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Monday, February 7, 2011

Drysuit Diatribe: Pockets

I haven't managed to achieve pocket nirvana on any of my suits. But I have a pretty good idea of what pocket nirvana would be, since I've had so many different types of pockets on my various suits. I've had the DUI zipper pocket, the DUI bellows pockets in both sizes, and the big ("exploration") Halcyon pocket. If I were getting a new suit, I would get the smaller Halcyon pockets. Here's what I do and don't like about each of the pockets I've mentioned:
  • DUI zipper pocket. There is a theoretical reason that zipper pockets are bad, which is that the zipper can jam and fail closed. If you are carrying gear that you are actually relying on in your pocket, that could be pretty bad. I also don't like the pockets because kelp seems to always wrap around them. I'm not sure why. I think it's because they stand up even when they aren't full, and they have a distinct "corner" for the kelp to wrap around. I am sure they are just as much of an entanglement hazard with cave line too. The upside is that there is no Velcro for your glove to get stuck to and since they stand up on their own, it is pretty easy to get in and out of them.
  • DUI small bellows pocket. These pockets are rather small, as the name suggests :) However, I have them on my current favorite suit, and they are big enough for the gear I feel compelled to carry on a Tech 2 or Cave 1 dive (even with my hero cam in the left pocket). I think they would be sufficient for a C2 dive too, since my left pocket is generally pretty empty on cave dives. But I have to pack my gear into them just so for everything to fit nicely, and once I pull something out on a dive, getting it back in on my own is pretty difficult.
  • DUI large bellows pocket. This is a pretty good pocket. My only complaint is that stupid D-ring that comes in them by default, but that's not something a nice pair of bolt-cutters can't fix. If I were going to get any DUI pocket, this would be the one, and I would be quite content with that.
  • Halcyon exploration pocket. This pocket is huge. Too huge, I'd say, unless you have a huge thigh to support it :) The pocket is so big I think it kind of weighs down the leg of my suit (out of the water). In the water, it's fine though. I love the wetnotes pocket, and I like the little pocket on the outside, which is perfect for car keys or other small stuff you don't usually take out on a dive, and want to keep out of the way. Also, the stiffer material of the pocket makes it kind of stand open at the edge better than the more flexible material on the DUI pockets, making it easier to get your hand in and out. The huge swath of Velcro is a bigger target to get your hand stuck to though.
  • Halcyon normal pocket. This has the same bells and whistles of the exploration pocket, without being crazy big. I think this is about the same size as the big DUI bellows pocket. This is the pocket I'll get on my next suit.

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