One Size Fits All

by

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

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In the winter of 1979, I decided that the following summer I would attend an instructor's institute to become a scuba diving instructor. Since ice diving is a specialty practiced in this region, I felt it was important for me to experience this type of diving prior to becoming an instructor. So,  several of us arranged an ice diving class to try this type of diving. 

As a wet suited diver (at the time), I was concerned about thermal protection, so I started visiting dive shops and looking at catalogs for thermal protection accessories. One item I found claimed to  improve thermal protection for wet suited divers. It was a one size fits all wet suit liner (glorified panty hose). The catalog explained that this liner was made of a synthetic material that helped fill the gaps between skin and wet suit and, as such, it would would dramatically improve thermal protection by restricting water flow. So, I ordered a set (top and bottoms).

I had to admit I smiled when the package arrived: the synthetic material utilized in the garment was called "man-lon."

I put the package away until time for the ice dive in mid February.

My first ice dive was done from a dive buddies home on Walnut Lake, Michigan. We had the luxury of changing in a warm basement before making the short trek to the hole in the ice we had carved the day before. After setting up our dive gear for the dive, I unwrapped the one-size fits all package of the man-lon garment and started to dress. Unfortunately, I could not put on the garment. No matter how hard I tried, the crotch of the liner never reached more than mid-thigh. My dive buddies  (showing no mercy)  were in hysterics. My efforts to pull on the liner finally ripped the garment and I eventually made the dive sans wet suit liner.

And, of course,

My dive buddies never missed an opportunity to remind me of the incident.

The points are:

1. New dive gear, especially garments,  should be tested for fit and comfort prior to the actual dive. This is especially important if expensive travel is involved.

2. With diving gear, there is no such thing as one-size  fits all or one piece of gear that is perfect for all divers in all diving situations. When you decide to purchase dive gear, what is most important is YOUR fit and comfort, not anyone else's. So, go to as many dive shops as you can find (they are typically franchise operations, so no one shop can fill every possible need for everyone on the planet), try many different options, and then acquire the product that best fits YOUR needs. (It is possible for several people on a dive scene to each use a different product, but each will have what is "best" for them!)

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About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 100 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2022 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

All rights reserved.

Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education