How many times have I skipped a dive because I thought the water temperature was too low? I'd rather not tell to be honest. This mindset has also denied me the beautiful underwater worlds in Austria for far too long. After I started diving in a dry suit last year, a new, fascinating world of scuba diving opened up to me. But it isn't always necessary to wear a dry suit to dive in the lakes and rivers in Austria or the sea in Canada or Wales, because, with the right equipment, you won't be cold the next time you dive in chillier waters. Today, in cooperation with the Austrian water sports equipment manufacturer Camaro, I'll tell you my tips on how to stay warm during diving and how to avoid the shivers:
Tip 1: Choose the right wetsuit
Everyone feels comfortable in different water temperatures and also everyone has certain preferences and demands when it comes to wetsuits. It is important that the suit really fits like a second skin. If it is too small, it pinches and makes diving uncomfortable. If it's too big, it doesn't warm the way it's supposed to.
It is also important to know that many manufacturers – including Camaro – offer in-between sizes. For instance, you can choose an extra long torso or shorter arms or legs. This makes it so much easier to find a suitable size. I opted for a standard size and my buddy and boyfriend Jörg dives in a size 26 LS (= large short aka size 52 with shorter arms and legs).
The following features are also helpful to avoid getting cold while diving:
- double cuffs with zippers on arms and feet
- a double collar on the front zipper, to prevent too much water from getting in.
By the way, I dive in a Camaro Alpha 7 Pro in beautiful light blue and Jörg in the men's version in dark blue.
Tip 2: Neoprene hood
Before I upgrade to a thicker wetsuit, I go for a warming neoprene hood. We quickly lose a lot of body heat through our heads and with a simple hood we can – in my experience – make up a few millimetres on the suit.
I discovered this trick during my divemaster training in Mexico. Most of the training dives took place in the sea but we also dived in Cenotes. The water in the caves is a few degrees lower than in the sea. Just enough to get cold in a 3mm suit. My instructor advised me to wear a neoprene hood. It made a huge difference!
Tip 3: Neoprene boots
Early on, I switched to neoprene boots because they are super comfortable and I enjoy warm feet all the time. In tropical waters, I wear my 2mm boots and in Austria and Croatia, I wear Camaro's 6.5mm boots. Those of you who are still cold can put on neoprene socks underneath as well.
Tip 4: Neoprene gloves
Even if I quickly get cold hands in winter, strangely enough, this is not the case when diving in cold water. I won't dive with gloves until I have no other choice. I just prefer the freedom to move my fingers and that is why I dive with my 3mm gloves for as long as I can possibly stand it.
Neoprene gloves can make all the difference when you get cold hands quickly.
Important: diving with gloves is prohibited in many national parks and protected areas. Make sure to look that up before you head out to dive!
Tipp 5: Icevest
Had someone told me earlier how ingenious it is to wear an ice vest under a wetsuit, I would have surfaced from a lot of dives feeling a lot warmer. Without a question, I am completely in love with my Camaro Titanium Icevest Pro. With the attached hood you save yourself another piece of equipment to take with you on your diving holiday. The two zips on the belly make getting the suit on and off very easy. I haven't been cold since I started diving with this extra layer. I can also imagine packing the ice vest for the next trip to Cozumel – to be able to do longer dives.
Tip 6: Drysuit
From water temperatures below 15°C or when it starts to get colder outside, I can only advise everyone to wear a dry suit. Even if it is a little more tedious to put on and it's recommended to take a course on how to use it, a dry suit is the key to another enchanting (underwater) world! Especially everyone who is always feeling cold, but still wants to give diving a go, should check out dry suit diving.
By the way, the course for the dry-diving suit only takes one day.
Tip 7: Correct warm-up
It is especially important to warm up between dives as to prevent further cooling down. If you are on a dive boat, it usually helps to take off the wetsuit halfway and to dry yourself in the wind and sun. If it is very windy, then I like to reach for a warming windbreaker. And if nothing else helps, I put on a hat to warm up. If we drive to our dive sites by car, I always take off my used wetsuit to let it dry and for me to warm up in the sun.
Tip 7 1/2: to pee or not to pee
If it really gets too cold, that would be another option 😉
Which tricks do you use to keep yourself warm in the water? Reveal your secrets in the comments!
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