Mark Evans tries out the Robin Hood Watersports Kevlar Drysuit.
ROBIN HOOD WATERSPORTS KEVLAR DRYSUIT | SRP: FROM £1,199
Mark Evans: Kevlar is a material that will forever have connections with bulletproof vests, but beyond this singular use, it is an extremely durable but relatively lightweight material, which makes it the perfect base for a drysuit. The downside is that it is on the expensive side.
The Roho Kevlar Drysuit bucks the trend of Kevlar drysuits being high-end when it comes to pricing – their suit, which utilises heavy-duty Kevlar from top to bottom, is a few hundred quid cheaper than its nearest Kevlar rivals, and I have to say, it feels far more robust and durable too.
The Kevlar Drysuit is made to Robin Hood Water- sports’ own testing standards in-house, so the whole thing is triple glued and taped inside and out.
It is equipped with two ‘technical pockets’, which basically translates as two very-spacious thigh pockets each closed by a flap secured with a slab of Velcro, which also feature a handy zippered pocket in the flap.
Inside, sturdy braces keep the suit where it should be while you are diving, but also allow you to wander around between dives with the top half of the suit around your waist.
Dual Kevlar kneepads provide plenty of protection to these high-wear areas, and there are also large panels over both shoulders where your BCD/wing straps will rest on the suit. There is a Kevlar zip protection cover over the traditional metal zipper running across the back from shoulder to shoulder. The neck warmer also doubles as a protective layer over the latex neck seal.
The Kevlar Drysuit comes with chunky rubber boots, which are very comfortable and warm.
It is fitted as standard with an Apeks swivel inflator and an Apeks cuff dump – an Apeks adjustable dump is £30 extra. Other extras that can be added/ done to the suit include wrist warmers/protectors, steel-toe mid-sole boots, expanding bellows pockets, a convenience zipper, and a front-entry zipper. I have dived in several Roho suits over the years, and have always been impressed by the quality. The Kevlar Drysuit is no different, and just getting it out of the box when it was delivered, you could feel that it had a very robust construction. Compared with Kevlar suits I have used from
Ursuit and Fourth Element, the Roho version uses a much-thicker and heavier material. The downside to this is that it isn’t as user-friendly for travelling abroad with, but the plus side is that it is extremely hard wearing and tough.
On the surface and underwater, because of the thicker nature of the material, it is not as flexible as the thinner competition, but having said that, it is still very easy to move around in and not once did I feel restricted, despite contorting myself into all sorts of positions.
The pockets are spacious and easy to get into, even wearing 5mm neoprene gloves, and the zippered pockets on the flaps are useful for smaller accessories such as back-up torches or small knives.
The big, chunky boots are nice and warm, but I prefer the kind where your ankles are not encased in rubber, to enable more-delicate ankle movements for small adjustments with your fins.
Overall, the Kevlar Drysuit performed very well, and with its ‘Kevlar Extreme’ shoulder badge and special-forces grey finish, it is definitely an eye-catch- ing suit – and it comes in at a great price.
NB: Robin Hood Watersports offer a made-to-measure service on the Kevlar Drysuit at no extra cost. The Kevlar Drysuit is available as a package deal along with a choice of undersuit, hood and a matching bag.