Kwark are a brand fairly unheard of in the UK diving market, but who are making an impact with their range of undersuits, particularly the Kwark Navy Undersuit. Founded in 1995 they began by making specialised outdoor clothing using some of the best materials.
As the water temperature dropped early in the year I decided to purchase a Kwark Navy undersuit (and accessories) and see if the reviews I’d heard were correct. Since then I’ve done a number of dives in the undersuit and can say I’m very impressed. As any technical diving instructor will tell you, particularly on CCR Diver courses, a lot of time is spent hanging around demonstrating skills or watching students performing skills rather than actively swimming around. All of the dives have been in water temperatures as low as 6 deg C and no warmer than 8 deg C. They were all pretty much over an hour in duration, with most touching closer to 100 mins.
When you first see the Kwark Navy undersuits they look thin. However you quickly realise when handling them that the material is quite dense and heavyweight. You also notice how stretchy it is too. This was emphasised when I first tried the suit on. Initially expecting it to slide on like an old Thinsulate undersuit I was surprised by how I had to squeeze my legs into it. By the time I had it around my waist I was convinced I’d ordered the wrong size and it was never going to fit. The fit is correct though, the suit stretches and is a purposely designed to be a tight fit remaining in contact with as much of your body as possible. Despite it being a dense feeling material, the tight fit and stretchiness of the material means it is one of the comfiest undersuits I have warm. There is no restriction of movement at all, as the material stretches in every angle as you move around. Even fully outstretching your arm doesn’t result in the sleeve ridding up your arm. Everything stays where is should be.
Diving The Kwark Navy Undersuit
I chose to go for a complete set undersuits, including the Navy one piece suit, the Navy vest, socks and under-gloves. Warmth wise I found the suit warmer than my previous combination, which was a layer of Fourth Element Drybase, followed by an Xerotherm vest and a set of Xerotherm Arctics (I kept the layer of Drybase under the Kwark suit). The Navy undersuit on it’s own felt warmer, but the big difference is the significant improvement in movement. I also dropped 0.5kg of lead. Adding the Navy vest made a significant increase in warmth with only a 0.5kg weight increase compared to my Fourth Element suits. I’m more than happy with that difference for the warmth. Even the socks and gloves proved better than my existing choices.
I’ve now clocked up quite a few dives in the Kwark undersuit and have yet to find anything bad to say about it, apart from it’s not very flattering when I’m wearing it!
I should note I purchased the undersuits, I’m still using them and all divers were under an Otter Britannic Drysuit.