Scuba Dry Suits
1 reviews from the community
Review of "DUI CLX-450"
When I began diving, I was told that the greatest and most important asset of the cold-water diver was thermal protection. Any lack of this was to be forever cold, wet and miserable. It stands to reason - the UK's waters (inland and offshore) can be bitterly cold and the diving that is to be had is quite variable, with many dives only accessible after some time on a hardboat or RIB. Because of these things your thermal protection's got to be spot-on.
I bought drysuits for Sar and me, as we'd started diving together with a small club. I was pointed in the direction of a cottage industry which made drysuits to measure and, not knowing any better, coughed up the 300-odd sovs for each suit. The suits were ill-fitting and uncomfortable. They were quite iffy too, with both of ours having problems with the boots and wrist seals becoming unstuck, as they are only glued on. That they're glued on is the norm. That they detach regularly mid-dive is thankfully not! Sar eventually sacked the diving idea having had a few scares. Me, I went shopping.
IT'S D-U-I, NOT DEWEY
I was pointed in the direction this time of a US-based manufacturer that makes a variety of drysuits and other diving-related gear. I was impressed by the look and evident quality of the gear, as a few of the instructors I had been taught by had worn them. Sure, there were things to go wrong, but these suits were different to others that were popular. DUI (as the title states) is a pedant's suit. The design has dialled out a number of irritating faults with other suits and made an interesting and, to my mind, effective remedy. I'll show you for why:
Most drysuits I had seen were rear entry, with the main zip running laterally across the diver's shoulders. This means the diver clambers into the suit, pus the arms into the sleeves, the seal over the head and the buddy does the zip up. Tightly, one hopes... The CLX450 has a front zip, running diagonally across the front of the torso, which allows a diver to kit up independently. This is useful when supervising a bunch of novices. Moreover, getting out of the suit is up to the diver, not a buddy!
This replaces the traditional welly-boot that adorns the ends of most drysuit legs. What DUI has done is replace these with soft neoprene socks, making the drysuit more comfy on the feet and ankles. Rock-boots (or old-style canvas basketball boots) go over the top of the neoprene socks and hey presto! you have a waterproof (and comfy) pair of feet. The added advantage to the rock boot system is that ankle weights worn by some divers tend to slip less with these. Also, air migration, which can force off a welly if a diver ascends inverted, is much reduced with this design.
One design great with this suit is the extra material around the middle, which can be folded over and secured with a bungee running from the back of the suit, between the legs and securing off on a clip at the front. This allows more divers of differing sizes to feel comfy in an off-the-peg suit design. It also allows for a bit of give when needed, without making the diver resemble Bibendum (or the Michelin Man, to the uninitiated!).
DUI made my drysuit out of trilaminate, which is effectively three layers of material sandwiched together. It offers little insulation, but is very flexible and light. The other material DUI makes its drysuits from is crushed neoprene, which is hard-wearing and heavier than trilaminate (the seals are made from neoprene too, which is a matter of taste). A neoprene suit is also a darn sight more difficult to get into! In order to make this trilaminate suit more appealing to wreckers and cavers, DUI placed a top layer of 1000 Denier Cordura over a few of the drysuit panels. I have needless to say still holed my suit (being the clumsy oaf I am), but mended it easily (as with all trilaminate suits) with a tube of Aquasure glue and a bicycle inner-tube repair patch! The zipper has an extra guard (also zipped closed) over the top and the seals are all standard latex, which can be replaced cheaply as needed.
Yes, certainly. "There is no such thing as cold, only the wrong clothes", as Billy Connolly said in one of his sketches. A good drysuit can determine the difference between a good or a bad dive in cold waters. Like most trilaminate suits, as long as the thermal protection underneath is good enough (I recommend Weezle undersuits, but they are for another op!), then this suit is the top of the heap in my opinion!
Product Information : DUI CLX-450
Manufacturer's product descriptionScuba Dry Suits
Long Name: CLX-450
Genre: Scuba Diving
Type: Scuba Dry Suits
Listed on Ciao since: 13/05/2003