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).
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
QUICK SCENERY CHANGE TO ME WITH THE DRYSUIT ON AND ZIPPED
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