Gear Check Protection Suits
Catalyst to dry diving March 2007
Whites Manufacturing redesigned its award-winning Catalyst drysuit to provide even more flexibility. The Catalyst 360’s arms, legs and
torso panels are pre-bent to the shape of divers in the water, while flex panels in the waist and knees provide flexibility in movement. The
shell suit is self-donning and has latex wrist and neck seals that can be trimmed to fit. Molded knee pads and adjustable ankle straps
minimize the transfer of air to the boots. Molded back pad suspenders ensure a snug fit and provide extra warm to the kidneys. Suits are
available in several colors, accented with reflective piping. Eight sizes from double-small to triple-large are available and each can be
customized through Whites’ Made to Measure program. Suits are supplied with a travel backpack, low-pressure hose and zipper wax.
Pinnacle evolves April 2007
Pinnacle Aquatics has redesigned its Evolution into a front-entry drysuit and introduced a lightweight undergarment as well. The Evolution
2 suit’s diagonal front zipper is covered with a protective flap to seal out sand and protect against abrasion. A telescoping torso, elastic
crotch strap and internal suspenders work together to improve fit and comfort the trilaminate suit. The 220-gram Cordura resists abrasion
and the seat and knees are reinforced for further protection. Neck and wrist seals keep out water, and Si-Tech valves regulate air inflation
and exhaust. Thigh pockets have brass-grommets to drain water after the dive. Suits are available in 14 sizes with boots or neoprene socks,
and come with a carrying bag, inflator hose and 7 millimeter hood. The new lightweight fleece undergarment extends the drysuit’s comfort
range into warmer waters, comes in eight sizes and is machine washable. A two-way main zipper, thumb loops and stirrups ease donning.
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Elemental protection November 2006
Divers with neoprene allergies have new options for keeping warm in the new Thermocline Explorer protection suit from Fourth Element.
The suits are made with a hypoallergenic, neutrally buoyant breathable material with a fleece lining that holds water next to the skin. The
Explorer combined with the long-sleeve top is said by the company to provide thermal protection that is equivalent to a 3-millimeter
neoprene wetsuit. For colder waters, the farmer john can be worn under a conventional wet or drysuit for extra warmth. Weighing only 2
pounds, the suit is ideal for packing to destinations with weight restrictions on flights. The suit is machine washable and dries quickly on a
hanger. Fourth Element already is distributing the suit in the United Kingdom, where it is based, and is distributing the suit in the U.S market
through Silent Diving Systems. Learn more at www.fourthelement.com.
Dry out Henderson's booties September 2006
Henderson is incorporating the materials of its Insta Dry wetsuits into its line of booties. Besides being flexible and stretchable, the booties,
like the suits, dry quickly after dives. This makes them less hospitable for mold and fungus growth and a little lighter in weight when
packed for the trip home from diving. Booties using the material include the Insta Dry, Hyperstretch, Gold Core Zipper and Standard Zipper
models. The Hyperstretch is zipperless to minimize cold water exchange, yet the flexibility of its titanium-lined upper boot allows it to be
pulled on or off easily. Gold Core booties feature the classic gold accents of Henderson’s Gold Core wetsuits. Entry-level Standard 5-
millimeter thick booties have a heavy duty zipper. The other models are available in 3-, 5- and 7-millimeter thicknesses. All booties have
molded soles and low-profile boot beds to help the boots mate efficiently with fins pockets. Learn more at www.hendersonusa.com.
Warm up to a jumpsuit July 2006
A thick farmer John and jacket is usually the bare minimum of protection for nippy northern waters, but Henderson new Insta Dry wetsuit
may make it possible to go with a one-piece jumpsuit. The 3-, 5- and 7-millimeter suits are made with a neoprene that is less susceptible to
compression and therefore provide more insulation at depth. The material seems a bit stiff at first, but it molds to the body after a half-
dozen dives, making it fit even more snug, which enhances warmth. The G-Lock zipper eliminates water entry at the zipper. It gets its
name from materials that shed water quickly and allow the suit to dry within minutes of being out of the water. The exterior’s high-carbon,
non-piling micromesh material provides traction that minimizes slippage of the buoyancy compensator vest. An integrated spine pad
cushions the tank weight and thermoplastic knee pads protect the suit from snags. All suits come with a storage bag, hanger and towel for
drying off the suit after diving. Learn more at www.hendersonusa.com.
XCELlent choice April 2006
Divers who avoid cooler waters because of old ideas of discomfort in stiff suits with leaky seams might want to try the Vortex, XCEL
Wetsuits’ newest protection suit. Vortex suits are made of a flexible compression-resistant snag-resistant neoprene with a titanium skin
lining the upper body to boost thermal protection. Panels are shaped to conform to the body shape and quadruple glued under pressure,
allowing the suits to stretch up to 250 percent with no leaks. Seams are minimized, which provides for greater flexibility. A rolled wrist seal
reduces water flow through the suit. Glide skin lining and ankle zippers ease donning and doffing the suits. Men’s and women’s suits are
available in 3- to 5-millimeter and 5- to 7-mm thicknesses of neoprene to match suits with thermal protection needs. Learn more at your
local dive shop or at www.xcelwetsuits.com.
New suit's a stretch March 2006
While many suit makers install thinner neoprene or non-insulating elastic panels to ease movement in wet suits, Pinnacle Aquatics came up
with a new material – Elastiprene – to accomplish the goal. The material is as stretchy as rubber but has the insulating capacity of neoprene.
As a result, their suits use 7-millimeter or 3-mm thick material throughout the suit, so there are no gaps in the insulating properties. The
suits have Pinnacle’s patented Merino liner that traps more water against the skin and locks cold water out. Internal and external linings
resist snags and abrasions, and rubber shoulder pads and Kevlar kneepads add to the durability. The main zippers are made of marine-grade
brass and ankles are gusseted with 8-inch zippers. The roll-neck collar minimizes chaffing. Elastiprene suits are available in eight men’ and
seven women’s sizes. Big guys get a break because Pinnacle does not charge extra for 4X-sized suits.
Learn more at www.PinnacleAquatics.com.
Lycra suits all divers July 2007
Pinnacle Aquatics has a new line of Lycra suits that can be handy whether diving in warm tropics or at home in nipper waters. As an under
layer, they can ease slipping in and out of a wetsuit without affecting buoyancy. Ankle stirrups and thumb loops ensure that the suit stays
in place as arms and legs go through wet neoprene suits. At warm resorts, they provide protection against scrapes and stings. A special
ultraviolet-blocking coating provides a sun protection factor greater than 50, minimizing exposure to potent equatorial rays during surface
intervals. Stitching is flat-lock and edges are hemmed, even the soft collar, for comfort and durability. The front zipper makes self-donning
and doffing a snap. Suits are available in a wide range of colors and sizes to fit the sizes and tastes of men, women and children. They also
are available in "shortie" versions for strictly warm-water diving. Learn more at www.pinnacleaquatics.com.
Smooth switch to dry diving November 2007
Whites Manufacturing has taken a wrinkle out diving dry. Actually, a lot of wrinkles. The Fusion dive suit it unveiled at DEMA has a double
layer of protection. The basic drysuit is a military grade bi-laminate membrane with latex wrist and neck seals and Si-Tech inflation and
deflation valves. Typical membrane suits wrinkle underwater, creating edges prone to snagging on wrecks and reefs. However, the Fusion
suit has another layer of stretch fabric worn over the dry core membrane that is designed to streamline and protect the suit. The over-suit
can provide nominal insulation for diving in warmer waters, and under-suits can be layered as usual under the dry core membrane as
needed for cold water. Over-suits are held in place with touch fasteners, and can be washed or replaced with new ones with different
graphic designs, colors and fabric weights. The dry core's front zipper allows for self-donning. Sizes range from XX-small to XX-large.
Included with the Fusion suit are multi-laminate shell socks, a low-pressure hose, carrying bag, zipper wax and instructions.
A hood to see January 2008
Since so much body heat is lost through the head, smart thinking divers stay warmer by wearing a hood. However, the almost ubiquitous
black hood does little to make divers visible below the water or perhaps more importantly above, where being readily seen can be a safety
issue. Fluorohood's beacon-bright orange and green hoods stand out against dark, choppy water. Underwater, they can help buddies stay in
each others' sights on deep wrecks or during night dives. Hoods are available in wetsuit models and semi-dry ones for wearing with
drysuits. The company also offers a beanie that slips of a black hood, which can be used to help groups of divers stay together and can
offer minimal protection when diving in warm water. The wet- and drysuit models are made of 5-millimeter high-density neoprene, which
forms an insulating shield against that prevents water from wicking away body heat. The material is contoured around the face for a
comfortable fit that seals at the face and neck. An optional reflector adds safety to night dives. www.fluorohood.com.
– Susan Mador
Warm up to Lava Pads April 2008
Instant relief from discomfort of chilly water is available at the punch of a button on Lava Pads. The non-electric heating pad is filled with a
non-toxic chemical that activates by pushing a disk inside the sealed plastic pouch until it snaps. Once activated, the chemical warms to
130F for up to 45 minutes. Simply activate the pad before diving and slip it into a wet- or drysuit to keep warm in nippy waters. The pads
can be reused over and over by boiling them in water after diving. Beyond diving, the pads are handy to help keep warm during other
outdoor activities in cold climates as well as for easing muscle aches from overworking and exercising. Lava Pads are available in assorted
The 'skinny' on warmth July 2008
Protection suits that span the gap between Lycra skins and neoprene wetsuits are being brought to market by the Aqua Sphere unit of Aqua
Lung. The company says Aqua Skins will be made of compressed neoprene to be ultra light and hydrodynamic, offering thermal protection
and protecting the skin from harsh effects of the sun. Being marketed primarily to swimmers, the skins also resist chlorine and feature flat
seams to reduce drag in the water. Aqua Lung says that muscles work best in 82F water and that the skins can help swimmers avoid
cramping in cooler waters. Skins are being made in thicknesses from 0.5- to 1-millimeter as full body suits as well as shorts and tops
configurations. The thickness range is intended to help swimmers match protection needs with personal temperature preferences. They are
not designed for use as scuba diving protection suits. A new lightweight Aqua Skin hood may be handy to help divers stay warm at tropical
destinations. Men's skins are black with red accents and women's are black with powder blue accents. Five sizes range from XS to XL for
men and women. Look for the skins to wash up in dive shops and other retail outlets in September. www.aquasphereswim.com.
Get in your Element July 2008
Short, tall, skinny, plump? No matter the size or shape, chances are good for finding an off-the-rack wetsuit among the 27 men's and
women's sizes of Pinnacle Aquatics' new Element line. The 7-millimeter suits are titanium lined, highly stretchable Elastriprene, a
proprietary formula of neoprene. The company says its Melino lining system enhances thermal efficiency while making it easy to don or
doff. All materials dry quickly to reduce odors. Pinnacle incorporates a Swiss-made Riri zipper that allows water to enter or exit the suit
only when a pressure imbalance exists. The arrangement allows for some water to seep into the suit during descents, but become trapped
once depth is achieved. Thus, the diver is insulated with thin layer of body-warmed water during the dive, and the water is pushed out upon
ascent. Other features include a roll collar neck seal, BC-gripping shoulder pads, anatomically pre-bent knees and arms with stretch panels,
O-ring wrist seals, 10-millimeter spine pad, Kevlar knee pads and ankle zipper to ease getting in and out of the suit.
A suit to dry for July 2008
Diving Unlimited International has redesigned its popular jumpsuit undergarment for drysuits to improve the fit and comfort. DUI's Polartec
PowerStretch 300 suit is a form-fitting stretchy undergarment that allows for freedom of movement while keep a diver warm in waters that
range from 45F to 60F. PowerStretch is a dense material that captures and holds air, which insulates from the cold water. Yet it is flexible
and hugs the body, eliminating the need to have extra panels of material to allow for movement, DUI says. The lightweight suit is easy to
launder and comes with a tote bag. The suit features two zippered hand-warmer pockets and one zippered chest pocket, and thumb and
ankle stirrups. Men's suits are chalkboard, and women's Aegean blue. Both have accent piping. Suits are available in six sizes each for men
and women ranging from small to XX large. Since more than 50 percent of DUI's customers custom order drysuits, DUI is extending the
service to its PowerStretch suits, which can be ordered in additional colors as well. www.dui-online.com.
All the glove you need January 2009
Just in time for the ice diving season Diving Unlimited International introduced new ZipGloves that mate with DUI's ZipSeal system to keep
hands warm and dry. The gloves are made with 1.5-millimeter compressed Neoprene with sealed seams that keeps out water. The palms
and fingers are covered with Kevlar – the material of bulletproof vests – for durability and to improve the grip. Fleece liners are included
with the gloves to help divers tailor the insulation needs to local water temperatures. And wrist straps can help to keep the gloves from
getting lost while gearing up. Gloves are available in four sizes from small to extra large. The large and extra large sizes have longer fingers
than previous dry glove designs at the request of DUI's customers. www.dui-online.com.
Jumpstart for warm diving January 2009
Getting immersed in comfort is a real stretch with the new DiveWear under suit from Diving Unlimited International. DUI designed the
jumpsuit to take advantage of the insulating power of Thinsulate 400 BZ and the flexibility of Polartec PowerStretch. The result is a suit that
is said to keep drysuit divers toasty in water ranging from 28F to 45F, yet able to move freely because of the PowerStretch panels in the
armpits, mid-back, around the waist and knees, and down the sides of the legs. The suit has an outer shell that is intended to resist wind
and spray, and an inner fleece lining of AEGIS Microbe Shield to discourage microbial growth. Two hand-warmer pockets and a chest
pocket have zippers to keep valuables in place. Thumb and ankle stirrups hold the under suit in place while donning a drysuit. Unisex suits
are available in six sizes from extra small to double-extra large and include a DUI DiveWear tote bag. www.dui-online.com.
Give Fourth Element a hand April 2009
Say goodbye to clumsily groping at camera controls and gear items with Fourth Elements' new line of dive gloves. Thermoflex Neoprene
shapes around the fingers and hand like a second skin. Seams are ergonomically positioned for maximum flexibility. They are glued,
blind-stitched and sealed to minimize the influx of water for extra warmth. A hydrolock seal around the base further seals out cold water,
yet the flexibility of the material eases slipping the gloves on or off. The exterior finish is carbonite molded in a pattern to enhance grip and
abrasion resistance while enhancing tactile sensation through the glove. Gloves are available in 3 and 5 millimeter thicknesses in sizes
ranging from extra small to extra large. The 5-mm gloves have been field tested in 36F water where they provided surprising warmth.
Get immersed in style May 2009
Diving Unlimited International's new ActionWear Professional drysuit under garment may bring the fashion trend of wearing underwear as
outerwear to diving. The two-piece outfit consists of a pants and a pullover top made from double layers of 300-weight stretch fleece.
Under a drysuit, ActionWear can help a diver get immersed in comfort even in 45- to 60 F water, depending on personal tolerance to
temperature, exposure time and activity level. The pill-resistant fleece is lined with a plush velour for added comfort against the skin. A
one-third-length zipper on the top stops just above a marsupial- style pocket that zips closed as well. A standup collar provides extra
warmth for protection on breezy boat decks. Thumb loops on sleeves and stirrups on the pants keep the underwear in place while donning
a drysuit. A drawstring cinches the pants at the waist. Smart white stitching and an embroidered DUI logo accent the black suit, which is
shipped with a DiveWear bag for storage. Suits are available in six sizes ranging from XS to XX at shops that carry DUI gear.
Not your father's drysuit June 2009
Drysuits are great for staying warm in cold water. However with their typical black, blue or orange color schemes, they have a way of
making boatloads of divers look uniformly boring. Now you can have a look that's as hot and adventurous as the sport of diving thanks to
Diving Unlimited International. DUI's made-to-order suits can be ordered with panels of blue camo, pink camo or black with red and flames
as colorful accents. Choose the colors schemes you want and specify where want them on the tops and legs of Select and Signature Series
suits at no extra charge. The added color could help you be more visible in dark northern waters, and they'll certainly make you stand out
on charter boats during roll calls before and after dives. DUI is showing samples of the custom colors at its DUI Owners Group rallies
throughout the U.S. this summer, and the company plans to add more selections as they become available. www.dui-online.com.
Update your Whites wardrobe September 2009
Owners of Whites Fusion Tech drysuits have more options to customize their appearance. The suit is designed to be covered with a skin,
but the initial color palette was less than flashy when the suit was introduced last year. Whites is remedying that with the launch of four
new graphic colors: yellow, red, pink and midnight blue. The skins combine 1-millimeter neoprene with Lycra stretch panels to streamline
and protect the suit in the water while allowing for stretch and mobility. The skin attaches to the bi-laminate membrane Fusion Tech suit
with touch fasteners. Skins can be washed or replaced if they become damaged or soiled. They provide a smoother outer covering intended
to reduce the chances of snags. And they provide additional thermal protection. The self-donning Fusion suit has latex wrist and neck seals
and Si-Tech inflation and deflation valves. www.whitesdiving.com
Give DUI hood a dry August 2009
Diving Unlimited International has revamped its dry hood with innovations intended to improve the fit and comfort. Most noticeable is
what's missing. DUI's new hood does not have a skin-chaffing seam running up the middle of chin and neck. The top is made of
7-millimeter neoprene to keep the head warm. Despite the thickness, the hyper-stretch super-soft material makes the hood easy to pull it on
and off. The face seal is a bit larger, protecting more face from cold water. By tapering the hood behind the head and neck, the new design
reduces water flow, thereby helping to maintain body warmth. Hood are available with the standard style as well as a warm-neck model.
The latter has a 4-mm neck collar that tucks under the neck seal to help keep wearers warm and dry throughout the dive. Test dive the
hood at DUI Owner Group rallies or see it at your local dive shop. www.dui-online.com.
Viking's new orange is black June 2010
Divers can get the protection of a Viking drysuit without the Hazmat orange color in the company's new ProVSN suit. Available in front-
and back-entry models, the ProVSN has Viking's vulcanized rubber core that is coated on both sides with black Armatex Nylon. While the
coatings are intended to improve durability and comfort, they are more difficult to decontaminate than rubber so the company does not
recommend this suit as protection from hazardous materials. Viking seals the seams with glue and tape before the suits are vulcanized to
ensure that seams are thoroughly sealed. Black rubber reinforcements cover the knees for added durability. Rubber-coated neoprene boots
attached to the legs have fin-strap retainers to keep fins from coming off during dives. Internal suspenders help with crotch adjustment.
The shoulder inflation valve and chest deflation valve swivel to the best positions for the diver's kit. Beyond front- and back-entry options
divers have several ways to customize the suits. A latex or neoprene hood can be permanently affixed to the suit. Either latex or neoprene
neck and wrist seals are available. Wrists also can be fitted with permanent or changeable cuff rings for use with dry gloves. Cargo pockets
can be added as well. Suits come with an inflator hose, repair kit, suspenders, zipper care tools and a user's manual. www.vikingdiving.com