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how to decide what to wear?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by drk5036, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. drk5036

    drk5036 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sapporo, Japan
    Hey guys,

    I was looking for some advice on what to wear on a new scuba adventure. I've posted this in basic, because while I'd like to get some specific advice, I'd really like to understand how I should think this through.

    I'm living in Japan, and I'll be diving with a new group of people in Hokkaido, in the north. While Hokkaido is famous for snow and cold weather, it does warm up relatively in the summer. Right now, the water is about 22-23 C, about 73ish F. I'm going to be going diving at the end of this month, so I expect the water should be about 21 degrees, maybe 68-71 F. However, I've never dove anything colder than 24 C before, and it was early in my diving career, with a rented, ratty, poor-fitting 5 mil, no hood. I was fine in my core, but my head felt a bit cold at the end of the 3rd dive in the day.

    Right now, I have the following:
    Trusty 3 mil henderson pro full suit.
    5 (hood)/3 mil hooded vest.
    8/7 mil hollis semidry (*never worn*)
    5 mil gloves and 2 mil gloves. (will probably wear the thinner gloves for dexterity)
    5 mil boots (going to be wearing for sure)

    My gut says to err on the side of being warm. But I'm also not familiar with diving in this gear, and I feel a bit nervous to dive with a new group of people in a thicker wetsuit. For example, I don't know how much weight to use. I can dive with my BP/W with the 3 mil full suit with no weight and aluminum tanks. We'll be diving steel tanks here. If I wear the 3 mil full suit and the hooded vest, I'm sure that I can throw 2 kg on and be probably a little overweight, but certainly diveable. I'm a little worried about jumping in with the semidry and (i guess?) 8 kg of weight, and if it's not enough, holding everyone up. On the otherhand, if I was underdressed and really cold, it would also be a problem.

    So my question is, how do you predict what to wear in circumstances like this? Do you always err on the side of being overdressed (like you would at an event that you don't know the dresscode to?) I can't really ask others for advice, because japanese people are crazy and ALWAYS wear at least 7 mil wet. My friend is going to be diving dry.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  2. hammet

    hammet Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: United States
    Bring multiple wetsuits with you.

    Good rule of thumb is 2-3 lbs for each additional mm of wetsuit thickness.
    Take off 4lbs for the steel tank.
  3. drk5036

    drk5036 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sapporo, Japan
    Other likely important information to consider.

    I'm a relatively "big" guy. A lot of muscle, but also some fluff. I'm 5'7" about 200 pounds.

    I'll be diving with a 30 pound wing and freedom small steel backplate.

    The air temp is likely to be identical to the water temp.

    The dives are generally "shorter", closer to 30 minutes than 1 hour (i guess 35-40 minutes).
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Wide-eyed nube in the Pub ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Orlando, FL
    I predict that nearly everyone who responds will start with some variation on "tolerance to cold is highly individual, so...." internet advice is likely to be of equivocal value, but you asked, so.

    My advice is have as many options as the situation and your gear (and any travel/baggage restrictions) will allow.

    The hooded vest is a must. Doesn't take up a lot of space, and can worn together with either your 3 mil or a rental 5 mil. I have met people who would be comfortable diving those conditions in a well fitting 3 mil, with the hooded vest and the wet gloves. I'm not one of them, but I have met them.

    Take the semidry. That might be overdressed, but I have a Henderson 8/7 semi-dry, and that's what I would likely be thinking for diving wet in 68-71 conditions. (Actually, I own a drysuit, and I don't get as much experience as I would like in it, so in those conditions I would dive the drysuit) Yes, you'll need more weight, and it might take some time on the first splash to work with that. In my opinion, taking the time to get your exposure protection and weight right at the beginning is always rewarded later on. Don't worry too much about the new group of divers. If I'm with a new group, and anyone in the group is working on making sure they are warm enough and properly weighted on the first splash, I consider that a plus. Means we will be less likely to call a dive early because those things accumulated later in the trip.

    How long with the trip be? How many dives?
  5. martincohn

    martincohn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: USA
    Enter in your data and presto chango, it gives you required lead.

    Optimal Buoyancy Computer

    Have found it to be pretty damn close...even for my old fat butt.
    Steelyeyes likes this.
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Wide-eyed nube in the Pub ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Orlando, FL
    Sorry; mispost
  7. delacrue96

    delacrue96 Scuba Chixs Member

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: McLean, VA
    I’d recommend staying warmer. I’ll wear a 7mm in water less than 70F. Here’s a weight calculator I use, DiveBuddy
  8. GrafCanuck

    GrafCanuck Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: London, Ontario
    One of the best lessons learnt from ScubaBoard is that it is easier to deal with being too warm (take a little water into your suit) but once you are cold you are S.O.L. :D So wear more MM if necessary. Hoods, vests, and gloves help too. Stay warm and dive more!!
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  9. Princess Chris

    Princess Chris Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wellington, New Zealand
    I have the hollis neotek semi and I still use it here even though I can comfortably dive in tshirt and boardies, it doesn't get used all the time just every now and again as it does get rather warm out of the water. I'd say go for that, you will definitely not get cold and its a very comfortable suit. looks pretty bad ass too
    drk5036 likes this.
  10. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    Make sure that you stay warm during surface intervals. You may want a jacket and ball cap for surface intervals too.

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