View Full Version : 5mm Shorty from 3mm full?

07-21-2012, 06:06 PM
This isn't exactly a "how much exposure protection should I wear?" question. As I know everyone is different, and I do know what works for me - however I'm looking at making a substitution, so it's more of a "will this be as good as or better" type question.

Previously in places like Bonaire or Belize I will generally wear a 3mm full, although it was slightly too large so it would let more flow than expected resulting in being a bit cold at the end of a long dive, especially at the end of a big week. When in a warm place like this I do make sure to do at least a couple dives in just shorts, and it's fine. I imagine based on my experience that if I had a 3mm full that fit properly I wouldn't get cold at all.

Now that the scene is set, here is the question: My wetsuit was actually stolen, so I need to replace it. I could just get a 3mm full that fits properly. That's one option. The other route I am considering going it getting either a 3mm, or even a 5MM shorty. I figure this would take up less room in the luggage, and as I understand it the key is really keeping the core warm, and then the extremities will follow. I just have a hard time 100% imagining that, without trying it.

I was wondering if anyone could share there thoughts on switching from a 3mm full to a 5mm shorty based on what I said about my temperature above. Will that likely be warm enough?


07-22-2012, 08:43 AM
I think shorties are a bad idea anywhere that has fire coral, sharp coral rubble, and sea lice. I like full body protection.
The new 3mm full suits made of super stretchy material usually fit pretty well...they just stretch to go over you.

07-22-2012, 12:42 PM
I have both shorty and full. I prefer the full suit for full-body protection and insulation. I seldom wear the shorty anymore, except in the pool.

Water is an incredibly efficient thermal conductor and on Bonaire the water is ~20 degrees cooler than body temperature. A well-fitted full wetsuit minimizes heat loss by providing insulation and minimizing water contact with skin. The "thicker shorty" strategy protects your core, but the remaining exposed skin (with some help from your circulatory system) will still lose body heat to the water.

Insulation required is generally a matter of individual preference based on water temp, body fat, exertion level, duration of immersion, and wetsuit style/fit. IMHO that's why most of the "how much exposure protection should I wear?" discussions generate such a wide spectrum of responses... even in our family.

07-22-2012, 04:41 PM
A wide spectrum indeed
In dive Bonaire since 1977 and only wear a t-shirt, so does my oldest daughter.
My youngest daughter and son dive the same days and wear shorty's but would rather have full body protection.

07-22-2012, 05:40 PM
That's a good point about having the full body protection. I will stick with the full I think!

Thanks for the input.