Polartec Military

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Head and Chest Protection

As we are starting to get into fall and the water begins to get colder. You will have to start looking at, adding more to what you wear when you dive. One of the best ways to add warmth without adding a lot more rubber is to add a hood and a vest. The vest helps keep your chest warm, from the tie you enter the water. I like a vest because it helps with that first blast of cold water that always hits your chest. Since you lose about 75 percent of your body heat through your head even if the water is warm, you will lose heat thru it. Hoods and vest are usually made from neoprene and are designed for wearing in either warm or cold water.  Again, as with wetsuits, the thicker the hood/vest, the better it is for colder water. One of the most significant drawbacks to diving, in general, is the thinker anything is, gloves, suit, or hood the more mobility you lose. There are two types of hoods, warm and cold water.  Warm water hoods are less cumbersome and typically cover your head and neck. They can be used for warmth and to help protect your head.

Warm vs. Coldwater Hoods

When diving in cold water, a thick neoprene hood that covers your head and neck will be the most practical. The thicker the neoprene, the warmer you head will be. Coldwater dive hoods typically have a sizable bib, which can be tucked into your wetsuit at the neck opening. The bib reduces the transfer of water and keeps the diver that much warmer. The bib comes down to cover the neck and some of the chest, like a bib for kids. There is also hooded vest, and those cover the head and the chest. Cold-water hoods cover some or all of the diver’s forehead and jaw/chin areas, and it also includes a good part of the diver’s cheeks. It tries to leave as little of the diver’s face exposed to the cold water as possible — ordinary just room for the mask and the regulator.    

Warm-water dive hoods are much thinner and typically do not have large bib like cold-water hoods. Warm water hoods and vests are suitable for long-duration diving in warm water. It isn’t so thick that you overheat from the start, but with a long dive, you will start to get cold. If you are warm, you can also vent the hood/ vest, and as the dive goes on, you will be warmer. You can even sometimes start the dive without the hood, and then if you are cold, you can put it on. Hooded vests are good for that as you can just pull the hood up as you are diving.

The right fitting dive hood should not be too loose; if you’re going for a cold-water hood, it should feel snug around your cheeks and jaw and should cover most of your forehead.  Still, it should not feel too tight – if it is uncomfortable around the throat or facial area, then you’ll need to go up a size. Basically, if the hood creates discomfort along the face or neck/throat, it is too small. If water freely flows in and out of the hood, it is too big. Too loose a hood will not protect you from the elements at all, as water will be able to flow in and out freely. Layering is the key to warmth when diving.

SCUBAPRO’s line of Hoods, Vest and Hooded Vest can provide that extra layer to help keep you warmer longer when diving. The SCUBAPRO 2.5/0.5mm Unisex Hooded Vest is just what you need for a little extra warmth on colder water dives. When you are in warm water locations, add a hooded vest over a spring suit or under a Shorty or Fullsuit, you add warmth and will be able to stay in longer. The vest is easy to don and doff and is fast drying for days that have multiple dives. The vest is 2.5mm thick in the hood chest and back and 0.5mm thick on the ultra-stretch side panels.

SCUBAPRO has also updated its popular Hybrid line, which includes a thermal long sleeve top, cargo shorts, and a sleeveless hooded vest. The line also consists of a full suit that is great for long-duration warm water dives or under cammies to help keep you warm. The Hybrid Hooded Vest’s ultra-comfortable neoprene/nylon blend does a great job of protecting your torso and head, two critical areas for minimizing heat loss, providing comfort, warmth, and protection where you need it most. On the underside of the nylon panels, a micro-plush interior makes the vest warm and cozy.

This fleece fabric absorbs less water, which keeps heat against the body, increasing overall warmth. It also dries quickly. This hooded vest can be worn by itself or layered over a long-sleeve thermal rash guard to increase warmth and protection and built with a mix of quality 1.5mm X-Foam neoprene for warmth and durable nylon for stretch and comfort. Highly versatile ideal for divers, snorkelers, paddle boarders, swimmers, and anyone that needs more protection from the elements to include long boat rides. I have used pieces in this line for an Alcatraz swim(1.5mile), and it worked great.  Unique styling keeps you warm, protected, and looking good — form-fitting for that sleek, hydrodynamic look and feel.

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