Arctic things, Blog, Boulder Patch, Food webs, Science

Suit up!

When I talk to people about the science I am doing, I commonly get asked about what I wear when I dive in the Boulder Patch. “Aren’t you freezing???”, people often wonder. Not if you do it right. If you do it right, you’re just cold 🙂

To illustrate the art of staying reasonably comfortable while diving in water that can get to -2 C (it was -1.3 today!), I made a picture tutorial of my suiting-up process. Add some Sweet Jams to get it really goin’ (I’m digging the new Alabama Shakes).








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Step 1: Base layer of tights and mid weight wool base layer top

Starting off lightweight. For all the ‘undergarment’ layers, it is important for them to be quick drying just in case your suit leaks or your get sweaty.

Step 2: Add mid weight wool base layer pants

You swim with your legs when you dive. Keep ’em warm.

Step 3: Thick wool socks 

Keep your toesies warm!

Step 4: Fancy double layer heavyweight fleece socks

Keep your toesies really warm!

Step 5: Quick dry running shirt

Because why not!

Step 6: Time to put on the space pajamas!

These are also known by the more boring name of ‘drysuit undergarments’


Step 6.1: Feel really cool in your space pajamas

If I am drysuit diving in non-Arctic cold water, this is all I wear underneath my suit

Step 7: Time to finally put on that drysuit!

<-I'm feeling really warm being indoors at this point, so I don't want to put on the arms and neck just yet




As you can see, there are seals at the wrists and the neck, so only my head and my hands are exposed. Having working, unfrozen hands is rather important, so we’re gonna need…



Step 9-11: Hood and three pairs of gloves

Step 9 is my 7mm neoprene hood. The gloves are a thin wool pair (left), then a thick fleece pair (right), the a thick rubber pair to make a waterproof seal at my wrists. Even with all this, my hands still get cold. That’s the cold that I feel the most

That’s it! Now I can go to all the fancy parties looking like this (with isopod and algae accessory):

photo credit: Meghann Bruce
photo credit: Meghann Bruce




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