Classic 5mm Design
For me the workhorse in the hood division is a 5mm-thick semi-dry model. O’Three’s version is cut from specific high-end super-flexible 5mm neoprene with a smooth nylon outer skin and bronze-coloured glide-skin panels on the inner surfaces.
The centre section is twin-skinned, with the inside panel constructed from a porous nylon material. The outer neoprene section has small holes in a repeating pattern of six dotted throughout the panel to allow trapped air to escape and avoid that “beehive hairdo” look.
The O’Three guys call this section a “Twin-ply Airprene vent”.
The yoke is contoured to fit snugly around the throat and over the shoulders. The glide-skin panels are strategically placed at the face and neck to provide a better seal than standard neoprene and so reduce water exchange. This gives the hood a semi-dry rating, and will help to keep you warm where the body is said to lose most of its heat.

Thermal Flex 2.5mm Design
The 2.5mm temperate-water hood is made from Ultra-stretch neoprene and features a full bronze glide-skin lining. The centre Airprene vent is completely perforated to allow trapped air to escape.

The hood doesn’t have the contoured yoke of its coldwater sibling; instead it’s finished with more of a square profile. The face-opening is larger than on the Classic version, too.
Both hoods have blind-stitched and glued seams with double-stitching at the stress points. They are finished in all-black with screen-printed graphics in white, graphite and metallic silver. There’s even a small white panel on the inside in which to write your name and avoid any confusion should it get mislaid.

In use
To be honest, the UK summer weather and my recent dive destinations haven’t lent themselves to teeth-chattering water temperatures. So when I put the Classic to the test in Egypt
I suffered for these pages, because my head felt as if it was boiling in a body-hugging bag.
The hood, however, did everything I expected of it. Air bled out through the Airprene section quickly and efficiently, even after I had puffed big bubbles into the hood through my mask with the skirt tucked inside.
One fact of note was that the glide-skin seals did such an amazing job of sealing my face that I had to poke a finger under the lip to let some water flood the inside. It’s very difficult to equalise with air around your ears.
I needed to do this only once during the dive, at the start of the descent. The water exchange for the rest of the dive was minimal.
The Classic’s yoke is beautifully contoured and sat perfectly around my shoulders. I’m going to buy my old technical dive buddy and Wraysbury entrepreneur Richard Major one of these for his birthday, because his own hood has a yoke so long it turns inside-out and makes him look as if he’s been fitted with a cone by a vet to stop him chewing his leg.
The lighter-weight Thermal Flex model was more suited to the Red Sea water temperatures, and a joy to use. The super-stretchy neoprene coupled with O’Three’s clever contoured design made this hood a perfect fit on my bonce, as it moulded itself snugly to my profile.
Again, I had to encourage water ingress at the beginning of the dive to allow for trouble-free equalising, but once this had been done there were no problems to report.
Getting both hoods on and off was an easy task, aided by the flexibility of the neoprene and their construction.

There are hoods, and there are Hoods. Those amazing neoprene junkies down in Dorset have hit the jackpot with theirs.
Using hi-tec materials and pouring years of expertise into designing an anatomical fit, they have ended up with what I see as the perfect solution for keeping divers’ heads comfortably warm no matter where they might be diving.
When I was a kid, my mum used to tie a piece of string to my gloves and pass it through the sleeves of my coat in the vain hope that I wouldn’t lose them. I’m thinking of employing the same tactic with these hi-tec hoods, because they’re too good to be without.

PRICES Classic 5mm Semi, £27.50. Thermal Flex 2.5mm, £24.95.
SIZES S, M, L, XL in both with XXL available in the Classic 5mm Semi.
Diver Rating:
Classic 5mm semi width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%
Thermal Flex 2.5mm width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%