View Full Version : Neoprene

04-21-2008, 11:04
I'm a bit confused about wetsuit materials;
Nylon 2, Titanium, Superstretch, Thermal Fleece, Platinum, Oceanliner with Titanium, Olefin, Firewall, Ultraflex, 231-N, Thermoprene, and dare I say it, Neoprene. :smiley29: So how many materials are there? Really? If every company insists on "formulating" their own proprietary materials how are we ever to compare them? I'm doing my homework on getting a custom-made suit and am getting fed-up with everyone being oh-so special. I've checked out some of the more reputable (by internet standards) custom suit outfits, but can't make heads nor (beaver) tails of their mumbo jumbo. I will, of course, inquire further with the respective companies, but expect that each company will have "the best" materials and so am hoping to get some objective information here.
Also, by the way, what's with semi-dry suit? I thought not dry meant wet. Am I missing something there? Maybe I should just wrap myself in Saran Wrap!:smiley19:

04-21-2008, 12:17
Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I thought its all bascially neoprene. They line it with "titanium" or whatever to reflect some heat back to your body.

Of course there are better quality suits, but a lined wetsuit is bascially a lined wetsuit, each company has thier own little twist.

04-21-2008, 13:04
I'm a bit confused about wetsuit materials;
Also, by the way, what's with semi-dry suit? I thought not dry meant wet. Am I missing something there? Maybe I should just wrap myself in Saran Wrap!:smiley19:

I'll take a stab at this one as well. A semi-dry is really a wetsuit that is designed to keep more water out than a "wetsuit" the less water a suit lets in, the warmer it will be

A semi dry is not like a drysuit in that you fill it with air and wear undergarments to keep you warm.

04-21-2008, 13:12
Every company will have it's own name for the same stuff.

What you have to do is make trade offs. The stiffer, less flexible neoprene will not compress so much at depth and may last longer but the other "ultra-flex" or whatever the company calls it might be more comportable. What you have to do is match your needs to the material and you can do that in a custom suit. Pick a suit maker based on how wiling he is to talk with you and try to find a match.

For example most divers don't really diver very much, just a few times a year while on vacation. If you are one of them why bother with some stiff material that wil last 350 dives? that could be 10 years the suit will "die" in storage before it sees 350 dives But then some divers I know are in the water two or three days a week. One diver needs a material with a long shelf life the other needs material that will hold up to heavy use but he wil retire the suit on two years. Another factor, Do you tend to gain and loose weight? Are you in water below 55F? There are a million variables

I'd recommend a wetsuit maker but you really should find a local shop that you can vist in person.

04-21-2008, 13:30
It's all neoprene. Sort of.

There are neoprenes with more or less stretch, however. And there is one neoprene, Rubatex (G-231-N), which is in a different class altogether.

Note that the more elastic a neoprene is, the softer it is, and therefore the more it compresses, and the less warm it is at depth. This really isn't a problem in warm water, but it can be in colder water. It also makes for some very comfortable suits... and suits that easier fit a larger variety of body types in off-the-rack sizes. Manufacturers love that. They also love that the very stretchiness tends to cause the neoprene to break down faster, so the suits don't last as long as tougher materials, and you have to buy new ones more frequently.

But if you are getting a custom suit, your suit will (better!) fit you perfectly, even with the least-stretchy neoprene. Thus it can last a lot longer, and tougher, warmer neoprenes can be used.

The BEST neoprene out there for warmth and durability is Rubatex G-231-N, which I think only WetWear (http://www.wetwear.com/) still uses. All others are variations on a theme, with more or less elasticity. I believe the Yamamoto neoprene is probably the second best out there. Titanium linings and such are pure fluff.

If you're looking for top of the line, unparalleled warmth for cold water diving, go for the Rubatex. If you're diving warmer waters, it's far less important and you can get equally well-made suits from different materials that may be more stretchy and comfy from a number of other custom suit places.

Semi-dry IS a wetsuit. It just has better seals than usual to prevent as much water from getting in. But water does get in. It's still a "wet" suit. Depending on the quality and fit, though, very little water may get in. They're noticeably warmer... but don't pee in them! LOL

04-21-2008, 15:40
theres the other dide of the coin for semi dry suits also they prevent most of the water from getting oyut also. thus the water you let in stays in and stays warm