The most important part of the drysuit is the zipper. You could make the best drysuit in the market, but if you do not use the right type of zipper, the ability of the drysuit to keep the water out would be compromised.
Keeping in mind that the aim of a drysuit is to create environmental protection for the wearer by providing thermal insulation and by preventing water from entering into the drysuit, the zipper must ensure that the quality of the drysuit is not compromised and that the wearer's environment remains well protected.
Types of drysuit zippers
There are two main types of drysuit zippers that are in use today. These are the plastic and metal drysuit zippers.
This classification refers mainly to the material from which the teeth of the zipper are made, and not its entire composition. It is important to note that the teeth are not what keeps the drysuit watertight, but rather the plastic or rubber sealing which they pull together when the zipper is closed and they lock into each other. However, the sealing material in drysuit zippers is so narrow that it may be considered insignificant at first glance. This is the main reason why the material making up the teeth is the main distinctive factor for the different types of drysuit zippers.
Differences between metal and plastic drysuit zippers
The two different types of drysuit zippers have different qualities and characters that may inform your decision to choose one over the other.
Metal drysuit zippers are made of materials like bronze which is ideal because of its anti-corrosive properties, which make them more durable. Their teeth are, however, smaller and more closely arranged, making them susceptible to jamming from small sand particles. They are also more rugged and more rigid; therefore requiring greater effort to operate.
Plastic drysuit zippers, on the other hand, are much lighter in weight and more flexible, making them more comfortable and easier to operate. They are also less susceptible to damage compared to the metal drysuit zippers.
When choosing between the two main types of drysuit zippers, the main factors that you may consider are their reliability, durability, ease of use and the level of comfort of the drysuit. The ideal zipper should be able to keep the water out and ideally outlast the drysuit.
Both the metal and plastic drysuit zippers are generally reliable. Plastic drysuit zippers have the advantage of being easy to operate and enhancing the creation of a more comfortable drysuit that the metal ones. However, with proper maintenance, metal drysuit zippers should last considerably longer than plastic drysuit zippers.
Tips for proper maintenance
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