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Fleece-lined skins/rashguards/suits
sleepingbluedevil - 9/11/2017 9:28 AM
Category: Equipment
Replies: 9

Hi there!

I recently went diving in the Azores and felt a little colder than I liked while underwater despite a full 7mm wetsuit and hood. So I’m thinking of buying fleece-lined dive skins and am looking for advice from anyone who’s used them before - what types have you used, do they work well to keep you warm (say, regular 45 minute dives in water that is about 65-70 degrees), and is cleaning/maintenance easy?

I’ve seen ones from Lavacore and Scubapro, but I’m sure there are other manufacturers that I don’t know about yet. Do you have any favorites?

Thanks in advance :)
JohnDiver123 - 9/11/2017 11:20 AM
No interest in diving dry?
sleepingbluedevil - 9/11/2017 11:41 AM
I probably should dive dry at some point! but for water that’s close to 70degrees - that’s a little warm for a dry suit right? but a little chilly for the wetsuit.
GreggS - 9/11/2017 11:55 AM
I have a 3mm Henderson Firefleece that I really like. Very easy to don and doff and keeps me reasonably warm. If I know the water where I want to go is below about 65°, I’ll wear a skin or vest under it. Then again, I can stand the cold better than a lot people, so YMMV. If your diving is primarily in colder water, you may want to consider a 5mm Firefleece if you don’t go dry. Perhaps your LDS might have one you could try out before buying.
sleepingbluedevil - 9/11/2017 7:47 PM
Thanks Gregg! I’ll ask around and heck out the fire fleece, it sounds great!
CJFor - 9/11/2017 9:49 PM
My vote is on the LavaCore, though I don’t have any experience with the other brands. The LavaCores are a 1-1.5mm skin with the effectiveness of roughly a 2.5mm. I have one of their rash guards and love it, they do tend to run on the small size, so you may have to bump up a size or two to get the right fit.
CJFor - 9/11/2017 9:53 PM
I forgot to add... Another option would be to use a hooded vest, I have worn one that has a 7mm hood with a 5mm vest under my 7mm full suit and stayed plenty warm diving in Michigan in April when the water temps are still in the low to mid 40’s
sleepingbluedevil - 9/12/2017 5:48 AM
Thanks CJ! Lava core appears to make skins, pants and entire suits and I’m also going to see if I can check them out somewhere. I get cold fairly easily and was hooded for the 70-degree water. But you’re right a vest would’ve helped too!
Eric_R - 9/12/2017 7:20 AM
Where do you feel cold the earliest? Address those areas first. As you fix each addition area that feels cold you’ll soon find yourself doing longer dives in colder water.
MDW - 9/26/2017 11:55 AM
I agree a hooded vest may be a better option. It is likely you are not really getting cold on your arms and especially your legs which are moving most of the time (unless you are just drifting or hovering). I found that by just adding 2 to 5 mm to my torso area and effectively sealing the neck hole against outside water going directly to my skin (hood connected to vest), my whole body feels warmer. Add to that good gloves and boots to seal the other 4 holes in a similar manner and you can really improve the feel of you existing suit. Also, the vest covers the area of your back where cold water comes in through the zipper right to your skin. A skin will not really do any of that.

I have had good luck with a 2mm hooded vest either under or over a 5mm or 7mm full suit. I have also recently tried a 5mm hooded shorty over a 7mm suit. This really does a nice job of sealing the neck and zipper leakage and still leaves arm and leg movement uninhibited.