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  1. #1
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    from wonderful old neoprene drysuit to what?

    Just a question out of curiosity here. I am still happy and warm diving in my very old Bare 7mm neoprene drysuit. It is comfortable, very warm and dry. I have had to put a spot of glue on one tiny leak after stretching and mashing SiTech rings on the the arms, and the soles of my boots are wearing away, leaving me repairing disappearing rubber. And yes, it is a chore donning and doffing the thing. ... BUT:
    I have noticed after a couple years diving with a very technical club, that all my technical dive buddies complain of this leak and that leak and this failed seem and that hole in their extremely expensive top-of-the-line trilam suits (some even have 2 suits so they can continue diving when sending one away for repairs). My friend recently emptied a completely flooded pro drysuit - he was also electrucuted by his expensive undergarment - ha ha). On the very same dive, his buddy also experienced a failure of his electrical cable - a common topic of conversation amongst these tech-crazy divers. They all dive with electric undersuits because they get cold, and even with those, they often shiver on the boat after the dive. They ask whether I'm cold and I smile and shake my head - I'm a thin guy and can get cold easily ... when not in my drysuit. I stay toasty warm in 8C water on an hour long dive (though with deco and safety stops doing nothing but hanging on a line, it can get a bit cool).
    My very first suit was a thin trilam light suit and it ALWAYS leaked. After a couple years I gave up on it and bought the current Bare neoprene suit and was shocked at the difference. For the first time I was really, really warm and dry! At nearly 200 dives on this suit, I still am.

    So this leads me to ask why neoprene disappeared years ago? Does fashion rule in such a technical industry? Why the trend away from Neoprene? Why do trilam suits seem to be such a constant source of wet spots and cold dives when they're considered the de facto standard in tech diving? What will I turn to when my old neoprene suite finally dies?

    Very curious of peoples' opinions.

  2. #2
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    Like you, I'm not a fan of trilaminate suits and dive with a compressed neoprene suit with Kevlar kneepads - essential as an instructor since I seem to spend a lot of time on my knees sorting out trainees equipment, weights etc. I'm on my fourth neoprene suit in thirty years, having tried trilaminate and didn't like them, especially the seals. I have sinewy wrists and did have a problem with the seals leaking at the end of a dive winding up my DSMB. This was fixed by chginging to dry gloves and my only problem with dampness now is due to condensation.

    My wife however has a trilaminate suit which is 18 years old and has done hundreds of dives. She finds it more flexible and I suspect that this is why so many techies use them because it makes shut-downs easier than with the much stiffer but tougher compressed neoprene. She is rather more gentle on her suit than I am though.

    We also have cuff dumps as well as an autodump which I fitted after my wife had her autodump fail and since she has warm cuffs and neckseal on her suit, she wasn't able to get at the seals to dump that way and ended up doing a faster than ideal ascent. I was hanging on to her slowing her down after having dumped everything. Northern Diver do locking cuff dumps which get over the problem of the suit dumping as you come up a ladder!

  3. #3
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    thanks for the info, Allan.

    My old suit is non-compressed, and it is a bit stiff, though I am used to it. I tried a twin tank setup once and couldn't reach the valves - mind you, I was probably using poor technique. I have a new latex neck-seal, but still have the old original neoprene wrist seals (though I don't use them now with dry gloves). I found my neck getting cold after installation of the new latex neck seal, but now wear underwear with high neck as well as a thin neck warmer.

  4. #4
    Gone diving back later Vanny's Avatar
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    I’m using neoprene , albeit 1.8mm from O3. Still believe it’s hold some warmth over trilam. The trilam thing is fashion imho.

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    Love my trilam. But... just sent it off for a 5 year/500 dive service (as in a few problems to solve). Came back with the cuffs replaced, shoulder dump replaced, main zip replaced, pee valve had worn through the trilam so a new patch there and four holes repaired. Testing it tomorrow in cold water to check that I'm dry.

    One of the last 'independent boat' dives I did at the end of the season there were another 5 guys with lots more experience than me. They all had neoprene suits, 4 of the 5 had Othree suits.

    Made me wonder about that. Maybe should consider one of them, although most of them are happy to dangle crap off of their rebreathers/twinsets. and I much prefer stuffing everything in my pockets. The Othree pockets aren't very impressive when compared with a decent trilam's pockets.

  6. #6
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    You can specify what pockets you want when you order an O Three.

  7. #7
    Established TDF Member Paulo's Avatar
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    The trend towards trilam for tec divers is that you dont have the issue of compression of the insulation at depth and the consequent buoyancy changes.

    I much prefer my O'three Ri 2-100 to any suits I have used before. I am on my 2nd one after losing 1/3 of my body weight. Expensive but warm, dry and good customer service
    JJ wanker

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    Established TDF Member Timw's Avatar
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    I'd also recommend the Othree RI suits - no noticeable change in buoyancy form the materials and tough as old boots - I'm on my third - only because the first two have become a bit "snug". They're both still going though- a friend is still diving my first RI suit which was one of the prototype suits and is 20+ years old now.
    Tea Boy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGarriott View Post
    So this leads me to ask why neoprene disappeared years ago? Does fashion rule in such a technical industry? Why the trend away from Neoprene? Why do trilam suits seem to be such a constant source of wet spots and cold dives when they're considered the de facto standard in tech diving? What will I turn to when my old neoprene suite finally dies?
    It hasn't really. There's various advantages to using one over the other, which may or may not be applicable to the diving you're doing. Trilam is usually much lighter and if cut properly, gives unlimited movement. Neoprene suits will never be able to achieve that unless they're so thin that they're as near as damnit trilam. But neoprene suits are warmer - my old one always left me feeling more like I was not in contact with the water, more like diving in a human shaped mini-submarine! But no neoprene suit is going to match the warmth of a heating system - unless it also has a heating system fitted! My trilam suit doesn't have leaks or wet spots, and that's the experience of many. My old O3 Ri2 suit did occasionally leak at the seals but dry gloves would have fixed that.

    At the end of the day, dive whatever you like and suits you. I dive a trilam because I teach entry level tech and am not very flexible, so need all the help I get to make it look super-smooth and easy when demo'ing. If I wasn't ever going to use a twinset again (so just single cylinder stuff or CCR), I'd be very tempted with a new O3 Ri2, as it was a lovely suit, albeit crap for travel.
    The views expressed are my own, worth what you've paid for them, are not on behalf of anyone else and not those of any company I work for etc.

  10. #10
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    What happened to DUI, I've heard that they ran into quality issues, but generally their suits were lauded for excellent flexibility and better than trilam warmth.


 
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