After the First Impressions on the Salvimar Blend 5.5 mm wetsuit, AP has moved to the Test in the Water. Comfort and softness are first class.
The test in the water has been done in May, in the sea of the North of Sardinia island, Italy. Water temperature measured with the computer watch Cressi Drake Titanium has been equal to 17° C.
Wearing and unwearing
The test for the Salvimar Blend 5.5 mm starts immediately very positively during the dressing phase. The constructive simplicity, without anklets and cuffs that that tend to squeeze, or too many seams, makes the Blend extremely easy and soft to wear. It is actually true that Salvimar philosofy for this wetsuit, but in general for all the wetsuit line, can be summarized in «the least the pieces of neoprene and the greater the comfort and the thermal insulation». The technical department of Salvimar, in fact, states that such approach on one side reduces the seams that can wear in time and that are less comfortable than pure neoprene, on the other side the thermal insulation increases, since the seams puncture the neoprene. In addition to this, less discontinuity means minor weak points that could determine breakage and, finally, less seams determine a better appearance of the photo image of the camouflage. A correct soaping will anyway be fundamental to be able to wear the Blend easily, because of the internally open cell neoprene.
The neoprene of the Blend astonishes for its great softness. This is true also considering the nylon lining, which, even though theoretically less elastic than Lycra, is extremely comfortable. Salvimar points out that neoprene is first quality, also from a duration point of view (and we will check that using the Blend). An aspect that additionally contributes to general comfort is the possibility to choose separately the size of jacket and trousers of the 5.5 mm thick Blend (this also applies to the 7 mm, while, unfortunately, it does not for the 3.5 mm). In such a way it is possible to find the ideal measure fro legs and upper body. It is in fact important to remember that a wetsuit which is too large on us tends to loose its insulation effect, while one which is too tight is also uncomfortable and limits movement.
The thermal insulation of the Blend is extremely good, still the simplicity of the construction of the wetsuit does not allow for excellency on this point, as additional solutions and measures are missing, such as tighter seals for wrists, ankles and waist. It is true that the extremely how quality of the materials used and the cut of the wetsuit determine by their own high insulation, but there is somehow the feel that some water tightness on wrists, ankles and face is just very slightly missing. If on one side the wrists and ankles will be covered by the trousers and arms of the jacket, the face contour remains uncovered. It is also true that the 5.5 mm wetsuit is not thought for extremely cold water (above 20°C), so the issue is very limited.
Protection from abrasion and shocks
Salvimar Blend is is made with open cell internal and lined external neoprene, meaning resistance to wear and abrasion on the rocks is guaranteed. The protection of knees and elbows is obtained with a liquid gum, called Puffgum, a solution that cannot be felt at all when wearing the wetsuit. Of course, if on one side they protect from wear and abrasion when rubbing against the rocks, and partially from hitting the needles of the sea urchin (but our experience confirms that a great shock makes the needles penetrate through the Puffgum), they do not increase relevantly the protection against shocks on the rocks, as there is no real increase in the thickness of the area.
Excellent is the sternal protection, internal, ample and of good thickness, adequate to load even the longest and most powerful spearguns.
It is the nice novelty of the Blend, with its stamped sea floor photographic image, showing rocks, the blu of the sea, weeds and even small fishes. In general the camouflage has black, blu and yellow colors, but the general tone is quite dark, so it adapts more to sea floors that are not too light colored such as granitic rocks with few algae (see photo below).
Transfer with the dinghy
As wetsuit externally lined, the Blend once soaked clearly suffers transfers with the dinghy as it takes time to dry.
Maximum comfort is the successful objective reached by the Blend, thanks to a high quality and very soft neoprene, united with a constructive simplicity that makes the whole wetsuit lighter to wear. No particular innovation is present, except for the camouflage photographic image, but all the base of the wetsuit is excellent. Evidently the lack of specific tightening systems on ankles, wrists, face contour and waist gives the Blend something less than excellence on the insulation.
List prices (and online)
Blend Jacket 5,5 mm: 169€ (135,20€). Blend Trouser 5,5 mm 139€. (111,20€)
Blend Jacket 7 mm 199€ (159,20€).
We like and we don’t like
- Excellent ease of wear
- Excellent comfort
We don’t like
- Face contour a little too large
- No real solution to additionally increase insulation, such as the externally smooth neoprene band on the upper part of the waist.
Thermal insulation 8 (very good, but below excellence)
Comfort 9 (No seam can be felt at all. It is the maximum comfort for an externally lined wetsuit)
Bondings and seams 9 (very well made)
General resistance 8 (the external lining insures a very good protection from rubbings and tear)
Dressing and undressing ease 10 (perfect, maximum softness, but with the resistance of the lining which avoids possible tears)
Intelligent/innovative solutions 7,5 (nothing really innovative, except for the camouflage)
Use in transfers with the dinghy 7 (the external lining does not help, but the Puffgum protections dru quickly and there are no specific critical areas)
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