Drysuit DUI TLS 350
Can you imagine a drysuit that actually made you look smart Smart enough to turn up to a banquet at the Grosvenor House Great Room Something that looks like evening dress Something that evokes the greeting: Good evening, Mr Bond!
     As regular readers know, we tested 20 different drysuits in last months issue. Some manufacturers sent more than one model of suit, which meant that we were forced to make a choice if we were to be fair and feature only one suit per maker.
     Among the selection that never made it to the published result was the DUI TLS 350, a suit that provoked comments such as: Its so light! and: The most comfortable suit of the test but it would last only for about five minutes with my sort of wreck diving.
     Weighing in at an amazing 2kg in a size to fit a man more than 6ft tall, this is the perfect drysuit when it comes to packing when weight is important. It would be ideal for a trip to the northern Red Sea in winter, for example.
     One of our drysuit test-divers commented that he thought it looked to be made of the same material as an old ladys nylon shopping bag. However, provided one engaged in look-but-dont-touch diving, any possible fragility would be irrelevant.
     There can be no denying that it fitted me beautifully and looked very good with its ruched waist and torso tuck. It is well-made, up to the usual DUI standard, well-stitched, well-taped and neatly glued, although the permanently fixed internal braces did not look that well secured.
     It has an over-long torso that makes it easy to get into through the front diagonal zip, and then to pull the neck entry over the head. The extra material is taken care of with a tuck. In fact, the off-the-peg suit was probably a bit short for me but the extra material at the torso gives a lot of leeway.
     A crotch-strap keeps things neat. The front diagonal dry-zip is covered by an outer layer of material with a second ordinary plastic zip on top. The internal braces keep the crotch where it belongs.
     I have always liked DUI suits because invariably they keep me dry, which is not something I can say about all other suits.
     I noticed, however, that the conical latex wrist seals seemed shorter than I remembered, though they still gave me a good 3cm of contact with my skin. The bellows-style latex neck seal is covered by a short neoprene collar. Latex may be a little easy to damage but it certainly keeps the water out.
     Of course, one of the reasons the TLS 350 is so light is that it has no boots. The legs end with integrated socks.
     The intention is that you wear them with DUI Rock Boots, a simple thick-soled canvas hiking boot with the inner sole removed. If these are too heavy you can always substitute a pair of ordinary wetsuit boots but I think you will need at least one size larger than you normally wear.
     DUI has done its best to simplify the business of doing up the Rock Boot laces. They feature a locking toggle but I anticipate a lot of people being seasick while they bend down to struggle with the excess length of lace that has to be wrapped neatly and tied off around the top of the ankles. That said, these Rock Boots are ideal for shore-diving.
     The TLS 350 comes with an Apeks rotating inflation valve mounted at the centre of the chest, and a constant-volume auto-dump at the upper left shoulder. Because the inflation valve rotates, the direct-feed hose is never on the wrong side.
     Ironically, a poorly tightened inflation valve (my fault for not checking) gave me the opportunity to find out that the material on the inside dries very quickly. Without boots it can easily be turned inside-out to aid the process following a catastrophic flood.
     I found the TLS 350 very easy to get into, even if I did need a little help to close the zip that last couple of centimetres.
     Of course, it affords absolutely no insulation whatsoever. You must choose an undersuit to match prevailing conditions. In the Red Sea in winter I might have settled for the minimalism of a Xerotherm but in a springtime freshwater lake I opted to add the full Weezle undersuit to this.
     In the water this TLS 350 drysuit felt as unrestrictive as a wetsuit might have been. The auto-dump valve worked without me ever having to think about it, it being so well-positioned. And once the suit was wet it seemed to become much less fragile-looking.
     I took to it, though when I had to climb out of it after a dive, its very snug fit made things rather awkward and provided all those present with a good laugh at my expense.
The DUI TLS 350 costs £741, including Rock Boots, wet hood and bag.
  • SDS Watersports 0114 248 8688, www.sdswatersports.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Ultra-lightweight
    + Very good aquadynamics

    - Could be fragile
    - Not for wreckies and tekkies