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one piece vs 2 piece wetsuits

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by Dave Kay, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. Dave Kay

    Dave Kay Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Indiana
    I have not used wetsuits much, but been diving 45 years in warm water down to 78 degrees just fine. But I'm thinking of diving in colder waters, so my question is: what's the difference in effectiveness between a 1 or 2 piece suit. Why do people even choose 1 piece suits? Thanks
  2. JPEG

    JPEG Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California, USA
    Off the top of my head, for me, I choose one-piece because:

    -easier to pack
    -no water in-flow in the waist area
    -(feels like) less water exchange overall
    -slightly easier to store, rinse, dry

    Your body works really hard to warm up the water in your suit so you really don’t want to flush it away without a fight.

    OVERALL, a good fit is even more important than 1 vs 2 pieces.

    I am male; women might get a better fit with a 2-piece.
  3. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    1 piece has 1/2 the core insulation but is more comfortable and less lead. Adding a hooded vest to a one piece is common
  4. uncfnp

    uncfnp ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    1 or 2 pc suit is just one factor in choosing a wetsuit. As most on SB probably already know I love the 2 pc open cell suits from Mako. I admit I had my doubts but now I will never willingly go back to a one pc closed cell suit. I actually find my Mako suits more comfortable (I do not wear farmer john style), easier to don (once lubbed) and overall warmer since there is little to no transfer of water beneath the suit.
    Soloist and KWS like this.
  5. MAKO Spearguns

    MAKO Spearguns ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor


    Thanks very much mentioning our suits!

    Even as we battle all the challenges of the Covid Pandemic, we are continuing to see the popularity of our wetsuits growing in the scuba segment as well.

    Soloist and uncfnp like this.
  6. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    +1 on this.

    I used a two piece farmer John in the past and then switched to a one piece, which I frequently use with a hooded vest to increase thermal protection with both my 3mm and 5mm once piece suits.
    Dave Kay likes this.
  7. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    How much colder waters are you looking at? If you are accustomed to 78° water and are thinking of 68° as being colder, that isn't the same as 58° water. How deep are you planning on going? 5mm in 30' of water is warmer than 7mm in 100' of water, neoprene compresses.

    I will say a lot of the demise of the 2-piece is due to the popularity and increasing affordability of drysuits. By the time you are wrapped up in a 7mm 2-piece you can be in a nice drysuit, be more comfortable in a broader range of temperatures and depths. I only dove my 7mm 1-piece two or three times before I went drysuit and never looked back. My go to 5mm sits on a hanger as the drysuit covers what I would use the 5mm for. I'm down to a 3mm and a drysuit to cover the range of water temps from 45-85°.

    So I find little use for a cold water wetsuit.

    The modern neoprene materials are another factor. 20+ years ago the neoprene was about as conforming as a cardboard box. In the past 10 years or so the materials have improved. Fit is so much better. This does wonders for water flush through. There is a lot more emphasis on water control and not so much an shear bulk for staying warm. If a wetsuit doesn't fit right it doesn't control water flow and that means it doesn't matter how thick it is.
    Brett Hatch likes this.
  8. Rickk

    Rickk Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines
    My cold water wet suit is a farmer john plus shorty. It gives overlap on the core helping maintain heat. I have used the shorty alone a couple of times in the summers so there is some flexibility.

    Downside is it takes a little squirming to get all the air out on initial decent but it is very doable once you get the hang of it. I have poured a jug of warm water down my neck just before splashing which helps in the initial warming as well as removing the air.
    Dave Kay likes this.
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I second this wholeheartedly.

    My first cooler weather diving happened about 15 years ago when I started assisting classes in Colorado. We wore the shop's 7mm Farmer Johns, meaning 14mm on the core. I was a little chilled in our cool (not really cold--58°-60°) water. A couple years later the shop got rid of them and went to a plain 7mm suit made of newer, stretchier material that fit much better. I thought they were noticeably warmer, and so did the rest of the staff. They were a heck of a lot more convenient to use.

    I have dived with a drysuit in those waters for a decade now, but I had a recent disaster in which the suit sprung a leak on a teaching weekend, and I borrowed a 7mm suit from someone. It was a couple years old, and I thought it was better than the ones mentioned above. I was comfortable with the diving I did in it, although I did not do any 2 hour dives. As soon as I got home, I ordered a new 7mm suit of my own so I have a backup, and I think it is better than the one I borrowed. I might be willing to try it for a longer dive.

    All that means a new, good quality 7mm suit that fits you well will do a better job than the old, clunky 2-piece suits. That is not that much of an endorsement, so I will go a step further. My first wetsuit used for general diving was a 3mm Farmer John. I wore that for a while until it mysteriously shrunk :), at which point I bought a standard 3mm suit. I thought it was warmer than the 3mm Farmer John as well. It is hard to believe that the better fit makes all that much difference, but it sure seems to. So, in general, I am not a fan of 2-piece suits.
    Dave Kay and Boston Breakwater like this.
  10. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I have preferred two-piece farmers with no-zip pullover jacket with beavertail for over 50 years.
    • Zippers fail, which always happens getting ready for the first dive after a long transit.
    • Reduced water infiltration. It isn't often you have a fast current coming at you from the back.
    • Reaching overhead doesn't pull against my crotch with enough force to be restrictive or uncomfortable.
    Boston Breakwater likes this.

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