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Undersuits - again...

Discussion in 'Dry Suits' started by Harvey-NG, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    A question thats been asked a thousand times before - what undersuit(s) should I buy? I know it's a standard question, but what about other brands people have used. We all know of the fourth element artics and weezle suits, are they the best option, or are there other brands offering the same or better for less? I've heard good things about the kwarks, and does anyone layer with the new waterproof 3d mesh vest? What really is the best option for someone like me graduating from a cheap neoprene suit to a membrane? Appreciate your views as always!
     
  2. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    I use Santi thinsulate undersuits over merino base layers.

    If the water is less than about 13/14c I use a 400g (mine is heated which gives me other options). Below about 10c I'll double-up on the base layers and will run the heating for the entire dive.

    Above 13/14c I'll switch to my 200g suit. I also have a heated vest that I wear beneath the 200g suit unless the water is above about 16c and I'm not planning a long runtime with deco.
     
  3. Griffalo

    Griffalo Active Member

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    I currently have fourth element arctics which I use for just about everything. I have a Santi BZ400 which I don’t really get on with. I’m working on the basis it’s me and not the suit as it’s really well made but uncomfortable around the arms. (I should really get round to selling it at some point). I should also be getting a Kwark Navy to try in the next week or so.
     
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  4. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Yeah they do have a really good following, do you use separate top and bottoms or an all in one? Any advantages or disadvantages to either?
     
  5. puddle fish

    puddle fish Well-Known Member

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    All in ones save the rucking up of the top, the seperates tend to give you a thicker overlap round the middle so can keep you warmer they also allow for differnt sizing of top and bottom. I feel the cold and prefer several layers and the merino layer I can use for other hobbies as well as diving.
     
  6. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    I have a Seaskin base and a thinsulate 150 undersuit (made to measure is standard). With an extra layer of ski thermals, this was good for 7 degrees last year under a crushed neoprene suit. They also do a 250.
     
  7. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    I've got Fourth Element, Wheezle and Otter systems depending if i'm wearing neo or membrane,
    but with all three the one thing I don't ever dive without is a *microfleece base layer. These are even
    thinner than some of the diving branded ones and tight against skin to ensure no voids without
    restricting movement.

    These don't have to be stupid money, which means can buy more than one set. Makes dive
    weekends less smelly :) Regatta and Trespass do full sets that can be got for as low as £20.

    So before investing in any high-end systems i'd look for a low-end solution of an almost disposable
    base layer to start with.

    *Make sure it's microfleece and not any other form of base layer. Needs to trap heat, while whicking
    away moisture.
     
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  8. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    I've got loads of rab and mountain equipment base and mid layers from other hobbies that should work. I was thinking of layering with wicking base layers, one of many fleeces lying about, then something for diving that covers all of that with another layer - effectively cheap fourth element style stuff. Then again, actual undersuits don't cost half as much as the drysuit itself, so it's not a big worry if it costs a bit.
     
  9. Griffalo

    Griffalo Active Member

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    I have separate tops and bottoms. Didn’t have the choice when I bought mine but would be interested in a one piece if it fitted properly.
     
  10. splinter

    splinter Active Member

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    I've got an otter 200g one piece undersuit and an o3 PBB salopettes and jumper. The O3 has the edge as the combination gives you a double layer over your torso. I have a few sets of merino base layers from Aldi, decathlon and a helly Hansen set I got on special offer. This time of year I add an extra base layer top.
     
  11. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    You don't actually say what suit type of suit you have.
    Neoprene is already thermal, so tends to need less layers underneath while membrane a lot more.

    If it's neoprene then yes the layered approach of cheap fleeces can work. Trick is to buy new as old
    is not as efficient and get size(s) too small. Fleeces can be quite loose on the arm which leads to
    voids and cold arms. Also need to watch the neck zip as this can press into neck seals or skin of
    neck. If you double-up, pockets on fleeces are bulky and create another void. Cut the pockets
    off (and the zips if they have them), sew up the slot and whack a bit of elastic on the neck zip and
    you are good to go.

    Advantages of fleeces is they can be bought for under a fiver and can have loads :)

    Legs are a bit different as it can be hard to get fleece type bottoms and the fallback is sweat pants.
    need to be a bit careful as cotton is bad when wet, so need as much man-made content as possible.

    Unless it's really cold for a cheap set, just double up on base layers and wear a fleece or two on the
    torso.

    If membrane the above will work mid-summer, but any other time you'll need base layers + thinsulate
    at least and even + that fleece as it's the arms that get cold more than legs (which are doing work).
     
  12. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    In post #1 he says he’s switching from neoprene to membrane
     
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  13. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Guilty, missed that bit :)
     
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  14. Cybes

    Cybes Active Member

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    I've just moved from a set of Arctics to a 400g thinsulate one piece. It's a Santi so fits and moves really well.

    I'm very impressed. A lot warmer and less hassle than the Arctics. No more pulling up the top to gather material around the shoulders.

    I'll go for a similar one piece suit for the warmer weather. The Santi Flex190 and Kwark Navy both look good.

    I wouldn't go back to the Arctics for diving. They work best when you're standing up. I am using them for other things. They work well with my motorbike kit and when boat handling.
     
  15. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Layers, lots of layers.

    I've bought into the Fourth Element kit. Works although is expensive.

    I've the Arctic Expedition top and trousers. The trousers are good in any temperature - lowest was 100 mins in 3 degrees and never problems with the legs.

    From the inside, I use a FE thermal vest. Then add a Santi BZ200 heated vest - regardless if it's plugged in or not. Then I put a thermal T-shirt over that, then a FE long-sleeved rash vest. Then the Arctic top.

    When its cold I wear two pairs of walking socks. I've drysocks and rockboots fitted to the suit. Don't now get cold feet.

    For the hands I use the Kubi drygloves with the thinner G17k gloves fitted. Under that I use the FE wrist warmers and FE neoprene glove liners.

    On me bonce I use a FE 7mm hood. This is new. Definitely warmer than the 5mm hood which gave me brain freeze (that headache feeling like you've just scoffed icecream)

    As the weather warms up I'll reduce the layers. The Arctics seem to work perfectly in UK diving temperatures.

    Small tip is to get braces fitted to the Arctic trousers. Bad of FE to not do this given the prices.


    I'm sure most of that lot can be sourced elsewhere for a lot less than FE's prices.


    On important thing is to be correctly weighted. If you're too light then you can't get gas into your drysuit which probably contributes more to your warmth and comfort than almost anything else. There's a big difference in my weighting between summer and winter. Possibly 3 kilos.
     
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  16. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Hmm, maybe I should use fourth element artics combined with merino base layers with an extra fleece added in on top. How well would that work in uk winter? I get the feeling everyone uses a different system, and they all find their individual ways work best - suppose that's diving in a nutshell though!
     
  17. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Yeah, I'd definitely go for a one piece if I can find one that fits without alteration. I'm a bit tall and skinny to fit into most things - with height comes extra around the waist that I don't need.
     
  18. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I tried a Santi BZ400 undersuit - bought when there was a sale.

    Fitted well until I got into my drysuit and discovered that I couldn't bend my arms and legs. Tested it by laying flat on the garden wall; was amazingly warm, but no good for me to dive in. Sent it back.

    It seems that you must pretty precisely fit the suit including your elbow and knees as there's cut-outs behind these joints in the suit to give you the flexibility to bend. If these aren't in exactly the right place, it's a fail.

    You'll need to try it on with your own suit as well.

    Ended up continuing with the layering principle which has worked well. Oh, and using a heated vest :)
     
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  19. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Throwing money at problems does seem to make them go away ;)
     
  20. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    I didn't make it clear that the thinsulate one-piece is also Seaskin
     

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