Vest, Apollo Bio

Bring out the gimp
Apollo Bio Seals are bands of extremely stretchy, rubbery material that a diver can wear at neck and wrists as an interface between skin and the latex or neoprene of a drysuits seals. The idea is to form a more effective barrier to water than might be obtained simply with seals and bare skin. The neck seal also stops that rash that some of us get from a drysuit seal.
     Apollo has realised that there are other applications for the remarkable hi-tech material from which Bio Seals are made, said to be elastic to the order of something like 1500%.
     Yes, you read that right! Its very stretchy.
     If you were titillated by the sight of me wearing a set of Bio Seals in these pages last year, youre in for a treat! Pulp Fiction fans will be delighted. The company sent me a fetching little black rubber polo-necked vest, and it was probably no coincidence that it arrived in time for the Christmas party season.
     Talk about one size fits all, this little vest easily fitted me and all the other members of my family (in turn). The Apollo Bio Vest looks as if its made of rubber, but its not. Bring out the gimp!
     So whats the idea when it comes to diving Well, you know how often a diver can arrive at a desirable destination only to find that the water is a bit cooler than was anticipated. It happened to me in Papua New Guinea.
     On the north side of the mainland, it was like diving in a bath, whereas on the southern side, the Great Barrier Reef side, it was like diving in a bath that some teenager had soaked in all morning and finally abandoned just as hypothermia set in.
     Ive routinely packed lightweight garments like those from ChillCheater or Fourth Element to wear under a wetsuit that proved too cold, and they make a difference. Apollo is looking at that function too, to add insulation around the torso.
     The Bio Vest is very easy to put on because it stretches so much. There seems little danger of it tearing because, though soft and stretchy, its also extremely tough. Depending on how much you stretch it (which depends on how much you fill it) this little vest can be very insulating indeed.
     In my case, it was stretched thin across my chest and tended to ride up, leaving me with a bare midriff under my suit. Very fashionable among modern young women, but in my case its not so good.
     If youre heavily built, forget it. Youll end up with what looks like a very small rubber bra and it really wont look very nice at all!
     However, the stretchiness of the Bio Vest allowed me to pull it down over my abdomen, and its strange non-sticky adhesiveness (if that makes any sense) kept it there. All I had to do then was brave the comments from other divers as I climbed into my semi-dry.
     The Bio Vest proved extremely comfortable. It didnt seem to add much to my overall warmth under water because of the exposed armpit area, but after climbing back aboard the Red Seas mv Excel in a wintry wind, its hydrophobic properties stopped me being chilled by evaporation when I climbed out of my suit.
     Back in the privacy of my cabin, I found that the Bio Vest had become part of me. It felt as if it was glued on. I peeled it off like a layer of indestructible Jell-O and found I was perfectly dry underneath. I wished Id had a pair of Bio Shorts to go with it but these are not yet available and might need an extra degree of bravery.
     So while my enthusiasm for the Bio Vests thermal insulating properties is restricted, the comfort level is high. I can say no more without prejudicing my standing within the diving community.
     Suffice to say, if you are man or girl enough to wear one, youll enjoy it!
The Apollo Bio Vest costs £125.

  • CJ Evans International 01202680533

  • Divernet
    + Keeps parts warm when other parts are wet

    - Underwater insulation properties limited
    - Few men may be man enough to be seen wearing it