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Thread: Used dry suits - cautions? Things to look out for? Advice?

  1. #1

    Used dry suits - cautions? Things to look out for? Advice?

    Irrelevant back story: Looking for my first suit. I spent about an hour with an instructor getting a quick/dirty basic dry suit introduction. I've handled a trilam (actually an evo 2 now that I think about it) and a crushed neoprene suit. I've never actually worn one. I had been planning to wait until November because DUI is having one of their tour events. I was planning on buying new and semi-custom to get the fit right. However, to my surprise, I am actually within "standard" dimensions for at least one maker's suits.

    The complication: In digging deeper (trying to see if a particular manufacturer's suits ran true to size) I found a used suit in "my size" at a fair price. Current owner says it only has a couple of dives because the fit isn't right for him...we did an email size comparison and I have a different body shape (in the right direction). It's worth checking out further anyway so I'm going to arrange to try it on.

    SO....my question: What should I look for/consider when looking at a used dry suit? I know it's a big topic but if you were sending someone in blind to make a buy/don't buy decision (in a case where he probably won't be able to get a more experienced diver to go along) what knowledge would you arm him with?

    The suit in question is a Pinnacle Evolution 2 but it could just as easily be another. If this suit is a good fit it could save me a fair amount of cash allow me to go back to the instructor I mentioned earlier for some actual in-suit training sooner rather than later.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Grouper
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    I was in a similar situation when I went dry. 1st) Will it fit with undergarments on? I took along a t-shirt , pajama bottoms and heavy wool socks to simulate the bulk of undergarments when I tried used. 2nd) Is the seals (neck and wrists) and boots in good shape? not cut to large for you? 3rd) Will he let you dive it before you buy?

    Be great if you could take someone along with you that dives dry to help evaluate.

    Savings isn't savings if it doesen't work out for ya. You may want to have the fill & relief valves serviced = $ Possible seal(s) replaced = $ Shipping it out and back from service =$ and of course the time it all takes.

    I did purchase mine used. Got lucky. Guy could have been my twin separated at birth. Even after the above services done I saved well under new. Good luck.

    P.S Be sure your instructor makes you do all the self rescue skills and not just explains them.
    There is a God... Come diving I'll show you!!
    Just found out I'm an Infidel! Translation: FREE!!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
    Irrelevant back story: Looking for my first suit. I spent about an hour with an instructor getting a quick/dirty basic dry suit introduction. I've handled a trilam (actually an evo 2 now that I think about it) and a crushed neoprene suit. I've never actually worn one. I had been planning to wait until November because DUI is having one of their tour events. I was planning on buying new and semi-custom to get the fit right. However, to my surprise, I am actually within "standard" dimensions for at least one maker's suits.

    The complication: In digging deeper (trying to see if a particular manufacturer's suits ran true to size) I found a used suit in "my size" at a fair price. Current owner says it only has a couple of dives because the fit isn't right for him...we did an email size comparison and I have a different body shape (in the right direction). It's worth checking out further anyway so I'm going to arrange to try it on.

    SO....my question: What should I look for/consider when looking at a used dry suit? I know it's a big topic but if you were sending someone in blind to make a buy/don't buy decision (in a case where he probably won't be able to get a more experienced diver to go along) what knowledge would you arm him with?

    The suit in question is a Pinnacle Evolution 2 but it could just as easily be another. If this suit is a good fit it could save me a fair amount of cash allow me to go back to the instructor I mentioned earlier for some actual in-suit training sooner rather than later.

    Thanks in advance!
    I own 3 DS all 3 bought used. now working toward the perfect custom suit which will be my last one. 1st one I shrank out of so that is a good thing suit 2 is a great fit nice suit but it is a back zip and I dive solo a lot so that makes this suit my number 2 choice. 3 suit is a front entry I bought it used but it had actually never been in the water. It is almost what I want but it is a little big so i need a little more lead and it has a larger bubble to manage, but it is my number one suit.

    what I learned is this

    resale value on a used suit stinks do not plan on getting your money back if you buy wrong.

    fit is where it is at. if it does not fit exactly the way you want do not buy it unless you say well this will work while i save for what i want.

    is it the entry you want if it is not see above.

    are the boots/ feet what you want. if you beach dive think about socks with rock boots for better ankle support if you boat dive think built in like turbo soles for ease

    are the seals what you want (latex or neoprene zip or glue on) if not see above again.


    are the seals in good shape. If you need wrist seals plan on spending 130 to have that done. if the neck seal needs done plan on 100.

    you can get the suit leak tested and new seals for about 300 to 400 so do not shy away from a suit that has a torn seal but everything else is good to go. Just offer less

    now check the zipper. a zipper can cost 300 to 500 to have replaced and that would be a deal breaker for me. Check for signs of wear, broke missing teeth, or loose strings from the binding.

    finally go over every inch for tears snags and wear points especially the knees shoulders and crotch area. any indication of delamination in a trilam?

    now ask yourself and your check book do i have to buy used could i buy new custom, if you can buy new custom you won't be sorry but if 1500 extra would hurt then buy used and dive a little richer. But do not buy used and plan on selling it next year to get your money back. isn't going to happen

    enjoy diving dry if you have cold water you will never go back to wet.

  4. #4
    In reply to DiveHard:

    Hadn't thought about undergarments. Thank you.

    I priced getting the boots and seals replaced locally, and that isn't too bad. If everything is good this will save me over a grand compared to buying new (for what is billed as a single-digit-dive-count/properly stored/several-year-old suit), and even if I've got to have work done it it should still be some savings. My hope is that I'll be able to recognize a basket case/too far gone suit if the whole thing is trashed in some not-quite-obvious way.

    No on the dive before buy question. The debate that is going through my mind is, if I buy it for a reasonable price, and try it out, and for whatever reason I want to sell it, I shouldn't actually lose that much on the deal. Can you hear the sound of someone trying to convince himself of something.


    Very good advice about actually doing the skills. At this point I've had quite a bit explained to me by an instructor...self rescue skills, the basics of bubble management, etc., but with a focus on familiarity. The practical training (starting in a pool) will come once I have a suit and you can be sure that I'll insist on practicing the skills.

    Thanks!

    ETA:

    Quote Originally Posted by Herb-Alaska View Post
    ...what I learned is this...
    Fit looks correct on paper. I hope it feels correct in person too but that would be a deal killer.

    Entry and material are what I want. The boots are not what I want (it has integrated boots) but I can get them replaced with socks at a local shop for an amount that isn't a deal killer.

    Seals I don't know enough about the practical side of to judge. I think they are what I want. Maybe?

    One of the points is that from what I can tell (calling around) I can get all of the seals, and the boots, replaced and still be saving what to me is a reasonably large chunk of change.

    Truly appreciate the price estimates and especially details on what to pay special attention to! That will be a huge help.

    Good point about what I can truly afford, and the danger of what I'd call "cheaping out". In this case this will get me into exactly the same make/model/size drysuit I was considering buying, maybe 3 months sooner. Worst case I hope means I lose $300+ passing it on to the next diver instead of $1000+ if I buy the suit new.

    I know going into this that I have a lot to learn and sometimes learning involves trying things and realizing they are mistakes. I'm mainly trying to limit the scope of my mistakes to levels I can afford.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by That Guy View Post
    In reply to DiveHard:

    Hadn't thought about undergarments. Thank you.

    I priced getting the boots and seals replaced locally, and that isn't too bad. If everything is good this will save me over a grand compared to buying new (for what is billed as a single-digit-dive-count/properly stored/several-year-old suit), and even if I've got to have work done it it should still be some savings. My hope is that I'll be able to recognize a basket case/too far gone suit if the whole thing is trashed in some not-quite-obvious way.

    No on the dive before buy question. The debate that is going through my mind is, if I buy it for a reasonable price, and try it out, and for whatever reason I want to sell it, I shouldn't actually lose that much on the deal. Can you hear the sound of someone trying to convince himself of something.


    Very good advice about actually doing the skills. At this point I've had quite a bit explained to me by an instructor...self rescue skills, the basics of bubble management, etc., but with a focus on familiarity. The practical training (starting in a pool) will come once I have a suit and you can be sure that I'll insist on practicing the skills.

    Thanks!

    ETA:



    Fit looks correct on paper. I hope it feels correct in person too but that would be a deal killer.



    Seals I don't know enough about the practical side of to judge. I think they are what I want. Maybe?



    Good point about what I can truly afford, and the danger of what I'd call "cheaping out". In this case this will get me into exactly the same make/model/size drysuit I was considering buying, maybe 3 months sooner. Worst case I hope means I lose $300+ passing it on to the next diver instead of $1000+ if I buy the suit new.
    .

    difference on seals

    latex seal is a dryer seal but it tends to fit tighter and some people have latex allergy issues if you spend a lot of time in the suit you will have neck seal marks the next day (rubbing and general irritant). After my rescue class I then went and did 4 after class dives so that Day I had a lot of dives in and I looked like i had been hung or garroted . These seals also wear out faster and will get you about 100 to 150 dives before they have to be replaced if you take care of them . If you are hard on them leave them in the sun you will get 30 dives. latex seals will get sticky and start to look off when they get old. You also want to look for any small nicks at the edge becasue a nick at the edge is a tear at the wrong time.

    neoprene seals are gentler on the skin and very durable but they tend to seep a little and you will not be wet but you may get a damp spot sometimes. My wrist seals sometimes give me a little dampness up to my elbows. I hated the neck seal on mine to start with but soon found out I just needed to cut it down as it was to large

    glue on seals need work to replace and can be learned to do at home but it takes practice.

    zip seals are in the field replaceable but they are more expensive for start up as well as replacement seals


    now the part about getting your money back . In my opinion you will not be successful. you may sell if you are in a big market area but if you are like me where I am in Alaska and the suit was built for like a 4 to 5 xl diver I could not find someone that even wanted to pay token money plus shipping for it.

    If it was me if all the difference was waiting 3 months and the suit was not exact what I would want except for easy things to change like boots or add pockets then I would wait unless your wife will understand a week after you buy the used suit and you start verbally dreaming about the new custom suit you want. Mine was great but never could get past the fact that I already have 3 why are you talking another one. Never could get her to fully understand the differences.

    But you can get some great deals on suits used. I bought a 3500 suit that had never been wet for 600 after a non profit used federal money to buy stuff and then shut down their dive program and could not sell the suits they had. I waited a year for the price to drop from the initial asking price of 1100 to the 600 that I paid.

    good luck

  6. #6
    Thanks for the low down on seal types! The suit has Latex now...sounds like I'd actually prefer neoprene. I will keep that in mind. Zip seals sound cool but looking at prices, that adds up quick.

    As for getting my money back...you are probably right. The optimist in me says, "If I buy the suit for $300, I probably won't lose more than $300 on the deal"....the realist says, "no, you will buy the suit for $300, spend $500 on maintenance, and end up with an $800 hole in your pocket because nobody will buy it from you." We both know which is more likely but leave me my happy delusions please.

    On the other hand, if that $800 gave me a workable suit that would do the job while I save up for the custom.... and a back-up suit for the next few years... $800 would be a bargain. See, an optimist.

    Oh, and the 3 months I mentioned was compared to getting the exact same make/model/size suit, new. It would be even longer for a custom, but - at least on paper - this non-custom suit (new or used) is right for my measurements. I want to check this used suit out even if I end up buying new just to see if the "paper" size match is really a size match. Otherwise I'm faced with buying a new suit that "should fit" and finding out it doesn't really, or waiting even longer for a custom/semi-custom.

    Again, thanks for the insight...very helpful!

  7. #7
    TadPole
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    I bought my first drysuit last year. It is a used Bare CD4 with latex wrist seals, a neoprene neck seal, attached boots and back entry. After diving it for a year I have learned enough about my kind of diving and drysuits that I now want a front entry trilam and rock boots. If you buy a used drysuit that fits you well you can dive in it long enough to learn what you like and what you don't like. If you sell it and buy something else you have not lost as much as if you bought new.

  8. #8
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    I own a Pinnicle Evo II suit and I love it. It's made out of a little stiffer material than trilam, but it's not neoprene either. It's called Cordura. The seals are latex and a little thicker than other latex seals I've seen, but that can vary. They are probably twice as thick as DUI's zip seals. Some will say go with a trilam because they are lighter and will dry faster. This has never been an issue for me. It dries fine and just take it off and hang it up.

    The Evo II is a front entry which I really like. I can suit up and "suit down" all by myself. With a back entry you have to have somebody with you to zip the suit up in the rear and more importantly unzip you when you get out. With the front entry it is much simpler.

    As mentioned fit is everything. The undergarmets can be an issue; so, make sure you try it on with thick undergarmets to determine the proper fit. Once suited up, you should be able to lift arms up over your head and also able to do a squat without much difficulty.

    The Evo II comes with boots attached. Mine are size 12 which I think is standard. I wear a size 10 shoe, but wear two pairs of wool socks and have not had any issues. I did have to buy bigger fins for the boots. A lot of people like the rock boots. I'm okay with these as well, but did have issues with the feet bunching up and sqeezing my feet. Haven't had this issue with the attached boots.

    Seals - Seals have to be trimmed specifically for the person; so, depending on how they were originally trimmed could be an issue with a used suit. If they are too small, you can trim them more to fit you. If they are too big they will need to be replaced. I did have to replace all my seals once since I bought suit. They didn't wear out, I was just stupid and left the suit in the back of truck in extremely hot weather and the seals melted....my issue not a fault of the suit.

    What I don't like about the suit? Well, not sure what to say. I love it. I did have some leaks when I first bought it new in the seams of one leg. Bought some Aqua Seal and fixed. It is a thicker suit and some don't like that, but not an issue with me.

    Once again and you know this, fit is everything. No matter what the suit is, if it does not fit right you will hate it. If you have never worn a drysuit, it will feel a little constricting with the seals around your neck and wrists. This is natural, but you should be able to move fairly freely with undergarmets on. My first suit; which I still have is a crushed neoprene. I like the suit because it is very warm, but the shoulders don't fit right and therefore I don't dive it because of the fit.

    Let me know if you have specific questions about the Evo II, but I would recommend this suit to anybody if it fits them correctly.

    Snagel

  9. #9
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    First thing to look for is leaks. Next is the zipper. Then the seals. Still dry? Now it's about fit and style preference. Ideally you should try to dive the suit before agreeing to purchase.
    The water's more exciting.. with CHUM in it!

  10. #10
    Thanks everyone!

    Looks like it is actually going to be next week before schedules line up and I can actually check out this suit. In the mean time I'll be researching as much as I can. Had a chance to handle a few more suits yesterday from Bare, Waterproof, ScubaPro, and a few other makers so I'm slowly building up my dry suit knowledge. You have all helped a lot with that which I really appreciate.

    The current owner of the suit I'm looking at is physically smaller than me . He's still within tolerances listed by Pinnacle for the suit size but he's scraping the bottom of every range where I'm closer to the middle or top. E.g. he's 5'9", I'm 6'. He says the suit is too long, I hope I won't say it is too short. I hope the size difference means that wrist and neck seals will still have some trim room. On the other hand, the owner got what for him are "oversized" boots... but that means there's a chance my feet won't even go into them. If you go by the Pinnacle US size chart they are too small, but if you go by the Euro chart they could work. Maybe I'll find out Monday......
    If you buy a used drysuit that fits you well you can dive in it long enough to learn what you like and what you don't like. If you sell it and buy something else you have not lost as much as if you bought new.
    Exactly my thought.

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