What To Do With My Dry Dive Gear - Part 2: Exposure Protection

Ocean First   Jul 01, 2022

Part 2: Exposure Protection

In the last blog, I spoke about using your camera prior to your trip in order to achieve the shots you've always wanted. From my experience, there are quite a few ways to utilize your exposure protection that you purchased for snorkeling or diving even while here in Colorado. Practice: Practicing with your exposure protection can be just as important as practicing with your camera prior to and in between trips. Buoyancy in the water is dictated by not only how much weight you wear, your skills, or your BCD, but also by your exposure protection and how your whole system works either for or against you. Practicing with it in the pool to achieve neutral buoyancy can make the difference in so many aspects of your diving. Some people discover they need ankle weights, others discover that they were wearing either too much or too little weight based on the buoyancy of their system. Figuring this out prior to your trip will get you started off on the right foot for navigating through the tunnels in Cozumel, taking pictures, or just making your dive pleasurable while decreasing air consumption. All of those tasks are made harder by lack of buoyancy control and your exposure system has a lot to do with it. Luckily, our pool is open for you to come on in and practice and the humidity will help to make you feel like you are in the tropics!

The next piece of advice I am going to give may not have occurred to you yet. As Coloradans, we are very used to layering when we go outside. Changing temperatures require different layers to keep us warm or comfortable. Did you know that many of the layers you may own for diving can be used in recreational activities around Colorado? Of course you can use your layers in the water for kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, rafting, etc., but what about other uses?

Fleece: I for one use my fleece layers (Fourth Element, Bare Exowear, Sharkskin) as layers for hiking, snowboarding, biking, and watching outdoor sporting events! The benefit of fleece is that it pulls moisture away from your body, so even if you sweat and it is cold outside you don't get cold. The fleece layers we have at Ocean First (socks, gloves, hoods, shorts, pants, shirts and full suits) can all be used out of the water for warmth and wind protection from evaporative cooling. Perhaps you don't even own a fleece layer yet (hard to believe in Colorado) but if you are needing to purchase one, something that is designed to dive in can be used for both wet and dry sports, whereas intended dry fleece is way too baggy when wet.

Neoprene: The main difference between dive quality neoprene and sporting good neoprene is that dive neoprene is designed to handle pressure changes and rebound to its original thickness when you ascend from a dive more times than sporting good neoprene. Sporting good neoprene tends to flatten out sooner when you dive with it, so you don't stay as warm over the same amount of dives. However, both can be used for either purpose. Using dive neoprene for your local sports won't make it less effective for your future dive trips (using sporting good neoprene diving will flatten it quickly). So make sure to use that shorty for kayaking or the neoprene socks you have for protection in your Tevas when walking in creeks!

Lycra/Polypropylene: That rash guard you purchased for snorkeling in Mexico, the polypropylene socks you purchased to wear inside your boots to prevent blisters, the full lycra you purchased to allow you to get into your wetsuit easier-all of these can also be worn on local adventures. The Polypro socks are great in hiking, skiing, and snowboarding boots to keep down chafing. Rash guards can be worn as biking shirts to keep the sun off, I use mine for this all the time! The full lycra suit can be used as a base layer for any outdoor winter sport. If you are like me and have limited closet space, choosing to purchase things that can have a dual purpose will prevent you from hoarding situations.

The exposure protection you purchased for diving can meet many of your needs so that you don't have to add more to your shelves or rods at home! Even if you don't have a local use for your layers, practicing buoyancy between trips is essential to decreasing air consumption and increasing comfort in the water. Regardless of if you are going to the ocean soon or not, there are countless ways that you can utilize the layers you already have.

Stay tuned for the next in the series:  Lights

~ Kathy Gagliardo