Appeared in DIVER August 2007

John John Bantin has been a full-time professional diving writer and underwater photographer since 1990. He makes around 300 dives each year testing diving equipment.


MY FIRST DRYSUIT WAS ALMOST A TRAVESTY. It was a Swedish rubberised membrane-style suit that kept me perfectly dry. The only problem was that I was nearly 2m tall and as thin as a rake, and this off-the-peg suit would have accommodated the burliest of builds.
I used to gather it up around me and drop to the seabed before swimming as short a distance as possible and then heading back for the surface. I remember swimming on the surface on my back and taking forever and a day to make it back across the width of the lake at Stoney Cove, such was its resistance to forward motion. Ive avoided off-the-peg suits ever since.
It says something about the size of todays divers that Scubapro could send me a neoprene suit in a stock size that fitted me. I no longer have a body like a bag of spanners, though I am still not overweight, according to my Body Mass Index.
The Everdry 4 drysuit is constructed from 4mm high density neoprene that does not compress much further under the pressure of depth so, unlike old-fashioned neoprene drysuits, this one has constant buoyancy. It has neoprene seals at neck and wrists.
Quite stretchy, the suit fitted me like the proverbial glove. Relying on the neoprene to act as the thermal barrier, even though I first tried it at Wraysbury Lake in a chilly early May, I wore it with nothing more than my ordinary underwear underneath.

By using three different colours, blue, black and grey, the neoprene panels are cut in such a way that they are quite slimming. In fact the Everdry 4 is one of the sexiest-looking drysuits
I have tried. Putting it on in the car-park at Wraysbury drew admiring comments from the hard-bitten crew I tend to meet there. Thats unusual!
The Everdry 4 was such a sleek fit that it was actually flattering, which you cant say of many drysuits.
A young lady present commented that I had a better derriere than she did. I reflected that in my prime, many girlfriends had told me it was my best feature, probably because my personality was not in the running for any awards.
Anyhow, thats the magic of close-fitting flexible neoprene. I decided to take it with me that week to Egypt. I had been a month earlier and frozen in a semi-dry suit.

Ease of use
I got into the suit OK, my arms slipping easily through the wrist-seals. The neck-seal, however, was a tight parallel-sided tube. I had to be quite bold to pull my head through it, and it made a watertight seal, but getting it off later was another matter. I was stuck.
I began to curse having such a long bone in my nose. I got halfway and considered using
my divers knife. Liberal helpings of baby lotion might have eased things, but I had none to hand. Nigel Wade, the chirpy Fire Officer and Director of Training at Wraysbury, offered to help with the tube of KY jelly he always carries with him. I decided to struggle instead, succeeding eventually, but it was not pleasant. Nigel took the pictures.
Once in it and using it, the Everdry 4 was terrific. I swam as easily as I would have done in a wetsuit. I was very taken with it, and reluctant to send it back to Scubapro.

Efficacy of valves
Swedish-made Si-tech valves allowed me to inject air easily by pushing a slider when needed. The sliding action ensures that the inflation valve never gets pushed inadvertently. It revolves through more than 360 degrees, which makes hose routeing easy.
The low-profile constant-volume valve on the shoulder ensured that any air that expanded during an ascent was free to escape and, yes, I was able to keep the suit at constant volume, thereby never needing to resort to putting air in my BC.

Efficacy of seals
People have strong feelings regarding choice of seals - latex versus neoprene. I managed to turn the neck-seal in on itself so that air pressure within kept the seal against my skin, but this was hardly necessary.
The seal was so tight that precious little water got past - I was also concerned that precious little blood would get past in my carotid arteries either. Would I be garrotted The neck-seal is designed to be turned in on itself, so that the smoothskin surface is against your neck.
Inevitably, there was a tiny ingress of water at the wrists, though less than I would have expected. Swimming around the cold lake, it was only my gloveless hands that eventually became cold.

Divernet Divernet

PRICE £545
MATERIAL 4mm Neoprene
ZIP POSITION Cross-shoulder
SIZES Ten off-the-peg sizes for men from 86-121cm chest; six for women from 81-112cm hip.
CONTACT, 01256 812636
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