WETSUIT Camaro Deep Mission suit
It was about a week after I had written that I dont really like to write tests of wetsuits that the floodgates opened and, you guessed it, I was inundated with wetsuits from all over the place.
     This one comes from a manufacturer that is highly rated in Europe but virtually unheard of in the UK - Camaro of Austria.
     Camaro specialises in making neoprene garments for all sorts of watersports, whether it be windsurfing, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, dinghy sailing, surfing, canyoning, kayaking or simply swimming. Of course it would be daft to miss out on scuba-diving and Camaro makes a huge range of suits, both wet and dry, that include those for diving under the ice in the Lac du Tigne and for diving in Lac Assal, said to be the hottest part of Africa.
     Im told that it can be a nerve-wracking business for any manufacturer that wants to break into the British market with a new brand. They seem to think that we at Diver can make or break a product. Im sure its more complicated than that. Anyway, it seems that Camaro has decided to dangle some bait and see if it gets any bites.
     As a first tentative step, it sent me an example of its Deep Mission suit. This is a 5mm semi-dry with an asymmetrical diagonal zip at the front and zips at cuffs and ankles so that it is easy to get in and out of, with no calls for zipping-up needed.
     Getting in and out of a suit easily is important. I am often seen wearing a suit thicker than might be thought necessary in warmwater situations, but at least I dont get cold. It seems to me that the reason people get overheated in suits is because they work up such a sweat struggling to get into them.
     I remember watching Norman Tebbit struggle into his suit in Barbados before that wise old man spotted the difference: Hey, youve got zips on yours, you bugger! he observed.
     The Deep Mission is made from Camaros SCS Metallite Titanium Neoprene, which is claimed to give high insulation in a super-light material which is both water-repellent as well as very robust, extremely flexible and, for any divers who simply cant wait to get out of the water to relieve themselves, it is also said to have bactericidal properties.
     The suit appeared to be strongly constructed, with all seams glued and no protruding stitching to cause discomfort in the plush lining. Each panel joint is reinforced on the inside, too.
     There are pre-shaped knee pads, a sexy wet-look to the upper-torso area, an extra-flexible insert in the small of the back, a smooth-skin collar, and seals at wrist and ankle that extend sufficiently past the zipped-over cuff to integrate nicely with gloves and boots (see pictures).
     There is nothing half-hearted about these seals either. Mine measured 19cm long at the wrist and 21cm long at the ankles.
     What I really appreciated was the body-shape cut. It conspired with the made-to-measure option to provide for a suit that really became a second skin.
     There is a wide range of off-the-peg sizes too. Aimed at the warmwater diver (how did I get that reputation), there is no attached hood on this particular Camaro suit, but then I counted 23 other types of diving suit in its extensive catalogue so, to borrow a phrase from James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Waddya want
     Theres even one called a Labrador, though nothing to suit a cocker spaniel.
     Camaro supplies a range of gloves and boots, too. The Supreme 6.5mm neoprene boots with vulcanised rubber soles sent to me to use in combination with the suit also had extended ankle seals within the zipped outer layer. Once both seal of suit and boot were overlapped, there was no way water could flush through.
     I can certainly call it a true semi-dry boot and it had reinforced heels and uppers too, using a comfortable rubbery material that reminded me of thick black liquorice.
     The boots and suit integrated very nicely in a way to which I am not accustomed. I felt extremely comfortable and used the combination in a wide range of temperatures, from the Bahamas in summer to deep in the chilling Mediterranean.
The Camaro Deep Mission should sell for around £170 in the UK and the Supreme boots for £28.
  • Camaro, 0043 6232 42010, www.camaro.at

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    + Beautifully made

    - Not yet readily available in the UK