Scuba diving requires specific equipment to protect divers and intensify enjoyment of the underwater world. Dive hoods are an essential part of this equipment, designed to provide warmth and protection for divers.
This article takes a look at diving hoods, what they are, how they are used, and why they are so important.
Why Do Scuba Divers Wear Hoods?
Divers wear wetsuit hoods for warmth and energy conservation. Humans lose heat faster in water than in air. Conserving heat is therefore crucial for energy – and survival during dives of any kind.
Dive hoods and wetsuits in general are typically made of a material called neoprene, a synthetic rubber foam like material, which traps body heat and warms the water caught between the material and the divers skin (or head).
Recommended Read: How Do Wetsuits Keep You Warm?
Neoprene is made in varying thicknesses; the thicker the material, the more warmth it provides. Therefore, the deepest dives (to the coldest temperatures) require the thickest, most efficient neoprene hoods.
Diving hoods trap and maintain body heat. This in turn conserves and prolongs energy and focus, both of which are required for long and rigorous diving activities.
They also keep the face and eyesight clear.
How to Put On a Wetsuit Hood
It’s best to put the hood on before doing up the rest of the wetsuit, especially if your hood has a bib. The bib needs to be tucked under the neck of the wetsuit.
If your hood has no bib, it can be put on at any time. Make sure it’s the right side out.
Pull the hood gently over your head and adjust the material for comfort. Don’t wear it twisted or folded. The hood should lie smooth and snug over the entire head.
How Should a Dive Hood Fit?
A dive hood should fit snugly but not be overtight or uncomfortable. There should be no constriction at the throat or neck.
A hood which is too loose will not keep the diver warm. The continual flow of water between the hood material and the head cannot warm up. This will cause continual discomfort to the diver and can eventually become dangerous.
A hood worn too tight will restrict the neck and throat and prevent the diver from being able to turn comfortably. It will also irritate skin around the forehead and face.
The hood should not lie tightly over the ears either.
What Do You Wear Under a Wetsuit Hood?
Although divers are pretty selective about what they wear under their dive suits, the hood does not require anything more than to be made from proper material.
In other words, if you have a proper hood in the first place, you won’t need to wear anything under it. Experienced divers will know to choose thicker hoods for deeper dives. And if your hood fits properly, you won’t need anything to hold it in place.
This being said, some divers may use individual material to secure hair more firmly at the back of the hood.
Does a Wetsuit Hood Keep Water Out of Ears?
A good wetsuit hood which fits correctly will protect the ears and keep them dry and warm during surface swimming and on the surface. However, dive suit hoods need to fit snugly while also allowing the diver to equalize ear pressure underwater.
This is why diving hoods should not lie too tightly across the ears. Some divers will even cut a hold in the inner lining of the hood (near the ear canal) to allow water to move against the ear.
Can You Add a Hood to a Wetsuit?
Wetsuits are available in both hoodless and attached hood designs. There are a number of reasons why swimmers choose either design.
A suit with a built in hood (in other words sewed into the suit) can be worn with the hood down when out of the water.
However, a floating hood in water is not very comfortable. That is why swimmers often choose hoodless suits.
Divers maintain that hooded wetsuits are a far more efficient way to protect body heat underwater.
Can You Take the Hood Off a Hooded Wetsuit?
If your wetsuit hood is not attached with a zip, then the only way to remove it is to cut it off. This can be done with a pair of sharp scissors or a knife.
However, it is not recommended for the following reasons:
- All wetsuits are made differently. Advice on altering one suit won’t work on all of them
- A cut suit will lose its warmth rating
- Cut seams and edges irritate the neck
- It’s very difficult to refit the neck to a snug fit
Dive hoods are an important piece of swimming and diving equipment and are worth your time and attention. It’s also important to find one that suits your level of activity, fits well, and is made of the proper material.
My unbounded love for the oceans and everything it has to offer motivated me to pursue my passion and become a professional scuba diving instructor.
I keep reading, exploring, and learning more about scuba diving and the underwater world all the time, so I’m excited to share my knowledge with fellow scuba enthusiasts and hopefully contribute a little to your development as a diver. I want people to fall in love with the oceans with as much passion as I have. Read more about me here.