Scuba Diving Hoods FAQ

1. What are wetsuit hoods used for?

Wetsuit hoods are typically made of the same material as wetsuits (neoprene) and are detachable head coverings that are used to increase thermal insulation when you are underwater.  This basically means that wetsuit hoods help to keep you much warmer when you are diving in cooler water conditions.

2.  Can I wear wetsuit hoods if I have long hair?

Wetsuit hoods are useful for people with longer hair as it will help you to keep your hair contained and out of your face.  Neoprene can pull against hair though, so if you do have a longer style it is a good idea to tie your hair back into a pony tail before you put in your hood on.  To help prevent any pulling you could also wear a spandex or nylon cap over your hair.  This would also help to increase the warmth of your wetsuit hood.

3.  Do wetsuit hoods protect your face?

Wetsuit hoods are designed to cover your head and neck and leave your face exposed.  This is so you can put on your diving mask and regulator easily.  If your face does get cold when you are underwater you could try using some petroleum jelly on any exposed skin.  This will help to prevent your skin from drying out and will provide an extra barrier against the cold.  However petroleum jelly can degrade neoprene over time so try not to get too much on your wetsuit or hood.

4.  Can wetsuit hoods protect against wind chill?

When you are diving you will most likely spend a bit of time out of the water in your wetsuit.  This is especially true on group trips as you will have to wait for everyone to get organized going to and from the boat/shore.  Wind chill can be a significant factor out on the water but a wetsuit hood can help to protect your head in colder conditions.  This means you can stay warmer both in and out of the water.

5.  Should I invest in a wetsuit hood?

We can lose a significant amount of body heat from our heads.  This is why it is important to protect your head when you are out in colder conditions.  You can greatly increase the thermal effectiveness of your wetsuit if you wear a hood, gloves and boots.  This will make diving in cooler waters much more pleasant and will prevent you from getting cold whilst you are in the water.  You can also get sudden pains in your head when you immerse yourself in very cold water.  A wetsuit hood will protect your head against any sudden shocks from the cold.

6. Can wetsuit hoods protect my ears whilst I am diving?

People who dive regularly can suffer from problems with their ears.  This is mainly caused by exposure to cold conditions both in and out of the water.  There are several key symptoms that can reveal that diving could be causing you ear problems.  These include an increased vulnerability to ear infections, ear ache and a loss of hearing.  To help prevent problems with your ears when you are diving you can wear a wetsuit hood.  This will protect your ears from getting filled with cold water and will also reduce wind chill when you are on the surface.  You may also benefit from specially fitted earplugs that will ensure that no cold water gets into your ears.  Remember though that these plugs will reduce your hearing so you will have to take more care to look for visual signals from your dive group.

7.  How do you choose the right wetsuit hood?

Wetsuit hoods are made from neoprene.  This is available in different mixes and if you want to be able to move your head around easily then you should opt for the stretchy 60% or 100% super stretch neoprene.   You should try hoods on with your wetsuit and mask to ensure that all your equipment fits together well before you get in the water.  The wetsuit should fit quite tightly to your face to prevent water from leaking in but not so tight that it cuts into your skin.  Make sure you can move your head around and your jaw up and down.  Some wetsuit hoods are very tight around the jaw and this can be uncomfortable after a while and could make breathing more difficult.

8.  What thickness of wetsuit hood do I need?

You can buy hoods in different thicknesses from 3mm through to 7mm.  The thickness you will need will depend on the water conditions you are diving in.  If the water is very cold (under 10 degrees centigrade) then you will need the thicker 7mm hoods.  However for most conditions (10 to 20 degrees centigrade) you can use 3mm to 5mm hoods.

9. Do I need a long or short neck design for my wetsuit hood?

A long neck design is a good idea as this will tuck into your wetsuit much more effectively.  This will mean that when you move your head the hood will not come away from the wetsuit causing water to flush inside.  If you are choosing a long neck design it is important that the face section fits properly.  This is because if you have tucked your hood into your wetsuit if water then leaks in it will flood straight down into your wetsuit.  This will reduce the thermal insulation of your wetsuit and make you feel colder much quicker.

10.  How do you care for wetsuit hoods?

Wetsuit hoods are made from neoprene so you can care for them the same way as your wetsuit.  They will need to be washed thoroughly after every use and left to dry completely before you put them away.  If you dive a lot then you can just soak your hood and wetsuit in cool water and leave to dry.  Every once in a while you can give them a really good wash with some wetsuit wash just to make sure they are clean and fresh smelling.