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Old 27-01-2006, 06:32   #1
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Foul weather gear prefferance!

I will first and foremost admit that I do not live on a boat (yet!).

Also being a dive instructor my view of things that get wet are probably a little different than most people.

I was looking at weather gear">foul weather gear and laughing at all the blue and red colors. I learned long ago that bright colors such as yum-yum yellow and orange easier to see in bad visibility.

Color aside, What is the consesus on gear? Do most people buy the two part gear? Does anyone have experience with the foul weather dry suits? Or wetsuits as foul weather gear for that matter?

I spend a lot of time over the summer here in Texas teaching diving and have gotten used to just wearing my one peice wetsuit when it rains. I would think that in the colder climates a one peice drysuit that is self donning would be prefferable due to it's warmth being based on a dry layer of air next to the body and if you ever became the object of a MOB exercise 40-50 degree (F) water wouldn't incapacitate you in 5 minutes. The other advantage would seem to be that once you get below, you take it off and hang it up and you are completely dry.

Thoughts?
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Old 27-01-2006, 08:58   #2
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Rain gear

There seem to be two things that leak in North America: Rain gear and new boats. There are some of the yellow heavy plastic rain coats that work well but they do not breeth too well, and are stiff to wear. The oil skins can be good. I have a Barber jacket for riding the motorcycle and it works very well. I have an oil skin for around the farm and trips to Calgary. I had a couple of dry suits from an oil rig and they fell apart. Newer models were introduced.
For ease of use I like the two part system. The best I have at the moment I got from Costco for about $60- A lot of sailors around here got them. For prolonged crappy weather and cold, the one piece is likely the best. I will be looking at them at the Vancouver Boat Show. Then a decision is needed about having a life jacket inside the one piece, or getting a Mustang type that has floatation built in. Mustang is a local company for us. At the moment I prefer the life jacket separate, but I might change that view after fondling a new Mustang and other units.
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Old 28-01-2006, 07:11   #3
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Some better than others, BUT

none is really perfect except a drysuit. Winter sailors use a drysuit designed for sailing small boats. In these "frostbite" races, the sailors stay dry and warm. I carry a drysuit onboard for extreme weather. For the rest of the time, any rain jacket and pants will do.........and don't forget the sou'wester.
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Old 28-01-2006, 20:19   #4
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Like BC Mike. I too live in the rain country. It has only let up three days since Dec. 15th. (raining ice water).
Anyway, there are several conditions we have to deal with here. Wet & cold, wet/windy & cold, mist (almost fog) and cold, wet & warm, wet & hot then humid & hot. And maybe a few days of dry & hot. Never a dry cold (maybe once every 10 years in a long freeze below 25º)

I have found for the extreme wet weather that a waterproof bib with a breathable jacket/hooded and a rain slicker to go over the jacket works about the best. Along with the Gill knee high deck boots.

If it's raining heavily it all goes on. If it's a light rain then off comes the slicker. In a mist I'll wear the slicker with a flannel shirt. When it warms up, off come the bibs and just use the jacket with regular deck shoes. When it stops raining then I break out a windbreaker. All these conditions can happen with in an hour or two. So one has to be a quick-change artist.

Then when it gets hot, it's time for a long sleeve (white) shirt and broad rim hat. Here, out on the water with the wind, in never really gets hot unless the wind dies. Then you'll cook because we're not use to it

You don't see a lot of divers here (in the water), the water averages 55º, so wet suites are rare. Dry suite, maybe the racers will don one in the worst of it but haven't really seen any out there. Although I have been temped to put mine on crossing the straits. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~_/)
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Old 28-01-2006, 20:54   #5
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It's pretty simple. The dry suit should be considered a survival suit. So if you are sailing in waters that, if you should become a MOB victom and the temperature of the water can kill you, then you use a survival suit.
If the the sea temps are such that you can spend many hrs in the water and still survive, then a standard two piece will sufice.
Of course, that is based on the fact that here in NZ, a good set of wet weather gear (Musto) will set you back say NZ$1500-2K. A dry suit type wet weather system is thousands. The other advantage of two piece, in the Spring and Autum(Fall) here, it is sometimes too hot to wear a jacket, but the breeze fresh and deck is getting a good dunking. So wearing the leaging parts can be a good idea.
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Old 29-01-2006, 08:25   #6
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Diving in Puget Sound

Delmarray,

I used to work in Everett and lived a little further south, so I understand about the rain thing. My mother was complaining Friday that it really hasn't let up this year. I didn't get to dive while I was there due to a lack of funding and drysuit. However I intend to come back and dive in the San Juans as they are supposed to be specatacular.

I guess for the rapid change in conditions a 2 piece suit would be most effective so you could add and remove layers quickly. I was thinking that you probably would keep a drysuit for those times when you have to be up on deck and exposed or when the consequences of a being an MOB are not good since your undergarments would stay completely dry.

I've since purchased a heavy diving drysuit ( funny I would need one of these in Texas), and have gotten pretty adept and getting into or out of it. The real key is to get one that is self donning. The hardest part is just getting my boots on over the dry socks. The normal evaporative cooling effect that occurs in a wetsuit doesn't affect a drysuit since you have the layer of air (and cloths) next to you skin. My only issue with using a drysuit at this time would be that the material would have to be cordura or a heavyer laminate shell suit with cordura knee pads, elbow pads and butt pad to take all the chaffing that a normal diving suit doesn't have to deal with.

The self donning kind come in basically two varieties: a zipper from the center of you shoulder blades over the right shoulder and to the left hip and a front bib/ plastic baggy style that zips across about mid chest and folds down and secures under the arms. The alternative to self donning (for those who have never worn or been exposed to a drysuit) zips across the shoulders from about mid-upper arm, across the shoulderblades to mid-upper arm on the other side. While this is a really good place for a zipper from an abrasion and getting it out of the way perspective, the first time one has a strong urge to use the head and has to hunt for a friendly and willing soul ( among your supposed friends) to unzip you, you will rapid decide a self doning suit may be something to look more seriously at in the future. Usually the threat of reciprocity or lack thereof at some future date will entice friends to unzip you a little faster.
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Old 29-01-2006, 11:04   #7
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So are diving dry suits the same thing as a Survival dry suit??
The big pluses with a lot of the new wet weather gear is the breathable membranes like Goretex that is used. You stay dry from persperation as well as water from the outside. It makes such a big difference to your comfort and warmth.
So does a Survival dry suit do the same??
Does a Diving dry suit do the same??
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Old 29-01-2006, 11:23   #8
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BCMike - a possible freebie

First off, BC Mike doesn't live in a rainy area; Kelowna is "semi-desert" weather; live in Vancouver and you will experience rainy weather.

To Mike,
I used to have a friend who worked at Mustang and he used to hand out one piece Mustang suits to his friends and enemies for free. These suits were "trial" suits that had some thing wrong, or was part of the early development of a latter suit.

You might try phoning Mustang to see if you can get one of the trial suits for free or at nominal cost. Worse case scenario is that they will laugh at you; best case scenario you'll get one for free.
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Old 29-01-2006, 11:42   #9
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Right on all counts. Good idea.
I used to sell Mustang products when they first came on the market, should get some brownie points for that. I was in Abbostford yesterday, it was raining so hard it was wet inside.
Went to the motorcycle show. Will be down for the boat show. Anyone going ?
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Old 29-01-2006, 21:40   #10
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Re: BCMike - a possible freebie

Quote:
rsn48 once whispered in the wind:
First off, BC Mike doesn't live in a rainy area; Kelowna is "semi-desert" weather; live in Vancouver and you will experience rainy weather.
I must have got a wrong impression of the area. The last time I went through Spallumcheen on the way to Banff, I thought I was going to get washed off the road by the rain.
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Old 29-01-2006, 23:25   #11
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Spallumcheen

Did you mean Spallumcheen or Spuzzum ?
Spuzzum is on the left hand side of the Cascade mountains and Spallumcheen is on the other. The mountains basically stop all the nasty stuff. Saturday was typical. Pouring rain in Abbotsford ( about 100 miles from your area ) rain all the way until the Cascades, turning to heavy snow as you go up the hill. A long line of trucks ordered to put chains on because of road blokages the day before. It is a very long steep hill up to the top where the toll gates are. Still blowing and snowing, no place for the timid. Go East about 40 miles and the snow stops, the stars are out, you can see the big dipper and the North Star, and it is generally a lovely but chilly evening. This is typical. The Okanogan Valley gets less than 10 inches of rain a year. Osoyoos to the South is a desert. But I get to the coast often enough, and I have been to Wellington, and Waihi where the curbs are at least 18 inches high, and the roads are dramatically crowned.
Michael
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Old 30-01-2006, 07:12   #12
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I am more concerned with staying warm than dry with my gear, as I can count on the fingers of one hand the times that I have worn my fouly trousers in the last 5 years, and I have only worn my boots when washing down. -- But thats one of the advantages of a cat with a wheelhouse!
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Old 30-01-2006, 10:07   #13
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Quote:
Alan Wheeler once whispered in the wind:
So are diving dry suits the same thing as a Survival dry suit??
The big pluses with a lot of the new wet weather gear is the breathable membranes like Goretex that is used. You stay dry from persperation as well as water from the outside. It makes such a big difference to your comfort and warmth.
So does a Survival dry suit do the same??
Does a Diving dry suit do the same??
Alan,
I've seen pictures of the survival suits but never had the chance to look at one in person (hope to do this in Annapolis this October). Diving Drysuits are typically made with either a laminate shell that is "waterproof" (ie it won't leak until torn or you break the seal) or out of either regular neoprene or a crushed cell neoprene (my fav). Neither of which uses Gortex due to the high water pressure differential on the material.

The different materials dictate what you wear underneath. A laminate suit or shell suit has NO INSULATION of it's own. All the insulation comes from the clothes you wear underneath. Typically the best insulation comes from either a wool or polartech undergarment which may more may not have some goretex in it's design. As you sweat in the suit from exertion or otherwise it moves the mousture to inside of the shell and away from your body and keeps it there. So you sweat against the inside of the shell and it condenses agains the colder laminate. The benifit to a shell suit is that it has a lot of flexibility and very little if any resistance to movement on your part. A number of divers are starting to wear a shell suit in the tropics as protection against jellyfish and other stinging marine life.

The neoprene suits fit a lot more snuggly to a person as a general rule and you only need to wear a simple pair of pants and tee shirt to allow the air bubble to more more freely between you and the suit. They are usually 7 mil thick, however you can by 9 or 10 mil suits that have been "crushed" down to 3 or 5 mil thick. It still retains the insualtion of the greater mil thickness, but it is thinner and more flexible for it's thickness. The drawback is that there is a resistance to movement like a wetsuit, but not nearly as much. The drysuit I currently dive in (the water in texas is in the high 40's right now) is a combination laminate and crushed neoprene. The bottom ( legs, butt and stomach, less the feet) is a 9 mil crushed to 4 mil and all I need for insulation is a pair of blue jeans. The rest of the suit is a quad layer laminate and I wear a polar tech jacket, a teeshirt and long sleeve shirt under that peice. I wear two pair of socks ( one wool pair as seems to becoming my prefferance for all my undergear) in my dry socks and then have a pair of boots that go over the lamainate sock to protect it. You can get built in neoprene boots if you choose.

I believe that survival suits have built in gloves, but I'm not sure about the insulation qualities. You can get diving suits with built in dry gloves but you still need to add your own gloves to them to get any insulation. I'm not quite sure how the survival suit seals at the neck as one the ones I've seen zip up the front to the neck? A standard neck seal doesn't incorporate a zipper.

I can tell you that in a diving style suit I could stand on your shoulders at the surface and dunk you and you would still be dry. The only time they leak are when you twist the seal agains your skin. For example, you never twist your neck left or right more than about 35 degrees underwater or you'll develop a temporary fold in the seal which will leak. ( think 45 degree water dribble against nice warm 98 degree skin and you learn real quick what not to due). Wrist seals leak if your real hairy or take a lot of strain on your hands in particular directions ( tendons in the wrist create a 'pocket' for water to leak)

If I had to be on deck for pretty bad weather my suit would probably consist of a drysuit, a pair of mono lense swim googles and a souwester style hat. I could change the insulation underneath as temperature required and could sit still and be warm for quite a while.

Does that answer your question?
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Old 30-01-2006, 11:08   #14
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Thank-you, that's excellent.
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Old 13-02-2006, 16:03   #15
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My preference, having commercially fished in SE Alaska, lived alone in a tent for three months in a temperate rainforest, and traveled the Labrador Coast by boat almost to it's northern tip, is low tech & pretty foolporoof.

Give me commercial foul weather gear (oilskins) with wool underclothing, and Xtra Tough Neoprene fishing boots. A waxed canvas ballcap for the head. The oilskins are two-part, bib pants with jacket. Adjust for temperature by adding or removing underclothing.

Whereas the high tech stuff can go for $500 plus, the whole outfit above can be had for under $250.

I DO USE A Mustang survival/float coat, both for extra warmth and its bouyancy. When wearing it I forego the regular jacket.

Just a few thoughts on whats worked for me. Take care.
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