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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.
09
January

Best “Semi-Dry” Wetsuits

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Best “Semi-Dry” Wetsuits Posted in: Dive Gear Tips, Scuba Product Guides, Wetsuits
1960s wetsuit

Wetsuits have come a long way, baby (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Some divers gripe there is no such thing as a “semi-dry” suit, and while the term is oxymoronic, it is no more so than “fresh frozen” or “virtually spotless.” As a practical matter, semi-dry wetsuits are at the top of the wetsuit range, including the thickest and best-sealed wetsuits available. Expect any suit sporting the semi-dry label to be at least 6 mm thick and rated for chilly, 50-degree water.

Some suits go beyond that standard, using thicker neoprene and excellent seals to keep their wearers warm in frigid 45-degree water. For many cold water divers, a top-notch semi-dry suit is a viable substitute for a drysuit, offering all the warmth with none of the bulk or complexity.

Aqua Lung SolAfx 8mm: It would be more accurate to call this wetsuit an 8-7mm, since only the torso has 8mm of neoprene. Even so, it is one of the thickest wetsuits on the market today, and the zipper, neck, ankle and wrist seals rival anything else out there. SolfAfx 8mm owners love their suits, and report staying comfortable and warm in water as cold as the mid-40s F (7 C).

Cressi Lontra 7 mm: The Cressi Longra is a close second to the SolAfx. The standard suit is rated for water in the lower 50s F, but some divers report its good for even the upper 40s F. However, the suit is made to be combined with a 5 mm neoprene jacket, putting 13 mm of neoprene around a diver’s core, and with that it can likely go even colder. An added touch is the hood ring, something the SolAfx lacks.

Scubapro Nova Scotia 6.5 mm: Plenty of wet-suits on the market are thicker than the Nova Scotia 6.5 mm, but few match it for seals. Although it is rated for 50-degree water like a typical semi-dry suit, owners report taking it into the frigid mid-40s F. It is a lighter semi-dry suit that really delivers.

Best Budget Choice
Oceanic Ultra 7mm: Some divers don’t need to push the limits on their wetsuit’s temperature rating, and therefore don’t need to spend the extra money to own the best cold water wetsuit possible. The Oceanic Ultra 7 mm wetsuit delivers that sort of middling performance, but at a very budget-friendly price.