Do drysuits keep you dry when diving or swimming?
If you’ve never worn a drysuit before you may be wondering whether a drysuit keep you dry?
So does a drysuit keep you dry? As the name suggests a drysuit keeps your body completely dry. No water gets into the drysuit as it has wrist and neck seals and enclosed feet, which keep a warm insulating layer of air between your body and the suit. There are exceptions to keeping dry, which is when the drysuit material or seals become compromised.
Do drysuits keep you dry in more detail?
The name of a drysuit implies that it is designed to keep you dry in water. Which it does.
The design of a drysuit is such that:
- The drysuit itself is made of waterproof material that will keep the water out and keeps you dry.
- Your feet are enclosed within integrated boots or socks as a part of the suit.
- Your neck and wrists have a watertight seal to prevent water from entering the drysuit.
- Plus the entry part of the suit for putting it on and taking it off is closed using a waterproof zip.
It’s therefore the combination of the above four main properties that keep you dry in a drysuit. But there are exceptions to staying dry.
More Reading: What is the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit?
The tightness of your drysuit is not the same as it is for diving in a wetsuit, so you may also like to read about how tight a drysuit should be. This article includes a drysuit fitting guide too and how to check whether it’s too tight before buying.
Exceptions of when you may get wet in a drysuit
As the name implies, drysuits are designed to keep you dry underwater. But I couldn’t finish this article without explaining the exceptions of when you can get wet in a drysuit.
Exceptions when a drysuit doesn’t keep you dry are as follows:
- The integrity of the drysuit itself may become compromised and let water in this way.
- The neck and wrist seals may get damaged or worn and leak water.
- The waterproof zip may fail and therefore leak water.
Depending on which of the above problems occur with your drysuit, will depend on the resolution to fix the leak. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
1. The drysuit itself is compromised and has a leak
The main body of a drysuit can get compromised during use. This can easily happen if you kneel on a sharp object and puncture the suit. Or it can happen over time and small holes in the material can appear.
This usually happens when you catch it on something. But it can also happen over time as your drysuit ages.
Unfortunately and most of the time you only discover a leak of this nature when you’re using your drysuit. It’s only when you’re underwater when you suddenly feel wet and cold.
But you’ll also find that if the hole is only very small, say like a pin-prick size, you’ll only discover this on deeper dives.
If your drysuit is old and you have a water leak in it, it may be time to replace it. However if the suit material has been compromised due to it being caught on a sharp object, this can be repaired.
Either you can repair the suit yourself, or alternatively you can send it off to have your drysuit professionally repaired.
2. The drysuit neck and wrist seals get damaged or worn
The neck and wrist seals on a drysuit are probably the most delicate park of the suit. It isn’t uncommon for these to get damaged when you’re putting your drysuit on. Plus over time they become perished.
Whatever the reason why the neck or wrist seals become compromised, these can be replaced quite easily.
You can replace either a neck seal or a wrist seal on a drysuit. This can be fixed as a DIY job. Or you can choose to have it fixed by a professional drysuit repairer. If you’re going to replace the seal yourself, you’ll need to buy the seal itself, together with some special glue.
To do it yourself to replace a drysuit seal, you also need something like a large coke bottle to put in the sleeve to help with the repair.
3. The drysuit zip fails and lets in water
The third reason why a drysuit may not keep you dry is when the zip fails. Over time the zip can become worn and begin to leak. This doesn’t mean the end of your drysuit, as you can buy a replacement zip.
But like with a hole in the suit itself, you only really find out your zip leaks when you’re in the water.
Of course with all of the above problems with drysuits, you can have the suit ‘leak tested’ before you use it for diving or whatever sport you need it for. At least this way you find the leak before getting in the water.
Drysuit zip maintenance and use wax for lubrication
It’s important to use a special type of zip wax or silicone to put on your zip in order to make it easy to open and close, but this also prolongs the life of your zip too.
How do you dry a drysuit?
Before you dry your drysuit it’s best to rinse it in freshwater first, especially if your dive was in seawater to rinse off the salt. It’s okay to get the inside of your drysuit wet when you wash it.
To dry your suit you hang it up and then to dry the inside you simply turn the suit inside-out and hang it up again.
Is a dry suit worth it?
Whether or not a drysuit is worth it depends on how many dives you do a year and where you dive. A drysuit opens a new world of diving you wouldn’t consider doing in a wetsuit.
In water colder than 14-21°C (57-70°F) it’s worth spending the money. If you live where it gets cold in the autumn and winter months drysuits extend your dive calendar.
How long does a drysuit last?
If you buy a good quality drysuit and look after it, the suit could last for 20 years. Take care of your drysuit when you put it on and take it off, pay particular attention to the neck and wrist seals.
But also rinse it after each use. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight, as the ultra violet light will damage the seals.
You can extend the life of your drysuit in the following ways:
- Chang the neck and wrist seals when these get old and worn. This is an easy DIY job to replace either neck or wrist seals.
- If the zip starts to leak from over-use, this can also be replaced, but is more of a professional job.
- If the drysuit material is compromised due to a puncture, this can be fixed with special glue. You can send your drysuit off to be fixed if you find it has a leak. You’ll know you have a leak as you’ll get wet on your dive.
Can you swim in a dry suit?
You can swim in a drysuit but it might be a bit bulky around your arms for doing front crawl. If you over exert yourself in a drysuit you may find a bit of dampness from your perspiration inside the suit.
But if you suffer from the cold and want to swim in very cold water a drysuit will certainly keep you warm.
I hope you enjoyed this article about whether a drysuit keeps you dry
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Have fun and be safe!