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Has anyone tried both merino wool and the synthetic base layers under there drysuit

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by formernuke, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
    I have been a fan of merino wool base layer as I found the synthetic ones to not work as well. With that being said last time I tried was a rather long time ago.

    Has anyone tried both? I am only interested in direct comparison from those have used both as to which works better.
  2. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    I actually use both at the same time to have more mobility over a thick undersuit.

    From next to skin and up:
    REI thin polypro
    SmartWool 250 gram merino wool
    Thermolution heated vest
    Fourth Element X-Core vest

    Probably not quite what you wanted but this combo keeps me warm enough.

    I find the polypro by itself under fleece undersuit isn’t quite as warm as the merino wool. Plus the polypro gets stinky quickly.

    And don’t cheap out on the wool. I originally had the REI store brand. Thin and scratchy. The Smart Wool is worth every penny. Soft and warm.

    Watch REI for sales. I’ve gotten it as much as 30% off.
  3. Gareth J

    Gareth J Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: UK
    I wear a marino base layer, a fourth element base layer shirt, then Fourth Element 'Arctics'.
    Forth Element Socks and Fourth Element arctic socks over the top.

    Toasty :)

    I sometimes wear a Thermal vest under the Arctics top. Mostly when I was in Iceland.
  4. lexvil

    lexvil ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: jamestown, ca.
    Once I tried the wool I could never bring myself to bother with other base layers, heavy wool with waterproof (brand) 3D mesh (foam) layer and if I’m feeling it will be a very long or cold dive I may wear a waffle fleece top between the other layers.
  5. Imla

    Imla Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Oslo, Norway
    Normally, my go to baselayer is the Norwegian Producer Devolds DUO active. https://www.devold.com/en-gb/product-type/wool_tops/duo-active-woman-half-zip-neck/?color=951A
    This is merino wool made with a thin inner layer of thermolite. Magic quality.
    However, that being said. I have tried both "technical (ie plastic)" wicking layers and pure merino wool wicking layers. The pure merinolayers or devolds duoactive keep me warm and fuzzy. The plastic wicking layers feel constantly damp.

    Disclaimer: I live in Norway, and summer diving is usually mid warm weather (25C) that will cause a sweat, and cold cave water (4C). Winter diving is the opposite. 0 to -10C air and -1 to 8C water.
    I live in wool. Even in summertime my wool laundry is bigger than cotton. The only time I will be dressed in synthetics is pants and jogging in summer. (Oh and outer-wear)

    My drysuit garments include different variations of the following depending on time and temp:
    Wool knickers and bra
    Wool Baselayer garments 1-2 layers depending on temperature
    Heated vest
    Kwark Navy or Navy Extreme undergarment depending on temperature
    Wool neckliner
    Wool undergloves 1-2 layers depending on temperature.

    This will keep me happy as can be for 3.5hrs plus in a drysuit with water to my knees in 4C water.
  6. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
    Sounds like wool is still king, thanks everyone so far.
  7. taimen

    taimen Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Europe
    I dive ridiculously cold, and I think 4th element xerotherms are the warmest base layer. Warmer than merino. Merino has other good properties, like smell resistance during multi day trips. My typical set of undergarments for a 3 hour dive in cold water is Xerotherms, a Santi heated vest and a Santi Bz400. I could not tolerate 3h at 4C in a Kwark Navy (I have one but use it only for 8+ degree waters). Xerotherm is loftier than most merinos, so you need a tad more lead.
  8. JimBlay

    JimBlay Divin' Papaw ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern Florida
    I love Smartwool as a base layer. I wear (or used to wear before moving to FL) Smartwool pants and long sleeve top underneath my Fourth Element Halo 3D. That was the most comfortable and warmest combination I found outside of using a heated vest (which I had as well for crazy cold diving).
  9. JohnN

    JohnN ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Oar--eee---gun
    I use a merino wool top and bottom over synthetic compression. If it's really cold, a fleece onesie over all that.

    I took a flier and purchased some "Sheep Run" merino from Amazon and couldn't be happier with it. ~< $100 (top and bottom) 300 GSM, <$130 for 400 GSM. All 100% merino
    laikabear likes this.
  10. boat sju

    boat sju Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Haslett, Michigan
    Am I understanding correctly? This is what you're wearing on your legs. Polypro longjohns and merino sweat pants?

    I wear fleece sweatpants but they're a little baggy. Maybe I'll try the merino wool if this is working for you.


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