Taking a dip in cold water is enthralling for many swimmers, surfers, and divers, but it requires some preparation. A semi-dry wetsuit is a perfect choice if you plan to dive in cold water. To help you find the best of the lot, we have a complete review of the best semi-dry wetsuits available. Have a look!
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What is a Semi-Dry Wetsuit?
A semi-dry wetsuit is a type of wetsuit that features integrated seals on the neck, wrists, and ankles to ensure you stay warm in cold water. Made out of neoprene, these full-body suits limit the volume of water leaving or entering them. Semi-dry wetsuits work best in temperate regions where the water temperature is between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. They also ensure your safety by providing enhanced thermal insulation.
Recommended Semi Dry Wetsuits
Best Semi Dry Wetsuits
With so many different products out there, it becomes truly difficult to pick the right one for yourself. To ease the process, we have listed some of the best semi-dry wetsuits in the market. These semi-dry suits are listed based on their superior quality, performance, and reliability.
Hollis Men’s NEOTEK
Hollis Neotek semi-dry wetsuit is a high-quality suit particularly designed for men. If you’re a swimmer or diver, the Hollis Neotek is a great option to enhance your safety while in water.
The suit is made using the finest neoprene material that features variable thickness ranging from 6mm to 8mm. Its neoprene pieces are sewn together, while the internal and external seams are fully enclosed with a gluing strip. As a result, the suit offers great flexibility and resistance against water intrusion.
Another notable feature of this semi-dry wetsuit is the front zip closure. Most semi-dry wetsuits don’t come with this luxury as it allows you to wear the suit yourself. Moreover, the suit features neoprene wrist and ankle seals that prevent water entry quite effectively.
Furthermore, the suit has an attached hood that ensures supreme heat preservation in cold water. You can also find a 3mm neoprene skin for heat retention on the inside at the neck level while also covering the zipper. Plus, the hood is micro-perforated with a membrane that works quite well to avert air stagnation.
Hollis has also introduced two side pockets in this suit with dedicated D rings to safely attach your accessories. Besides, the suit offers great versatility as it’s available in nine different sizes.
- Available in nine different sizes
- Features front zip-closure that allows you to don the suit yourself
- A micro-perforated hood prevents air stagnation
- Neoprene-sealed wrists and ankles prevent water entry
- Includes two side pockets with D rings to carry accessories
- The suit is overpriced
- 8/7/6mm mix of compression resistant and superstretch neoprene
- Exclusive "Lavaskin" inner liner
- G-lock horizontal front zipper with internal bib
- Neck, Wrist and Ankle internal dams
Waterproof Men’s SD Combat 7mm
The Waterproof SD Combat is a combat-style semi-dry wetsuit based on soldierly stipulations. The all-black wetsuit comes with a handful of features to keep you safe and comfortable in the water.
Waterproof SD Combat is the go-to option of many divers when diving in cold water. It not only keeps you dry but also ensures a snug fit that gives you a nice feeling. The suit is made using high-quality neoprene that works perfectly for longer dives. It also includes double seals that help in maximum heat retention to keep you warm underwater.
A noteworthy feature of the semi-dry wetsuit is its anatomical design. The arms and legs of the suit are anatomically sculpted, which ensures easy movement in the water. You can also find wave flex panels in the hollow of the arms and legs, particularly designed to enhance your mobility.
In addition, the suit has an armored back entry dry zipper covered with neoprene to prevent wear and tear. It also has polyurethane reinforced shoulders, which provide improved abrasion resistance for longevity.
Moreover, a Tough-Tex Nylon coating can be found on the elbow and knee area of the suit. The knee and shin guards are also anatomically-shaped to ensure your safety in all instances. The Waterproof SD Combat comes pre-tested from the factory by an Overpressure Check to ensure water tightness.
Apart from having two expandable pockets on the thighs, the suit also offers great versatility. It comes in a wide-ranging size selection and is backed by a two-year limited warranty.
- High-quality neoprene construction ensures safety and comfort
- Anatomical design allows better movement in the water
- Arrives pre-tested from the factory for water tightness
- It comes with a two-year limited warranty
- Features two expandable pockets for carrying accessories
- It is only designed for men
- 100% MICROCELL CR NEOPRENE - More expensive but in fact the only neoprene that really works for diving. Excellent durability and insulation far better than other Neoprene qualities, like SBR, SCR etc.
- 3D KNEEPADS - 3D moulded vulcanized rubber kneepads. Note the unique design that enables unrestricted leg movements via the "hinge effect" …
Bare 8/7MM Velocity Ultra Hooded Semi-Dry Suit
The Bare 8/7MM Velocity Ultra Hooded Semi-Dry Suit is the ultimate choice of the diving community. Its advanced construction backed with superior performance makes it worth purchasing.
Velocity Ultra is not a typical semi-dry wetsuit; rather, it features cutting-edge technology when it comes to design and performance. This performance-driven suit is made using a combination of three different full-stretch material types, namely progressive full-stretch (PFS) construction. This makes it one of the best-performing semi-dry wetsuits available on the market.
The hooded suit is ergonomically designed to reduce water exchange and allows you to stay warm for increased durations. It promises not only more comfort and reduced air consumption but also longer dives. It does so by utilizing the Ultrawarmth Celliant Infrared Technology, which gives it unique heat retention properties. With the help of minerals fabricated within the suit, Celliant converts body heat into infrared energy. As a result, it keeps you warm, increases recovery time, and ensures greater stamina for longer dives.
Furthermore, the suit features a 2mm neoprene internal pullover bib that offers increased warmth and comfort. It also includes a durable dry zipper made out of plastic that features a comfortable front entry. Moreover, the Velocity Ultra takes care of your comfort with its 10mm spine and kidney pad. It also has seamless underarms to provide additional ease for long diving sessions.
Also, the suit offers 3mm Glideskin wrist and ankle seals for minimal water exchange. It also features a Secure Lock construction that prevents water entry in the suit through the seams. The Velocity Ultra is available in a wide range of sizes and comes with a handy two-year manufacturer warranty.
- Utilizes Celliant Infrared Technology for warmth and comfort
- Features Progressive Full-Stretch construction for enhanced flexibility
- Has a reasonable price tag
- Available in many different sizes
- It comes with a two-year warranty
- It doesn’t have expandable pockets for carrying accessories
Difference Between a Wetsuit and a Semi-Dry Suit
Divers, especially beginners, find it hard to choose between a wetsuit and a semi-dry suit. Of course, both of them are wetsuits made from neoprene, but they have significant differences. These include:
Seal vs. Zipper
A semi-dry suit features seals at the ends of the sleeves and pipes to resist water exchange. These seals are designed such that they minimize the volume of water that can get inside your suit. Although some of the water does manage to get in your suit, your body heat makes it warm. As a result, the trapped water inside your suit keeps you warm.
On the other hand, a wetsuit uses zippers that allow water to flush from one opening to another. A wetsuit is actually designed to let water pass through it. As the water flows through the suit, it also takes away the body heat with it. This is why most divers prefer a semi-dry suit over a wetsuit in cold water.
Semi-dry suits are typically designed for temperate climates where the water is cold. These suits work perfectly in cold water where the temperature lies between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. Due to a thick neoprene lining on the inside, these suits retain body heat underwater.
Therefore, most scuba divers prefer a semi-dry suit to keep themselves warm in cold water.
Meanwhile, a wetsuit is considered a viable option for surface water sports or shallow warm waters. The suit is not an ideal choice for diving in cold water since it doesn’t keep you warm enough.
Another notable difference between a semi-dry suit and a wetsuit is the thermal insulation capabilities. The thick neoprene lining found on the inside of a semi-dry suit ensures better heat retention as compared to a wetsuit. Since these suits are designed for cold water diving, their insulative properties keep you warm underwater. Moreover, most high-quality semi-dry suits are two-piece suits that provide extra insulation around the torso.
Wetsuits offer little heat retention as they have a thin neoprene lining on the inside. These suits are only meant for warm waters or surface sports, which is a major reason why they don’t feature thermal insulation.
Semi-dry suits tend to be much more expensive than wetsuits. This is particularly because of the number of luxuries that a semi-dry suit has to offer. That being said, they are still quite affordable. These suits are not only well-suited for cold waters but also provide enhanced heat retention, minimal water exchange, and decreased air consumption.
Advantages of a Semi-Dry Suit?
If you already own a semi-dry suit, you might be aware of the luxuries that it offers. However, if you are buying a semi-dry suit for the first time, it is important to have a look at some of the advantages that it offers. These include:
Price is probably the first thing that you notice while purchasing any product. It also reflects the quality of the product to some extent. The good news is that most semi-dry suits don’t charge a hefty price tag. Rather, they are available at an affordable price tag. So, even if you are on a limited budget, buying a semi-dry suit won’t be too harsh on your pocket.
Improved Heat Retention
Most semi-dry wetsuits feature thick neoprene lining on the inside of the suit. The lining offers great thermal insulation, which traps body heat to keep you warm. These suits also have seals on the arms, neck, and back to prevent water from entering the suit. As a result, semi-dry suits keep you warm and comfortable when diving in cold water.
Cold Water Diving
Semi-dry suits are perfectly designed for temperate regions where water temperature lies between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. Featuring a thick neoprene lining, these suits have enhanced insulation capabilities that keep you warm underwater.
Insulation Values of Semi-Dry Wetsuits
Semi-dry wetsuits are made in agreement with the CE standards. Each semi-dry wetsuit is assigned an insulation value that can either be A, B, C, or D. The A denotes the highest insulation value, whereas the D represents the lowest one. To help you get a better understanding of the insulation values of semi-dry wetsuits, here’s what you need to know:
- A (Temperature ranges between 7 and 12 degree Celsius)
- B (Temperature ranges between 10 and 16 degree Celsius)
- C (Temperature ranges between 16 and 24 degree Celsius)
- D (Temperature ranges between 22 and 32 degree Celsius)
Before you put your hands on a semi-dry suit, it is essential that you look up its insulation value – the higher the insulation value, the better the insulative properties of the suit. Hence, you will stay warm even when diving in cold water.
Another thing to note is that the insulation values of semi-dry wetsuits also determine their purpose and effectiveness. A suit with an insulation value of A might be costly, yet it would be quite effective in relatively cold water.
Opting for a semi-dry suit from an ocean of products can be quite challenging. You might come across various types of suits that might leave you thinking. Semi-dry wetsuits are a great option, especially when you plan to dive in cold waters. These suits prevent cold water from entering and keep you warm for longer. Plus, most semi-dry wetsuits feature an ergonomic design with improved thermal insulation capabilities, making them quite comfortable for use. If you are a diver who lives in a temperate climate, buying a semi-dry wetsuit is the way forward.