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.
Pinnacle - Elastiprene 3mm
|Inherent Buoyancy||< 1 lbs.|
|Seals||360-degree neck, wrist Skin2Skin zipper|
|Seams||Glued and blind-stitched|
|Sizes||11 men’s, 10 women’s|
Made with super-stretchy Elastiprene neoprene, a snag-resistant nylon exterior resists Velcro-attack, and there’s a soft-brushed titanium lining. The neck has an adjustable rolled collar made of smooth-skin neoprene that provides 360-degree coverage and works nearly as well as a drysuit seal. Wrists are fitted with O-ring seals, and ankles come with 4-inch sections of skin-in neoprene and zippered cuffs with gussets. The sealing system is continued at the zipper where a thick smooth-skin underflap doubles as a spine pad while sealing against an opposing smooth-skin surface. A unique nylon zipper guard runs up one side of the underflap to prevent the zipper from snagging when zipping. Combined, the stretchy Elastiprene material and efficient zipper make this one of the easiest suits to climb into and zip up. The zipper guard is a great add-on too. While the O-ring wrist seals do a great job of minimizing seepage, the ankle seals are only so-so. The suit also comes with kneepads and molded rubber shoulder pads to protect against abrasion from BCs or harnesses.
Pros: Great sealing system, lots of attention to detail
Cons: None we can see
Great attention to detail, plus watertight seams and among the best water-blocking neck and zipper seals we’ve seen. Comfy too.