Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Re: Gumby suit vs. Wet or dry Suit
For a wet suit to properly protect one against heat loss, which is the point of wearing one, it has to fit very tightly to limit the amount of water that lies between your skin and the suit. Your body will warm a small amount, but too much will become a heat sink. Therefore, they are both uncomfortable to move in and difficult to don. They are, therefore, impractical for wearing continuously or for donning quickly.
There are many different types of dry suits. Some intended for surfing, as Chef points out. Others for diving, with the ability to add and extract air from within, to compensate for the pressure of depth. Diving suits often require the user to wear insulation beneath them. Some are made from crushed neoprene, providing some warmth. These are all very expensive and unnecessary for use as a survival suit.
If I were going to wear a dry suit in anticipation of ditching, I would want an aviators anti-exposure suit. More flexibility, but still restrictive, and they typically have relief zippers for using the head.
However, I don't think the odds are good enough that one would always anticipate the need to have these on in advance. Therefore, getting in quickly is the relative advantage of a gumby suit. Although, you should give it a try sometime, it still isn't simple.
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