1/7
2/7
3/7
4/7
5/7
6/7
7/7

See all pictures

Semi-dry suits bridge the gap between the resilience offered by true drysuits with the streamlined fit and (arguably) lower cost that you see in wetsuits. The Hollis NeoTek Semi-Dry is a leader in warmth and features in terms of value.

It’s a cold water neoprene suit with a hood and a front, chest zipper. We took it out diving in water temperatures ranging from 45-60° Fahrenheit.

Below we’ll take a closer look at the different factors of the suit piece by piece, give our opinion on its performance, and try to offer an idea of who may get the most out of it.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.9

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Leader in warmth within the semi-dry category
  • check-mark
    Awesome easy-access pockets
  • check-mark
    Comfortable internal material
  • check-mark
    Does a good job keeping water out

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markMore expensive than a wetsuit
  • check-markNot as warm as a dry suit

Where to buy:

Neotek Semi Dry Product Image

Neotek Semi-Dry Suit

The NeoTek Semi-Dry is one of the warmer models that we’ve tried, with a rich feature set that makes it an appealing option for any diver outside of the tropics. It’s a suit that hits that spot between a wetsuit and a drysuit. In other words, it offers the comfort of a wetsuit with a little more warmth, similar to neoprene drysuits.

Anyone who has spent time diving in cold water in a leaky wetsuit will tell you there’s a mental threshold of how many times you can stomach purple fingers before something needs to change. If you don’t want to invest in a drysuit, squeezing into another layer of neoprene or a shorty isn’t the only answer.

While it takes a while before water ingress occurs, the various “damming” features combined with an interesting lining design prevent water transfer during movements. That means a lot in terms of minimizing heat loss.

All in all, this is a semi-drysuit that opens up the seasons to continuous diving in a durable and comfortable option at a reasonable price.

Specs & Features

  • Mixed neoprene build ranging from 6mm to 8mm
  • ThermaSkin inner liner
  • G-lock horizontal zipper with internal bib
  • Internal dams at the neck, wrists, and ankles
  • Heavy-duty stitched seams with quadruple glue
  • Velcro tech pockets on either thigh
  • Attached hood
See the complete list of the best Drysuits here!

Warmth

There are a few things that will trigger waves of contentious debate on scuba message boards. The mention of a semi-dry suit will elicit opinions ranging from “you can wear this in the arctic” to claims that they’re little better than a regular wetsuit.

We’ve found the truth to be somewhere in between. The old adage goes that semi-dry suits are really semi-wet; and though that means the NeoTek is could be categorized as a glorified wetsuit, we found it deserves every smidge of that glory.

We’ll get into the details of the build in the features section below, but the water dams of the NeoTek are serious. Combined with the tapered neoprene build, the suit effectively maintains a thin layer of water that can keep you warm when the ambient temperatures are not. The ankle and wrist dams are up to standard, but we most appreciated the seal around the neck. It’s a common point of failure, which makes it really nice to not have cold water consistently spilling down your spine.

As a final note, all of the neoprene in the suit is compression resistant. At serious depth, you’ll notice a difference in insulation, but in many ways, that’s unavoidable when you’re dealing with neoprene.

neotek-semi-dry-suit-tested-on-beach

Related Reviews

Comfort and Fit

You take what you can get comfort wise with semi-dry and wetsuits. No matter how nice they are, there’s no comparing them to a thin layer that you’d wear in warm water, or fleece under a drysuit. Still, there are some comfort considerations in the NeoTek Semi-Dry that make it a strong contender amongst the competition.

I think the comfort is

Thinner neoprene used in select areas improves dexterity over suits with uniform thickness. Areas like the elbows and the backs of legs are trimmed down to make movement both above and below the surface a little bit easier. This updated version of the suit is made out of a stretchy eco-friendly neoprene. There’s also a strip of thicker material that runs down the spine. This helps cushion your back from the burden of a tank over long days in and out of the water.

The ThermaSkin liner, updated from NeoTek’s celebrated Lavacore liner, has a plush feel on your skin and adds some additional warmth to the neoprene. This liner runs the length of the suit from core to extremities, so your arms and legs stay warm too.

When it comes to the start and end of your day,  the inner “ThermaSkin” makes the suit easy to get on and off. It’s possible to do by yourself with the front zip and is as close to effortless with an extra set of hands to help you along. The NeoTek Semi-Dry Wetsuit comes in nine different sizes so you can find something that will perform up to your expectations.

neotek-semi-dry-suit-worn

Durability

Ripping seams and breaking zippers on exposure suits is a huge bummer. Beyond regular maintenance and being careful about donning and doffing, the initial quality of the suit is an important marker of value over time.

Hollis has quality products so stitching, gluing, and seam are as bombproof as possible. We’ve yet to put in the hours to really vet it as a years-long investment, but it’s held up well thus far. Phrases like “liquid glued” and “double taped” seams are confidence-inspiring, and it looks like with proper care the NeoTek Semi-Dry is a sound investment.

The zipper is stout. It’s reassuring to have your main point of ingress be so hardy, it feels like a proper zipper. Seals around the face and wrists feel as sound as you could hope.  The neoprene around the elbows, knees, and rear is reinforced to prevent breakdown in high-wear areas.

neotek-semi-dry-suit-worn-by-torben

Features

We addressed the water dams earlier in this article, located around the ankles, wrists and neck of the suit. Specifically, they’re great for flushing water out of the suit and keeping you as dry as possible within the confines of the suit. There’s also an internal bib underneath the zipper to keep the cold metal off of your skin.

The hood is attached and easy to deploy. Combined with the bib mentioned above makes for a very reassuring layering of materials over your head and torso.

The standout features are two built-in thigh pockets with internal D-rings. It’s never a bad idea to err on the side of additional storage space, particularly when it’s relatively streamlined such as in the case of the velcro-topped examples on the NeoTek Semi-Dry. These are reasonably high-capacity and you could easily fit a spare mask or a dive light in one of them.

neotek-semi-dry-suit-gear

Who’s it for

Frequent divers in cold water environments who can’t afford or don’t want to use a drysuit should take a look at the Hollis NeoTek Semi-Dry. It’s a great option for upgrading from a shoddy wetsuit system or for those who need a little more versatility in their kit. As a whole, we’d recommend it to anyone who primarily dives outside of the tropics, but doesn’t spend a whole lot of time beneath the ice.

neotek-semi-dry-suit-closeup-details

Conclusion

The NeoTek Semi-Dry is perhaps a little more than just a stepping stone along the way toward a drysuit investment. Between its in-water warmth, durability, flexibility, and technical ready pockets- the suit is hard to pass up.

This is one of the absolutely best wetsuits I’ve ever worn – Torben Lonne, Editor at DIVEIN.com

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested - and read reviews from other experts and users. In summary, this is what we think:

4.9

Reasons to buy:

  • check-mark
    Leader in warmth within the semi-dry category
  • check-mark
    Awesome easy-access pockets
  • check-mark
    Comfortable internal material
  • check-mark
    Does a good job keeping water out

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markMore expensive than a wetsuit
  • check-markNot as warm as a dry suit

Do you want more?

Stay updated with guides, reviews and more about paddling.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Neotek Semi-Dry Suit

What are the best semi-dry suits?

If you’re looking to stay warmer underwater but don’t want to make the jump to a drysuit, a semi-dry suit is a great way to get some more bottom time. Here are a few of our favorite models.

  • NeoTek Semi-Dry V2
  • Bare 8/7MM Velocity Ultra Hooded Semi-Dry Suit
  • Polar M8 Semi-Dry Suit
What is a semi-dry suit?

A semi-dry suit is a more robust version of your standard wetsuit. With large water dams at critical openings they effectively shunt water out and away from your body, leaving only a thin layer to help keep you warm in cold conditions.

Semi-dry suits are a great bridge between standard wetsuits and drysuits, letting you squeeze a little more warmth out of your natural body heat. If you have questions about exposure suits, take a look at our buyer’s guide for information and examples of our favorites.

How to clean a semi-dry suit?

Cleaning a semi-dry suit is the same as cleaning any wetsuit. It boils down to just thoroughly rinsing and soaking the suit in clean water- possibly with the aid of some soft wash. It’s important to remember to dry your suit thoroughly, out of sunlight, between uses. If you have questions about exposure suits, take a look at our buyer’s guide for information and examples of our favorites.

On this page

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments