Wetsuit vs Drysuit - DRY BAG
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Wetsuit vs Drysuit

For those who surf, dive and teach water sports in the northern hemisphere there is much talk about the differences between a wetsuit and a drysuit. Both types of suits are constructed to protect surfers and divers from the water and the elements, but they do so in different ways. In this blog we look at why people wear diving suits, and the differences between wetsuits and drysuits:


What is a Wetsuit?

Most wetsuits are made from a material called neoprene, a synthetic material. Neoprene wetsuits generally don’t go above 10 millimeters in thickness which means they are limited in how much insulation they provide. The norm is around 3-5mm with thicker wetsuits been reserved for the freezing winter months. See a our previous blog “A wetsuit guide” to find out more. Wetsuits offer insulation and protection from cold water, given water is allowed in, wetsuits are not always suited to use in very cold water, this is where drysuits come in.


What is a Drysuit?

Most drysuits are made from layers of insulating fabric, often neoprene. These layers help protect the wearer from cold water temperatures lower than 50 degrees.


Differences between diving wet and diving dry.

One of the main differences between a drysuit and wetsuit is drysuits feature heavier insulating materials to keep the wearer dry in cold water conditions.  Thus in drysuits the wearer doesn’t make contact with the water, hence the name “drysuit.”

Further differences between wetsuits and drysuits are warmth, buoyancy and costs:

Warmth – Wetsuits do this using a layer of neoprene and a thin layer of water trapped between that and the skin. Drysuits use trapped air and a combination of undergarments.

Buoyancy – Wetsuits compress with depth and lose some of their inherent buoyancy. Drysuits allow the diver to add air and compensate for the increased pressure at depth.

Cost – Wetsuits are generally cheaper than drysuits. Once a diver buys a wetsuit there is very little maintenance other than proper rinsing and of course use of a Dry Bag. Drysuits require seals to be replaced, leaks attended to, boots or socks replaced, and maybe even the zipper.


So, which suit is best for you?

The easiest way to remember the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit is to keep in mind that wetsuits let water in and are used in warmer water temperatures, while drysuits feature seals and heavier insulating materials to keep the wearer dry in cold water conditions.

We recommend considering the water temperature you’ll be diving in when determining whether to purchase a wetsuit or a drysuit.

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