As much as 60% of a diver’s body heat is lost through their head. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the water, it is recommended that you wear a dive hood. It doesn’t matter if you are doing warm or cold water diving, a dive hood provides numerous benefits.
Why do you need a scuba diving hood? Considering that the body loses heat 20 times faster in the water compared to air, insulating your head can help you retain a substantial amount of heat and reduce fatigue (your body doesn’t need to work so hard to replace lost heat). Overall, this increases your bottom time and makes scuba diving much more enjoyable.
In this article, we will be reviewing the best scuba diving hoods that will help keep your head warm on a dive. We will also provide a buying guide so you can do some research on your own, as well as answer commonly asked questions in the FAQ. Let’s get started.
Our Top Picks:
Best Scuba Diving Hoods – Recommendations
Neo Sport Multi-Density Wetsuit Hood
- Long-Lasting Warmth: Specially designed for both underwater and surface watersport activities, our hood offers all-day comfort! A large bib tucks...
- Maximize Performance: Thanks to an innovative flow vent in the crown, our diving hoods help eliminate trapped air from SCUBA regulator exhaust and...
- Customizable Fit: To help block water entry around the face, each SCUBA hat features a versatile face seal! Diving with a mask or goggles? Simply trim...
The Neo Sport scuba hood uses extra soft, form-fitting, stretch neoprene to provide a snug and comfortable fit. Its custom-trim face seal and durable stitched seams work together to keep water from seeping in while the neoprene lets air pass through. This dive hood is available in numerous size ranges from X-small to XX-large. Furthermore, Neo Sport also offers 3/2mm, 5/3mm, and 7/5mm models.
- Thickness: 3/2mm, 5/3mm, 7/5mm
- Materials: Neoprene
- Suitable for: Tropical or warm water diving
- The large bib easily tucks under your wetsuit and keeps water out.
- Trimmable face seal provides a custom fit.
- Covers chin and forehead without obstructing the mask or regulator.
- Wide range of thicknesses and sizes available.
Waterproof H1 3/5mm Vented Anatomical Hood
- ANATOMICAL SCULPTING
- BONDED HIGH QUALITY NYLON THREAD
- GLIDESKIN SEALS
The Waterproof H1 3/5mm anatomical hood combines a 5mm of neoprene protection to the most critical areas where heat loss occurs with a 3mm bib and glide-skin seals to protect the face and neck. It features an innovative Hood Air Venting System (HAVS) that utilizes one-way valves to expel air buildup in the hood.
To ensure water stays out, all of the seals are sewn with durable nylon and glued for extra durability and strength. It can be used for either cold or warm water diving, with sizes from XS to XXL.
- Thickness: 3/5mm
- Materials: Nylon II neoprene rubber
- Suitable for: Warm and cold water diving
- Anatomical shape provides an ergonomic and comfortable fit that few hoods can match.
- 5mm dual-layered protection in critical heat loss areas.
- Watertight glide-skin seal prevents water from seeping in.
- Seals are sewn with nylon and glued for extra longevity.
O’Neill Thinskins 1.5mm Hood
- 1.5mm Metal Lite Neoprene
- Flatloc stitched
- UV protection
Despite being designed for surfing and other such board sports, the O’Neill Thinskins is also optimal for warm-water diving and snorkeling. This scuba hood is made from 1.5mm metal-lite nylon II neoprene which protects a diver’s head against both harmful UV rays at the surface and the cold underwater.
The chinstrap easily stretches to fit and keeps the mask snug and secure around the base of the face. Overall, the O’Neill Thinskins features a simplistic design that makes donning and doffing it very easy. Like other O’Neill wetsuit hoods, this scuba beanie comes in numerous sizes from XS to XL.
- Thickness: 1.5mm
- Materials: Nylon II neoprene
- Suitable for: Warm water diving
- 50% stretch factor neoprene that fits all shape sizes.
- Flat-lock stitched seam construction is highly durable and non-chafing.
- Provides added warmth and UV protection.
- Durable material that is compression and abrasion-resistant.
Mares 6.5mm Trilastic Diving Hood
- PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor Owned and Operated.
- This Product Comes Complete With A Full Manufacturer Warranty.
If you are diving in chilly conditions (<15°C) then you need a thick dive hood to keep your head warm, and this 6.5mm hood from Mares will do just the job. Mares is a reputable manufacturer of scuba equipment, and this is an extremely high-quality product.
Made from a trilastic mix, it features a low-compression neoprene at the top and 3mm of neoprene around the bib and face. The super stretchy neoprene used on the sides and neck area of the hood makes donning and doffing a cinch. The interior lining of the hood is made of Sapphire plush which is designed to insulate the head. You can get the Mares 6.5mm Trilastic hood in sizes ranging from XS to XL.
- Thickness: 6.5mm
- Materials: Neoprene
- Suitable for: Cold water diving
- Highly elastic panels provide unbeatable comfort.
- 6.5mm hod with 3mm bib and face seal.
- Low compression neoprene material used at the top of the hood.
- Sapphire plush interior lining enhances heat retention and comfort.
Bare 7mm UltraWarmth Dry Scuba Diving Hood
- High-loft OMNIRED inner fabric with ELASTEK full-stretch outer fabric
- ELASTEK/GLIDESKIN-IN trimmable face and neck glides nicely over hair
- Hood neck seal mates with drysuit seal / wetsuit collar
It’s crucial that you keep your body warm to extend your bottom time, and this 7mm dive hood from Bare is up to that task. It uses advanced Celliant infrared technology to retain heat. Combined with the Elasteck outer fabric and Celliant inner fabric, this hood can react to your body’s heat, converting it to infrared energy and directing it back to your body. This sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie.
Furthermore, the Bare UltraWarmth is blind-stitched and double glued to ensure that it lasts a very long time. It also has a trimmable face to provide a custom fit. This dive hood also includes a mask strap grip pad behind the back to keep this mask secured on the face. Its innovative technology will serve to keep you warm, and it is one of the best scuba diving hoods available. Sizes offered range from S to XXL.
- Thickness: 7mm
- Materials: Celliant-lined neoprene rubber and nylon
- Suitable for: Cold water diving
- Blind-stitched and double glued seams are extremely durable.
- High-loft Celliant inner fabric and Elastic outer fabric retains an incredible amount of heat.
- Lets trapped air escape without letting water enter.
- Neck seal meets with drysuit seal or wetsuit collar to form a watertight seal.
Best Scuba Diving Hoods – Buying Guide
Most scuba equipment is made using neoprene, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that dive hoods are also made from it. The reason is that neoprene is a highly flexible material that is effective at insulating heat and provides some buoyancy. The secret to this is that tiny bubbles are trapped in the neoprene material, and these bubbles can retain heat and help divers stay afloat at the surface.
Additionally, you can also find thinner dive hoods made from lycra. This material is ideal for snorkeling or diving in warm water by protecting the head from the sun’s UV rays. It can also be worn underneath a neoprene dive hood to provide even more insulation. Tech materials featuring a combination of synthetic-lined inners and nylon outers are also being used to provide excellent heat retention in 7mm cold water scuba hoods.
Warm vs. Cold Water Dive Hoods
The colder the temperature of the water you will be diving in, the thicker the hood you will need to effectively keep you warm. If you’re unsure of how thick a dive hood should be, here is a general rule to follow:
- 70°F (21°C) – 1-3mm thickness.
- 60-70°F (15.5-21°C) – 4-5mm thickness.
- 50-60°F (10-15.5°C) – 6-7mm thickness.
Many people are surprised at how thick the recommended dive hoods are at the respective temperatures. After all, 60-70°F still seems like T-shirt weather on land. However, water is 20 times more effective at decreasing the body’s temperature, which is why even seemingly “warm” water can be dangerous if you are not adequately protected.
Furthermore, a dive hood’s heat retention capabilities is also determined by its design. The majority of cold water scuba hoods include an insulated neck and a large bib that can be tucked under your wetsuit to prevent water flow. Many hoods are also designed to fit around the jaw and forehead without obstructing your mask and regulator. This ensures the minimum amount of skin is exposed to cold water as possible.
Conversely, warm water hoods are not only thinner, but they cover less of the face compared to a cold water hood. They tend not to come with a large bib, and some will be made from nylon or lycra instead of neoprene. These materials are not as insulating, however they are easier to put on and less restrictive. You can even wear it for snorkeling to protect your head from harmful UV rays, stingers, or other irritants.
In order for a dive hood to be of any use to you, it must fit snugly over your head and part of your face to keep water from flowing in. It shouldn’t be too tight that it’s restrictive or uncomfortable. Many modern scuba hoods are made from ultra-stretchy neoprene. This flexibility makes it possible for divers to get the perfect fit that is both comfortable and able to keep water from entering.
Even though many hoods are simply slipped over the head, there are dive hoods that have zippers along the back, as well as hook and clip straps beneath the chin that secure at the side of the face. These types of scuba hoods are worth considering if you have long hair that makes donning and doffing traditional dive hoods difficult.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean if a dive hood is 5/3mm?
You may have seen some dive hoods with more than one thickness measurement. What does that mean? It just means that the dive hood has different thicknesses depending on the area. In the case of 5/3, it means that the thickest parts will be 5mm thick, and the thinnest is 3mm thick. Typically, the thin parts are the bib and seals where it can be tucked underneath something to keep water from seeping in.
How effective are dive hoods at preventing hypothermia?
Approximately 60% of the body’s heat loss occurs from the head, and an alarming amount is lost from the extremities as well. Most divers have enough sense to dive with a wetsuit, however the importance of a dive hood and gloves should not be overlooked either.
Even a drop in body temperature of just a few degrees can result in hypothermia in cold-water conditions. Thus, aside from a wetsuit, the dive hood is arguably the most important piece of equipment that keeps heat from escaping the body and preventing hypothermia.
How do I equalize with a scuba hood on?
Some divers struggle to equalize while descending with a hood on. The issue is that the hood is fit too snug against the outer ear which prevents water from entering. This can be fixed by sliding the finger under the hood close to the ear to let water in the ear canal. Another method is to cut a hole near the ear canal inside the hood through the lining so that water can move freely while still keeping the outer fabric intact.
Do I need a dive hood with a bib?
Whether a bib is necessary or not depends on the design and type of wetsuit you are wearing. For the most part, hoods that come with a bib can be tucked under the wetsuit to keep water from seeping in, keeping the diver warm. However, some dry suits will come with an insulated neck that is not compatible with bibs, and in that case a long-necked hood is a better option.
How do I take care of my dive hood?
You can clean your hood the same way you’d clean any other piece of scuba equipment. After a dive, rinse the scuba hood thoroughly with fresh water to get rid of any salt residue. Salt will not only degrade your hood over time, but it can irritate you on the next dive if it hasn’t been washed off. Do not machine wash or use detergent.
After rinsing, leave your scuba hood out to dry in a well-ventilated, shaded area that is out of direct sunlight. Once it has been air-dried, store it in a cool, dry place where it won’t be squashed under significant pressure or weight. This helps it to avoid deterioration or deformities. If you do not dry it properly before storage, the lingering moisture can lead to mold growth.
Taking good care of your scuba equipment will prolong its life so that you can wear it for years before you need to replace it.
If you plan on diving for an extended period of time, you should highly consider using a scuba diving hood. As much as 60% of the body’s heat loss comes from the head, so it is crucial that you keep it covered up and insulated. Whether you are diving in cold or warm water, you can benefit from wearing a dive hood.
Compared to air, water is 20x more effective at removing heat from the body. Your body will have to work extra hard to replace this lost warmth, causing you to feel fatigued more quickly and decreasing your bottom time. Even in warm water, the water can quickly cause you to start shivering. Many people are often surprised at how low their body temperature drops even in “warm” water.
Don’t find out the hard way how important a dive hood is to keeping your body warm while diving. Get one of the scuba hoods in the list above that is suitable for the type of water you are diving in and stay warm!
Last update on 2023-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API