As a scuba diver, one of the most important pieces of equipment is your suit. The best wetsuit is one that won't distract you during your dive due to a lack of comfort, warmth, or convenience. If you are too cold as a result of wearing the wrong wetsuit, you may even be forced to cut your dive short.
Limited range of motion can also be frustrating as you try to navigate underwater. Unfortunately, you don't always know how a wetsuit will perform until you have tested it in the water. To help in your search for a quality wetsuit, we reviewed a few great wetsuits including the 3mm Bare Velocity wetsuit from the Velocity Ultra line.
What Is the Bare Velocity Wetsuit?
Bare is a company that has been making wetsuit and drysuits since 1972. They were founded by two divers who wanted to make the best suit possible, and the brand continues to chase that goal today. They are constantly looking for ways to innovate wetsuits and drysuits which has led to many advanced features and technology being implemented into their suits. The goal when Bare first began was not to make money; it was always to make a great suit.
Unlike a drysuit, a wetsuit does intentionally allow some water to enter the suit while you are diving. Once your body heat has warmed the water, the suit works to keep that warm water close to your body so that you can maintain that warmth as you dive.
If the suit is loose or ill-fitting, more cold water can continue to sneak in, leaving you with a constant stream of cold water on your skin which would reduce your body temperature and drain your body's energy as it tries to heat the water. This is why a good wetsuit is valuable; you will conserve energy and maintain a healthy temperature even when surrounded by cold water.
The Velocity Ultra line of wetsuits is a men's wetsuit line designed with warmth and comfort in mind. Many wetsuits will sacrifice warmth for comfort or vice versa, but Bare uses advanced technology, materials, and construction to achieve both of those things simultaneously. This is what really makes the Velocity Ultra stand out from the other wetsuits on the market.
To achieve comfort, the Bare Velocity wetsuit uses a progressive full-stretch construction which is unique to the Bare brand. This is unique because it is a proprietary blend of three different full-stretch fabrics. Wearing this suit is so comfortable, it has been compared to wearing flannel pajamas.
One diver, after testing multiple other suits and then changing into the Velocity Ultra, said he was the most comfortable he had been all day. Not only is the Bare Velocity wetsuit made with a comfortable fabric, but the construction of the suit also focuses on comfort. For example, the seams are strategically placed so that they won't be in the diver's underarms.
The Bare Velocity wetsuit uses Ultrawarmth Celliant Infrared Technology to provide more warmth without sacrificing comfort. This technology reflects your body heat back toward your body rather than allowing it to escape, effectively converting your body heat into infrared energy. Minerals are woven into the fabric to create this heat-reflecting barrier in the suit. Zippered ankles provide easy doffing and donning on this suit which adds to the comfort and convenience provided by its other features.
The Bare Velocity wetsuit is available on Amazon, from Bare, or from various diving gear retailers. It can be purchased for around $260.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
Bare Velocity Wetsuit
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The seams are strategically located on this suit for your comfort, avoiding the underarm area. The seamless underarms also provide durability and mobility. The mobility is due to more underarm stretchiness in the absence of seams. The durability is improved because underarm seams generally take a lot of pressure from arm movement, so a lack of seams there prevents potential damage and pulling apart that can occur.
Bare uses a flat-seam construction throughout the entire suit which gives it additional stretch and comfort. Flexibility and resistance to abrasion were also considered when choosing where seams and different fabrics should be placed in the wetsuit.
The material used for this suit is both comfortable and warm. The Bare Velocity wetsuit features a proprietary blend of full-stretch fabrics as well as patented warmth technology. Overall, the materials are relatively high quality.
The Bare Velocity wetsuit was made with design in mind. Every detail was carefully contemplated to produce a suit that achieves a wonderful blend of comfort and warmth. The full-stretch material provides an excellent range of motion, and areas of the suit which might suffer damage have been reinforced with stronger materials. Because of this, the suit will maintain a better condition than some other wetsuits.
The Bare Velocity wetsuit comes with a 2-year warranty. This is twice as long as the other wetsuits we reviewed and speaks to the fact that Bare believes in the quality of their suits.
The O'Neill Reactor wetsuit is relatively affordable, but is still a fairly high-quality wetsuit. It features a flatlock construction which does a pretty good job at preventing water from entering the suit at the seams. This type of seam is also more comfortable than a wetsuit with overlock stitching, which is what would be used on lower quality wetsuits.
One unique feature in the O'Neill Reactor wetsuit is the superseal neck. This feature keeps water from entering at the neck while also providing comfort by preventing irritation. Like the Bare Velocity wetsuit, some precautions were taken against damage from abrasion. The O'Neill suit tackled this issue by providing Krypto Knee Padz which will extend the life of the suit by protecting the knees.
The seams on this wetsuit are joined with a flatlock stitch. This is not the best stitching method, but it will do a better job at preventing water penetration than the overlock stitching which is used in a cheaper, lower-quality wetsuit. Most mid-range suits use the flatlock stitch, and it does improve the seam quality a bit.
Like most wetsuits, this one is made with neoprene. Spandex and Nylon were used to provide flexibility on the knees. Other than the Krypto Knee Padz, the materials used are fairly standard.
This wetsuit features a simple yet effective design. Nothing about it really stands out, but it is designed rather well.
O'Neill provides a limited one-year warranty on the workmanship and materials of the Reactor wetsuit.
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The XCEL Infiniti has a thickness of 7mm which is quite a bit thicker than the other wetsuits we reviewed. This makes the Thermoflex a great choice for deep water or colder areas because it will keep you much warmer. In addition to the added thickness, the Thermoflex also has padding around the abdomen and legs, a plush liner, and a semi-dry back zipper with a protective pad on the spine. Each of these elements adds even more warmth to the suit by either providing insulation or reducing the amount of cold water that enters the suit.
The Thermoflex is made from flexible materials, so it provides more mobility than many other suits of its thickness. It has kneepads to increase the durability of the wetsuit. While it is thick, the Thermoflex wetsuit is easy to don and doff because of the ankle zippers. If you like to dive frequently, you may also appreciate the quick-dry lining in this wetsuit.
The seams on the Thermoflex are glued and blind stitched which is the number one technique for achieving comfort and water-resistance at the seams.
Much like the Bare Velocity wetsuit, the XCEL Thermoflex comes with a proprietary technology called TDC, which stands for Thermo Dry Celliant. This TDC lining turns your body heat into infrared energy, so this suit is very warm. It also uses a flexible Ultrastretch material which offers more mobility and durability.
This is a very high-quality wetsuit, and that is reflected in the design. The Thermoflex is made with top quality materials and craftsmanship, and it has the added features a diver might be looking for. The graphics on this wetsuit also stay in good shape due to a printing method they use to make the graphics more durable.
A one-year warranty applies to the wetsuit's neoprene material and seams.
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The O'Neill Psychofreak is a lightweight and flexible wetsuit, and it will keep you warm. There are some really great convenience features on this suit; for instance, there is a drain hole that can be used to let out any excess water that gets into the suit. The Technobutter material is used to reinforce the lower body, upper back, and chest, so there is extra insulation and warmth in those areas. The arms and shoulders are layered with a strong Technobutter 3 material to provide both warmth and durability there.
Unlike the other wetsuits we reviewed, the Psychofreak does not use any stitching at the seams. Instead, they use a new gluing method called Stitchless Super Seam Weld which involves triple gluing the seams. This makes the seams very smooth and comfortable, but it may also make them a little bit weaker over time.
The seams are triple glued using Stitchless Super Seam Weld. This gives a comfortable and flexible seam, but the lack of stitches may affect durability.
The materials used are high quality, and the special materials used to reinforce the suit add warmth and strength. The Technobutter is the most advanced neoprene available.
The design of this suit was executed well. It includes some cutting-edge, patent-pending technology that you can't get elsewhere such as the back zipper which is designed to provide warmth and freedom of movement. The added features such as a drain for excess water are examples of design that goes beyond the basics.
O'Neill offers a limited one year warranty on the Psychofreak.
The Bare Velocity Ultra is a great wetsuit if you are looking for a high-quality suit for a relatively low price. The features of this wetsuit measure up to other suits that cost much more. The Bare Velocity wetsuit is very warm, but the most important quality is its superior comfort and the way it is able to balance those two things.
For a higher price, you can get a wetsuit that is warmer than the Velocity Ultra, but it will almost definitely be less comfortable. This is why the Velocity Ultra is one of the top wetsuits available right now. When compared to suits that cost almost twice the price, this wetsuit holds its own, and it is a favorite among experienced divers. We give it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars.