polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

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polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Milky » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:18 pm

I know that most of u use Polyprop under neath your undergarments. I was told by another expreince diver to try Merino-wool (ice breaker).According to him they don't smell sweat unlike Polyprop, is this true?

What are the pros and cons of the two if you know any?

Thanks for your inputs.
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby NEMES1S » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:56 pm

I went with Petes advice and steered clear of Polyprop/Meraklon allthough in the camping/tramping outdoors I have used it for years,I must say I now find the Kathmandu Merino is fabulous and I havent looked back,couple of days straight diving and it definately doesnt get errr "fragrant" as fast as Polyprop/Meraklon.
I have thinned back to just my XEROTHERMS now though as the water is warming up to temps like 13 degrees...

In 9 degrees again next winter I will be doubling it up...or getting the heavier duty thermals from Global...
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Milky » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:59 pm

NEMES1S wrote:I went with Petes advice and steered clear of Polyprop/Meraklon allthough in the camping/tramping outdoors I have used it for years,I must say I now find the Kathmandu Merino is fabulous and I havent looked back,couple of days straight diving and it definately doesnt get errr "fragrant" as fast as Polyprop/Meraklon.
I have thinned back to just my XEROTHERMS now though as the water is warming up to temps like 13 degrees...

In 9 degrees again next winter I will be doubling it up...or getting the heavier duty thermals from Global...



what was wrong with the polyprop/meraklon?
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby justsimon » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:04 pm

According to him they don't smell sweat unlike Polyprop, is this true?

For sure. I know pongypro can get a real whiff on, but that's tramping. All the sweat is wicked away from the skin, the water evaporates and after 5 days you better not meet anybody you need to impress. IMHO wool doesn't smell as much.

However I wash what I wear rather more regularly when diving and don't sweat as much.

I changed to wearing light fleeces under my drysuit a few months back as I found it was warmer than an icebreaker and easier to dry if a bit of water got in.
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby NEMES1S » Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:08 pm

Milky wrote:
NEMES1S wrote:I went with Petes advice and steered clear of Polyprop/Meraklon allthough in the camping/tramping outdoors I have used it for years,I must say I now find the Kathmandu Merino is fabulous and I havent looked back,couple of days straight diving and it definately doesnt get errr "fragrant" as fast as Polyprop/Meraklon.
I have thinned back to just my XEROTHERMS now though as the water is warming up to temps like 13 degrees...

In 9 degrees again next winter I will be doubling it up...or getting the heavier duty thermals from Global...



what was wrong with the polyprop/meraklon?

Well just as you have been told it does tend to hold sweat and odor...

Having worn Polypropelene/Meraklon for numerous days in the field and sweating and running about,getting soaked by showers after a bit of abuse it starts to smell,I have recently had a fair bash in the bush and the Kathmandu Merino faired far better,and I also find it far nicer against the skin...I find the wicking effect of the two very similar however.

Realistically I think if you are only doing a couple of dives a day I dont see it being a big issue,Liveaboard for a few days....hmmm different story...
I personally like the Merino allthough strangely enough I am NOT a fan of Wool in general.
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby tara » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:19 am

i find the icebreaker dries faster - and i agree with the lesser smell technology too.
i think it allows the wetsuit to slid on easier .. yea i'd have to say in the absence of a drysuit and 4th element artics, its my wetsuit and icebreaker for me.
(and ski socks and 4th element beanie)
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Milky » Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:54 am

hhhmmm.....it seems that since i post this thread...there are some of us who prefer using merino-wool as to polyprop. now the question is what sorts of merino wool? i heard that they r measured in grams.

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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Hoppy » Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:08 am

Well, for skiing, I far prefer 'IceBreakers' to polyprop.
A couple of days in skiing in poly's and Im starting to wonder about even putting them on.

Merino just doesnt seem to hold smells. I also far prefer wearing it. I find poly a bit 'scratchy' whereas Icebreakers are nice and smooth and almost 'silky'. Whereas I tend to find poly 'drags' on other materials.

Yes. Merino's are classified by weight. 200gm is considered to be a middle layer, or a single top layer usually. Icebreaker is into layering. They do lighter-weight baselayers, and then heavier I often wear a 200g Icebreaker skivvy to work on mufti Fridays (my desk is under an airconditioning vent :( )

The other thing with Merino, is that it seems to regulate temperature really well. You never feel really toasty hot in them, but always just at a nice comfortable temperature, if that makes any sense.

As for the Xotherms. Ive got the Arctics. Damned good product actually. Ive never used them in NZ, but they were almost perfect in Mexico, though was occasionally getting a little chilly at the end of a long dive if we werent moving much (eg hanging around doing valve drills).

They also seem to have a bit of give, and arent overly bulky, so seem to make valve drills etc a bit easier. Mine are reasonably tight-ish, so I dont know if Id be able to put a straight exotherm under the arctic as a base layer. They seem to dry reasonably quickly, and the smooth outside makes them easy to get into your trilam. Though they are a bit hard to pull on when you are sweaty, though what isnt :)
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Milky » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:53 pm

Hoppy wrote:Well, for skiing, I far prefer 'IceBreakers' to polyprop.
A couple of days in skiing in poly's and Im starting to wonder about even putting them on.

Merino just doesnt seem to hold smells. I also far prefer wearing it. I find poly a bit 'scratchy' whereas Icebreakers are nice and smooth and almost 'silky'. Whereas I tend to find poly 'drags' on other materials.

Yes. Merino's are classified by weight. 200gm is considered to be a middle layer, or a single top layer usually. Icebreaker is into layering. They do lighter-weight baselayers, and then heavier I often wear a 200g Icebreaker skivvy to work on mufti Fridays (my desk is under an airconditioning vent :( )

The other thing with Merino, is that it seems to regulate temperature really well. You never feel really toasty hot in them, but always just at a nice comfortable temperature, if that makes any sense.

As for the Xotherms. Ive got the Arctics. Damned good product actually. Ive never used them in NZ, but they were almost perfect in Mexico, though was occasionally getting a little chilly at the end of a long dive if we werent moving much (eg hanging around doing valve drills).

They also seem to have a bit of give, and arent overly bulky, so seem to make valve drills etc a bit easier. Mine are reasonably tight-ish, so I dont know if Id be able to put a straight exotherm under the arctic as a base layer. They seem to dry reasonably quickly, and the smooth outside makes them easy to get into your trilam. Though they are a bit hard to pull on when you are sweaty, though what isnt :)


this is the info i needed, thanks 4 sharing.

Isn't the water in mexico quite warm like in Bali???

I heard nothing bad about the 4th element stuffs. Hhmmm...just wondering...is the 4th element stuffs as durable as the thinsulates undergarment? What would u consider the next best thing after the fourth element?
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby tara » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:08 pm

Milky wrote:I heard nothing bad about the 4th element stuffs. Hhmmm...just wondering...is the 4th element stuffs as durable as the thinsulates undergarment? What would u consider the next best thing after the fourth element?


4th element is better. its the best.
next best thing is icebreaker. after that, wear a wetsuit
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Andy » Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:59 pm

diveChiq wrote:next best thing is icebreaker. after that, wear a wetsuit


Go wash your mouth out with soap, young lady!!!! Wear a wetsuit, indeed!! :shock: :shock:



To be honest, Milky... I'd wear anything under my drysuit. Everything is a trade off, but I'd dive with a Weezle, 4thE, a thinsulate, layers of cheap thermals from the Warehouse etc. Most will do the job of keeping you reasonably warm.
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Milky » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:24 pm

at the lake where i only do about 30 minutes of dive i just use short selleve t-shirt plus Katmandu jersey n jeans. It is fine to wear those at the moment when it's not to cold. But i did the same thing last Saturday at Goatie where i was u/w for 69 minutes. i came back home with a flu... :(

Which water is colder, Lake or sea?

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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Andy » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:36 pm

Milky wrote:Which water is colder, Lake or sea?


At the moment, the sea.... I was at Jones Bay saturday morning and it was 16 degC, in the lake Saturday afternoon and it was 19 degC.
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby tara » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:17 pm

Andy wrote:
Milky wrote:Which water is colder, Lake or sea?


At the moment, the sea.... I was at Jones Bay saturday morning and it was 16 degC, in the lake Saturday afternoon and it was 19 degC.


well i was at the poor knights over the weekend ...... <pause for effect>

and it was 15 :mrgreen:

but i was in a drysuit and artics
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Re: polyprop VS Merino-wool/icebreaker

Postby Hoppy » Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:11 am

diveChiq wrote:
Milky wrote:Isn't the water in mexico quite warm like in Bali???

I heard nothing bad about the 4th element stuffs. Hhmmm...just wondering...is the 4th element stuffs as durable as the thinsulates undergarment? What would u consider the next best thing after the fourth element?


4th element is better. its the best.
next best thing is icebreaker. after that, wear a wetsuit


From memory, the water was 24/25 deg avg. But Im a bit of a chilly willy. And we were also doing two sets of twin AL80's a day (4 dives), and not getting out of the water between the two dives from each set of twins. So you were in the water for 2 hours at a time. Not too bad for a day or two, but once you get up to the 5th or 6th day, you start to feel quite chilled.

The way d/s underwear works with trilam suits is by loft (and a much lesser extent with neoprene d/s) is by creating an air-gap. The neoprene suits are their own insulation to a certain extent, though that suffers the same effect as wetsuits with depth.

Anything that is lofty, but doesnt compress will work well under a d/s. Ever notice that you get colder as the suit gets more squeezed? The Kathmandu shirts/pants made out of the same stuff they use for fibre-pile jackets actually works quite well (polar tec?).

Pretty much anything works for shorter duration dives, especially when you are keeping up a high-ish rate of activity, and can jump out if you are getting a bit chilled (or you just grit your teeth for the rest of the dive).

The underwear begins to become somewhat more important when you cant get out of the water, or when you have enforced periods of low-activity. IE decompression obligation. Throw trimix in there as well (which is considerably 'chillier' to breathe) and you start to think a lot more about what you are putting under your suit.

The weezles seem to have a good rep, but they compress down a lot. Typically you want to keep as little gas in your suit as possible, without being overly squeezed. The less gas you have in the suit, the better your buoyancy control will typically be. Once you get a bit of squeeze on, the weezles squeeze up and dont seem to work so well.

So, while it sounds a bit DIR-mantra-ish, thinsulate B (boot material) does appear to be one of the best materials for an undersuit. I suspect that the Arctic / Xotherm combo would be another good option (never tried it). Then there is the whole argument around using argon for suit inflation, and it having good affinity with thinsulate in a suit flood. Some subscribe to the theory, some dont.

HTH.
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