Caroline of C-Bear has been making undersuits for use with drysuits for long enough that we can assume she knows exactly what shes doing. But an undersuit is hardly the ultimate fashion statement. I have yet to see Kate Moss or Liz Hurley wearing one.
Undersuits are as functional as a pair of Y-fronts or a plastic mac. You wear one because you have to. So what can I tell you about this one
The C-Bear AP4 is made from Tactel with a micro-fibre outer shell. It has 250gm Thinsulate inter-layer insulation for body and legs and a thinner 100gm Thinsulate interlayer for the sleeves to help you avoid the institutional-offender effect.
It is claimed to be both wind- and shower-proof and its fleece lining gives you that snuggle-down feeling and wicks away any sweat that might form in such a warm environment.
An elasticated waist gives a slightly fitted appearance, and a high collar stops the thin latex neck seal of your suit getting an icy grip on your throat.
The AP4 has two hip pockets and a zipped breast pocket, a two-way zipper essential for gentlemen who might be caught short, and a wind-flap (nothing to do with getting caught short) over the zip, secured by press studs. Like the early products of Henry Ford, it comes only in black, so should any sea water leak into your suit the salty stains will show up nicely.
As tested the AP4 costs £180 but it is also available with optional attached socks, an additional lumbar pad and a leg reinforcement for a catheter-bag, should you use one. Catheters, incidentally, come in three sizes - small, medium and liar!
I tried the AP4 one day in January and nearly fainted from heat exhaustion just pulling my drysuit on. It is said to have a tog rating of 6.0, which I assume is a high value. I felt as if I was wrapped in 10 duvets with a couple of blankets for good measure.
It seems ideal for those early Sunday mornings when you have to sleep in your car to be sure of a good parking space at your favourite dive site.
Best of all, when you get up to dive before the first sparrows fart, the AP4 doesnt rustle when you walk!
The AP4 costs from £180.
  • C-Bear 01566 777636, www.c-bear.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Very warm
    + Doesnt rustle when you walk

    - Not suitable for trendy night-spots
    - Only in black