In this Fourth Element Wetsuits Review, we’ll look at a range of wetsuits from this leading UK manufacturer who’s pledged an ocean-positive policy.
Whether diving into the depths with scuba or freediving, exploring the underwater world through snorkelling, or riding the waves on your paddle board or kayak, Fourth Element wetsuits provide exceptional comfort, warmth, and durability.
In this review, we’ll take a quick look at Fourth Element Wetsuits:
- Proteus II wetsuit
- Xenos wetsuit
- Thermocline oceanwear
- Surface wetsuit
- RF1 freediving wetsuit
- RF2 freediving wetsuit
Embrace the depths with the Fourth Element PROTEUS II
Recommended for: Diving
Venture into the deep with the Fourth Element Proteus II Wetsuit, a masterpiece of design and technology crafted for divers. This neoprene wonder, available in 5mm and 3mm thicknesses, is akin to a semi-dry suit, offering exceptional warmth and protection against the elements.
The Fourth Element team recommends water temperatures of 23°C and above for the 3mm Proteus II and the Proteus II 5mm wetsuit for extended dives at 19°C and above. However, many experienced divers confidently venture into even chillier waters, a testament to the suit’s remarkable thermal capabilities.
Proteus II boasts to be the highest-performing and warmest wetsuit on the market.
What’s so special about the Proteus II Wetsuit is how it protects against water intrusion with its ingenious Hydrolock inner neck seal and Glideskin wrist seals. Double-glued, blind-stitched, taped seams and internal PU ankle seals create an almost impenetrable barrier against the elements.
Once you don the Proteus II, you will immerse yourself in warmth with the wetsuit’s Hexcore lining on the body core and Thermoflex lining throughout the rest of the suit. This combination enhances thermal performance, ensuring maximum comfort during prolonged dives in cooler or warmer waters.
The Fourth Element Proteus II wetsuit offers excellent flexibility and less buoyancy, functioning similarly to a semi-dry suit.
Fourth Element XENOS Wetsuit
Recommended for: Diving and Snorkelling
The Xenos wetsuit line has been developed for the discerning diver who needs an easy-to-don wetsuit that performs well and looks great.
The neoprene Fourth Element XENOS wetsuit in 3, 5 and 7mm is popular for divers and snorkelers alike and is designed for cooler and warmer waters, depending on your chosen thickness.
The 3mm wetsuits come as shortie and single-piece full-body models, while the 5 and 7mm do not have shortie models. Whichever you choose, the comfortable stretch neoprene used will fit well and hug your body to minimise water flushing through the suit.
The design criteria for the Xenos wetsuit was to make it as easy as possible to get the suit on and off without compromising thermal protection.
Watertight glued and blind stitched seams, thermal lining, wrist seals to minimise water ingress and internal PU seals at the ankle enhance warmth and comfort.
Fourth Element THERMOCLINE Oceanwear
Recommended for: Diving, Snorkelling, Freediving, Above-Water Activities
While Fourth Element lists the Thermocline in its wetsuits category, the Fourth Element Thermocline is truly a Next Generation Oceanwear – a neutrally buoyant, lightweight wetsuit alternative with a fleece lining.
It is made of recycled nylon, providing the equivalent warmth of 2mm neoprene which makes it an ideal alternative for those who are allergic to neoprene.
Fourth Element states that the Thermocline is perfect for travel and tropical diving (and freediving), listing it as “light and tropical.” Still, this exceptional oceanwear has many other uses in colder climates too.
It can be used independently and as a layer for extra warmth, whether you’re under or above the water for activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding.
The Thermocline range has various products, from one-piece suits to vests, jackets, short and long-sleeve tops, shorts, leggings, swimsuits, hoods and socks.
Fourth Element SURFACE Wetsuit
Recommended for: Diving, Snorkelling, Freediving, Above-Water Activities
Certified sustainable natural rubber and recycled polyester make the 4/3mm Fourth Element SURFACE wetsuit an ideal choice for multiple sports in warmer waters for diving, snorkelling and freediving but also a flexible, warm option for surfers, paddle boarders and kayakers in colder conditions.
The Surface wetsuit is part of Fourth Element’s OceanPositive line, which means it uses a 100% plant-based alternative to neoprene called Yulex Pure™.
The reference to 4/3mm for this wetsuit means it has thicker neoprene in areas that need the most warmth and thinner neoprene in other areas to maintain flexibility for a diver.
With its minimal design, the material of the Surface is very stretchy and elastic, complemented by a non-slip grip near the wrists and ankles, minimising water flow.
Fourth Element RF1 and RF2 Freediving Wetsuits
While we’re at it, although they are not made for diving but specifically for freediving, we’ll briefly touch on the Fourth Element RF1 and RF2 wetsuits for you breath-hold enthusiasts out there.
The Fourth Element freediving wetsuit uses an optimum combination of Glideskin, Smoothskin and lined neoprene, designed to maximise your freedom in the water, allowing you to focus on your breath, visualise and reach your limit.
The neoprene thickness has been carefully considered in these free diving wetsuits to provide high thermal protection whilst diving without compromising comfort or freedom of movement. Glideskin panels on the outer surfaces have a hydrophilic coating, creating low friction, enabling you to glide easily through the water.
The Fourth Element RF1 is a 3mm recreational freediving wetsuit, designed for warmer waters but can be combined with the RF vest to enhance thermal protection. This creates 6mm on the critical torso area and 3mm protection for the head, keeping suit flush to a minimum without adding restrictive bulk.
Streamlined and high-performance, the Fourth Element RF2 two-piece freediving wetsuit has been developed for freedivers who want to enjoy maximum freedom and ultimate warmth, with many professionals referring to the RF2 as the ‘best off-the-peg’ freediving wetsuit’ on the market.
Choosing the Right Wetsuit
Navigating the world of wetsuits can be daunting, with numerous options available to suit various needs. To simplify your decision, consider the following factors:
Dive Location and Duration:
Regular UK Diving: For frequent dives in UK waters, the Fourth Element Proteus II is an excellent choice. It functions like a semi-dry suit, minimising water ingress and providing enhanced warmth.
Seasonal UK Diving and Travel: The Xenos wetsuit offers versatility if you dive seasonally in the UK and plan diving trips to warmer waters more frequently. Its range of thicknesses (3mm, 5mm, and 7mm) caters to UK conditions and warmer climates alike.
Activity and Comfort Preferences:
Warmth and Flexibility: The Proteus II and Xenos wetsuits are both renowned for their warmth and flexibility. The Proteus II excels in colder UK waters, while the Xenos offers a wider range of thicknesses for varying conditions.
Multipurpose Use: For warm water dives, shallow UK shore diving, or a range of water activities, you can consider the Fourth Element Surface wetsuit but in our view it is more suitable for warmer waters and above-water activities.
Thermocline Wetsuit: The Thermocline stands out for its exceptional warmth-to-weight ratio and can be used on its own or as a layer. It is also a good alternative for those with neoprene allergy with an equivalent thermal property of 2mm neoprene. However, its longer drying time is worth noting compared to neoprene alternatives.
Fourth Element Quality Assurance:
Regardless of your wetsuit choice, you can be confident in Fourth Element’s reputation for quality and innovation. Their wetsuits are designed to meet the demands of divers worldwide, ensuring comfort, warmth, and durability.