BASICS: DRYSUIT SEALS - NEOPRENE, LATEX OR SILICONE?
DRYSUIT SEALS – NEOPRENE, LATEX OR SILICONE?
Written by Susan Long
Originally printed in Dive News Network
It’s called a “drysuit” because it’s sealed at the neck and wrist to prevent water intrusion. Not long ago the only drysuit seal choice was neoprene. But seals have come a long way since then.
Some divers still prefer neoprene seals because of warmth. The downside of neoprene can be difficulty pulling over your head, it’s uncomfortable to tuck, and tends to leak with head movement. Neoprene can also be “stretched out.”
Latex seals later became popular and were much better at keeping divers dry. Latex has more stretch making it easier to put on and take off. And latex always retains its original shape after multiple uses. Most latex seals are one-size-fits-all because they can be trimmed to fit and are made with natural rubber. The downside to natural rubber is high susceptibility to ozone, UV deterioration and latex allergies.
Silicone seals are the latest technology. Silicone is softer, stretches very well and is more comfortable. Silicone also eliminates latex allergy issues. Many divers feel that silicone seals better than latex as it conforms nicely to the body. Silicone lasts longer as it is incredibly ozone and UV resistant. The only downside is that silicone is not quite as puncture or tear resistant as a new latex seal.
No matter what seal type, if you tear one, your “dry” dive is over and you must have your suit repaired. Unless you have DUI ZipSeals
™. This patented DUI technology lets you “zip” on a latex or silicone seal in minutes, much like a Ziploc bag. You can also remove the wrist seal to install ZipGloves, keeping your hands dry and warm.
Seal technology changes make it easier than ever to dive dry. See all the pros and cons of latex versus silicone at www.dui-online.com/best-drysuit-seal/.