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My indepth review of the Hollis NeoTek Semi-Dry

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by NJDiver_Chris, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. NJDiver_Chris

    NJDiver_Chris Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: United States
    A little background first, I have been diving for about 3 years, all my diving is done up here in the lovely north east where water temperatures can reach a scalding 55*F at depth in August! I have been diving a Neosport 7mm farmer john, it kept me alive but not very warm at all. I wanted to get warmer because let's face it, the beginning stages of hypothermia get old after a while. My only problem is I am a broke 24 year old just out of college and a dry suit is just not in the cards for me so I decided a semi-dry should serve me well. Routine dives for me are around 90-130ft with 5-20ft vis and average temperature is about 50*F.

    Ok, so before buying this I looked high and low for any indepth reviews on this suit or maybe even some pictures of it but alas, there was nothing, so I took a plunge (diving pun intended) and bought one of these off leisure pro for $329.99. It seemed like the best bang for the buck, it is fairly new to the market, reputable manufacturer, lots of awesome new features (including Lavacore but i'll touch on that later), and above all IT HAS POCKETS!

    Alright, so for all the features (remember I said I would touch on them later, well, it's later...) It is not one thickness neoprene, the "core" of it (shoulder to shoulder, down to the crotch area) is all 8mm, the arms and legs are 7mm and the back of the legs and inside of your elbows is 6mm which helps with mobility, all the neoprene is compression resistant which is a nice feature if you are used to thick suits. The suit is a one piece with a zipper in the front for entry. The zipper is the same quality as that of a dry suit zipper, has a good tough bulky feeling to it. The knees, elbows and butt all have a tough liner feeling material for durability, there is also a built in spine pad which is quite noticeable in a good way, definitely makes you improve your posture. There is also a built in hood with a good seal around the face. All seams on this suit are stiched and glued, amazing seams, better than some thousand dollar suits i've seen. As for the most important part, the pockets, because let's face it, you can NEVER have too many pockets and these bad boys are great. They are very large pockets, I didn't measure them but you can easily fit two masks in each pocket, there is an internal d-ring inside of each pocket, the velcro is a bit tough to open which is a good thing, you don't want your pockets flying open while diving.

    Onto the inside, The arms and legs have a water damn around 8inches from the opening for the wrist and ankle, it is an inch piece of neoprene. The neck area inside of the suit has a built in damn as well, same thickness as the ankle and wrist damns that you must done before closing the top. Inside of the suit is Lavacore, a joint effort by several big names in the industry (one of which is Hollis, shocker that it found its way into their only wetsuit), The description of this suit leads you believe that the Lavacore only covers the core area but truth be told, it runs from the ankles to the wrists in sections to keep you warm. It is a very nice feeling material, sort of a fleece feel which is comfortable. Overall this suit is very warm, from other reviews I have read, people have stayed warm in this down into the low 40s on long dives. I am trying to think of anything that i may have missed but I think I covered most of it, if you have questions ask away, and if I think of anything else I will update it.

    I took a bunch of photos, most importantly of the inside so people can see what it looks like.

    Without further adieu:

    Out of the box, looks like a wetsuit in a bag, no surprises

    First time out

    A look inside at the Lavacore liner and the upper section of the spine pad, also if you couldn't guess, it's made in China

    Close up of the zipper

    Neck damn

    Arm damn close up, also note how far down the Lavacore goes, remember how I said its not just the core, one other thing, check out the seams.

    One of the pockets

    Backside of the suit

    One other thing, people will always know what brand of suit you are wearing, it has Hollis or the Hollis Logo in 7 places on the suit as well as NEOTEK written twice across the chest. Not sure if that bugs people, personally I don't mind.

    Thanks for reading, hope it helps someone out there.
    Mark Archer, Matt Glass and CT Sean like this.
  2. Sea Louse

    Sea Louse Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Philadelphia PA
    Thanks for the review, I've been looking for something like this for a while.

    So you've been diving the Neosport 7mm Farmer John. Me too. A lot of my dives are in similar temps/depths as yours. I've been considering this suit as an alternative to a drysuit as well.

    How you actually been in the water with it yet?

    If so, how does this suit compare to the Neopsort in terms of warmth.

    How does it do at depth?

    How's the mobility?

    How "dry" is it?

    How much less weight do you use compared to the Neosport (I know mine took a crap=ton of weight to sink initially (like 32lbs w/ steel tank, and now I've crushed it so much that it only takes about 24!).

    How easy is it to don and doff? What about when it is wet?

    What's your overall impression???
    Matt Glass likes this.
  3. NJDiver_Chris

    NJDiver_Chris Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: United States
    I haven't been in the ocean with it yet, my bathtub doesn't count, The mobility on dry land is comparable to the FJ, maybe a little bit less in forward reach from the spine pad but you can still reach everything. I know that this suit will take more weight from other semi-dry divers I have talked to. It is easy to don as a wetsuit can be I suppose, getting it off is a little bit of a struggle getting the upper zipper part off, you can do it alone, but with two people it's simple. With only sitting in my bathtub filled with ice, it stayed dry the entire time (20 mins) and I didn't feel an ounce of cold in the 43* water.

    My first dive is going to be late april-early may, I will post up results then.
  4. scubamarketing

    scubamarketing Dive Shop

    Sub'd for open water review :)
  5. rgalanti21

    rgalanti21 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
    Thank you for this review and unboxing! I am considering purchasing this to complete my full gear setup, and this has made me feel confident that this is the one I want! Thanks! Now its only too bad that Leisurepro has it for $399.95 instead of the price you got!
  6. DM_cappie

    DM_cappie Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Beaufort, SC
    good review, I just got the chance to try mine out this past weekend. I did three dives each over an hour long, in 52*F water, never once did I feel cold. As for weight, I carried 6 lbs of extra lead over what I'd normally have for my neosport 5mm, with hood and 2mm vest.
    Matt Glass likes this.
  7. NJDiver_Chris

    NJDiver_Chris Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: United States
    How was the water exchange? Did it flood easily or did you have to burp it?
  8. RichmondKYdiver

    RichmondKYdiver Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Richmond KY
    I've dove this suit in 54 degree water and used it extensively in my cavern class. I am 6' 185 and ordered a large last fall. Water exchange is non existent, I do feel water creep on my lower legs and lower arms but that is more of the inner material soaking up some water around the ankles and wrists and weeping up the suit, much different than wet suit water exchange. When I dive doubles, I use a 10lb V weight. The suit is very mobile, close fitting and is a joy to dive. I have a 3m, 5m and drysuit. This Hollis is far and away my favorite suit.
    Matt Glass and DM_cappie like this.
  9. DM_cappie

    DM_cappie Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Beaufort, SC
    RicmondKYdiver is right,
    water exchange seems non-existent. no dout water does get into the suit, but its slow and doesnt move once inside. the inner dams and lavacore work nicely.
    very, very happy with this suit. was considering going dry before, but because of the cost difference figured id give this semi-dry a chance first, and it definetly delivered
  10. squalus357

    squalus357 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Connecticut
    I have just ordered the Hollis NeoTek from my local dive shop. During the past 2 years I have used the Henderson Semi dry that retails for about a hundred buck more than the hollis. I beat the crap out of it. Its a great suit all day long. Warm and comfy, easy to don and doff. I dive wrecks in the Long Island Sound and film them for my online show. I am normally negative because the viz is kinda tough and the current are fun also. I wore out the knees in the henderson semi dry so i figured i would try the hollis. ( i dig the pockets)

    I am still diving dry but next month I will be diving wet with the new hollis suit. I will come back and give you all my two cents.

    Captain Denis
    Squalus Marine

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