Equipment Review – Fourth Element Argonaut Drysuit
British diving “software” producer Fourth Element has long been known for their high quality insulating undergarments, wetsuits, gloves, hoodies, boots, and most recently, their travel gear.
It had long been rumored that they’d be putting out a drysuit, as this was more or less the only product in the category that they were lacking. And now it’s here: the Argonaut.
Touted as being made specifically for “the harshest diving conditions in the world”, it features heavy-duty, yet flexible, cordura, and a range of features for the discerning diver. It also features a hefty price tag.
Pros of the Argonaut Drysuit
The main claim to fame for the drysuit is that it is supposedly the most flexible drysuit in production today. Even with multiple layers of undergarments, making it useful for divers who regularly dive in very cold conditions.
The material is also extremely tear-resistant, making it well-suited to heavy use in caves and wrecks.
However, Fourth Element hasn’t published any direct-comparison tests against other materials on the market. So whether this drysuit is substantially more wear-and-tear resistant than its competitors remains to be seen.
Features on the suit include a choice of three types of boots: heavy-duty boots for the most demanding conditions, tech boots for better fin control, and neoprene socks for use with rock boots. Two thigh pockets, one with an extra pocket to store a Wetnotes notebook.
The Argonaut can be customized upon purchase, allowing for a customized fit of the arm and leg length, as well as boot size, to generate optimal fit. Boots are also designed for comfort, with ergonomic insoles, a big step away from the Chuck Taylor ergonomics of most drysuit boots.
The Composite zipper ensures minimal bulk, meaning a slimmer profile and less cumbersome donning of gear.
The Cons of The Fourth Element Drysuit
The main thing that counts against the suit is the price tag. At £1,699/$2,499 it is one of the most expensive suits out there. And while there can be little doubt that this is a top-shelf drysuit the question is if it is that much better than other, less expensive, drysuits.
The suit does feel quite durable, but if there’s a real, discernible difference in use remains to be seen, and while it is softer than the industry norm, I didn’t find it noticeably easier to put on or get off.
The Argonaut drysuit is a top-notch suit, no doubt about it, and thus a perfect choice for the most discerning divers out there. Those who regularly dive in extremely tough conditions and practically live in their drysuit, and because of it are looking for any and all improvement over the standard drysuit.
While the suit doesn’t much in the form of industry revolutionary new things, in my opinion, it does feature a lot of incremental improvements.
And all of these add up to a pretty impressive suit.
However, for the majority of divers, there are many other options out there that would meet their needs equally well, and at a much lower price. But, if you’re one of the most bad-ass divers on the planet (or at least would like to dress like one), there can be no doubt that this is the suit for you.
If you are looking for a new drysuit you can read more here on what to look for when buying a new drysuit.