Apeks XL4 (New Arrival)

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Apex XL4
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Apex XL4

Mark Evans: The new arrival this month is the Apeks XL4, the Blackburn-based company’s new 
travel regulator that is cold-water rated. The first stage is an over-balanced diaphragm with the innovative over-moulded endcap to help prevent ice build-up, and the second stage is extremely light and has a wide exhaust tee to disperse exhaled bubbles. The large purge is easy to locate and operate, and the venturi lever is simply well designed. We took this for an exclusive first few dives to Iceland but can now put it through its paces over the next six months as we enter the winter period.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £338
Number of dives: 2
Time in water: 1 hrs 45 mins

Thermalution Red Grade Ultra

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Thermalution Red Grade Ultra
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Thermalution Red Grade Ultra

Mark Evans: The Thermalution Red Grade Ultra has been working overtime recently, with more UK diving and an Iceland jaunt for the Scuba Diver team. The suit itself is very light-weight and comfortable, and the heating elements – the clever bits that get the warmth into your body – are laced like a spiderweb into the material itself. This is the back heating element, which goes around your kidney region and up and over your shoulder blades. It is amazing how much heat these elements generate – often I have to knock it down to a lower power setting, or even completely off for a period, after a short runtime on full power.

 

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £1,050
Number of dives: 21
Time in water: 19 hrs 45 mins

Anchor Dive Lights Series 3K

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Anchor Dive Light
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Anchor Dive Light

Mark Evans: The Anchor Dive Light is a powerful little beast in its own right, but with the optional canister battery and umbilical cable, you now suddenly have a vastly increased burntime and power to hand, without drastically increasing the weight and size of the unit.
The canister itself is quite compact and will slot on to a webbing strap on your hip or alongside your cylinder, while the head is, if anything, even smaller than the handheld version, so fixed to the Good- man handle, it just nestles on to the back of your hand and is there when you want it. As with the handheld unit, the build quality is impeccable and very robust.

 

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £695
Number of dives: 26
Time in water: 24 hrs 20 mins

DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8:
DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion

Mark Evans: The DeepBlu Cosmiq+ Dive Companion clocked up some more cold-water dives when it accompanied Ross Arnold into the 3-4 degree C waters of Iceland’s Silfra dive site. The clever Velcro-closing strap can be quickly and easily adjusted to fit either a bare/wetsuited wrist or a drysuited wrist, and it can be removed rapidly as well, which is a good thing to know when you have very cold hands and are wanting to get de-kitted and warmed up as fast as possible!
It will be back into warmer waters in the next few weeks, when it is used for Junior Open Water sea dives in the Florida Keys.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £230
Number of dives: 66
Time in water: 64 hrs 35 mins

Aqualung Reveal X2

 

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Aqualung Reveal X2
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Aqualung Reveal X2

Mark Evans: Ross Arnold decided to take the Reveal X2 as his go-to mask for our recent Iceland trip, and as with previous dives, it was just so comfortable that he forgot that it was a test mask and not his usual unit. It is a good-looking mask as well, giving you decent peripheral and downward vision but not at the expense of making you look like an alien being. We like the all-black finish of the test model, but for those who don’t want to look so techie, more-colourful versions are available. These are probably better for underwater models too.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £46
Number of dives: 50
Time in water: 48 hrs 15 mins

Aqualung Outlaw

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Aqualung Outlaw
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Aqualung Outlaw

Mark Evans: The back-to-basis Outlaw wing-style BCD got its first outing in Iceland, and with the optional Surelock II integrated weight pouches fitted, it made the perfect travel companion. It packs up extremely small, weighs next to nothing, but is robustly constructed and feels very durable. Time will tell how it holds up to diver abuse, but at the moment it is all looking very good.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £338
Number of dives: 2
Time in water: 1 hrs 45 mins

Typhoon DS1

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Typhoon DS1
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Typhoon DS1

Mark Evans: The Typhoon DS1 is a special suit for the company, celebrating their 70th anniversary in existence, and being a bit of an old-school diver myself – I can cast my mind back to the early days when we were still using ABLJs instead of jacket-style BCDs and drysuits, while functional, were hardly flattering in their look and fit – I like how they have blended the old Typhoon logo with a bang-up-to-date membrane drysuit that utilises all the tricks of the trade they have learned over the past seven decades of drysuit production. The simple black finish will not date quickly either, ensuring you still look ‘cool but old school’ in another ten years time.

 

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £895
Number of dives: 2
Time in water: 1 hrs 25 mins

Shearwater Research Perdix AI (End of Term

Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8: Shearwater Research Perdix AI
Long Term Scuba Gear Test part 8:
Shearwater Research Perdix AI

Mark Evans: The Shearwater Research Perdix AI had its last official outing while in the Long Term Test stable on our team trip to Iceland. Yet again, I was struck by how clear and easy to read the screen display is, and how simple it is to navigate the menus via the two side-mounted buttons. It has now become second-nature to scroll around and adjust nitrox mixes, review dive logs and so on. I am also a committed fan of the elastic straps, which are quick and easy to stretch around your wrist – whatever your exposure protection – and clip securely in place with the two pinch-clips.
Throw the nifty zippered case and user-replaceable battery into the mix, and you have one hell of a dive computer, whether you are rec or tech.

INFORMATION
Suggested retail price: £870
Number of dives: 46
Time in water: 45 hrs 10 mins

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