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Thread: Polartec vs Thinsulate

 

 



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    Texass's Avatar
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    Polartec vs Thinsulate

    I'm assuming there isn't a big difference between the 2, but I don't really know. So I'd like a little input from some of you who actually do know. The water temps I'm looking at were in the upper 40's last winter.

    Texas LDS's don't offer much for drysuit divers, at least not in my neighborhood. Everything I've asked about so far isn't stocked and is only available by special order. Basically I get shown a catalogue picture. That means I'll be stuck with what arrives.

    In case it matters I'm diving an Andy's DS3. Last year I used thermals, jeans and a sweater. I also have a pair of Polar Bear woolies, but they are just too bulky and interfere with my shoulder dump valve.

    Thanks,

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    There's a gigantic difference. I recently went from 200 weight Polartec to Diving Concepts' Thinsulate Extreme. I only actually have one dive on the new suit, but it was significantly warmer than the Polartec without being any bulkier. If you want to try 300 weight fleece, www.softweardiving.com will hook you up with that (full custom for $170). It might be enough for the upper 40s.

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    I've got a 300-weight fleece from Janice, it's great but I don't think it would be warm enough for 40's for most people. I am OK down to 50-51 but if I was going to dive in the 40's I'd need another layer or a WHOLE lot of air in the suit.

    The usual line you hear on this stuff is that Thinsulate doesn't lose much of its insulating quality when it gets wet. Of course if I get wet I'm coming up straightaway so unless I was planning a deco dive in 40 degree waters I'd probably just layer up.

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    I am currently wearing Under Amour Cold Gear with my dry suit. Ok, it is not designed for diving (mainly for snowboarders) but it is very thin and my last dive was 49F. I noticed the cold when I first jumped in the water but wasn't shivering or anything like that and soon warmed up once my buddy joined me and we started moving. I am not too sure how cold I can go with it but it is easily available.
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    I have both materials in custom fit DUI suits. I get cold easily while diving here in the northwest. Water temps are around 50 degrees in the winter. My dives are usually 60-70 minutes long (E8-130's) and I'm pretty cold by the end of the dives with my DUI Polartec suit. I even add a polartec vest and two pairs of socks with the suit and still get cold. My Thinsulate suit with Thinsulate socks keeps me warm on the same types of dives.

    The main difference for me is comfort and maintenance. The Polartec is very comfortable and I just throw it in the wash after each dive. The Thinsulate suit does not stretch and you can't wash it easily (I really hate that part). I usually just use the Polartec suit in the summer when it's warm topside and then switch to the Thinsulate in winter.

    But remember, I'm cold blooded.

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    Thinsilite is warmmer for a given thickness

    Thinsilite is warmmer for a given thickness. The fibers are a smaller diameter so they can
    pack more fiber into the same thickness of fabric and still hace airspace between the fibers. It's the airspce that makes the insulation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Texass
    I'm assuming there isn't a big difference between the 2, but I don't really know. So I'd like a little input from some of you who actually do know. The water temps I'm looking at were in the upper 40's last winter.

    Thanks,

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    Ditto on most of the above , plus there's less compression with the Thinsulate, translating into less loft/air needed in the suit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Far_X
    I am currently wearing Under Amour Cold Gear with my dry suit. Ok, it is not designed for diving (mainly for snowboarders) but it is very thin and my last dive was 49F. I noticed the cold when I first jumped in the water but wasn't shivering or anything like that and soon warmed up once my buddy joined me and we started moving. I am not too sure how cold I can go with it but it is easily available.
    Is that all you wear under your suit? I use it under my DUI 300wt fleece as underwear along with a rashguard (surf type) polypro top. I think I would get very cold with just UnderArmor under my suit!
    Faith can move mountains. Science can tell you how those mountains just moved and destroy your faith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Texass
    I'm assuming there isn't a big difference between the 2, but I don't really know. So I'd like a little input from some of you who actually do know. The water temps I'm looking at were in the upper 40's last winter.

    Texas LDS's don't offer much for drysuit divers, at least not in my neighborhood. Everything I've asked about so far isn't stocked and is only available by special order. Basically I get shown a catalogue picture. That means I'll be stuck with what arrives.

    In case it matters I'm diving an Andy's DS3. Last year I used thermals, jeans and a sweater. I also have a pair of Polar Bear woolies, but they are just too bulky and interfere with my shoulder dump valve.

    Thanks,
    Polar fleece cold. Thinsulate warm. These are the only things you need to know. Polar fleece is okay under a neoprene suit, use it under a bag suit and you'll eventually freeze to death. Thinsulate will keep you warm, to warm for neoprene. Oh and the higher the number rating for thinsulate means the warmer you'll be. Does that make sence?
    The reverse side also has a reverse side. :toilet

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    It's a shame Thinsulate is just such a pain to care for: no detergent, no dryer, best to dry laying down....
    Jim Goddard - DiscoveryDiversTokyo.com - DDT Facebook Page
    NAUI Course Director, NAUI Tech, PADI, Gear Sales

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