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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.
     

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