About the Merino Lining System

 Though Merino™ was virtually unknown to the diving industry 5 years ago, it has come to be known as a hallmark of excellence. Discerning divers who want the most innovative and most durable products seek out PINNACLE, and those who will settle only for the best of the best choose PINNACLE’s Merino™ lined products. This unique material is truly the best-performing way to line a suit ever devised, providing more warmth, comfort, and odor control than any other.

The key step to making any wetsuit perform to its ultimate potential is reducing water transfer. This process, whereby water from the diving environment enters and exits the wetsuit, allows cold water to enter the suit and lets bodywarmed water exit; thus chilling the diver, even in tropical waters. PINNACLE nearly eliminates water transfer by creating better barriers to keep cold water out, making more form-fitting products that prevent internal water movement, employing the renowned Merino™ lining system to enable body heat to warm internal water, and then making it extremely difficult for that warm water to escape.

In order to prevent water entry and egress, PINNACLE employs the latest technology in sealing systems.  Features like honeycomb o-ring wrist seals, Orcaskin™ forearm gussets, smoothskin chimney seals in the ankles, roll-neck collars with smoothskin sealing surfaces, smoothskin-to-smoothskin sealing surfaces on 10mm spine pads, and the innovative Pinnacle Defense System (P.D.S.) combine in PINNACLE suits to create a significantly better water barrier than in other brands. These sealing systems work as checkpoints, neither allowing water in the suit nor out.

The second step, having a more form-fitting suit, is achieved by offering divers more choices in sizes.  PINNACLE offers as many as 17 male, 12 female and 4 children’s sizes in wetsuits, as well as more sizes of boots, gloves, and hoods than most other manufacturers.  
PINNACLE has the ability to customize suits to some extent to fit people with more challenging shapes, but with up to 33 stock sizes, one is sure to fit almost any diver perfectly; and a tighter, better-fitting suit leaves less room for water to move, which keeps the diver warmer.

The magic of Merino™ occurs between these steps, after a small, tightly-controlled amount of water is allowed to enter the suit, and before it (by this time warmed by a diver’s body heat) tries to escape.

Most wetsuits are lined with a synthetic weave of nylon and polyester, no different than they were 25 years ago. Once water floods these wetsuits, the water flows freely around the diver within the suit because the suit’s lining has very little ability to absorb and retain water. The diver’s body heat is drawn away from the diver in order to warm up the colder water, the exact inverse of an ice cube melting in a glass of water in order to chill the beverage. This creates temperature equilibrium, making the diver somewhat colder and the water slightly warmer.  After the water sloshes around the interior of the suit, it then spills out into the environment, only to be replaced by more cold water from the outside environment, and the process begins again. Over time, the diver’s body loses more and more heat as it futilely tries to heat up huge and ever-cycling quantities of water. (Remember what happens to the ice cube after a short time!).

However, PINNACLE’s best suits work on an entirely different concept. Our seals are more complicated and costly to build, but worth the expense, as they are infinitely more effective.  They keep cold water out of the suit and trap warmed water inside the suit. PINNACLE’s high-end suits, boots, gloves, hoods, hooded vests, drysuits, and undergarments employ the patented Merino™ lining system, which holds up to 30% more warm water vapor, creating a thermally protected personal environment for the diver.

In contrast to inferior suits, PINNACLE’s suits allow only a small, closely-controlled amount of water to slowly enter the suit. The Merino™ lining then holds a greater amount of that water and retards the water’s circulation throughout the inside of the suit. After the diver’s body heat has warmed that water, the water is held inside the fibers of the Merino™ lining and kept there by the superior PINNACLE sealing systems. This means that a diver expends less heat energy because he is trying to warm a smaller volume of water throughout the dive, leaving a diver feeling warmer and more energetic after being submerged for a given period of time.

Independent testing performed by the British Textile Technology Group in London, England found that a wetsuit lined with Merino™ is 35% more thermally
efficient than a wetsuit made with a traditional lining. Under the new CE testing guidelines, all of PINNACLE’s Merino™ lined suits achieved the highest possible ratings for insulation effectiveness. This proves that PINNACLE’s Merino™ lining system is a superior insulator.  

Furthermore, Merino™ lined wetsuits are not as affected by depth as most wetsuits. Any neoprene wetsuit will compress to some extent as a diver descends and the ambient pressure becomes greater. A 7mm suit will become a 5mm suit and a 3mm suit and so on as a diver goes farther down the water column. As the suit compresses, the insulation value of the rubber decreases, and water inside the suit is squeezed out into the environment. Thus, the inherent warmth of the suit itself becomes of lesser value. In traditional wetsuits, with water flowing in and out of the suit, this means that the wetsuit system’seffectiveness is tremendously impaired as the diver leaves the surface.

Merino™ lined PINNACLE suits work far better because they are not as affected by depth and pressure. Though our suits also compress as a diver descends, the water that is absorbed into the Merino™ lining is unaffected by the pressure exerted by the water outside the suit. The lining creates a layer of water, warmed by the diver’s body, which can be as much as 3mm thick. Because this layer of warm water is not compressed by depth, the warmth of the suit system is less affected. So, as the diver descends and the neoprene in the suit is
compressed thinner and becomes less effective, the Merino™ lined suit stays nearly as warm as it was on the surface, even on the deepest and longest of dives.

Furthermore, Merino™ is exothermic, meaning that it releases a measurable amount of heat as it draws water across its fibers.  It is almost as though the suit were equipped with its own heat generating source. Merino™ offers other benefits to divers as well.  In addition to the added warmth created by the lining, it is more comfortable and helps to reduce odors.  Merino’s™ super soft
composition and incredibly fine fibers not only eliminate the itch often felt with other wools, but they actually help to reduce the rashes often experienced in high-action areas, such as under the arm and behind the knee. Additionally, because Merino™ creates very little surface friction, it allows a suit to slide on easier than any other that you’ve ever tried, particularly when wet. Merino’s™ excellent moisture absorption properties and uneven surface structure prevent the build-up of bacteria, whereas bacteria thrive on the exposed flat surfaces of synthetics. Many odors and infections that affect divers are borne of bacteria. Merino™ protected suits tend to stay fresher smelling, especially on dive trips, when thorough washing may be infrequent. It is far more resistant to abrasion and “Velcro-attack” while also reducing the ability for soil particles to stick to your suit’s lining.  Merino™ dries faster than traditional wetsuit linings, so after-dive care is easier than ever.

Merino™ is the ideal wetsuit lining for so many reasons.  It has been scientifically proven to be far more efficient than traditional linings; and it is softer, more comfortable, and it slides on easier than standard wetsuits.  It is exothermic upon wetting, faster drying, and more hygienic than other suits. It is a wholesome renewable resource. But the real beauty of slipping into a Merino™ lined wetsuit is the beauty of nature herself. 
It just feels right.