Updated January 23, 2021
Why Use a Scuba Diving Hood?
When you feel cold in the water, it is uncomfortable and your body functions become affected and start to shut down. Many divers use neoprene wetsuits, booties, gloves, and even drysuits to combat the cold. The addition of a hood can also be very effective as 60% of the body’s heat is lost through the head, so it follows that if the head is warm, it can help greatly in keeping the whole body warm.
Neoprene is a flexible, spongy rubber material filled with bubbles. When used in a diving hood it forms a close fit and traps heat between the head and the hood. The thin layer of water there becomes warm from the body’s natural heat and with a proper fit is trapped, keeping the head warm throughout the dive. If the hood is too loose and isn’t well sealed, cold water from the outside will flow through and the effect is lost.
The colder the water, the thicker the neoprene will need to be. A rule of thumb is that for a water temperature of 70°F (21°C), 1-3 mm is the appropriate neoprene thickness, for 60-70°F (15.5-21°C), 4-5 mm and 50-60°F (10-15.5°C), 6-7 mm.
A cold water hood should cover the forehead, jaw, and chin. A bib helps to eliminate water flow by tucking into a wet or drysuit. If the drysuit has an insulated neck, the bib wouldn’t be needed.
A warm water hood is thinner, without a neoprene bib and generally covers less of the face. For really warm water, nylon, lycra or some other new materials may be used. While doing little to keep the head warm, a lycra hood can provide UV protection and prevent sea lice, stingers, and other irritants from getting to the skin.
As mentioned, the fit should be snug to prevent water from flowing in and out, but it should not be too tight. A firm seal around the face and neck without discomfort is desired. The newer versions of neoprene are very stretchy and flexible so that donning and doffing the hood is easy. Some hoods have included a zipper or drawstring to aid in this process and in sealing.
For information about the range of equipment designed for cold water use, please check out this post:
Best Scuba Diving Hoods
- Neo Sport Multi-Density Wetsuit Hood
- IST Proline HDN0250 5mm Super Stretch Neoprene Dive Hood with Zip Back
- Mares 5mm Flexa with Bib Dive Hood
- Mares 6.5mm Trilastic Diving Hood
- O’Neill Wetsuits Men’s 3mm Hyperfreak Coldwater Hood
- XS Scuba 2mm Neoprene Non-Choking Beanie
- O’Neill Thinskins 1.5mm Hood
- Storm Accessories Lycra Dive Hood for Warm Water Diving
Form-Fit, Minimal Water Exchange, Warm to Cold Water Options
- Extra soft form-fitting stretch neoprene
- Large bib of thinner material that fits comfortably under the wetsuit to keep water out
- Specially developed flow vent material permits air to escape without a water exchange
- Stitched and glued seams won’t let water in
- Available in 3 thicknesses: 3/2 mm – warm water, 5/3 mm moderate water, 7/5 mm cold water
Close Fitting, Easy On/Off Zipper, Cold Water Usage
- Durable super stretch 5 mm neoprene
- YKK rear zipper for easy on and off and close fit with full-length gusset to prevent leakage
- Double layered with top vents allowing air or water to escape without water exchange
- Seams double-blind stitched and glued to keep water out
Sturdy, Comfortable, Cold Water Usage
- 5 mm stretch Nylon II Neoprene
- Blindstitched, triple glued seams for strength and to keep water out
- Bib fits under the wetsuit to keep water out
New Design, Comfortable, Cold Water Usage
- New and redesigned
- 6.5 mm hood with 3 mm bib
- Extra flexible neoprene with stretch panels for comfort and a good fit
- Sapphire plush lining for comfort and added heat retention
Comfortable, Warm to Cool Water Usage
- 3 mm TechnoButter neoprene for comfort and a good fit
- Glued and blindstitched seams for a firm seal
- Adjustable drawstring to aid the face seal
- UV protection
- Wind resistant
Comfortable Fit, Warmer Water Usage
- 2 mm neoprene
- Less restrictive comfortable design
- Adjustable chin strap
- Flatlock stitched seams for durability and fit
Water Sports & Warm Water Scuba
- 1.5 mm Metal-Lite Nylon II Neoprene
- For board sports, snorkeling and warm water scuba diving
- UV protection
Light Weight, Skin & UV Protection
- Lightweight Lycra Spandex material
- UV 50 protection
- Protection from stings and sea irritants
- Can be used under neoprene hood for comfort and easier on and off
Scuba Diving Hood Comparison Table
Scuba Diving Hood Care and Maintenance
- Rinse in fresh water after each dive (just like a wetsuit). Don’t machine wash or use detergent.
- Allow the hood to thoroughly dry out of the sun in a ventilated place.
- Don’t store it in the direct sun or under a lot of weight to avoid deterioration and deformities.
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