Scuba Diving Hood


A hood is an essential piece of scuba diving equipment designed to provide thermal head protection for divers in cold water environments. Scuba diving hoods are made from different materials, with neoprene and latex being the most common choices. This encyclopedia entry will discuss the history, construction, types, functions, and maintenance of scuba diving hoods to provide a comprehensive understanding of this important diving accessory.


The concept of the scuba diving hood dates back to the early days of underwater exploration when divers sought ways to protect themselves from the cold temperatures encountered at depth. Early diving hoods were often rudimentary, made from leather or rubber materials that provided limited insulation. As diving technologies advanced, so too did the materials and designs used in scuba hoods, leading to the development of the modern neoprene and latex diving hoods used today.


Neoprene and latex are the two primary materials used in the construction of scuba diving hoods. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that offers excellent insulation, flexibility, and durability. Neoprene hoods are usually constructed from 3-7mm thick material, with thicker hoods providing greater insulation for colder water diving.

Latex, a natural rubber, is often used in the construction of drysuit hoods. These hoods are designed to create a watertight seal between the hood and the diver’s face, preventing water ingress and keeping the diver dry throughout the dive. Latex hoods are typically thinner than neoprene hoods, relying on the insulating layers worn underneath the drysuit for warmth.


There are several types of scuba diving hoods available on the market, each designed for specific diving conditions and personal preferences.

  1. Standard Hood: This hood design covers the head and neck, leaving the face exposed. Standard hoods are often used in conjunction with a wetsuit or drysuit and provide a good balance of warmth and mobility for divers.
  2. Full Face Hood: A full face hood covers the entire head, including the face, offering maximum thermal protection. These hoods often feature a built-in mask seal, eliminating the need for a separate mask strap and providing a more streamlined fit.
  3. Hooded Vest: A hooded vest combines a neoprene hood with a vest-like torso covering, providing additional insulation for the chest and back. Hooded vests can be worn under wetsuits or drysuits to enhance thermal protection.
  4. Bibbed Hood: A bibbed hood features an extended neck covering or ‘bib’ that tucks into the wetsuit or drysuit collar, creating an effective seal against water entry. Bibbed hoods offer increased warmth and can reduce the risk of flushing, or cold water entering the suit.


Scuba diving hoods serve several important functions:

  1. Thermal Protection: The primary function of a scuba diving hood is to provide insulation for the diver’s head, helping to maintain body heat in cold water environments.
  2. Comfort: A well-fitted hood can help to alleviate pressure points caused by mask straps and reduce the risk of headaches during dives.
  3. Reduced Heat Loss: The head is one of the body’s primary heat loss areas. By insulating the head, a diving hood can help divers maintain a comfortable body temperature throughout the dive.
  4. Protection from Marine Life: A diving hood offers a level of protection from accidental contact with marine life, such as jellyfish or sea lice.


Proper care and maintenance of a scuba diving hood can help to prolong its lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Some general maintenance tips include:

  1. Rinse the hood thoroughly with fresh water after each dive to remove salt, chlorine, and other contaminants.
  2. Gently squeeze out excess water, being careful not to twist or wring the hood as this can damage the material.
  3. Hang the hood to air dry, away from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent degradation of the material.
  4. Inspect the hood regularly for signs of wear, tears, or damage, and repair or replace as necessary.
  5. Store the hood in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and chemicals that may cause damage to the material.
  6. Avoid folding or creasing the hood during storage, as this can cause permanent damage to the material and affect its insulating properties.
  7. Lubricate zippers, if present, with a silicone-based lubricant to maintain smooth operation and prevent corrosion.


Scuba diving hoods play a critical role in ensuring a diver’s comfort, safety, and overall diving experience. By providing thermal protection and minimizing heat loss, hoods enable divers to explore cold water environments and extend the duration of their dives. With various materials, designs, and styles available, divers can select a hood that best suits their diving needs and preferences.

Understanding the different types of hoods, their construction, and their functions can help divers make informed choices when selecting a hood for their scuba diving adventures. Proper care and maintenance of the hood will also ensure that it continues to provide optimal performance and protection for many dives to come. Ultimately, a well-fitted, high-quality scuba diving hood is an essential piece of equipment for any cold water diver looking to make the most of their underwater experiences.