NOT ANOTHER DRYSUIT! I thought, as I unwrapped the parcel freshly delivered from Scubapro. It was an off-the-peg size, so there was no way that I could have foreseen its arrival, but Im lucky enough to have dimensions only slightly taller than off-the-peg XL.
It was the latest version of the Everdry 4. I had been promised that it would turn up when I was at the Scubapro factory in Italy in January 2009.
I had been there for the launch of the A700 regulator, but had chosen not to do a test dive in the wintry Mediterranean because I had come down with a rare dose of the flu.
I dont think it was the curly-tailed version, but it was severe enough that when I put on a then-current Everdry 4 suit, I couldn't bear the tightness of its neoprene neck-seal.
I guess they had all been supplied in sizes to fit the Chinese people who made them!
This new Everdry 4 has some significant differences, including a range of neck seals so that bigger divers dont suffer strangulation.
Made from 4mm thick super-flexible high-density neoprene, it came with soft sock-ends and a pair of Rock Boots.

The Everdry 4 is conventional in that it has a cross-shoulder zip for rear entry. This zip is of especially heavy-duty construction, and has a thick neoprene protection flap kept in place by Velcro.
I could kid you that the elasticised internal braces were light in colour for easy spotting, but that would be wishful thinking.
Fancy a wetsuit that stays dry inside This could be it. The Everdry 4 is very slim-cut. The thinking is that the insulation of the neoprene is so good that you need nothing more than the lightest base-layer to wick away sweat.
I did find it as difficult to pull up over my legs as any wetsuit, and my feet, wearing nothing more than a good layer of talcum powder, were very snug in the sock-ends. Hooray for these modern super-flexible materials.
I had to be sure to pull the crotch of the suit up as high as I could. The ankles have to be a little wider than snug, because otherwise youd never get your feet past them, but the thighs clung to mine tenaciously.
As it was, I needed help to pull my size 46 feet out of the sock ends, because even in a size XL suit they were such a tight fit.
The Rock Boots were quite hard to get my big feet into. They could do with a more manly tag at the heel. Once on, however, they felt extremely lightweight and comfortable, and at least they didnt have four miles of bootlace that I didnt know what to do with.
Their uppers are a mixture of canvas-finished neoprene and leather-like plastic.

This suit came in black with contrasting grey stitching and non-slip decals in appropriate places such as the shoulders. The effect was a little Buzz Lightyear, but who doesnt want to look like a superhero, even a toy one
An extra collar of neoprene covers the neck-seal, and is held closed by another swathe of Velcro. There is little danger of catching a sore throat with this suit.
I took it to use in the Egyptian Red Sea in early February. I was on the Sea Serpent Fleet liveaboard Contessa Mia, and didnt think the Rock Boots would be appropriate, so I took a pair of ONeill wetsuit boots instead.
Because of this, many of the other divers at first mistook the Everdry 4 for a semi-dry with a waterproof zip, such was its sleek appearance.
To save weight on the plane, I substituted all the hoses I carried for lightweight Miflex braided hoses, and the importer supplied one in the appropriate length to use with the suit.

Efficacy of Valves & Seals
I was pleased to see that Swedish Si Tech valves were fitted, albeit bearing the Scubapro brand. The inflation valve is operated by a sideways push against the direction of the international-connection hose, a system I have always preferred.
The dump valve has a low profile (though not as low as some) and sits at the normal position on the upper shoulder. It takes three half-turns from fully open to fully closed. Both valves seemed very securely fitted, and I could neither tighten them nor remove them myself.
I like Si Tech valves because I never seem to get a wet patch near them on my underwear, as sometimes happens with other brands. They are obviously not that exciting, but drysuit excitement is something we can all do without!
The not-so-long neoprene wrist-seals demand a good helping of some sort of lubrication such as baby lotion or talc if you want to keep all the hairs on your arms.
However, they seem very comfortable to wear and, amazingly, kept the water at bay. Unless, that is, I wanted to raise my camera to my eye while pointing it upwards. Then blobs of air would escape and intrude into my shots. It was amazing how often I seemed to want to do this!
The long neoprene neck-seal is turned in on itself, so the soft surface is against the throat. Any air stayed within it under water, rather than escaping in an embarrassing manner.
I would guess that pulling the neck-seal back over the head when getting out of the suit would not be pleasant for somebody with long hair. This was not a problem for me!

In the Water
Scubapro wanted to make a drysuit that swims as easily as a wetsuit and, apart from the thigh pocket providing a little drag, I think it has more or less succeeded.
A nice touch is the forearm computer-strap retainer. This stops the computer working its way down to a narrower part of the wrist and trying to fall off over the hand on a dive.
The slim thigh pocket is held closed by a zip, and I suppose you could carry a small spool and buoy in there. I used it for the dome-port cover of my camera housing.
This is a drysuit for slim divers who dont want to bother with a full undersuit, and I found it perfect for diving in the northern Red Sea in winter - not because the water was particularly cold, but because its nice to step out of a suit after a dive and not perish in that biting northerly wind.
I was so comfortable under water that I started to notice that my head was getting cold by comparison. The 6.5mm hood Scubapro supplied was too tight-fitting for my head, so I used my usual hood.
Using wetsuit boots instead of Rock Boots might have made my feet a bit buoyant, but the heavy Seawing Nova fins I used helped, and I had no problems.
I really appreciated the warmth and dryness of the suit when one of our pick-up boats capsized on a reef in a big sea, and I found I needed to swim the whole way round Daedelus from the north point to where Contessa Mia was moored. It took some time!
The neck-seal was so comfortable around my skinny neck, and lacking that throat-grabbing tightness so often associated with a good seal, that I had resigned myself to a lot of water coming in. I thought that at worst it would be like diving in a 4mm wetsuit.
In the event, I never suffered more than the slightest ingress of water. However, the first time I showered off in fresh water after a dive and looked up at the water flow to wash my face, I did enjoy a second ingress at the chest.
With neoprene seals one exchanges comfort for dampness, which leads many divers to call this sort of suit a dampsuit rather than a drysuit. Its something I was ready to tolerate, because the Red Sea even in winter is not that cold.
Diving in colder water would have meant wearing a proper undersuit, but Im not sure there would have been room in this Everdry 4 for that and for me as well.
Sitting in the RIB in a suit with the outside wet and no real insulation inside it meant that the wind was as chilling as if Id been wearing a semi-dry. But it was pleasant to climb out of and back into for the following dive. If you have the body to go with an off-the-peg size, this suit represents very good value for money.

Comparable drysuits to consider:
Typhoon TCS, £530
Oceanic Comfodry, £599
Bare CD4 Pro, £650

PRICE £599 (Rock Boots £39 extra)
MATERIAL 4mm high-density neoprene
INFLATION SYSTEM Scubapro/Si Tech low-profile valves
SUPPLIED WITH Semi-dry 6.5mm hood, bag, zip lubricant, inflation hose, seal-repair kit.
SIZES XXS to XXL off-the-peg
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%