Our dive team regularly get asked about the dive kit they use and what made them choose it, so to help you when you’re looking to buy dive kit I’m going to start a new blog feature called ‘We Recommend’ which aims to give you regular updates on the kit we use and why it works for the diving we’re doing.
I’m going to start, and the one piece of kit I get asked about the most is my dry suit, so what better bit of kit to write about first. The dry suit I use is the Otter Watersports Ultralight front entry suit, with a few optional extras added on to personalise it for me.
These retail from £1,445,
and are available through Hidden Depths Scuba School.
What made me choose it?
I’ve dived lots of different dry suits including thick neoprene, compressed neoprene, cordura style membrane and lightweight membrane suits to. The Otter Ultralight certainly fits into the lightweight membrane category at around 4kg excluding rock boots. With its telescopic torso and front entry zip, it offers me a fantastic range of movement and flexibility. This is very important in technical diving, as reaching the valves behind my head gives me the redundancy that’s so critical when diving in a twinset, and in this suit, it’s much easier than others I’ve used.
The Ultralight suit is made from multiple different trilamiante materials, with thicker material on harder wearing areas such as knees and forearms and a thinner and more flexible material for under the arms and around the crotch. Moving from my previous Otter Brittanic MK2 suit into the Ultralight last year, the first thing I noticed in the water was the additional movement in my legs. As my regular propulsion is a frog kick the extra movement is really beneficial.
Personalisation means much more than picking your favourite colour, although there is a good range of these too choose from! Otter offer a fantastic made to measure service with their dry suits if you don’t fit exactly into one of their off the peg sizes. This means you can be confident of an excellent fit first time, and my suit was no exception. It fits exactly as you would hope for a suit made for me, and this makes the experience both in and out of the water more enjoyable. If you’re struggling with finning techniques or having difficulty reaching your twinset valves then a properly fitting, flexible dry suit could go a long way towards sorting those issues.
My suit is also personalised with Kubi dry gloves, an essential investment for diving through the winter months! Dry gloves don’t instantly give you warm hands, but when combined with the right under gloves give you much more feeling than diving in wet gloves with numb hands! If they’re your first pair of dry gloves they will take a little getting used to, but you certainly won’t look back.
Other extras you can consider are the different neck seal options (I always choose the Si-Tech Flex ring and silicone neck seal for the ability to change seals between dives if needed), the choice of fixed boots or socks & rock boots, and the addition of a P-Valve. The suit already comes with all the basics right out of the bag, including two thigh pockets for your DSMB, spare mask and other kit, as well as a warm neck collar and protective zip cover. You also get a carrying bag, inflator hose and hood – just add an under suit of your choice and you’re ready to dive.
Buying your new dry suit
When it comes to picking your own dry suit it’s always best to ask around and see what other people are using and what type of diving you’re going to be doing most of. I would avoid the thicker neoprene style suits for their compression and related buoyancy issues on ascent, but most importantly make sure that the suit that you pick is well fitted for you. Too small is just uncomfortable and too big can cause big buoyancy issues as the air slops around the excess!
We can certainly help you when it comes to buying your own suit and offer a measuring service to go with all Otter Watersports dry suits so you can be confident of the perfect fit.
Hidden Depths Dive Club members get a member discount off all suits, and if you’re a dive instructor you will also be eligible for the Instructor rate discount too!
Do get in touch with any questions, and we can help you find your perfect dry suit.
Written by Greg Parker, PADI Master Instructor & TDI Trimix Instructor