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Top quality drysuit recommendations

Discussion in 'Dry Suits' started by Wibble, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Time to scratch the itch... I've a cheapo drysuit that's done me very well over the last eighteen months. It works but it's not a great fit, particularly for valve shutdowns.

    I see most of the people I respect as divers using quite expensive drysuits, typically Santi. I do understand that there's no shortcuts to quality and that I'm looking at my biggest investment in diving kit to date (if I don't count this website!).

    I want the following:
    • A suit that fits
    • Trilaminate or very compressed neoprene
    • Two large cargo pockets
    • Drygloves - probably Kubi system
    • Front zip
    • Fly/convenience zip
    • Halcyon pee valve (will transfer from my old suit)
    • Years of service
    I'm not sure about:
    • Neck seals - latex or neoprene
    • Boots, although I favour boots over rock boots
    • Metal v. plastic zip
    • Second zip cover
    • A bit of colour (not yellow!) - why is everything so black?
    • Cuff seals - is it easy to replace them if you've a Kubi system?
    • High profile exhaust dump - are these better than low profile?
    And now it's down to manufacturers...
    • I really like the Santi suits. What's the difference between E-lite & E-motion?
    • Is there somewhere that I could try them on for size?
    • Are there other serious contenders: 4th Element Argonaut, OThree, Whites (does that U zip work ok?), is DUI just overpriced?
    • What about the smaller UK manufacturers: Predator, Hammond, Otter, Seaskin... Are they of equivalent quality?
    Have I missed anything?
    Lots of questions, but I'm sure this is the right place to ask!
     
    Dan Payne likes this.
  2. Dan Payne

    Dan Payne Active Member

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    be good to hear what everyone else has to say.

    What is so different about a santi compared to the like of othree, hydrotech etc out of interest, other than the price tags?
     
  3. Sidemount_Stu

    Sidemount_Stu Sidemount & Sane!
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    I would go with some kind of membrane as fitted well it'll give you easier reach for valves, i'd go for a neoprene neck seal if you can and if you're going Kubi, get the user replaceable cuff system they now do part of the fixed option rather than the add on Kubi system.

    I'd consider Predator & Otter & if you're considering a Neo suit you shouldn't rule out O3.

    Think about decent size pockets and their positioning and also the GUI positioning of the drysuit dump valve too.

    I think Seaskin are probably not up there with the quality you are looking for, but for me, i'd consider the balance of price and quality together, I expect my size and shape may change over the next 10 years, so a suit change every 7-10 years at a cheaper price might mean a better fitting suit overall rather than an all singing suit now, that I want to last 10 years plus etc but my shape changes (too many pies) and it no longer fits well.

    Not saying you will, just saying it's a point to consider, budget vs longevity is important, but so too is an honest opinion of what your own body might do in that same time.

    For me is all about good value, that doesn't mean the cheapest or the most expensive, it means the right balance for me.

    If i was Garf or Becky, i'd probably go with the best money can buy, they are constantly diving and so it would be good value to do so, but in my real world the same suit whilst excellent quality wouldn't be good value as I wouldn't get that same use out of it! Good Value is a personal thing.

    Good luck with your choices, it's never easy!
     
    Wibble likes this.
  4. bgdiver

    bgdiver Active Member

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    +1 for Seaskin. Will be buying one in the next few months. I hear a lot of good things about them.

    I just couldnt justify the cost of a Santi. They are the nuts though!
     
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    The way I see it is that any decent dry suit *package* is going to be over a thousand. So why not stump up for the best?
     
  6. bgdiver

    bgdiver Active Member

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    The Santi is a great suit but at 1,795 its too rich for me.

    IMAO you could buy a fully loaded seaskin and have enough change for a weeks liveaboard in Egypt, but thats just my 2p worth.

    Buy the Santi you know you wanna! ;)
     
  7. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    The Santi can be had for a lot less if you know where to look...

    Neo or membrane, it makes no difference as long as it fits properly.

    Two suits I like the look of are the O'Three Ri1/100 and Bare XCS2, both are hyper compressed neo, but to be honest; it's hard to beat the Santi.

    Why do you need a pee valve and a convenience zip?
    Having lived with fitted dryglove rings for a couple of year, I'd now advise against them; they're bulky and intrusive and you can never take them off.

    Seaskin are good value for money, if (I say again, if) your suit fits. Mine went back 4 times (costing me money and a month of no diving each time) before I gave up and just lived with it. However, they are only cheap if you spec no options; my suit would cost about 700 quid to replace.
     
  8. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    That's the price for the made to measure E-lite. It appears that Santi do lots of sizes so it's likely that an off-the-peg size should fit. Ok, the E-lite is still £1590, but it should be the last suit I'll ever need due to my age, Stuart's excellent point about getting lardy accepted.

    I've seen Garf and Becky's E-lite suits and they really are extremely good quality. Of course both of them dive almost daily so can justify buying the quality.

    The E-motion suit is a bit cheaper at £1420, again in the same wide range of sizes. I'd really like to know if they are of equivalent quality and what the difference is in the material. Has anyone seen one in the flesh?

    Similarly has anyone seen a Predator in the flesh? Would this match Santi for quality?
     
  9. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Pee valve & zip is much like I have air conditioning and a sunroof; one uses them in different ways. The pee valve needs the additional plumbing to work, so might not be plumbed in for a recreational dive. On the other hand, the ability to have a pee over the side of a RIB or even use the heads without stripping off would be great.

    Having said that, with a front-loading suit, it's less of an essential item than for a back-loading suit.
     
  10. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    E-motion is a lighter weight fabric, its not as sturdy and will not last as long x


    Edit: I've seen lots of Dennis Predators, and they are very good. I'm not keen on some of the badges hes puts on the suit., but I've seen them without too. They are a very good suit for the price..... however I do think the Santi is better, If cost isn't so much an issue, Santi, if it is, Predator is a great suit. x
     
  11. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    Edit: If its a Predator, its the Expedition Extreme you should be looking at - mention Garf to get his take on pockets etc.... x
     
  12. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Is the E-motion fabric a 'bit flimsy'? I don't see myself diving as much as you, but obviously I need something that will last.

    With the Predator (hate the name!), how does it look quality wise up against the Santi, badges aside? Is the material just as flexible?

    I do like the idea of a made to measure suit as it's guaranteed to fit. So no nasty valve drills where the suit fights you during a shutdown.

    And dry gloves: Would you choose Kubi again? Are they 'the best'?
     
    Pete Spencer likes this.
  13. bgdiver

    bgdiver Active Member

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    I have the Kubi system, Its been excellent, ive never had a leak, super easy to take on and off.

    Good tip! if you need replacement gloves, there is a stamped code 'G17K' on the inside of the gloves. Quick google search and you can find the exact same gloves for £3.30... Bargain!
     
    Wibble likes this.
  14. timmyg

    timmyg Active Member

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    I've had my O'Thee RI2-100 for 5 years, and other than wearing holes in the boots, it's performed excellently. When/if I replace it I'll be going for the same, only a front entry.

    I'd agree with Dom about the P zip/valve. I originally had the zip but got the valve fitted later. Once the valve was fitted I never once used the zip, but then I plumb in on every dive.

    I went the the Si-Techs, the wife had Kubis. Personally I didn't like the over seals O'Three did to make the Kubis fit, but their new rings can now be glued directly to the suit.

    One manufacturer that hasn't been discussed is Otter. Their designs may look a bit old but the Britanniac is an excellent suit.

    One this to look for in any suit, which can't be bought, is customer service. O'Three, Otter, Santi all have excellent reputations.

    Best of luck with your choice.
     
    Wibble likes this.
  15. furryman

    furryman hmmmm
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    One of the lads I was diving with in Malta had ordered a new Predator a couple of weeks before. It was ready for him to take out. It looked the business, was very light, fitted like a glove, and he was very pleased with it.
     
  16. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    Its not flimsy, but you have to ask yourself, why do they make a heavier suit if the light one will do the job. Diving UK wrecks in limited viz, sitting around at dive sites on pallets etc do you want a light suit thats less durable or a heavier suit thats more durable?


    They are very good, I saw one without the usual badges, although had a number of printed logos that were an improvement - some large as it was a nod and a wink sponsored suit ;) it was all black bar the logos and I thought it looked a whole lot better.


    Best is subjective, would I buy again? At the drop of a hat, wouldn't even spare a thought over the matter.
     
  17. becky9

    becky9 Diving bore!

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    Look on the other place for Glocs review of his predator.... I'll have a look at home to see if I have a pic of the all black and different logos one, Ollie was wearing it in portland two weeks ago...... x
     
  18. Iain Denham

    Iain Denham Active Member

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    Pop in and see them at Hammond's they will do MTM, and all the extras you want, nice suit and if you cath him right you can get a deal at about a grand for there top suit.
     
  19. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    > Predator
    Nice to see some people with experience with the Predator drysuit. I really like the concept of a suit that's been "developed" in conjunction with some very experienced divers using their requirements for a suit that works well with the DIR rig and diving position. Not saying that it's any different for other manufacturers, but a suit with pre-bend in the limbs seems really useful given one's posture in the water: knees and arms bent. Gloc's blue suit does look good too. MTM really does appeal as I don't quite fit into the "normal" range of suit sizes.

    > Hammond
    Various people I've seen seem to say that a good deal can be had for about a thousand. Need to have a better look at their suits and cost it up for MTM.

    > Kubi
    Seems to be the easy part of the decision.


    And another question....

    Neck seals: SiTech Necktie? Is this worth it?
    I would think that it is as it's so easy to tear the neck seal and it means you can replace it yourself. Any comments?
     
  20. Iain Denham

    Iain Denham Active Member

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    The Hammond shop have the usual manikins ect all dressed up in all the different gear so you can "look, touch, feel" ect.

    I brought one a couple of years ago with neo cuffs and neck seals, then had a slight dribble under one wrist seal, took it into him (in Dartford) and he sorted it no charge a couple of days later.

    He can also show you all the different accessories and play with where you want them.
     

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