Drysuit ring systems are becoming the norm for drysuit/dryglove divers. Si Tech is the innovation leader in both rings and seals. The modern ring systems, which are now available for wrists and for neck seals, do more than allow you to snap on your gloves after donning your suit. They can save your dive and also save you money when it comes time to replace seals. With these newer ring systems you can replace a seal yourself in minutes, even at the dives site if necessary. Before this, a blown seal could mean weeks without diving. And one final benefit of the ring systems is that you can now use the ultra-comfortable silicon seals (silicon seals cannot be glued to a suit).
Si Tech solves a problem we didn’t know we had…
Now Si Tech has improved on the standard round rings with a new anatomically correct (or ergonomic) oval shape. Before I saw ANTARES oval rings I did not realize that I may want or need them, but after trying them I found that they make diving and time between dives a bit more pleasant.
The ANTARES Modular Quick Change Solution (QCS) is much more than just oval rings. It also adds a snappy new way to the attach your dry gloves. The new two-tab latching system is designed to allow a quicker and more distinct connection. We saw some of the prototype steps and can assure you that it took a lot of work to develop a functioning oval ring system.
The benefits of the oval ring include:
- the lower profile makes it easy to work with dump valves and other gear
- it matches the shape of the rubber gloves (e.g. Best 55 brand) that divers pull over the rings.
- lower profile for packing
- easier for many people to get their hands through the ring
- easy to tell if your sleeve is twisted when donning your suit
- they just look better on the suit
It did not take long to appreciate the lower profile of the oval rings. They stay out of the way and do the job. We agree with the PR that “The design follows the arm, wrist, and hand anatomy and the system feels like a natural component on the drysuit.”
The new snap on tabs at first look like they will never work or seal but they do just fine. They are both easy to snap on and get off yourself BUT only if they are installed correctly and after some practice. It takes some learning to get the feel of this method so don’t give up.
The oval rings are not for everyBODY. They work better than the round rings for most hands but a few people will still find that the round rings fit their hands better.
Many divers (especially commercial divers) in our area forego the traditional blue snap-on drygloves. Instead they find an inexpensive rubber glove (e.g. Best brand model 55 size 9) and pull it over the installed ring system until it makes a seal on the bare ring. The first question of many of our dive buddies was, “will the oval ring work with the pull on gloves?” At least for the way we install it the rings not only worked, it worked better than on the round wrings. Some divers with round rings need a buddy to help them pull the rubber gloves over the ring. But with the oval ring matching the shape of the glove, it pulls right on with ease and seals leak free.
We like this system and do not want to go back to round rings. But there is one caveat. Even more than with other dive accessories, this is product is best purchased at a local dive shop. Some forum reporters complained of issues, that seemed to due to improper installation of the rings or not understanding of the procedures for attaching the rings. You LDS dealer can help make the transition easy. The ANTARES system is also available from Waterproof (distributed by TUSA in the US).