3D Mesh Vest by Waterproof

Another item of thermal wear for dry-suit users but how does it compare to gear already on the market?

Firstly lets think about 'Waterproof' I have used one of their suits for years (Draco) and I like it, well made and slightly sculptured so that there is a nice 'fit' to it, so I do rate the company and their products, they tend to be well thought out, developed, made and marketed.

I am a great believer in layering, using standard 'Fourth Element' vests and tops and adding them until I have a suitable level of insulation, in the summer this is usually one top and maybe a vest and in the winter two vests, two tops and a heated under-vest....well it gets cold up North, all this underneath a compressed neoprene dry-suit.

Some of my kit is looking a bit tatty and I saw this top and thought, 'why not try it?'

The technology used to provide the warmth is identical to that developed for their D1 drysuit, something that seems great but to be blunt I haven't seen many of these suits out and about, although at ~£2.5k I am not surprised, you can buy a top of the range made to measure suit, heated under vest and still have change for a week on a Red Sea live aboard......I digress.

In developing the D1 the chaps at Waterproof will have spent a significant amount of time and money developing and patenting the technology and then producing the tooling to make the insulation, as an engineer I think that the vest is their way of recouping some of the cash outlay and that is simply common sense.

Starting on the tech side the vest is well thought out, there is a little extra padding around your lower back to provide warmth for the lumbar reason and importantly provide padding to an area where weight belts will hang, a nice touch. The vest itself effectively contains sufficient mesh to provide nominally an '11mm air pocket' around your body, with this is mind check your weighting somewhere quiet. If you dive with minimal air in your suit you will find that this extra air does add quite significantly to your need for lead, a pre-dive check would be recommended to prevent the embarrasement of legs in the air combined with shouting the skipper over for 'more weights'.

The vest is a good fit and has a little stretch to 'accomodate' various body sizes and shapes, my immediate reaction was that the vest extended too far up your neck and combined with the zipper this may be awkward and restrictive, so it proved. This is the first change that I identified and it will be rectified by a tailor at the end of this year.

My initial dive was early in 2015, in fact you couldn't get much earlier it was a shore dive on a remarkably balmy 1st January and although the conditions 'up top' were ok, in the sea it was damned cold. However my torso was remarkably warm which was a pleasant surprise, however the perceived restriction in movement wasn't so good and it all just felt a little tight around my neck. Being a big chap (18" neck) this may be down to my shape and the 'slighter' diver may not feel the same restriction, I don't know.

My other grouch is the zipper which sits nicely at throat level, I know that it looks 'strange' but an inverted arrangement with the zipper located at midriff level would be significantly more comfortable, I intend letting a repair shop loose on the vest and swapping the zip about despite the costs. 

I do quite like this vest and will use it once it has been customised as I have detailed above and it is due to the need for customisation that I haven't rated this piece of equipment more highly.

Richies rating 7/10, a bit restrictive but it keeps you warm, not sure how the mesh will stand up to long term use, only time will tell.






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