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FRONT OR REAR ZIP

Discussion in 'Dry Suits' started by kevin b, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. kevin b

    kevin b Member

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    Looking at getting a mtm membrane suit so looking for the pros & cons for both front & rear zip to make a decision as to which one to go for.
     
  2. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    Definitely front - more flexible in the water when it comes to shutdowns and the like with the added bonus of being able to dress yourself.
     
  3. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Front. Rear means you're always reliant on others to open you up.

    Having a piss with your suit down means peeing on your neck seal on a back loader.

    Front does mean a longer zip and possibly more care required but for me this is more than offset by the convenience of a front loader.
     
  4. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    With rear the zip is shorter, it's (almost) a straight line when doing up and if rolled up with the zip on the outside
    limited stress. The suit itself is not compromised because it's main structure is uncut, so tends to last much longer.
    If walking around site with the top half down it doesn't look like a bag of spuds & if you haven't learned to pee
    without wetting the neckseal, maybe potty training is in order :)

    With front the zip is naturally much longer and while yes it can be done by the owner this can cause issues on
    the shoulder with stress when going from shoulder to chest. The length also means that if a bit tight or
    a lot of variance with layers the zip gets stressed again.

    Some say that the front zip allows more movement to reach valves, but this generalisation takes no account
    of material, manufacture/cut and any unique features like being telescopic.

    Personally and having bought at the last count ITRO about 250-300 suits of all types, brands and zips, I've
    found rear will outlast the front easily, less likely to get damaged and IMO has the edge for general diving.
    I've never had any problem getting it done up, but then I have friends :p :p

    What matters though IMO is to be objective and look at the whole package of suit and the diving you are doing.
     
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Will add another point: don't buy plastic zips. They leak and are very sensitive to being done up completely. Much prefer the metal variety even though they need more maintenance, they apparently last longer than plastic.

    (Poxy rental suit I used recently totally drenched me and I'm sure the zip was knocked during kitting up, so opened. Something that will not happen with a metal zip. Yes, checking helps, but I still rather have something that stays done up.)
     
  6. Harvey-NG

    Harvey-NG Member

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    Front for me - but if you're small and the manufacturer uses stock zip sizes then check they won't chuck a zip on that's too long and sticks up over your shoulder. My suit had this issue when it was made but I got it fixed about a month later because it was so frustrating. Could have been that the manufacturer just made a mistake, but who knows.
     
  7. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    I love a bit of back entry:geek: my current suit is in for a zip. It’s 6 years old and has done the most Diving and most demanding Diving I’ve yet to do. Never really had a front entry , flirted with a northern diver front Loader once but sold it after a season when me & my wife bought DUI suits at a dive show which were back entry.

    If my next suit is a mtm I will try a front zip , although I strongly suspect it will be another O3 and they have their own take on front entry. I quite fancy the independence of front loading, although I’ve never struggled finding a volunteer to zip me up. That may be a factor in your choice for your Diving.

    Front zip tend to wear quicker from the experience of my club mates.

    The one front loader feature that I love is “self donning”. I’ve helped so many people “self don” it seems a great feature. Zip placement, fit and maybe not putting on too much weight may actually make your self donning suit self donutable.

    The current fashion seems to be another great adoption from cave diving , “cave fit”. This essentially means you get a new suit that looks too small. Some of the most popular suit manufacturers have adopted this style. It doesn’t appear to leave much opportunity to vary base layers and is one feature I’d avoid , asking for a bit more room. Not going for your fully crisp packet shape of ye oldee days but something that’s practical to a day on a boat and varying thermals to our wide range of temperatures.

    Fit is everything so trying your suit during manufacture is good if it’s available, alteration post manufacture should be available, getting the manufacturer to measure you rather than you or a mate is best.
     
  8. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    “getting the manufacturer to measure you rather than you or a mate is best.[/QUOTE]

    Getting the suit manufacturer to measure you up rather than you or a mate doing the measurements is what I meant ;)
     
  9. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Definitely get them to measure you. That way they have the liability. If you measure up and something's wrong, it's your (expensive) fault. One of the reasons I liked going to Dennis at Preditor as he not only measures you, but you go for a half-way fitting.
     
  10. kevin b

    kevin b Member

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    Thanks for all your input guys.
     
  11. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    Not necessarily.
     
  12. ste

    ste New Member

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    How is the predator suit mate? I've been toying with the idea of one, either a predator or another otter.

    Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk
     
  13. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    I have both a Predator and an Otter.

    When I need to get a new suit for my daughter, I’ll get her an Otter.

    If I ever go for another new one for myself it’ll
    be an Otter.

    My Predator sprung a few leaks, so I sent it to Otter for repair.

    I’ve only had the Otter a little while, but the big advantage is their customer service - if you need something to be sorted they will get it done quickly and efficiently.

    It will be interesting to see how the Otter fares in the long term, but I expect it to do well.
     
  14. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    As it happens, I'm sending my suit back to Dennis for a repair to the sock which has sprung a leak. I've spoken to Dennis and am dropping it off at his home which will save me some miles. (I'm driving it there as I'd rather do it than send it and trust it to the courier)

    My suit's now 4 years old with about 400 dives over it. I'm still happy with it and it still looks good. Suits are probably the most fragile of our kit and one of the most important component for comfort and safety.

    I've liked working with Dennis and appreciate the artisan nature of the relationship. Dennis' repairs for my zip replacement last September was superb; looks like new which I'm certain wouldn't have been the case if someone else did the replacement. It's up for the second pair of socks, so they're looking like the weak link.

    As Dennis is less than 2 hours from me, I'm happier than sending the suit away, up 't north. He's always been good to me.
     
    ste likes this.
  15. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    To add some balance to the above, Otter are about a 4hr drive from me, Predator 2hrs.

    I’ve never been to visit Otter but they are quick and helpful and easy to reach via phone and email.

    I posted my suit to them which cost less than £20 with adequate insurance and took maybe 30mins - a hell of a lot cheaper than driving to either location.

    At the end of the day it’s your money and your choice - Predator can turn out decent products and can have good service, plus Dennis is a great guy, although so are the folks at Otter.
     
    ste likes this.
  16. ste

    ste New Member

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    That is for both very in depth replies guys

    I live around 45 minutes from otter, and up until now I've been very happy with my otter, although why I'm not as happy now is not otters fault! Basically, I've just moved over to twinset and I can't reach my valves. They suit is too tight on the shoulders, plus it's a back zip which removes some of the dexterity also.

    I've seen a couple of people in the predator suits and I like the look of them alot, but I also like the look of the new otter Atlantic. I 100% agree, the otter customer service is great, I got kubis fitted after I got my suit, they asked me if when I was diving next and made sure I had the suit back.

    I need to decide if it's worth the change, but I think next time I'll go with socks and rockboots instead of the built in boots!

    Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk
     
  17. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Being close, IMHO, is one of the main considerations.

    It might be possible get Otter to adjust the suit if it's really tight.


    I find reaching back is doable -- do regular "flow check" drills whenever I'm diving backmount twins -- but it's never exactly comfortable, especially in the winter/cold water plumage. (One bloody good reason for not diving backmount in a cave/mine; it's always cold!) There's definitely a knack to it and the more you practice the easier it gets.

    I do find that as I descend I'll bung a load of gas in the suit and "shake the suit up", wiggling my limbs and shoulders to move the suit, undersuit up tins up a little and off of my shoulders. This makes getting to the valves a hell of a lot easier. It's also much warmer in the water as the undersuit gets a chance to fluff up a bit.
     
  18. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    I’ve sold my twinset since buying the Otter, but did have to hire one for some dives in Hungary recently and had my left post shut down completely twice over the course of the dive.

    Two days prior to that, on the same trip, I had a free flow from the left post and had no issue sorting the valves before exiting.

    I can now safely say that of the three drysuits I own, the Otter is by the far easiest to reach the valves in when needing to do it quickly.
     
  19. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Does anyone know if the new Otter 'Atlantic' design (with the one-piece armpit panel) really does make a difference for shutdowns?
     
  20. ste

    ste New Member

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    That's the suit I'd be going for if I went with another otter, I seen it at the dive show and it's a beautiful piece of kit. But the predator evolution is also! I think you guys are right though, being that close to otter, I would be a little mad going anywhere else!

    I've been doing a little bit of research and it turns out a few people have had the same issue using the bp&w I have, and they solved the problem by moving the band's on the cylinders. My instructor told me to do this also so I'm going to give that a go and see if it helps, hopefully it does.

    Sent from my SM-G955F using Tapatalk
     

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