Rofos 350 HD Dry Suit Review
I joined Freestyle Divers in late October when the water temperature was still at 32 degrees Celcius. I was bewildered when I was given the option to dive the Rofos 350 HD test dry suit. However, as the temperature plummeted over the Christmas period I was thankful for the opportunity! Hailing from the UK I have had lots of experience diving numerous different suits. Therefore upon being given the opportunity to try this new one, I jumped at the chance.
To the suit itself:
Immediately after donning the suit was I hit by the comfort and flexibility. Being 5ft 10”, t-shirt size medium I was using a large size suit and boots (I’m a shoe size 9). The Rofos 350 HD dry suit felt like a decent fit as I am a fan of a little extra wiggle room so as not to be restricted whilst underwater or on the surface bending down to pick up kit.
There is a two part zip to the suit, brass covered by plastic which is a nice addition most companies use nowadays for protection of the watertight zip whilst in the more challenging of dive situations such as during penetrations. Specifically for the UAE, this second zip is also a positive for storage as it will shield against the dust and sand which seems to find its way into most tiny gaps. The valves are Apeks which are renowned for quality, however I would have preferred the lower profile shoulder dump valve, the functionality I have found the same but they make it a little easier when climbing in and out of your gear.
Movement and flexibility (can you reach those pesky valves):
The Rofos 350 HD dry suit is telescopic adding to it’s flexibility when reaching overhead when performing shutdowns for example. The excess material is held tucked away by a crotch strap for the usual diving position and is unnoticeable until it is required. The rock boots provided with the suit have a thick, rubber sole with lots of grip. They are comfortable, rugged and work well with the suit’s neoprene socks.
The reason you would buy a dry-suit in the first place is of course, to keep you warmer. I found that with a minimal base layer (only designed to wick the sweat away) I was shivering after 30 minutes bottom time in 23 degrees Celcius. However, with the addition of an undergarment jumper I am more than comfortable for long bottom times. A review of few different base layer combinations will soon follow.
The suit came with two large Velcro seal thigh pockets and an additional accessory pocket on each cover flap with a zip. It also has a slide in pouch behind each pocket. This description sounds as if they would be bulky, but they are not! Inside each pocket are bungee loops to connect your accessories which prevents the loss of items.
Being on the slimmer side of wrists and neck, it was a relief to see that the suit came with the “bottle” type wrist seals as opposed to the “cone”. Very little if any leakage occurred apart from when clutching a line for ascents during currents.
A few nice touches to this suit include a piece of elastic woven into the material around the waist area. This keeps the material from becoming too baggy and also reducing the amount of air shift to the feet should you feel the need to become slightly inverted, (photographers I’m looking at you). Rofos has also attached two bungee loops around the braces for you to keep your wrist seals from dragging along the floor when only half donned.
To sum up:
The big test for a dry suit could be described as whether you feel the “I need to get out of this suit” urge. This did not happen after any dive, even in the warm weather of the United Arab Emirates. I found on numerous occasions I was 20 minutes into the return boat ride before realizing I was still completely dressed and had not even unfastened the zip. As a professional diver, a huge positive for this suit is the fact that in the morning I can partake in a deep wreck dive with extended bottom times, and then come back and jump out guiding on the shallow reef without the need to change my thermal protection. I have also used the suit on technical dives and overhead environments and no holes have appeared as of yet.
Overall I can say that it was a pleasure to dive this suit! The flexibility is great, the valve positioning is spot on and it is extremely comfortable to wear. Optional extras to the basic model include;
- Neoprene/Latex neck seal
- Interchangeable wrist cuffs which are also useable for dry gloves.
- Standard neoprene boots on the suit or the neoprene sock/rock boot combination.
Rofos 350 HD Dry Suit also has colour Options apart from all black.