MARK BRUCE is the instructor-in-residence at Wraysbury Dive Centre. He is in and out of the water there, summer and winter, on a daily basis and usually several times a day.
It happens to be my local puddle, handy for getting those pictures I know you all admire so much, the ones of me striding out of the water in various modes of attire.
Sometimes I even go diving in the lake, provided it’s appropriate. Naturally, there’s not a lot of depth so it’s not the sort of place to test computers, but it proves useful for checking out various drysuits and camera kit.
Sometimes, when I’ve arrived and noticed ice floating on the surface, I’ve even been cheeky enough to let Mark swim around for me, too. Where would we be in the diving game if it wasn’t for these likeable mugs
Mark proved useful to me once again recently when I turned up with a new Typhoon Evolution drysuit and a sore throat.
It turns out that he had jacked his previous best-thing-since-sliced-bread foreign-made drysuit because of maintenance problems, and got himself a British-made Evolution instead.
When you are in and out of freezing-cold water all day, a small leak can become more than an irritation, and the Typhoon factory in Redcar is not so far away. He was raving about the Evolution, and I don’t mean he was cross.
So this is really a diver Test by Mark Bruce. No, Mark, you don’t get my pay!
The Evolution looks a pretty unexciting front-entry membrane drysuit. The function of such a suit is to keep the water out. Insulation comes from what you wear underneath it, and I turned up in my Merino wool Icebreaker vest and long-johns under a Bare Polartec undersuit.
I was expecting to dive and, using the now popular vernacular, I was “toasty warm”. Don’t be misled by the tropical sunshine in the picture. It was a chilly wintry day.

The Design
The suit features an enhanced tri-laminate material with a texture in the mix. A diagonal front-entry zip is concealed beneath a flap that is also closed with a zip that operates in the other direction.
When the dryzip is closed, its tag is at the top while the tag on the cover zip is down by your waist. I’ve experienced the disadvantages of such zips finishing in the same spot, and the dryzip doesn’t need to be open more than a crack to ruin your day.
A word about cross-chest diagonal zips. These are often referred to as self-donning zips, yet I have only ever come across one drysuit that enabled me to close the zip without help.
I remember that young Ian McMurray in Cyprus had a nail planted in a convenient tree in the marina to hook his zip onto so that he can do it without help.
There’s a zipped pocket on the thigh of the Evolution. It’s not big enough to act as a sea-anchor and it has a zip top and bottom for appropriate access.
The “thermic” boots proved to be very cosy, and I wore only an ordinary pair of socks with them. Pulling the suit over my head was easy once the internal braces were adjusted to set its lower reaches well up into my own lower reaches, and my head passed easily (yes, I know it’s big!) through the latex neck-seal.
A warm neoprene collar then covers the latex, held in place by Velcro. Latex seals at the cuffs kept the water at bay there. It looked as sleek as any membrane suit once I was in it and had made a small tuck at the elasticated waist. The tuck was not big enough to warrant a crotch-strap, and none was in evidence.
The revolving Apeks inflation-valve was set well to one side on my chest. This meant that the wing-style BC I was using did not obstruct access to it. There was the usual Apeks dump-valve at the shoulder.
Overall, this looks like a tough, business-like suit that proves ideal for heavy use, according to Mark. For those busy teaching diving, it also has tough PU knee pads. Just watch where you’re kneeling!

In The Water
A tri-laminate suit will never be as sleek in the water as a properly fitted neoprene drysuit. However, Mark tells me that this one is very comfortable to wear, and it seems to be a lot warmer than other tri-laminates he’d worn.
The zips are a bit difficult to access and the pockets need to be bigger, especially when trying to use the zips with thick gloves on. It does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s bullet-proof, and for a front-entry suit he thinks it’s far too cheap.
He also has a suit that cost more than twice as much but this one bears comparison.
Apart from a slight struggle getting in and out of it, mainly because of the zips, he’s very happy and, once in it, wears it for most of the day. You can’t say fairer than that!

Hollis DX300, £956
Otter Britannic Travelite, £1035
Ursuit Kevlar BDS, £1600

PRICE £699
VALVE OPTIONS Auto shoulder or simple cuff-dump
SIZES 9 off-the-peg or MTM
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%