Time to Test
The 14 brand-new 3mm wonders sent in for this year’s round-up got a rigorous working-over in the ScubaLab shop. We stretched the arms, pulled the legs, tugged at zippers. We turned them inside out, took note of the finish work and attention to detail. Then we hauled them down to our test pool where 75-degree water awaited us—well within the operational range of a 3mm wetsuit, yet just cool enough to easily feel the leaks.
ScubaLab staff, staged on the pool deck, donned each suit, checking to see how easy it was to pull on and self-zip. Then we went through a series of squats, body bends and arm reaches to assess each suit’s comfort and range of motion. Checking to see that all seals and closures were snug, we then slowly entered the water, taking note where we felt leaks, i.e. through the seams, or at zipper, neck, wrist and ankles. Once fully-immersed, we checked for water entry at the ankles and wrists during feet-first descents. Then we shifted into standard swimming mode and checked for water scooping at the neck. Finally, using the same test diver to assure consistency, we performed a buoyancy check to give us a general idea of each suit’s relative inherent buoyancy.
Camaro - Stingray 3 mm
|Inherent Buoyancy||1-2 lbs.|
|Seams||Glued and blind-stitched|
|Zipper||Front-entry, water-blocking G-Lock|
|Sizes||6 men’s, 5 women’s;
in the future, 16 men’s, 8 women’s
The Stingray isn’t as stretchy as other suits in this go-round, but it is still a suit you can work with. It’s made of four-way-stretch neoprene, with X-Tend flex panels in the lumbar area, shoulders and chest area and a titanium plush interior. Wrist and ankle zips make for easy donning, and the front-entry zipper is the easiest to self-zip. This design, however, also makes the Stingray the hardest to get out of without a little help from a dive buddy. Donning and doffing aside, the contoured cut, lumbar stretch panel and plush lining do make this a comfortable ride. Seams are glued and blind-stitched, and all internal seam ends and intersections are taped for extra reinforcement. A smooth-skin finished hem is also included at the neck, wrist and ankle openings. Wrists and ankles are fitted with zippers with water-blocking nylon gussets, and the front-entry zip is a G-Lock, backed by a smooth-skin underflap and double overflaps. While the zipper does a good job of holding back the flood, we really can’t call the smooth-skin trim at the cuffs seals, because they do virtually nothing to prevent water entry. Abrasion-resistant Supratek kneepads offer leg protection.
Pros: Easiest to self-zip
Cons: Hardest to take off
A nice-looking wetsuit and comfortable too, but the front-zip style makes it a little too easy to get stuck inside for our taste.