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Before I take the plunge on a dry suit, some questions.

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by AlmightyApkallu, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. jcxd45

    jcxd45 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Oregon
    35
    3
    8
    Just a thought but if budget is an issue...

    Have you thought about an open cell wetsuit?

    55 is fairly warm here in Oregon and we're fine in a 7mm mako.

    I do like to fill mine with a thermos of warm water before the dive, that way you don't have to heat it with your body.

    They're only $270 so it might be worth a shot.
     
  2. laikabear

    laikabear Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pasadena, CA
    298
    197
    43
    Don't bother. Seaskin won't do this. They only offer FedEx shipping to the US, as of the past few months at least.

    I can't remember exactly what my customs bill was. I think it was $90 and I bought the drysuit and an undergarment (a few mos ago). Later when I bought only an undergarment, I didn't get a customs bill because I guess the total was lower? The drysuit was a small portion of the customs fee, but the undergarment was charged at a higher rate.

    I have a Seaskin Nova (trilaminate) drysuit (it's my 2nd drysuit so I do have one to compare to) and so do 2 close friends. If you are on a budget I would recommend going with Seaskin for the drysuit as well as getting their undergarments.

    I think the Nova is a well-made drysuit and I'm pretty happy with mine, although I did have some initial leak problems. My 2 friends haven't had any problems. If I were doing it again, I'd avoid the Si Tech P valve, and I'd avoid the Apeks Low Profile dump valve. I also would give consideration to neoprene socks over the attached boots. Their attached boots are really robust. My dive buddy loves them but I am not a huge fan. While they may never, ever wear out, they limit my ankle mobility some and trap some air.

    I got the plastic YKK zipper and I like that. I'd strongly recommend the wider suspenders option. I got several of the reinforcement pads but IDK if you really need those. The suit fabric feels pretty durable. I take a lot of stuff in my pockets and I got the Expedition pockets. I'm glad I got the biggest pockets. But - the bungees in the pockets are inadequate and had to be replaced after only a couple of dives because they fell apart (easy to just thread in some more robust bungee), and the sleeve that holds wet notes is too narrow for mine. I got the Si Tech Quick Neck replaceable seal, and the Si Tech oval wrist seals, to which I added the Waterproof Ultima dry glove system (purchased from DRIS). I had a glued in latex neck seal in my other drysuit which served me well for 2.5 years, but I like that the Si Tech is user-replaceable and when my latex seal failed, I upgraded my other drysuit to the Si Tech as well.

    Seaskin undergarments are good quality, they are made to measure just like the drysuits, and they are so cheap! Really Seaskin stuff is an incredible deal when you compare it to other brands. I have both the 250g and 150g undersuit and I'd recommend the 250g if you only get one. My local water is upper 50s F. If you plan to use a P valve, ask them to cut a hole in the undersuit for the P valve tubing. It's a nice touch. Be careful when unzipping the drysuit over the shoulder - I've snagged the undergarment fabric and put a hole in it, unfortunately. I'm going to patch it with some tent repair patch stuff.

    I also picked up a set of their base layer, which is like a wicking layer only, not really to add any warmth. Make sure you look at the size chart closely, though, I needed a surprisingly large size in that, but I followed the chart and they fit really well. You may want a base layer made of wool or something for extra warmth instead. Uniqlo in the US has some nice cheap stuff that works well for a base layer, too (I get the Ultra warm ones).

    I think if cost is a factor, I'd really look hard at the Seaskin stuff. It seems to be a really good value and they were helpful to me in working out my leak issues from afar.

    To answer your question about will you really be warm, well... the trilaminate drysuits will keep you dry (ideally). Warmth comes from the undergarments, the amount of weight you take so you can loft the suit properly, and keeping your head and hands warm. I used wet gloves for the first year I had my drysuit, but dry gloves are so much warmer. I also had some water channeling up my sleeves since I have prominent wrist tendons, so the dry gloves solved that issue as well.

    Make sure you get a really good hood. I've tried a few and I have settled on the Waterproof 10/5 as my Goldilocks hood. Warm enough but also very comfortable. I have a K-01 hood that is an 8mm, which I find VERY uncomfortable. It is just too squeezy and gives me duck face and jaw fatigue. Maybe I'd try the K-01 5mm but I won't wear the 8mm unless I'm traveling somewhere colder than here. Personally I use a bibbed hood that I tuck under the warm neck collar on the suit, but some folks use short hoods with drysuits.

    If you have any other specific questions about Seaskin, I'd be glad to try to answer. Going from diving in a wetsuit to a drysuit has increased my enjoyment of local diving so much. I'd say that my drysuit is about the favorite piece of gear I own. That was the reason I got a 2nd one, to have a backup for any time one was out for repairs.
     
    AlmightyApkallu, lexvil and Marie13 like this.
  3. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    8,440
    4,053
    113
    I think it's worth noting that @laikabear has 2 suits and the one she had before the Seaskin was a made-to-measure Santi. So, her experience is not just comparing her Seaskin to any old brand. Some people regard Santi as the Gold Standard in drysuits.

    I currently have 2 Seaskins. One Nova (trilam, aka membrane) and one Ultra (compressed neoprene). Before that, I've had a Bare and a Waterproof. I like my Seaskin suits better than any suit I've had. I've look at Santi, DUI, Fourth Element, Hollis, Waterproof, Otter, Ursuit, Deep6 Gear, and O'three suits that other friends of mine have or have had. I feel like my Seaskins are just as good quality as any of them (including Santi).

    Like laikabear, Seaskin told me when I ordered my most recent suit that they would only ship via FedEx (to me, in the US).

    When I got my first suit, I got a bill from FedEx after the fact for the duties. It was something like $400 (I think - I can't remember exactly). I believe it was based on an incorrect classification of the drysuit as a custom suit (like a coat and tie type of suit). I never paid it and I never heard another word about it. That was a year and a half ago(?).

    When I receive my newer suit, last month, I got another bill from FedEx a few days later. It was for $39. I have no problem paying that!

    Also, yes, my opinion is you're over thinking losing another 15 pounds.

    The Seaskin Tech base layer and their Thinsulate undersuits (and socks) are, in my opinion very good, regardless of price. And an amazing value, when you factor in the price.

    For diving in 55 degree and warmer water, I personally would use the Seaskin Ultra (i.e. the compressed neoprene). For my cold tolerance, that suit in 55 degree water would allow me to dive with a base layer and a thinnish mid layer and be comfy. Or, I could use a base layer, the Seaskin 150 gram undersuit, and be toasty for a long(er) dive.

    But, my cold tolerance is probably higher than yours. I've dived the local lake when it was varying from 55 at the deepest to 62 at the shallowest part of my dive. My second dive of the day was 68 minutes in those temps, max depth 63', average depth for the dive was 37', and I was wearing a 5mm wetsuit with a 7mm hood, 5mm boots, and 3mm wet gloves and I was cold but not freezing. Certainly not in agony.
     
    laikabear likes this.
  4. Hartattack

    Hartattack PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Campaign, IL
    118
    49
    28
    New Avatar (Santi) suit looks plush—so plush I bought one. They are in stock at DRIS and around 1200 without a P-valve. I'll be doing a write-up review in DIR soon.
    Home
    Avatar 101 Breathable Drysuit
     
    laikabear likes this.
  5. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    8,440
    4,053
    113
    Their website says:

    Your post made it sound like the Avater suits are made by Santi, but this part of the Avatar website makes it sound like Santi just helps them distribution and "advice"?

    Anyway, congrats on your new suit! My Waterproof D9X is a breathable trilam also. It IS nice when the air temps are warm to hot and you've got your suit on!
     
    laikabear likes this.
  6. Hartattack

    Hartattack PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Campaign, IL
    118
    49
    28
    According to this video, it looks like they are one and the same. Kind of like BMW making MINI.
     
    laikabear likes this.
  7. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    8,440
    4,053
    113
    Buy a drysuit from Borat! :rofl3::rofl3::rofl3: Sorry. I couldn't help it. That video!!

    Anyway... It says it's a new brand in the Santi Diving Group. I didn't get that the suits are made by the same people and in the same factory as Santi suits. Just that the Avatar company is owned by the same company that owns Santi.

    It did say that the Avatar suits will be supported by the Santi service organization. Hopefully, you just won't need service. If you do, I sure hope it goes a lot better for you than it has gone for 2 of my friends that have Santi suits and had issues. And better than it did for the woman here on SB who posted a while back about having holes in her boots (of her Santi suit). There was a long thread about that...

    Apparently, their boots getting holes in them in a relatively short timeframe (by most drysuit divers' standards) is a well-known issue. It is what also happened to one of my friends with a Santi suit. Santi were quick to point out that their E.lite suit warranty is 3 years on the suit - EXCEPT for the boots, which are only covered for 1 year (and zippers and seals which are covered for other amounts of time). My friend's boots were 14 months old and had (I think, IIRC, about 80 dives) when they got holes in them in the same place many other people have reported getting premature holes. Or maybe it's not to be considered "premature" if Santi tells you right up front they'll only last 1 year. Anyway....

    Fingers crossed for you to have no problems with your suit, so the service department won't even matter!
     
    laikabear and Hartattack like this.
  8. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    8,440
    4,053
    113
    Hey, just curious, do you work for a shop, or are you an independent PADI Pro? The shop I was teaching for (before I went independent) would have been PISSED at me if I bought a drysuit from DRiS. I love DRiS, so I guess that is one of the perks for me of being independent now. I am free to buy anything I want from them. :D
     
    J Palomino likes this.
  9. Hartattack

    Hartattack PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Campaign, IL
    118
    49
    28
    I'm Independent. Quality gear choice is very important to me and this industry is filled with snake oil. :)
     
    martincohn and stuartv like this.
  10. laikabear

    laikabear Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pasadena, CA
    298
    197
    43
    Wow, I had not seen or heard of Avatar. Thanks for posting about it. I'm excited to see how you like the suit and very curious how durable the fabric will be. Santi's E-Motion fabric has not held up well to our local diving here on some of my friends' suits. I've had good success with the E-Lite fabric.

    I'm curious about the relationship. Avatar is a new brand but they only have one item so far? Or are there going to be additional drysuit models as well? I think getting something from Santi at a lower price point than their usual is good, but hope the quality won't be lower.

    The guy in the video is the "Santi Guy." He's in several of their videos. He usually introduces a product, and they have another guy who shows you how to use it. :)

    I LOLed a bit when he said the new Avatar brand is backed by Santi customer service. That's not a selling point! Santi customer service is terrible! I'm that friend with the leaky boots - 88 dives. I paid to have them repaired locally. Also I dealt with them over my Santi Flex 190 undergarment (having the cuffs fall apart after not much use) and they were not helpful with that issue, either (again, paid to have that repaired locally).

    Admittedly I love my Santi stuff, but if there are any problems it's a TLC situation. Tough Luck, Chump.
     
    stuartv likes this.

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