Scuba Gear Review: Drysuits | Scuba Diving

Scuba Drysuit Review: 8 Best Drysuits for Cold-Water Divers

ScubaLab Drysuit Testing

ScubaLab Drysuit Testing 2013

Charting ergonomic findings at the Oregon Coast Aqaurium

David Cutter

ScubaLab Drysuit Testing 2013

How We Test

For our 2013 test, ScubaLab chose eight drysuits for ergonomic trials at the Oregon Coast Aquarium and put them through their paces in the aquarium's 50-degree water. Take a look at the results!

Scuba Diving

BARE TRILAM PRO DRY

SPECS

• Price: $1,399.95
• Style: Rear-Entry, Horizontal Shoulder Zip
• Suited For: General-Purpose Diving
• Available Sizes: 17 Mens, 6 Womens
baresports.com

BOTTOM LINE
This was our tester's choice! The test team really liked the features and the overall feel of the Trilam Pro. It racked up the most points for overall favorite drysuit in this year’s shootout, earning it the Testers Choice. On a side note, test divers also liked the SB System Mid-Layer two-piece undergarments Bare sent along with the suits. Not only were they comfortable as stand-alone garments, but when teamed with the Trilam Pro suit they created a near-perfect drysuit thermal system.

 

BEUCHAT BALTIK DRY

SPECS

• Price: $1,599
• Style: Rear-Entry, Horizontal Shoulder Zip
• Suited For: General-Purpose Diving
• Available Sizes: 5
spearotek.com

BOTTOM LINE
Not a lot of test divers got a chance to get this suit wet, so it didn’t earn that many votes on the test diver favorites list. But minor complaints aside, the testers who did dive it were satisfied, overall, with this suit.

 

HOLLIS BIODRY DX300

SPECS
• Price: $1,899
• Style: Front Entry, Diagonal Zip
• Suited For: Heavy-duty, Technical/Scientific Diving
• Available Sizes: 12, also custom sizing
hollisgear.com

BOTTOM LINE
The Hollis DX300 was designed by technical divers for technical divers, and it shows. It is clearly a heavy-duty suit, but it’s a lot more flexible than others and offers more range of motion. If you do a lot of rigorous diving but you like being able to move around, this is a solid suit to consider. Oh yeah, if you want to get noticed, the highly reflective 3M safety stripes Hollis put on the lower arms definitely attract attention.

 

HOLLIS BIODRY FX100

SPECS
• Price: $1,849.95
• Style: Front Entry, Diagonal Zip
• Suited For: General-Purpose Diving
• Available Sizes: 8
hollisgear.com

BOTTOM LINE Form-fitting with virtually no hydrodrag, plus comfortable seals and some very functional cargo pockets, the FX100 has a lot going for it. As it turned out, it was one of the most popular general-purpose suits in this go-round, and it tied for third overall on the test team’s Top 3 Favorites list.

 

SCUBAPRO EVERTEC

SPECS

• Price: $1,650
• Style: Front Entry, Diagonal-Zip
• Suited For: General-Purpose Diving
• Available Sizes: 6
scubapro.com

BOTTOM LINE
Those divers who were able to get a dialed-in fit absolutely loved the Evertec. It is a solid medium-duty drysuit that has a lot of cool features and functions going for it.

 

USIA TECHNIFLEX WITH “DIVE ARMOR”

SPECS
• Price: $1,925
• Style: Front Entry, Diagonal-Zip
• Suited For: Heavy-duty, Technical/Scientific Diving
• Available Sizes: 17, also custom sizing
usia.com

BOTTOM LINE
The Techniflex earned the top spot among the heavy-duty suits and tied for third place on our test divers Top 3 Favorites list. Which makes sense, many of the testers are scientific divers who spend a lot of time on specimen gathering expeditions off Oregon’s rugged coast. This suit comes in lots of sizes with a long list of choices and options so you can pretty much have it your way.

 

WATERPROOF D7PRO ISS CORDURA

SPECS
• Price: $2,899
• Style: Front Entry, Diagonal-Zip
• Suited For: Heavy-duty, Technical/Scientific Diving
• Available Sizes: 7
waterproof-usa.com

BOTTOM LINE
During the course of two days of in-water testing the D7Pro ISS Cordura had a run of bad luck with seals that failed, a non-critical exhaust valve malfunction, and a size-small suit that was too big for all of our female test divers. But get beyond size issues and minor malfunctions and this is a rugged, virtually indestructible suit. While not for everybody, divers engaged in serious underwater activities may find the D7Pro ISS Cordura just what the doctored ordered.

 

WHITES FUSION ONE

SPECS
• Price: $999.99
• Style: Rear-Entry, Horizontal Shoulder Zip
• Suited For: Light-Duty General-Purpose Diving
• Available Sizes: 5
whitesdiving.com

BOTTOM LINE
For casual recreational diving, the Fusion One is a dandy. Offering a featherweight, snug fitting, watertight ride, it earned the second highest number of votes for top suit, and, combining performance with price, earned this year’s Best Buy nod. While not as rugged as other suits, if the outer skin ever wears out it can easily be replaced. A new skin costs only $200 and can be installed quickly and easily. Note: The Thermal Fusion one-piece undergarment that accompanied this suit was key to the success of this system. While any undergarments can be used, this is a case where a specific undergarment really enhances the overall performance of the suit.

 

Drysuit Features Chart

Drysuit Features Chart

Scuba Diving

 ScubaLab Drysuit Testing 2013

Drysuits Ergo Test Results

Scuba Diving

The gear experts at ScubaLab tested 8 of the latest fabric drysuits for durability, performance and comfort — here are the results.

Why dive in a drysuit? Why indeed. They cost more than wetsuits. They require that you update your buoyancy control skills and add some extra umph to your fin kick. You have to deal with undergarments, and there’s a good chance you’ll need to buy fins with larger foot pockets to accommodate drysuit boots. Then there’s the maintenance thing, with the valves and the watertight zippers and the neck and wrist seals.

So...why dive in a drysuit?
Because nothing beats being so dry and toasty under water. With a drysuit it doesn’t really matter how cold the water is or how deep you dive because you regulate your at-depth comfort by varying your thermal protection--the colder the water, the thicker the undergarments—and by adding air to the suit. It doesn’t matter how cold topside temperatures are either, because between dives you’re wearing the equivalent of fuzzy pajamas instead of a soppy wetsuit. Wearing a drysuit turns sport diving into year-round entertainment.

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