I'm struggling for dear life trying to get my 7mm wetsuit on (nearly dying of heatstroke in the bathroom of Ginnie Springs in the process.) I finally manage to get the suit up past my hips, which is always a problem area with suits for me...but then I have to get the damned thing up my arms and all the way on my shoulders so that I at least have some form of motion in my arms. To do this, I have to hop in the water and pull, and pull, and pull, until each sleeve finally makes it to the proper place. On this day I followed this up by only an hour or so dive in my wetsuit and ended up with a slight case of cyanosis in my lips. I finally threw in the towel. It was time to try something new.
I know I'm not alone in the struggle that is attempting to find a well fitting, easy to don, thick wetsuit. This is something I hear from my customers on a regular basis. The problem with wetsuits is often that they are a general size and often the sizes range over the different manufacturers. One companies womans size 8 can be the same as another companies size 10. Compounding that problem is: everyone's body is just slightly different. So the conundrum is: how do I find a suit that is both easy to get on, AND form fitting.
I may have found the answer in BARE's new line of wetsuits. This year BARE is trying something a little different and using a new technology in their suits called celliant. Celliant in laymans is a new fabric comprised of several minerals which are created into a resin and spun into a fiber. The benefits of celliant are: improved circulation, cell recovery (for wound healing), and the biggest benefit for us divers; temperature regulation. Celliant has been proven effective through nine seperate clinical trials and has been used in active wear, bedding, and medical bandages.
BARE's claim with their latest suits was that a 3mm feels more like a 5mm, a 5mm more like a 7mm... and so on. I was intrigued and ready to put it to the test so I ordered a 5mm Evoke suit in the red, grey, black scheme.
First impressions right off the bat are the stretch on this suit is amazing! This thing has much more give than my former suit. The colors are fabulous! Very on trend with grey, robin egg blue, yellow, black, and coral red. The cut of the pattern is not the same as a thin mannequin but more like the shape of a real body. The leg zippers are quite high up the shin to make donning boots simple.
It took me twenty seconds at most to get this suit on! WOW!!!! This alone is worth the price to me, no more struggle and sweating to get a suit on. I took the suit for a spin in the water while freediving for an hour and a half at Ginnie (water temp approx. 71 degrees Fahrenheit) wearing no hood. I wanted to give this suit a real go. While freediving, much of the time you are sitting completely still at the water surface doing breathups and readying yourself for the next dive. Most of the time after about an hour I'd be feeling the chill. This suit kept me quite warm. It lived up to the hype! No purple lips, no uncontrollable shivering and this is without a hood. An hour and a half and I WAS warmer in this suit than the 7mm I had worn two weeks ago. Color me impressed!
After this trial, I am very pleased with my decision. The suit is great, celliant works just as promised, and no more struggle before or after the dive while dealing with a wetsuit. Next time I'll dive with a hood, and I know I'll get more time out of it. Thanks BARE, you did an EXCELLENT job! Oh and there is a male version of this suit as well so don't think they left you guys out! The Reactive is available with the same technology and materials as the female Evoke suits.