diving i would think.
Okay, I'll jump in here and ask for a bit of advice....
Last October, I went diving off the Northern Channel Islands off of Southern California. I took this opportunity to use a DUI dry suit for the first time, and as most of you can imagine, I had 'issues'.
First, I put on thin 'underware' that I got from Bass Pro Outlet that was designed to wick moisture away (two piece, long sleeve/pants). Then I used the DUI Thinsulate undergarment over the top of the thin underware. Finally, I wore cotton socks, followed by the DUI bootie socks.
Over all this, I put on the DUI dry suit shell and 'Rock Boots'. The final result wasn't all that pretty for this Florida diver.
Two questions arose from this adventure. First, I was 'damp' which contributed to my being colder than I think I should have been. My brother, who dives dry all the time, suggested that the dampness was sweat, not a leak. Is this normal?
Second, I needed 'mega-poundage' to stay down. Profiles were in the 30' and less range. I ended up using 40 pounds (yeah, yeah, I hear the laughter already) and if I put in a puff of air into the dry suit (for insulation) I began my Polaris Missile immatation. To stay down, in addition to diving dry, I was squeezed to death as I kept the air out of the dry suit. What bothered me a lot was that others on the boat were using weight ranges between 20 and 30 pounds and didn't have nearly the problems I had.
I know this really isn't the venue for weight problems, but thought I would take a chance and kill two birds with a single stone - the sweat issue and the weight issue. Please be kind in your replies - At least I'm trying!
PS I can't say enough good things about the folks from the Dolphin Diving Center in Sacramento. I was the only foriegner on the boat and they really stepped up to the plate and gave me bags of help - great bunch of divers!
When first diving dry, it is an exercise in solving minor problems for about 20 dives. I started diving dry this past season and after 30 -40 dives in my tls350 I finally almost feel like I do when wearing a thin wet suit. Nevertheless, I still have to be careful with air (in the suit) management.
The weight issue is common. Most people use WAY too much at first and then slowly drop 10-15 pounds once they get the hang of using the exhaust valve and other things. Be patient, and remember the first time you used rental/barrowed gear. New gear is always a pain and rental dry suits can be the biggest pain of all!
As for the dampness, yes, also normal. I have never been completely dry when diving dry. Well, my body is dry after, but my clothes are damp. Hence this long thread about wicking. Just like getting used to the weight, getting used to your undergarments and figuring out the thickness appropriate to your diving can take several dives and will change depending on your dive. For example, suiting up in Florida or walking down 1000 steps to a beach in California will make you sweat and may require a thinner undergarment to avoid over heating. Here in NYC I wear 300 fleece with a 300 vest and two pair of long johns and still get cold after a one hour dive. Granted, I don't spend 20 minutes getting to the water in 95 degree heat, but I still sweat. That shell suit is an air tight bag. Add personal taste/needs/water temp. and this equation is hard to solve at first. Just try to fix one issue at a time and practice. Dry suit diving can be a pain at first, but once you solve the minor issues it becomes worth it. Good luck and dive safe!