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.
Henderson - H2 Titanium
|Inherent Buoyancy||< 1 lbs.|
|Seals||360 degree neck, wrist
|Seams||Glued and blind-stitched|
|Sizes||12 men’s, 10 women’s|
The latest iteration of Henderson’s popular Hyperstretch line is the H2, and its exclusive 250-percent-stretch neoprene has a new pill-resistant Aquasilk lining that’s both durable and comfortable against the skin. The suit comes with lumbar padding and abrasion-resistant kneepads made from Duratex fabric. Double-glued and blind-stitched seams have the ends and intersections reinforced, and a soft, rolled, smooth-skin neck seal offers 360-degree coverage. Wrist seals are of a similar design, while ankles come with water-blocking nylon gussets, adjustable flaps and Velcro closures. The ultrastretch neoprene conforms to body curves yet is not so stretchy that ballooning occurs. Seams are watertight, and only minimal seepage was detected working its way past the excellent sealing system. The H2’s ankle cuff design offers easy entry, and the adjustable tabs snug right down for minimal water intrusion. The suit’s zipper-track edges make contact with a smooth-skin underflap to create an effective self-sealing system that doubles as a spine pad. Also included are double overflaps, and the base of the zipper is reinforced.
Pros: Lots of stretch, comfortable, excellent sealing system
A bit pricey, but you can clearly see what you’re paying for. From material to seams to seals, this is a top-of-the-line suit in all respects.