View Full Version : Goin' Dry

Mountain Dog
02-26-2008, 05:20 PM
Thanks to an unbelievable deal, LadyDog and I have aquired our first dry suits. The story is a common one - people with excess money decided they were going to take up diving and dumped a fortune into gear before they realized that there's more to diving than just jumping off the boat. Exactly one dive later, after scaring the crap out of themselves, the drysuits now belong to us.

We will be using the suits in the local quarries as well as Great Lakes trips. I have relatives in Wisconsin, and LadyDog has them in Michigan. So both states offer us the excuse of visiting relatives in order to go diving there.

The suits are Bare Nex-Gen's. Not the best, I understand, but given the dirt cheap price I couldn't pass it up. They are in perfect condition.

Naturally, we'll be taking the drysuit course with our LDS. But I am interested in some non-salesman-based opinions about accompanying gear that we will need.

What works best for gloves, hoods, boots, undergarments? Does any of the gear we have for wet diving work with these suits as well? I'm willing to buy what we need, but the more I spend on gear the less I can spend on diving. Help me strike the balance. Thanks

Mountain Dog

02-26-2008, 08:08 PM
i buy my dry suit used to and come whit the underwear . the guy he sold me not dive whit it. if you look at ebay , you see many underwear and maybe you found a good deals . i buy the si tech ring for dry glove at my lds. my glove buy them at sport center and it s fisherman glove.at 9$ a set is not expensive.

if you not dive in cold water a set of wet glove it s okey to.me i buy bare hood for my dry suit , i like them very much.if you look at used stuff in many forum. and you have the patience , you found many deals.

i hope it help you

i pm you

02-26-2008, 11:38 PM
Bought my latest dry suit (DUI TLS350 Signature Series - measurements were dead on with mine) and my scooter (SS UV26 w/ UV18 hull) under the same circumstances. The DS had 3 dives on it (the only wear I could find was where the guy had wrote his name in it) and the DPV had two dives on the short tube; got both for a song and a smile (got to love some folks out there.)

If you are looking to save cash, my advice would be to skip the DS class. Instead hook up with someone that dives dry for advice and pointers and take the time to get used to the suit. Not that the classes ares totally useless, but there just not all that much to learn about diving a DS that cannot be done with an average level mentor. Inflate just enough to relieve the squeeze, learn to raise the exhaust valve so it can vent prior to ascending, and it really is not that much difference from diving heavy neoprene. Start off in a pool or shallow water just to get the feel of it and gradually go from there.

Undergarments are going to be a personal choice, depending largely on the water temps that you will be diving. Thinsulate is nice and toasty, but it is also expensive and does not take to washing well (read, get used to replacing it or learn to handle the stench.) A lot of folks find cheap thermal wear through regular sporting good stores (if it is marked as dive gear, the price automatically goes up given our limited market share.) I know a lot of FL cave divers that are more than comfortable wearing cheap polypro from Walmart, while others freeze unless they have on a set of 400gr thinsulate. I would try the cheaper stuff first and go for a layering effect; by all means I would avoid buying used undergarments unless you know the seller well (that's just me though, several go this route and have no complaints - btw, I have a set of XL Moby's 400gr thinsulate that I'll make you a good deal on {too hot for me}.)

You say boots, so I am assuming the suit has neoprene socks rather than attached hard boots. If this is the case try a pair of converse high tops (Chuck Conners All Stars); they work every bit as good if not better (and fit into fins better) than the rock boots at a fraction of the cost. Hoods again will depend on what you are comfortable with. Typically dry suit hood will not have the flap at the bottom since you have no place to tuck it; this does not mean that you cannot use one or cut the flap off of one that you already have.

Hope you enjoy your new suit.

Mountain Dog
02-27-2008, 03:05 AM
Thanks Bama,

Great advice all the way around...especially the part about used undergarments (that's like buying a used wetsuit - just don't do it).

Mountain Dog

02-27-2008, 03:06 PM
Try the discount aisle/section of sporting goods stores, camping stores and ski shops. Look for something sweat wicking for your underlayer as you will sweat and maybe a fleece (preferably a stretch-fleece) as your insulating layer. You can always cut the neck off and make it a crew neck; fleece will not unravel. That way, both layers are washable.

What BCD said about market share is true. that's why no major sporting names have targetted the coldwater dive market yet.

03-01-2008, 06:29 AM
I also agree about the Drysuit specialty course. Save your money. I read up on it, got some tips from my buddy's who already dive drysuits and just went for it. Everyone is different, but I was feeling pretty comfortable by about my 5th or 6th dive. Just takes practice :)

I didn't purchase any special undergarments. I've been using my polarmax thermals (that I already had) and they work fine. I found that after the water temp got down in the mid 40's that I would start to get cold after doing two dives. Not a big issue since most of us rarely do more than a couple of dives in a day when diving locally.

I remember diving with friends in late November here in Japan. Watching them shiver when the cold air hit wet skin, as they stripped off their 5mm semi-dry and 7mm wetsuits, brought back lots of memories :p I'd never go back to that ;)

03-26-2008, 06:33 AM
I agree as well, the course is a joke. I have a PDF file that has all of the course info. in it. I will try to find it and send it to you. We learned without the course, by reading the PDF file, asking questions and practice in the safety of our local quarry. It took me 15 minutes or so to get used to making the adjustments and we spent time practicing turning upright when our feat were above our heads. After about 5-10 dives, it will become so natural, you won't even remember making adjustments while diving. You will however, after the first dive most likely swear to never dive wet (ie. cold) again.

You can use your wetsuit hood and gloves with the dry suit. I have dry gloves and rings, but I still like the wet suit gloves better unless it is REALLY cold.

As far as undergarments, there are really expensive sets out there, but there are really good deals to be had as well. Just remember that the dry suit only keeps you dry, and not warm. You will most likely want to wear something pretty warm underneath in the water you dive. I would suggest some thick polar tech style fleece and maybe some wicking long underwear under that. Some nice warm wool socks and you should be set. You can always add some layers if you need to. I have found the Polar Tech fleece on ebay for about $70/set new. I have also seen used DUI sets sell for $20 (I bought that set).

03-26-2008, 01:12 PM
One more comment on undergarments... what you use will be somewhat dependent on the suit you decide on and the water temp that you're diving in. If you get a neoprene drysuit then you will get some insulation from the suit itself. A trilaminate type you'll be pretty much totally dependent on your undergarments for warmth.

I dive in a neoprene drysuit and all I've ever worn under it is a thin set of polarmax. I've been fine. A month ago when the water temp was down in the mid-40's, I start to feel cold about 30-40 minutes into the dive. Water temps in the 50's and above I feel fine doing an hour dive. I've been using my 3mm wetsuit hood and 2mm gloves all winter. I will admit thinking I needed something a little more when diving in water in the 40's :))

Everyone is right about the cold.... I'll probably stay in my drysuit until the water temp is warm enough to go back to my 3mm :)

03-26-2008, 07:00 PM
Good point, however most new dry suit buyers are going the tri-lam route. I know he said he bought the Bare Nex-Gen Laminate style suit, so it will not provide any insulation.

03-27-2008, 04:23 AM
Good point, however most new dry suit buyers are going the tri-lam route. I know he said he bought the Bare Nex-Gen Laminate style suit, so it will not provide any insulation.

ahh... I missed that. I ended up going neoprene because I got a good deal and because I'm cheap ;)

I did consider trilam. At the time I was a little short of cash and I needed something then. I also only thought that I was going to need it for one winter and maybe part of the next one. Now that I'm extending in Japan I'll be using it for two winters and part of the following one. I may still end up moving to a trilam depending on where my follow-on orders are too.

I get choice of coast and I'll probably choose west coast. If I end up in Washington state then I'll definitely move up to a trilaminate. I hear that the water there gets pretty cold in the winter. Probably similar to Japan.

03-27-2008, 06:34 PM
Some of the newer compressed neoprene suits are really sweet as well. It really depends on the diver and the type of diving. I know a lot of old timers that swear by their old Poseidon Unisuits (thick neoprene dry suit). I personally dive a Tri-Lam and like it very much, it is nice because I can use it year round where I live.


Mountain Dog
03-29-2008, 03:12 AM
Good point, however most new dry suit buyers are going the tri-lam route. I know he said he bought the Bare Nex-Gen Laminate style suit, so it will not provide any insulation.

Hey all,

Yes, these are laminate suits. Pretty basic, but I only paid $100 apiece for them, including brand new neck seals. They are our first drysuits, and I'm sure they won't be the last. Gotta start somewhere, and for one lousy scuba-buck, I figure the suits were well worth it.

We're hitting the pool with a friend who has been diving dry for a few years next weekend, and the quarry in a couple of weeks. Wish us luck.

Mountain Dog

03-29-2008, 04:37 AM
WOW, now that IS the scuba deal of the year!

We both know that they are not the best dry suits made, but they are still not bad. They are made by a reputable company and will get you started. Like I have said a million times before, once you go dry, you will never go back.

I know a bunch of divers with the next-gen suits and they work great for travel because of their weight and packability. Be careful around wrecks and sharp objects, but if you do get a puncture or tear they can be fixed fairly easily. You can also do some things to protect the dry suits. Some divers wear knee pads of some sort to protect the weakest spot. I have seen some divers get coveralls and actually wear them OVER their dry suits to prevent them from getting trashed on a wreck. That may be overkill, but some knee pads would not be.

All I know is that you WILL get your money out of them. In fact, if you don't like them, let me know and I will give you what you paid for them! ---Seriously.

Mountain Dog
04-02-2008, 05:03 PM
I couldn't believe it myself. I wasn't even in the market for drysuits when I stumbled across the deal. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, I'm sure that this will be just the beginning of our "dry" equipment purchases.

But since LadyDog and I are from Michigan and Wisconsin respectively, we've always wanted to dive the Great Lakes wrecks back home. Now we can't wait to visit relatives this summer. "Hi, mom. Here's the grandkids. We're going diving. See you all in a few days"....

Thanks, everyone, for the tips on getting started. Ace, we have to hook up with you at Willow Springs this year. We'll be the ones in the matching Nex-Gen suits.

Mountain Dog

04-02-2008, 06:02 PM

I am so excited for you both. I still can't believe how much better diving dry is and how much more I dive because of it. I have used it in pretty warm water with total comfort as well, just buy adjusting my insulation layer. In my opinion anything that requires more than a 3mm wetsuit, means dive it dry. I think you will be just as spoiled as soon as you get a few dives in with them.

There is a little learning curve with them, so take it easy for the first few dives. Be aware of the amount of air inside your suit at all times, but especially when changing depth!

As far as Willow, let me know as soon as you are ready! What are you doing this weekend? Want to freeze your nuts off?

04-04-2008, 10:37 PM
I just tape a bunch of Depends together, then wrap it all around me
for insulation and other things.. Duck tape works wonders and holds up
well when it gets wet...


Mountain Dog
04-08-2008, 10:38 PM

As far as Willow, let me know as soon as you are ready! What are you doing this weekend? Want to freeze your nuts off?

I can't think of anything I would rather be doing. But, this month is pretty much a bust for us...working for a living sucks. We'll be getting a pool session in before month's end, but that's about it. In early May our club is heading down to Lake Rawlings for a weekend of cold water. After that, I'll be thinking about Willow.

I'll PM you when some possible dates open up.

Mountain Dog

04-09-2008, 01:57 AM
Let me know I would love to get together for some underwater fun.

Mountain Dog
05-15-2008, 01:53 AM
Finally got the dry suits in the water (other than the pool - BORING!) this past weekend at Lake Rawlings. All I can say is, WOW!!! Dry is definitely the way to go in cold water. Ace, you're right. I'm spoiled. Anything that requires more than 3 mil is getting the dry suit from now on. Maybe I should sell my 7mil.

The first dive was a bit interesting, but neither one of us really had much trouble getting used to controlling our buoyancy. Our feet were getting a little positive on us for a while, but by the end of the second dive we had that under control. By the third dive the suit felt like an old friend. Even LadyDog, who is never too excited about cold water diving, was loving life. She's already talking about some Great Lakes wreck trips this summer. I can't wait.

Thanks to everyone who offered help and advice on this thread. The experiences you relayed to us were very helpful.


Mountain Dog

05-15-2008, 04:54 AM
Sounds great I might be trying it soon. I was offered a DUI flx 50/50 which I believe is a pretty good suit for an ok price, well a lot better than new but I was wondering how long they last. The suit was used once in a pool and has been in storage for nine years. It looks good pretty much new but is that kind of old that will require a lot of service?