If you’re reading this then you’re probably feeling the same as me – getting a bit twitchy because winter diving in the UK can be a bit of a waiting game, especially if you don’t have the best dive kit for winter in your gear box!
Winter diving in the UK can be amazing provided the weather gods allow it. I’ve had some stunning sea dives when there’s been ice on the ground. If the sea gets blown out, at least there’s always the inland sites as a backup.
Whether you’re getting salty or keeping fresh, there’s no hiding the fact that it can be cold without the right dive kit for winter. It’s a lot of work and planning to keep on top of dive conditions in these colder months, so we want to make the most of it, staying snug and warm so we can enjoy the moment.
Here’s my suggestions for the best dive kit for winter and they’re all straight out of my gear locker. Each item helps keep me toasty warm – I’ve even tested this stuff for hour-long dives in 6°c at Narvik (the top end of Norway). I came out of the water nice and warm every time with a big grin on my face.
BEST DIVE KIT FOR WINTER WARMTH
The Fourth Element Halo Ar baselayer (men’s | women’s) is a game changer for winter divers. First of all, it looks really cool. It’s made with space material so that’s an instant hit for dive site bragging… seriously, it’s made from aerogel which was designed for space exploration!
Most importantly, it keeps you super warm without a huge compromise in buoyancy. Historically, this has always been the issue – keeping warm for winter diving used to mean bulky layers and thicker outer suits leading to chucking a hell of a lot of lead on and having less flexibility. Think stay puff marshmallow man!
The Halo Ar has revolutionised this. I can’t believe how warm I’ve been even when I’m in the water for hours and leaking! I still didn’t feel the cold and got back in for a second dive!
BEST DIVE KIT FOR WINTER TO KEEP YOUR EXTREMITIES WARM
The ultimate gloves and socks have to be the Enluva range. I have been so impressed with how these perform, I can’t get enough of them – I think my socks could walk away on their own because I wear them everywhere, not just diving!
I have shrunk a few pairs as they’re made from natural wool (Nic has scored some extra pairs from this!), so it’s worth remembering that they do need a little bit of extra care compared to other diving gloves and socks. The thing is, wool doesn’t really like getting wet… which would make me think that they’re probably not the best for diving… but honestly, they perform SO well, I can totally take the extra time to look after them properly.
BEST DIVE KIT FOR WINTER SURFACE INTERVALS
It’s the simple things that make or break a surface interval and sway your decision to get in for that next dive. There’s some low cost items you can chuck in your dive kit for winter surface intervals to boost your chance of that second dive!
And don’t forget you can use your Fourthh Element Gulper for hot drinks too – I fill one of mine with hot choc (it stays warm for the whole day) and a spare with cold water to stay hydrated too (that’s just as critical as it would be on a hot summer s day) You can even colour code them so you know which is which!
We’ve just invested in some reusable gel hand warmers which are great to help gently warm your hands after your dive and make it easier to pack your kit away!
UPGRADE YOUR DRYSUIT TO MAKE IT THE BEST DIVE KIT FOR WINTER
There’s two cracking upgrades you can retrofit to your drysuit if you don’t already have them – a pee valve and some dry gloves.
The Halycon Pee Valve has made my dives far more comfortable and more importantly, lets me drink as much hot chocolate as I want before I dive! I wish I’d installed one sooner. Although the catheter set up for lads is a bit more straight forward than the plumbing for a shepee, it makes bathroom breaks a lot easier for ladies – forget the Houdini level of skill to get your layers off in the boat toilet!
To me, a good dryglove system is the ultimate best dive kit for winter. They are a must for cold water diving (unless you’re like Nic and have hands that come out hotter after the dive… what’s that about?!).
They do take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve cracked getting them on and off without your buddy’s help it’s SO worth it. I have mine permanently fixed to my suit now and use them year-round. I have even managed to send a text with them on a surface interval, so don’t be daunted!
BEST DIVE KIT FOR WINTER LIGHTING
Whilst the diving viz can be better than in the summer months, there’s no denying that there’s less natural light around. It’s always handy to have some of your own!
I love collecting torches, I’m like a magpie… there are lots on the market, but the power from the Shark Artemis is all you will ever need. I don’t think there is a torch that can match it, especially for the price point.
The Pulsar strobe is always a worthwhile addition for keeping an eye on your buddy, shot line, or if the surface conditions aren’t great for shore cover to keep watch. I think it’s a vital bit of kit every diver should have.
NEED SOME MORE HELP?
If you have any questions or need a hand selecting the perfect piece of kit, just hollah. Any kit queries come straight to me and I’ll reply with a personalised video message with helpful tips and recommendations. Just get in touch!