How to Choose Hoods and Gloves for Scuba Diving


Head cover

Our brains need a plentiful supply of blood to work properly but can’t do so in the cold. Yet few of us have much naturally provided thermal insulation in that area.

We lose a lot of body heat through our heads, so it makes sense to provide this area with its own extra insulation before covering any other part of your body. Convention dictates, however, that we look rather silly if we wear a hood and no suit, so divers tend to dress in a diving suit as a first step to keeping warm.

If you find you feel cold in your suit alone, adding a hood can make a big difference to your comfort. A hood is a low­ tech solution to keeping warm so do not forget to take one along with you.

Some hoods have a seal around the neck and face to stop cold water from flushing through, but it is essential to allow water to reach your ears so that you can equalise the pressure as you go deeper. The face seal has a double function in that it stops exhaled air from entering and lodging in the top of the hood (giving the diver a pointy-headed effect). Some divers simply cut a small hole to allow any such air to escape, while others have hoods fitted with a small valve or a hole hidden behind a secondary internal flap.

Wearing gloves

When you get cold, your body automatically reduces the blood supply to your extremities, such as your hands and feet. For this reason, in the freezing conditions found at the tops of high mountains or in the Antarctic, mountaineers and explorers can lose fingers or toes to frostbite. Even in the less extreme winters in temperate climates, gloves are often a necessary item of clothing when venturing outdoors.

If you are diving in cold conditions, wearing a warm pair of gloves is sensible. You may even choose to wear a pair of thick, wool gloves under a pair of diver’s dry gloves that keep the water out completely. If you are moving around a wreckage that has rusty or jagged steel edges, a strong pair of diving gloves is probably essential. If you are diving in an area where the currents are rea fierce, a tough pair of gloves is useful to allow you to cling on to the rocky substrate and stay in one place.

Gloves are available in a variety of materials, such as light canvas, soft neoprene, almost indestructible Kevlar and even stainless steel chain mail.

When not to wear gloves

Although wearing gloves makes sense in many diving situations, in some places in the world the use of gloves while scuba diving is banned. This is because the underwater ecosystem is fragile. Years ago, divers wore i gloves to protect them from touching stinging corals. Today, divers are banned frorrh wearing gloves in order to protect the corals from damage. The rule is: if you do not know what it is, do not touch it. It may sting you or it may not, but at least you won’t hurt it. Dive with your eyes, not your hands.

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About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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