PDA

View Full Version : Buying a new suit



seasnake
09-24-2007, 05:54 PM
Well, I will soon be buying a new drysuit and thought I would seek opinions/advice from you fine folks.

I am currently diving a White's Bi-lam, very basic suit with no bells and whistles. It has been very sturdy for me but it is getting tired (has some how shrunk a bit) and I would like to move up to a better fitting suit with accessories like pockets, dry gloves, pee valve, etc.

99% sure I will be getting a DUI suit. They have a good reputation and I can get a good price through one of the local shops I work with.

What do you folks have to say about boots, dry glove systems, deflate valve placement, pockets, attached hoods, etc. etc.? I have been seriously thinking about an attached latex hood but have heard strong comments both ways for them. Does anyone here have experience with them?

There is another thread here about dry gloves from OS systems. Is that a popular system? There are other systems from Si-Tech, and others I'm sure? What are advantages/disadvantages of the other systems? I have heard that the DUI system is not very good?

I have neoprene seals on my current suit because I find them warmer, but I think I will get latex on the next one. I think I will need a neck warmer :(j

And what about undergarments? Is the DUI stuff good (it looks very "lofty" to me). What is everyone using and how do you find it? I currently use some home made stuff but want to buy commercially produced underwear for this suit.

My Whites suit has served me for about 7 or 8 years, and I expect this one to do the same, so I want to make sure I get everything the way I want it since I plan to be stuck with it for a long while. Appreciate any and everyone's comments!

acelockco
09-24-2007, 09:27 PM
Well, just to start off with if the size is not an issue, you can always repair your current dry suit.

Now of course you can't make it larger if it "shrunk".

I personally think DUI dry suits are really nice, but are overpriced (more than the already overpriced other brands).

I have a BARE HD Tri-Lam front entry with neoprene neck seal, BUT with latex wrist seals. It does not have a built in hood, but had built in boots.

I really like the neoprene neck seal as it is warm, easy to use, comfortable, dry and will outlast latex. I have the latex wrist seals, because they are comfortable around my wrists and are very flexable. Now they are much more delicate than the neoprene, but wrist seals are cheap and easy to replace myself.

I like the Tri-Laminate, but I think I might like the super compressed neoprene type better just because of durablility on wrecks and such. I also have big heavy duty boots built into my dry suit, if I could do it over, I would have built in boots, but something less heavy duty and large. They are very difficult to find fins that they fit into and also create a lot of buoyancy.

I would also say stick with the across the chest type zipper as the rear across the back style are difficult to get in and out of. Make sure you get some type of knee pads built in or aftermarket to protect your investment.

I don't know about the dry gloves or hood as I still use a traditional wetsuit hood and gloves. I don't ever have a problem with a cold head or hands, but I am a very warm person.

As far as undergarments are concerned, I have the DUI polar fleece undergarment, and it is nice for warmer waters (above 50 degrees). If you are going to be going in colder or icy waters I would say go for the Weezel undergarments. They are much warmer and made very nicely.

If I was going with DUI I really like the CF200X as it looks like it will hold up for the long term. Most of the divers that I know which also have DUI suits, have the CF200X.


Now, really all of that is biased on the type of diving I do, so it is going to depend on what type of diving you do.

acelockco
09-24-2007, 09:35 PM
Oh yea'

Pee Valve....I would not waste my money unless you are going to be doing really long or decompression dives. If most of your dives are less than 1 hour, you should be able to pee before you get in and hold it without a problem. Now of course if you are diving longer dive times, then you should have that or some other means with dealing with your pee.

As far as valve placement, it is pretty much standard at this point that the inflate valve will be in the middle of your chest and the exhaust will be at your left mid arm above the elbow. These are the most practical place and I would not reccomend that you change that.

The other thing you can do is attend a DUI Dog Rally or similar event from other manufacturers. They usually happen at quarrys, the manufacturers show up with all of their different dry suits in all sizes and you basically leave them a deposit and you can use the suit. You can exchange it as many times as you want for different styles so you can really decide what feels best to you, not just what looks the best on the shelf or the magazine ad. I don't think there is any cost either other than the quarry entrance fee (most are less than $25 for the day).

The Publisher
09-24-2007, 09:50 PM
Drysuits I have owned include a neoprene Poseidon Jetsuit, a thin fabric shell drysuit, and 2 Viking pro series rubber drysuits.

The thin fabric shell drysuit sucked, as it doesn't stretch at all. The Jetsuit was ok.

The Vikings are really awesome. I personally have tried on a so called "self donning" diagonal zipper arrangement and i still cannot figure out what the draw it. It is hard to get into, reduces vertical stretch, often required a horizontal bellows at the waist to re-impart vertical stretch, is heavier, is longer, and makes the suit a royal pain in the rear to get into.

The rear should zipper is so easy to get into by myself.

As to the compressed neoprene suits, they have good stretch, do insulate a good deal on their own, are heavier, and are a tad more difficult to find a leak.

With a smooth vulcanized rubber over fabric, the Vikings dry REAL quick, are finding the pinhole from that urchin is really quick, and if you're lazy, you can seal it temporarily with a little square of duct tape if you don't have any AquaSeal.

Same goes for neck seals. I've repaired them temporarily with duct tape and PVC glue.

The only value I see for my dive style in rock boots is it is 2 more things to lose. Are they heavy duty? yes, have I ever even come close to wearing out attached boots? Not in a million years. Do rock boots take longer to install and lace up, slowing you down? Yep.I don't think they have ever heard of velcro. I think guys buy them because they think they look macho and have a macho name. If I ever go hiking in full gear over a rocky area I will be sure to get a pair.

As to DUI, they have a great reputation, they certainly are popular in SoCal, and they will do a CF200 suit custom.

As to Viking, nobody knows about it as they really don't advertise much but they have a vulcanized rubber drysuit where the interior lining is like a heavy stretchy Lycra as opposed to their usual heavy cotton canvas lining.

It is the canvas lining that doesn't stretch all that much in comparison at leas to the rubber coating. Viking's new black stretchy Lycra liner drysuit is a much more comfortable suit as it stretches more, but your only color choice is black.

The neck seal only and separate hood is nice in SoCal, as in the summer you dive without a hood, but that might not work in Canada.

Keep all this stuff far away from your refrigerator, as the ozone will kill your rubber fast.

Below caption: "Can somebody help me trim my face seal!?"
http://www.vikingdiving.com/public/media/autoimg/2335_400_750.jpg

rubber chicken
09-25-2007, 02:44 AM
I've got a Bodyglove 100GM Compressed Neoprene D/S. Usually worn with hiking thermals and 4th Element Xerotherm top. Add on wetsuit hood and gloves and its kept me warm down to 5-6 degrees.
I've never tried Drygloves or integral hoods so can't comment but I would suggest that getting a suit with prefitted pockets is a great idea, mine has 2 large capacity bellows pockets on the thighs and they manage to hold everything I need. I've even been known to put my hands in them on cold safety stops.:)
Again, my suit has standard valve placements, input on centre of chest, out/overpressure on left arm just below the shoulder. I prefer this arrangement to wrist dumps as I find that it only requires a slight roll while remaining horizontal to dump excess air rather than changing to a much more vertical position for a wrist dump.

Publisher, How do you get out of a rear shoulder zip D/S on your own? That is a skill that I would love to learn.

The Publisher
09-25-2007, 03:07 AM
You attach a lanyard about 2 feet long and just rotate about and it swings over to your hand, and you just pull it in line to the zipper.

Or you just ignore it all since you're typically diving with a buddy anyway...

As to the drysuit pockets, as long as they self drain and don't scoop, definitely get that option.

amtrosie
09-25-2007, 04:23 PM
Seasnake,

Why not ask the other local divers? Provided you plan on using it there, they are your best resource. They are the ones diving your environment and can best suggest the most optimal options. I can tell you my preferences, but they change with environment. Soooooooo, hows that for a definitive maybe?

BamaCaveDiver
09-25-2007, 04:33 PM
If you can try on some stock suits before buying snake, you may be able to save yourself some serious cash over the custom suit. The most important aspect is to get a suit that fits well while not restricting your movements. I have owned a Moby's (which I would not recommend to anyone), a DR 905 (which I still consider the best bang for the buck if you can fit into a stock size, and yes they have a good selection of stock sizes), and I am currently diving a DUI TLS350. The DUI was bought from one of those guys who gets into the sport with more money than ambition (decided to find a new hobby right after he finished his certification) and was a custom suit (I was amazed at how close his measurements were to mine and when the asking price dropped to $1000 (with only 3 dives on the suit no less) I jumped on it.) I am not a fan of the rock boots, but they are not so bad that I am willing to change them out. I did hate the zip seals enough that I had them removed from the wrists, and will likely replace the neck seal eventually. I hate cold water, so I have never tried the integrated hoods or dry gloves; I just use a standard 7mill dry hood and neoprene gloves (when the water temp is in the 50's.) As for undergarments, thinsulate is nice and toasty but it is expensive and does not launder well. The DIR nazis all blasted Weezle, claiming it required too much loft and had a tendancy to trap air (funny how this was only reported when using DUI dry suits :rolleyes: ) I use DR Primaloft (a Weezle knock off basically) and have not encountered any problems (nor have I heard anything but praise from my buds who are diving Weezle undergarments); it keeps me toasty with minimal loft and does not trap air. A lot of folks have been been praising the Fourth Element Artic and Xerotherm undergarments as the perfect replacement for thinsulate, saying it has far less bulk and can be laundered regualrly without damage. Another option that I have heard good reports from is the Santi suits; made in Poland, these custom suits use thinsulate but are offered at a very good price (they also make custom dry suits, but I do not know of anyone who has used one yet.)

I like the suggestion of going to a demo day weekend and trying on several stock suits. DUI and DR hold these on a regular basis across the US, and it is a great opportunity to see how the equipment will actually function for you in the water before laying out all that cash.

acelockco
09-25-2007, 05:29 PM
I have owned a Moby's (which I would not recommend to anyone

My wife actually has a Moby's dry suit and she really loves it. They did make some really strange dry suits, but this is a regular tri-lam suit. It is very basic, but it works perfectly.....so far that is. Hopefully we don't have any problems with it as the company is no longer in business, and for that reason alone I have to agree with Bama on not recommending it, unless you get a deal like we did. It was a new suit in the dive shop, but old stock and I think we paid somewhere between $500-$600 USD. If you know dry suits, then you know a new Tri-Lam suit is going to be a lot more than that.


Anyway, Seasnake, what type of diving and conditions do you plan on using the dry suit with? That is going to be the biggest factor.

seasnake
09-25-2007, 05:32 PM
Well, I live out past Booneyville, we don't often get a good sampling of what is available in the market place being worn by local divers. For the longest time Whites and Atlan were really the only suits available here locally and that is generally what people around here wear. Although I can't really complain about my White's suit, they do not have a good rep. around here for customer service and also it is not likely I could get a competitive price on a new one. And not much chance I could attend one of those DUI rallies here locally. But several of my friends dive DUI suits.

I have dove neoprene and shell suits, latex seals and neoprene seals. I much prefer self entry shell suits, I find them more versatile for the diving in this area. Our temps range from high 20's F in winter to low 70's F in summer. Although I have always worn wet gloves and hood, the lack of dexterity in the three finger mitt in winter is just intolerable.

I did consider a BARE suit, they also have a good rep. But I believe I can get a better price on the DUI. I do know a guy who got a used viking suit years ago and he was very happy with it.

I know most people go with the upper arm dump valve, but I have tried both that position and my current suit has it on the forearm. I find the forearm super easy to deal with. I can remain horizontal and slightly raise my arm and let out a bubble at a time if I want. At the time I remember selecting that position for the dump valve because I was doing a lot of working dives, and if you forgot to close the valve down before you got vertical to pry on something or crawl into a tight space, all the air would vent out at the shoulder. I don't do working dives like that anymore, so don't know if it would really be an issue anymore. I have seen some guys with two dump valves, one upper and one lower. *shrug*

I have heard some good things about weezles, but I watched a buddy make an out of control ascent once from 90 feet because fuzz from the weezles? Or the loft of them?? had blocked his deflate valve. Scary. The undergarments I use now are a layer of thinsulate sandwiched between two layers of fleece. Warm enough, but kinda bulky and although they were custom made, the cut of the garment binds my range of motion which I noticed when I started diving double tanks with a manifold. Very hard to reach my valves.

The thing I'm wondering about the latex hood is I can't get a straight answer from anyone about how it affects clearing the ears?? I've also noticed that some guys who use them have installed little one way valves in them to vent air accumulated in the hood? But I've seen guys dive in cold water with just the latex hood and "claim" to not be cold.

As far as dry gloves, boots, p-valve, etc. I'm just wondering what people's experiences are because I know many people buy third party stuff instead of paying for the option when they buy the suit. F'rinstance, like I said, I heard some negative comments about DUI's dryglove system.

I do plan to patch up the White's suit and keep it as a back up or spare. It is still in pretty decent condition and I have never had a leak in the zipper or seams. Just replaced the neck and wrist seals last month for the first time. The attached boot is worn through in little spots but so far no leaks in the neoprene sock underneath. But it is time to get a better fitting suit with the accessories to go along with my diving as it advances.

Comments so far have been very good! Thanks guys. I'm sure this thread will even be informative for lots of people down the road too.

BamaCaveDiver
09-25-2007, 07:51 PM
My wife actually has a Moby's dry suit and she really loves it. They did make some really strange dry suits, but this is a regular tri-lam suit. It is very basic, but it works perfectly.....so far that is. Hopefully we don't have any problems with it as the company is no longer in business, and for that reason alone I have to agree with Bama on not recommending it, unless you get a deal like we did. It was a new suit in the dive shop, but old stock and I think we paid somewhere between $500-$600 USD. If you know dry suits, then you know a new Tri-Lam suit is going to be a lot more than that.


Anyway, Seasnake, what type of diving and conditions do you plan on using the dry suit with? That is going to be the biggest factor.

I think Moby's is still in business, but it was acquired by Parkways (?) of Canada a few years back. I have seen some better looking Moby's suits since then (neoprene), but after my initial experience with the brand I opted to just give them a glance rather than a thorough inspection. My problems were the seams coming apart and the boots being difficult to get on and off (my left foot is paralyzed, so the higher, stiffer boots were a real PITA for me. I have no idea how customer service is today (since the buy out), but it was non-existent when I owned mine. My cave instructor used to dive a Moby's two-piece (water proof inner shell velcroed to an abrasion resistant outer shell) and I swear that thing looked worse than wearing a trash bag (and he said it swam worse as well.)

Finless
09-25-2007, 10:36 PM
Dry suit? As most divers will only have owned one or two suits you'll need lots of replies to get a good feel for what's best of the available suits?

FWIW I use a Gates PRO-VSN 1100 (now ownde/operating unnder the name of Hunter (http://www.hunter-diving.com/divingsuit_sporthome.html)) which was expensive (UKú650 about 10 years ago) but is made out of a type of trick material that is stretchy. All I can really offer by way of advice is get a MTM (unless you are a stock size) and that a tri-laminate type suit generally seem to be a lot more flexible.

Are you certain your shrinking suit and restricted movement aren't as a result of a poorly fitting undersuit?

Pee valve? Well, I applaud the principal, after all fish wee in the see all the time so it's good to get ones own back, I imagine. If you do go for one make sure you don't get the catheter tube kinked. I've heard it is very distressing if you give a squeeze expecting relief only to find a blockage!!! Shudder, a most unpleasant experience methinks? :):)

Latex hoods? I use a full face mask and I bought one in order to make seating the mask onto the hood much easier. To prevent problems with equalizing my ears the hood cam with a cut back inner hood made out of under suit type material and a chin strap to hold it in place. I found the combination of trying to get both on and in the right place + keeping my hair (long) under the hood too much of a pain and gave up with it.

Going back to your suit option. I would be prepared to spend more than you really want to in order to get a good suit. After all, it is crucial to your comfort, safety, dive boat cred and protection and it should last for the rest of your diving life (further shrinkage notwithstanding). :)

acelockco
09-25-2007, 11:23 PM
I think Moby's is still in business, but it was acquired by Parkways (?) of Canada a few years back. I..... My cave instructor used to dive a Moby's two-piece (water proof inner shell velcroed to an abrasion resistant outer shell) and I swear that thing looked worse than wearing a trash bag (and he said it swam worse as well.)

No, they definately went out of business. In fact there are more than a few people that are still trying to get a refund for custom suits they paid for and of course did not get when the company went under.

There is a guy that worked for them when they were in business, and now he is doing repairs on them and actually has replacement parts, but he is not affiliated with the old owners.

And the shell and liner dry suit is the one that they made that I thought was a bad idea, but never dove it so I will take your bud's word for it.

rubber chicken
09-26-2007, 03:15 AM
Snake, Re the weezles blockage of dump valves. I've heard of a few people who have had this problem, the most common solution appears to be some duct tape wrapped around the arm of the suit that corresponds to the valve position.
HTH