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Rafting clothing: diving suit

Diving suit is a special clothing designed for diving, spearfishing, diving operations, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, freediving, rafting and other water sports. Purpose: to reduce the influence of the aquatic environment on the human body, to provide thermal insulation, protection from possible damage to different parts of the body.

Diving suits can be of the following types:

   * Dry diving suits. As the name implies, suits of this class do not allow water inside. This effect is achieved through the use of bladders (seals) on the hands and neck and waterproof zipper. Previously, dry suits consisted of two parts, upper and lower; to seal the connection points, they used rubber glue, rubber belts and various ways of connecting parts of the suit. They can also be made of trilaminate (membrane) or neoprene.
   * Wet diving suits. They are made of neoprene (foam rubber). From the very name, it is obvious that water gets under the suit. However, once it gets there, it almost never goes out, but works as a heat insulator due to heating from the body. And the thickness of the neoprene diving suit prevents it from cooling down quickly.
   * Semi-dry diving suits. Intermediate suit class: despite the presence of seals, water penetrates into the sub-suit space, but in a smaller amount, and with the tight fit of the suit, water practically does not get inside, thereby increasing the thermal insulation properties.

According to their cut, wetsuits are divided into the following types:

    * diving suits with short sleeves and short legs (shorts) — wet, 1-3 mm thick;
    * diving suits with long sleeves and long legs — dry diving suits are organized in this way;
    * diving suits with long legs and short sleeves (or removable sleeves).

A separate helmet or one attached to the jacket can be added to any of these types of diving suits.

Wet diving suit

Wet diving suit works according to the principle of thermos. It passes water through lightning, cuffs and leaks. Once it gets to the body, the water warms to its temperature and no longer cools it. Water that is already in a diving suit prevents the entry of new cold water, so the person keeps the warm.

Wet diving suits are made of neoprene fabric, which holds heat well and does not conduct cold. Neoprene is a kind of synthetic rubber. Among the undeniable advantages of neoprene are watertightness, elasticity. Neoprene is a soft, porous material. The pores do not intersect each other, so neoprene has excellent heat conservation. It was designed by NASA for use in space. Neoprene can be used at temperatures from -55 °C to +90 °C, but the actual temperature range depends on the specific chemical composition of the material. Typically, neoprene is used in the positive temperature range.

There are different variations of such wetsuits:
    * Neoprene thickness. The most common — 3, 5, 7 mm.
    * By type of cut. Short / long sleeves; with hood / without hood.
    * One piece / separate pieces.

There are various additions to the neoprene wet diving suit.

They include the following:
• neoprene socks;
• neoprene gloves;
• individual neoprene jackets;
• neoprene turtlenecks;
• neoprene boots;
• neoprene headpiece (helmet).

How to choose a wet diving suit


Choosing the suit, first of all, you need to decide on its thickness. If you are constantly in the water, the material should be thicker than that of a suit, which is used for rafting, for example, and if your body is in the water for a short time.

For kayak, catamaran and raft. For water tourism, they usually take 3 mm neoprene. The suit with a thickness of 5 mm is considered to be universal. It is good for cool May rafting as well as cold weather and cold water. Kayakers are not advised to take suits less than 5 mm thick.


Suit tailoring for active and passive sport activities is very different.
Tourists-watermen need a neoprene wet diving suit, the top of which is tailored as a jersey and the bottom — as long pants. The top of the suit in the form of a jersey is necessary so that the sleeves (even short ones) do not hinder the active rowing and do not chaff shoulders.

Practical tips for choosing a diving suit

When choosing a diving suit, follow the given instructions:

    1. Reach your back with one hand through your head. There should be no tension of the fabric.
    2. Reach your back with both hands through the head. It is unacceptable that the suit is very tight.
    3. Try to kneel on one knee. Check that there is no tension in the knee and crotch area.
    4. Stand up asride. In this position, there should be similarly no tension of fabric and unpleasant sensations.
    5. Lie on your stomach, bend your legs to your back and try to move, simulating swimming. Movements should be comfortable and free.
    6. Choose shoes to fit the thermal socks. It is easy to find them: you can buy ithem n special shops for diving and scuba diving.
    7. In no case shall the suit cut into the body, chaff or constrict the movements.
    8. Make sure there is no air bubble on the back. If there is a bubble, it means that the suit is too big and it will pour a lot of water.


There are different types of zippers by their location:

    * On the chest: such zipper is comfortable in that it is well unzipped; the presence of a double puller to unzip both the top and bottom is also useful; the inconvenience is that in some cases the zipper bulges;
    * On the back: this type of zipper is comfortable to use because the suit does not bulge at the point of bending;
    * On the neck: this type of zipper is probably the least successful because it is located in the area of greatest activity and causes discomfort.

Dry diving suits are usually used in case of prolonged contact with water at low temperatures, as well as in case of low activity in water.

Here are some criteria for using a dry diving suit:

    * at water temperature below 15 °C;
    * during prolonged stay in water at a temperature of about 15 °C, when the use of semi-dry or wet diving suit is unacceptable;
    * low physical activity (diving, spearfishing).

Its main difference from the wet suit is that it may prevent water from entering the suit well. This provides better insulation from the environment and indicates its greater suitability for use in cold water.

Dry diving suit

The main thing that such a suit should provide is the preservation of the heat that your body emits for warming. The dry diving suit should be absolutely tight.

Tightness in neoprene dry diving suits is achieved in the following ways:
    * tight zipper;
    * neck cuff, tight to the neck; made of neoprene or latex;
    * neoprene boots or socks; as a rule, socks or boots are sewn into neoprene dry suits.


Particular attention should be paid to details such as sleeves, air vents and the like.

Different types of dry diving suits are distinguished by the type of material from which they are made.

There are three types of dry diving suits:

    * Trilaminate dry diving suit. The material for this suit is nylon, and the top is covered with rubber or urethane. Such a suit has no thermal insulation and when trying a trilaminate dry diving suit you should wear warm thermal underwear.
    * Neoprene. The advantages of diving suits made of neoprene should include a good fit, reliable protection when used in cold water. The thickness of the neoprene used for the production of diving suits is 5-7 mm. Dry diving suits made of extruded neoprene are more expensive and weigh more, and are less durable, which is a disadvantage. However, they are the best variant for using at low temperatures.
    * Dry diving suit made of polymerized fabric (crushed neoprene). This material has been designed for commercial diving, has some of the characteristics of extruded neoprene, but is more resistant to tearing, mechanical damage and compression underwater. Suits made of such material look and appear almost the same as suits made of urethane coated material, but have a longer life span.

Trilaminate diving suit

Trilaminate suit will protect you from water, but it does not have thermal insulation, so it should be chosen with a good thermal insulation lining. Try this suit on with thick clothing. Such a suit is good to use in winter.

Neoprene diving suit

Neoprene diving suit is cheaper. It is warm and does not require a thick thermal insulation layer. However, when diving in winter, it is uncomfortable because when leaving the water in the cold weather, the suit freezes very fast. Such a suit should be taken for cold water, but when the air is warm.

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