We call it the “Fun Suit.” Before we tested the ScubaPro Everdry 4 drysuit we have to admit having low expectations. The ED4 is priced to matched their competitors sub $1000 entry level dry suits. But you shouldn’t think of it as just an entry level suit. This is drysuit with a surprise in store for you!
The ED4 feels soft and comfortable, like a wetsuit. It’s 4mm high density neoprene is much lighter than a traditional neoprene wetsuit. Our testers found they need the same or less weight with the ED4 than drysuits. One commercial diver who owns and loves two ED4s says he can dive this suit with Scubapro X-Tek Form Harness and no added weight. The Sitech dump valve is easy to reach and most testers liked it. The large zippered pocket is ample and secure. The ED4 comes in a true female cut for women (see sizing cautions below). The suit has velcro neck flaps which provide added warmth and allow you cinch down the neck over the hood bib to insure a better neck seal. An anatomical-cut hood is included as well as simple dry-carry bag that doubles as a protective mat for changing.
The Live Dive Testing…
Both men and women Scubagadget testers have completed nearly 100 dives on the ED4. From the first dive in the rich but coolish 50 deg F waters of the Pacific Northwest, I felt like I was on a tropical vacation dive. At one point my brain got confused by the conflict of simple movement and the lower vis of our Pacific Nortwest Waters. Whispers in my ear said, wait this feels like you’re in Bonaire but looks much different. This suit fits and dives like a wet-suit while keeping you toasty warm and dry. We’re not sure if reduced drag or improved flexibility causes this, but we found that we tended to zip ahead of our dive buddies while wearing this suit. And one more thing…all testers agree the Everdry 4 looks great too.
Most test dives were done using the Fourth Element Arctic undergarment which pairs very well with the ED4 and provides great warmth and flexibility. However, we have seen but not tested the new Scubapro Climasphere two-piece and low profile undergarment. This exciting new offering is both breathable and windproof in four-way stretch fleece which seems to be comfortable and flexible. It is a full jumpsuit with a second diagonal-zip shorty for layering. The Climasphere also incorporates soft neoprene wrist and ankle cuffs. Early reports are very positive. We hope to test this undergarment soon.
A few cautions…
The Everydry 4 is a great value for the money and if you follow a few cautions before you buy you can make sure this suit meets you personal expectations. For temperate water divers, sizing is the main issue. Unless you are not planning on wearing an undergarment, don’t pay attention to size chart. You’ve been warned. If you order this suit online using the chart you will be likely sending it back.
Don’t fret, you can get a good fitting Everdry 4. But to do so you should only purchase your suit from a Scubapro dealer with experience sizing and selling these suits. You should not be surpised if s/he advises you to purchase an ED4 suit two sizes larger than you would expect. Don’t be offended. To say they run small would be to vastly understate the issue.
The sizing mystery has been solved thanks to Brad Lally, Global Product Director for Scubapro. We now know why the sizing “seems” off — until you know the rest of the story. He verified our suspicions by saying that the suit was originally designed to fit like a wetsuit and to be worn with only the thinnest of undergarments if any at all. Lally explained that the impetus for the ED4 came from the Red Sea divers especially dive pros who were spending a long time in the water on regular basis. They wanted to be able to dive the cooler months in comfort (Red Sea temps can average as low as 23c/71f). So Scubapro gave them a product with the comfort and fit of thin wetsuit but with the warmth of thickest wetsuits on the market. This, along with our experience with the ED4 leads us to conclude that it would also be a perfect choice for dive pros and avid divers to use in the cooler months in places like Hawaii, Florida and the Sea of Cortez.
The sizing issue is particularly notable in the feet. The snugness of the foot area makes adding bulky, warm under-socks impossible. I had to search out the thinnest wool socks available to keep my feet warm in the Pacific Northwest waters. My partner pulls on her warmest non-diving socks and feels comfortable.
The odd sizing adds one more complication for women divers and thin men. The neck and wrist seals on the suits are sometimes loose for these divers. The neck has Velcro tabs over the neck seal which will help compensate. This can often be resolved by adding a set of the unique Apollo Bio Seals. Newer suits may be coming with tapered neck seal. But again speak with a trained Scubapro dealer to help you determine the right size of the ED4 to fit your body.
We found a surprisingly easy DIY fix to eliminate any issues with loose wrist seals. After weeks of fretting about the success of the project, we trimmed SiTech 60402 rubber rings (purchased separately) to fit the suit and inserted silicon “Siflex” seals. This allowed us to pull rubber Marigold, Best 55 or similar rubber gloves over the rings for comfortable dry-glove diving.
The last caution is around weighting. In general that weighting for this suit is similar to our other drysuits. Some divers even claimed they needed less weight for general diving with the ED4. But because it is a neoprene suit you will notice that it does seem to puff back up quickly as you ascend back up through about 10-12 fsw. If you are doing shore dives and spend time in the shallows it helps to overweight a few pounds to compensate for this.
We give this fun suit 4 stars out of five for being a great value, good looking and enjoyable suit to dive. We hold back one star because of extra work you have do to assess the sizing and the few other quirks. But if you take some care in sizing with your local Scubapro dealer you too can be experience joys of the Everdry 4.