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.
SCUBAPRO - Everflex Steamer 3/2
|Inherent Buoyancy||< 1 lbs.|
|Seals||360-degree, wrist, ankle
|Seams||Glued and blind-stitched|
|Sizes||7 men’s, 7 women’s|
The Everflex is constructed with nonpetroleum based ultrastretch neoprene with a nylon laminate, and the suit’s interior torso is lined with Heliospan, a super-fine fleece that’s nice against the skin. Knees, shoulders and elbows all have Tatex (thermo-plastic rubber) protective pads. Full 3 mm neoprene is used on the majority of this suit, while 2 mm panels are used sparingly to enhance flexibility, and as a result, this super-elastic suit slips right on. Glued and double-thread blind-stitched seams on the exterior deliver durability, and single-thread blind-stitching on the interior minimizes chaffing. The neck features a smooth-skin Glideskin on the front half with an adjustable collar that is surprisingly effective at minimizing seepage when snugged up. Long 6-inch sections of Glideskin on wrist and ankle handle water duties at the cuffs and create excellent seals. The zipper’s sealing system is first-rate too, while the spine pad adds to the suit’s comfort. Tatex kneepads are huge but flexible, and a wrist computer security strap is a surprisingly useful bonus feature.
Pros: Superb zipper, wrist and ankle seals; wrist computer security strap
This suit goes above and beyond in the big stuff — great seams, seals, plenty of comfort — while offering lots of small touches that just make diving more fun.