Appeared in DIVER October 2006

WETSUIT Camaro Hydronomic
ITS ALL VERY WELL LOOKING AT THOSE LOVELY YOUNG WOMEN stretched out on their sun-beds along the Mediterranean coast in the height of summer and wearing little more than a bit of dental floss, but the sea is still cold enough, once you get more than 20m deep, to injure a brass monkey.
If a man wants to look anything more than unimpressive after a long dive, hed better wear something warm. The same goes for our partners.
I went to Spain to dive during a heatwave and took a Camaro Hydronomic 5mm with 4mm mono-vest and hood. This allowed me to combine exactly what I needed for the conditions encountered.
I have used Camaro suits before and had good experiences. What I have not enjoyed are the letters I get later from readers complaining that they cant buy one unless they go to the Continent. Camaro always used to be disinclined to supply British customers direct.
All that has changed. Im told that Blandford Sub-Aqua, the long-established importer of all things diving, has a warehouse full of Camaro suits down in Devon, so they should start filtering through to the shops. Support your local dive shop and get a suit that fits you, or buy from the Internet and get one that only might.
Mine was typically off-the-peg, and I am delighted to find that as I get older, my size has become more regular. Its not that my measurements have changed, just that manufacturers have decided I am not a freak.
However, although the Hydronomic is made from a stretchy type of neoprene, a totally wrong fit will not allow it to do its job well.
In common with other semi-dry suits, this one has seals at wrists and ankles and the outer layer of neoprene zips close over them. Entry is via a zipped opening at the back, and the waterproofed zipper is of a large pitch to save jamming and add longevity.
The inner surface has a napped lining for comfort. The same goes for the front-zipped mono-vest, intended to be worn alone or over the full-length suit.
What distinguishes this suit is the high quality of the finishing. Each collar edge is neatly lined with smoothskin, so there is no uncomfortable rubbing or abrasions.
The quality of the stitching and glueing is impeccable. There are generous comfort flaps wherever they are needed.
The knee sections have nicely integrated pads and flexible backs. The hood needed only a small hole added to let out the exhaled air that tended to get trapped in it, producing
a pointy-head effect.
R&D departments of European dive gear manufacturers often make beautiful suits. However, they are then normally sent for mass production in the Far East and standards often fall, leading to suits with stitching that mysteriously unravels just when you have got used to wearing them.
As I understand it, Camaro suits are still manufactured in Austria - and their quality is excellent.
The Camaro Hydronomic 5mm costs £185 and the Hydronomic Mono Vest 4mm costs £65. The Hydronomic Hood is £20 extra. There is also a 7mm Hydronomic X-Streme semi-dry with dry zip available at £300.
  • Blandford Sub-Aqua 01823 663849,

  • Divernet
    + Very well constructed

    - None if they now prove to be readily available