The introduction of the Fourth Element range of thermal undergarments has caused quite a stir in the Dive Centre Marina Rubicon shop. Stock is flying off the shelves faster and faster as the word spreads around the local and expat dive community that Fourth Element has finally reached Lanzarote. Visiting divers have been picking the lightweight gear up to use in resort and carry home and orders have also been coming in from the other Canary Islands too! What is all the fuss about? Read on….
What Fourth Element says:
With the development of decompression techniques and mixed gas technology, the limiting factor in divers’ bottom time is becoming less about nitrogen loading and more about the limitations of the human body’s endurance to extremes of temperature. Fourth Element’s range of thermal undersuits have been tested in the World’s most extreme diving locations from the sub-zero waters of the Antarctic to the tropical temperatures of the Maldives
Xerotherm Base Layer – Dry Range
The Xerotherm is the ultimate base layer for use under a drysuit. Made using Polartec® Powerstretch® which was originally developed for NASA, the Xerotherm traps a layer of air – a much better insulator than water – next to the skin, keeping the wearer drier and more comfortable.
The unisex range is designed to be worn under another undersuit or on its own under a neoprene drysuit, it provides astonishing warmth without contributing to bulk or buoyancy.
Arctic Extreme Performance Undersuit – Dry Range
The Arctic’s two layers of high insulation, low bulk fabric, ensure exceptional levels of thermal protection. Constructed with comfort and utility in mind, the minimalist design provides outstanding performance under closer fitting neoprene drysuits.
In a layering system the Arctic is also suited for use underneath membrane and trilaminate suits.
Thermocline – Advanced Thermal Protection – Wet Range
The Thermocline neutrally buoyant system represents an evolution in thermal protection, using state of the art materials to maximise performance without compromising on comfort. The Thermocline neutrally buoyant wetsuit system comprises the long sleeved top and the “explorer” giving the equivalent protection to a 3mm wetsuit but weighing less than 1kg (2.2 lbs). The Thermocline vest and shorts can be worn underneath a wetsuit to augment the protection of the wetsuit without affecting buoyancy. Thermocline also provides a real solution for people who suffer from neoprene allergies by eliminating contact between the skin and the wetsuit.
TESTED! at Dive Center Marina Rubicon, Playa Blanca, Lanzarote
Both Technical and Recreational Instructors at Dive Center Marina Rubicon have been trying out the Fourth Element undersuit range in their day to day diving to enable us to give a fair review of the items currently in stock at the dive centre.
What our staff say:
Tashi: (Arctic Ladies 2 piece set) Water temp 19C. 70 minutes.
I do a lot of underwater photography which means I stay still in the water for long periods. I am a very small person and in winter I easily get very cold in and above the water. I was impressed when I saw the Arctic range and wanted to try it straight away. I found that it is very comfortable and flexible, allowing a full range of movement and allowing me great comfort under my trilaminate drysuit. I didn’t feel the cold at all, my buoyancy altered slightly from my previous undersuit but not significantly. I did not try the socks but maybe this may have altered my position in the water requiring ankle weights(no big deal) Either way you will NOT be cold. I was snug and happy and able to concentrate throughout my 70 minute dives with my camera and got many great shots! Women everywhere will love this range, I even stayed warm during the rib journey back to the dive centre too…. Excellent!
Chris: (Arctic Mens 2 piece set) Rebreather Dive. Water temp 19C surface, 14C bottom. 102 minutes
As a Tec Instructor trainer I often do dives that can last up to several hours where insulation is of vital importance. During dives I can spend very long periods of time fairly motionless while observing students and it is a real challenge to stay warm on very long dives. The Arctic range is very well constructed with a great fit throughout and warm secure neck and cuffs that don’t interfere with my drysuit seals. The flexibility of the undergarment is superior to any that I have worn before which means that it fits perfectly under my made to measure dry suit without the bulky quilted feeling of many undergarments. The fabric wicks sweat away from the body and leaves you dry and comfortable. The two piece design also makes toilet breaks a little easier
Phil: (Thermocline Mens short sleve top/shorts) Water Temperature 20C, 65 mins
I wore the Thermocline top underneath my 5.5mm wetsuit and couldn’t believe the extra core warmth that it generated. It felt as though I was wearing a 7mm semi dry but with much more joint flexibility. Water movement was massively reduced because of the fantastic neck and cuff seals and it was like wearing a couple of extra millimetres of neoprene but with no additional buoyancy. This would be ideal under any thickness of wetsuit where additional warmth is required. I also tested the top and shorts while swimming – If I was travelling to an area where 3mm suits are normally worn I would take the Thermocline short sleeve top and shorts instead of packing my wetsuit. It would be just as warm, I could wear much less weight and they would take up a fraction of the suitcase space. It dries in no time too, the short sleeve top was dry by the time we arrived back to the dive centre after a 5 minute boat drive with my wetsuit rolled down– magic!