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Current top drysuits for rec diving

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by EmceeBigG, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

    It's impossible to say what the best drysuit is as people have different values and goals.

    For me, Santi is what I'm after. Fits very well, comfortable, lightweight, very handy features like pockets, balanced p valve, great warranty, free goodies like a waterproof drybag etc. I'm incredibly happy with mine so far.

    Other top brands for similar divers would be DUI (tls 350), Fourth Element Argonaut, SF Tech TNT (Pro), Ursuit. Don't really know many others so not saying there arent other alternatives.

    I haven't dived some of these but I will try to say what I think to be the truth about each brand (that I know of) without trying to sell you a partiular sight. This is based from personal experience, what I've seen and heard in person and some research on the internet.

    Common critiques for each brand:
    Cheap material
    Not that durable but a good suit especially considering its price.
    If you're on a budget and don't want the nice extra features a more expensive suit will offer, get this.
    There is a big difference in quality but also a big difference in price compared to top brands.
    Suit features are very cheap parts but the actual suit isn't bad.
    Customer Service? small business - who knows.
    Great value - budget suit/ backup
    Small brand

    Otter (Britannic/ Atlantic):
    Strong suits even trilam versions are more durable compared to other brands
    Well made
    Mobility in the shoulders ie cut of the suit isn't great, numerous complaints of not reaching valves.
    Only a couple hundred less than Santi without getting the extra quality and free goodies you get from Santi..
    Many BSAC divers use them as they're a good strong " British brand - god, queen, country all that...

    Santi (Elite+/ Emotion +):
    Not as durable as Otter trilam apparently (Enduro/ Elite/ Elite + is very durable though).
    Had Tzip (plastic zip) problems a few years ago then switched to YKK zippers (can still order metal also) and no more problems.
    Still only a couple hundred more than Otter and others and come with loads of extras like a bag, beanie, replacements and warranty.
    Santi does size up by 1-2 cm (not that other brands don't)
    Excellent suit however boots wear out easily enough.
    See a lot of GUE, technical divers and explorers using these suits.

    FE (Argonaut):
    Excellent suit similar to a Santi.
    Haven't heard any complaints as not many use them- just because you haven't heard complaint doesn't mean they don't exist.

    DUI (tls 350):
    Most Expensive
    Excellent suits.
    Believed to have the best "cave" cut but the cut is so good that they leak higher than normal compared to others.
    Used by some of the top explorers in the world - world record cave dive for example.
    Excellent quality but you are paying for the fact they are american made everything like Halcyon. There are a lot of complaints about DUI in general - I would boil this down to the fact that a lot are bought and a lot of those divers who do buy them dive a lot so of course they will get wear and tear (same as Santi)
    See a lot of explorers in the past using these suits, noyt as much now though, still highly popular in cave country and the old technical divers.

    SF Tech (TNT (Pro)):
    Excellent suits
    Excellent quality
    Trilam version is warmest trilam according to website.
    Used by top explorers, aimed at cold water (technical) divers
    Neoprene suits are excellent also
    Haven't heard any complaints - this might be my next suit.
    Small brand

    Ursuit (1 performance, softdura, cordura):
    Very good quality
    Good value - basically a budget Santi.
    Haven't heard many issues.

    Excellent made neoprene suits - one of the best neoprene brands out there along with SF Tech and Otter
    Trilam is lacking in quality and overpriced imo
    Very good price range from 795 to 1295 for crushed neoprene range
    Not recommended for technical diving as even crushed neoprene compresses slightly
    Very durable
    Many UK recreational divers use these

    Suit brands to stay away from given their track record:

    Again, there are people way more experienced than me who can chime in on these suits. Please say what you disagree on and why. Please say if there is anything missing that needs to be there. People with experience please.
    Skoock likes this.
  2. EireDiver606

    EireDiver606 DIR Practitioner

    So apparently because you know 2 people who owned them and had issues, they're bad suits right?
  3. Efka76

    Efka76 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
    I have Seaskin drysuit. Unfortunately due to this Covid 19 I was not able to do a lot of dives in it, however, I do not agree that ''suit features are very cheap". My suit comes with Kubi glove system (as far as I understand they are market leader in drysuit gloves). My suit is made to measure and fits me very well. It has repleaceable neck seal, Si-tech valves (did not know that they are considered cheap). It has trilobite attached to hand, all possible druisuit reinforcements. Also, its price is more approximately 2.5 less than Santi equivalent. It does the job, diving is dry. I prefer not to overpay for drysuit to have posh logo on it.
    lexvil and racanichou like this.
  4. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    Where did I EVER say they are bad suits?

    What I said is that 100% of the people I know PERSONALLY, who have ordered custom Santi suits in the last 2 or 3 years have had problems. Both got suits that didn't fit right. One even had to go to the trouble of being re-measured on video camera to prove to Santi that the measurements provided were correct before Santi would admit that they screwed up and made his suit too small and agreed to make him a new one. The other had fit issues also and then, after only 80 or so dives, and 14 months of ownership, the boots were leaking. Santi has a "great" warranty - except for the bits that are crappy. The warranty on the boots is 12 months, so they told her to go pound sand. Their boots wear out way too quickly. So, do they made better boots? No, they just make the warranty on the boots shorter than the warranty on the rest of the suit. That is some great customer service right there.

    I think their suits are top quality (except for those boots) - once you get one that is made correctly (i.e. to the right dimensions). But, the customer service - well, it seems like that leaves a ton to be desired. Look up the thread about the woman on here who had the same problem with her Santi boots and got a TOTAL run-around until she posted about it publicly. Then finally the head of the US company that was supposed to handle warranty service finally stepped in and took care of her. Nobody should have to go through all that to get good customer service.

    "Free goodies" from Santi? You don't the price you paid for a Santi covered the cost of those "free" goodies? You could pay a couple of hundred extra bucks for a Seaskin to get the same extras. You'd still have spent half the money and have all the same goodies. Would that make them free, too?

    Your Seaskin critiques say they are common.

    How many different people have you seen say that Seaskin materials are cheap? I only know of one poster, here on SB, who said that their trilam material is not AS high quality as the O3 trilam material. That does not mean it is "cheap". A local buddy of mine with an Ursuit Softdura suit looked at my Seaskin trilam and said that it appeared to be identical material to the Softdura. Anyway, mainly I am curious how you can say that it is commonly said that the Seaskin material is cheap. I did a lot of research before I bought my first one and never saw that critique at all. Where did I fail to look to see it said "commonly"?

    Where have you seen it posted that it is not that durable? I have not seen any posts here on SB to that effect. Or anywhere else, really. At least, not that I can remember. But, I AM getting old and maybe I just don't remember.

    What "nice, extra features" can you get on a Santi that you can't get on a Seaskin? As far as I can tell, Seaskin offers more "extra" features as options that any other suit maker I have seen. Can you order a Santi with Kubi dry glove rings? Can you order it with your choice of zippered or velcro thigh pockets? Do they offer mulitple options for your choice of thigh pocket size? Can you choose whether you want the thigh pockets on the sides or more to the front to accommodate sidemount cylinders?

    Have you looked at a Seaskin in person? What is the basis for saying that there is a big difference in quality? I HAVE personally looked at both in person. I don't see ANY real difference in quality. MAYBE the suit material itself is a different quality - but if so that is not something I personally am able to see with my naked eye. Otherwise, construction seems to be comparable.

    And what suit parts are cheap? They offer your choice of Si Tech or Apeks inflate and dump valves. Do you get that choice with Santi? You can get Kubi dry glove rings. Are those "cheap accessories"?

    I have one friend that custom ordered a Santi E.lite. Then, less than 2 years later(?), got a Seaskin trilam (because of problems with the Santi and difficulty getting them fixed - so wanting a suit to be able to use in the meantime). I think the Seaskin is now her main suit and the Santi is her backup.
  5. Bald Wookie

    Bald Wookie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Newfoundland
    Ok everyone, lets go back to RECOMMENDING suits.
  6. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    Is there an issue with seeking clarification on information that has been given?
    T Mogle likes this.
  7. Bald Wookie

    Bald Wookie Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Newfoundland
    Nope, but why argue over something someone said over the internet when the OP is simply asking for an opinion on the "Best current Rec. Drysuit"?
  8. Danny D

    Danny D Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Northeast
    Comparatively, does Seaskin have a suit material or overlay similar to the DUI CLX / Santi Elite or is it more in line with the DUI TLS?
  9. SlawUnderwater

    SlawUnderwater Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Cleveland
    Hey Burhan,

    I just ordered one from my LDS- Aquatic Adventures in Columbus, OH. They have become an authorized dealer. I was able to try on the RI-200 and the Ninety 90, as well as the undergarments. I went with the 90 because I love the ability to use it year round and alter my base layers. It's incredibly well made and just awesome to look at. I needed a bit of tailoring so it should be arriving from the factory in 8-10 weeks. I will post a full review then as well as when I can dive it. Also of note, the suit included the undergarments, attached boots, Kubi dry gloves, hood, changing mat, bag and accessories. Can't wait to dive it!
    stuartv and BurhanMuntasser like this.
  10. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    Please do as soon as you can :)
    SlawUnderwater likes this.

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