Best First Neoprene Drysuit for UK diving

Fourth Element Hydra with Free Xerotherm

If you plan to do more UK diving, you will need to consider buying a suitable drysuit. Many of my students choose the Fourth Element Hydra Drysuit as an affordable, well made and good looking neoprene drysuit. 

There are many drysuits out there, and of course, it is sensible to consider different types of drysuits, such as neoprene or trilaminate. Each type has pros and cons, and we covered it in more detail on our Blog - "Choosing a Diving Drysuit". At the moment, the best value for money neoprene drysuit offered by our Showroom is the Fourth Element Hydra Drysuit.

Compressed Neoprene Drysuit

The Fourth Element Hydra Neoprene Drysuit captures attention straight away. It looks streamlined, offers an attractive design and strikes with evident high-quality markings such as fused and blind stitched seams. The neoprene drysuits are made entirely of neoprene, and these come in different thicknesses. The Fourth Element Hydra Neoprene Drysuit is made out of 7mm thick high-density neoprene, which has been compressed to 4mm to reduce buoyancy issues. This excellent drysuit comes in two gender-specific designs - Hydra for Men and Hydra for Women

Neoprene is thermally insulating, so the need for additional thermal layers is reduced, but neoprene is also buoyant because it is full of tiny air bubbles, which help provide that insulation. The trouble with air is that it compresses as you go deeper when diving. As with a wetsuit, the neoprene is naturally compressed, the suit gets thinner, and its buoyancy is reduced, making the diver heavier at depth.

Pros of neoprene drysuit:

  • Neoprene is thermally insulating, reducing the need for additional thermal layers
  • Neoprene stretches with movement allowing for a snugger fit
  • More form fitted and requiring less air when used correctly
  • Better value for money generally

Cons of neoprene drysuit:

  • Neoprene is buoyant and affected by the compression
  • The suits tend to be heavier and bulkier to transport
  • The snugger fit is not so accommodating for diver weight and size changes.

    First Neoprene Drysuit Fourth Element Hydra

    Fourth Element Hydra drysuit seals, cuffs and valves

    Many divers choose Hydra Drysuit for their first drysuit because it offers excellent quality for around £1000. The Hydra is fitted with high-end Apollo Bio-Dry Valves, the same YKK AQUASEAL® dry plastic zipper found on the Argonaut drysuits and includes a Hydpro Smooth Pro low-pressure hose. The Hydpro hose is a braided hose similar to the Miflex hoses. The composite YKK zip offers a massive flexibility improvement over the traditional brass zip, which are prone to damage and snapping if mishandled. The Fourth Element Hydra is equipped with comfortable and practical neoprene neck and wrist seals. The Hydra is fitted with 4mm compressed neoprene dry boots as standard and feature a double layer of reinforcement, good grip and an ergonomic footbed to ensure they are comfortable and reliable. One of the most significant benefits of using a neoprene drysuit is that you do not have to use thick undersuits. The best setup working for most recreational divers in the UK is Fourth Element J2 baselayer, Fourth Element Xerotherm or a combination of both. However, if you dive throughout the winter season, you might consider extending the above setup to Fourth Element Arctic on its own or in combination with a baselayer.

    Fourth Element Hydra Drysuit

    Best undersuits for Hydra Neoprene Drysuits

    Fourth Element company has rapidly become the dive industry leader in divers thermal protection. The Fourth Element offers a comprehensive range of super stretchy undersuits to go with the Hydra drysuit. Fourth Element spends time developing its products by testing the undersuits out on divers in the field. 

    Level 1 - Fourth Element J2 Baselayer

    One of the best base layers under the Hydra Drysuit is the Fourth Element J2 baselayer. This effective base layer has been initially designed for US Deep Caving Team's 2013 expedition to explore the Cheve cave system in Mexico.

    These simple, close-fitting garments, with super flat seams, create a dry zone next to the skin, offering better thermal protection for extended use under a dry suit.

    These quick-wicking, top-performing undergarments remove sweat from the skin, offering outstanding comfort during even longer drysuit dives. The new J2 baselayer has anti-microbial silver threads running through it to avoid skin irritations and infections.

    Fourth Element J2 Baselayer


    Level 2 - Fourth Element Xerotherm Medium Undersuit

    The Fourth Element Xerotherm is the ultimate base layer system for neoprene drysuits. It is perfect for divers wearing neoprene drysuits like the Fourth Element Hydra that require a thinner thermal layer to control moisture and a comfortable layer against the skin or wear it beneath a thicker thermal layer such as the Fourth Element Arctic range for trilaminate drysuits.

    Fourth Element Xerotherm Undersuit


    Level 3 - Fourth Element Arctic Undersuit

    The Fourth Element Arctic may be slight overkill for summer diving in the UK but definitely will be a great addition to anybody diving in the UK throughout winter. It is famous amongst many UK divers for its minimalist design, good fit, and outstanding cold water performance under close-fitting neoprene drysuits. Just like the other two undergarments from Fourth Element, this well made undersuit uses a combination of fast-wicking, highly insulating fabric that creates a lovely dry environment on the inside. At the same time, the outer layer offers water repellant properties and a snug fit under a neoprene drysuit.

    Fourth Element Arctic for Drysuits

    An excellent choice for the first drysuit buyers

    We think the Fourth Element Hydra Drysuit is a fantastic choice for the first drysuit purchase. It looks fabulously, but it also packs high-quality features. Every Hydra Comes with a handy drysuit carry-on bag that converts to changing mat and braided low-pressure drysuit hose. What is included in your first Hydra drysuit: 

    • Fourth Element Hydra- crushed neoprene drysuit
    • Fourth Element 7mm neoprene Hood
    • Convenient Drysuit bag and changing mat
    • Ergonomic footbeds for boots
    • Hydra Zip-Tech Lubricant Stick
    • Quality low-pressure Hydra Hydpro drysuit pressure hose
    • Dedicated Hydra Seal Saver
    • User Manual
    Fourth Element Hydra Bag with Hose

    Buying your first drysuit? - We're Here to Help

    Let us know if you are planning to purchase your first drysuit. If you have any questions or are unsure which drysuit is right for you, do not hesitate to get in touch with Or, if you live locally or in the surrounding areas of London, pop in and visit us in-store, where you can see the waterproof products for yourself. WE will be delighted to help you choose your first drysuit to  suit your needs.