By Thermal Layer we are referring to products like the Fourth Element Thermocline or Sharkskin ranges. They are made from a neutrally buoyant insulating fabric instead of Neoprene which the traditional wetsuits are made out of.
Why is this a good thing?
There are several factors involved in answering this question;
- Its Neutrally Buoyant! this reduces the amount of lead you will need to correctly weight yourself and can overall make diving a more comfortable experience
- It is not Neoprene - this is great news for people that have neoprene allergies and the lining of a thermal layer is also made from hypo-allergenic material to further reduce the risk of irritation
- Breathable material - this is great for avoiding the pre dive sweat as you gear up on a boat being blasted by the tropical sun
- Quick Drying - these layers are designed to dry incredibly quickly in comparison to Neoprene.
But are they as warm as Neoprene?
The fabric is designed to be equivalent to 2mm of Neoprene so they can completely replace a wetsuit in warmer temperatures or they can add on that extra layer of protection you may need for the last dive of the day!
For a guide on Wetsuit Thickness please read here.