Saturday, 22 November 2014

Northern Diver DRY GLOVES Second edition Dry Glove Ring System

Second edition Dry Glove Ring System

Northern Diver supplied me with a set of their second edition Dry Glove Ring System. I had been attracted to the system ever since January 2014 after a dive in a quarry. My hands were freezing when a lady diver touched my hand and said feel how warm my hands are. Now I have to admit that I was impressed and I set off in pursuit of a pair to review. There was some delay on me getting my hands on them as the 2nd generation of the product had just been produced. The main difference I noted from the original set was that rather than being supplied with the thick blue smurf glove the new set is supplied with a thin pair of chemical resistant black outer gloves. They were thin and I wondered if they would cope with the rigors of diving.
Securing the system to my drysuit
One of the things that I really liked about these gloves is that they can be fitted to any drysuit with either neoprene or latex seals. This is enabled by the clever set of rings that accommodate different thicknesses of seal. The system comprises 2 ring like components that fit together over the drysuit seal. Fitting them together they compress a third ring onto the inside of the drysuit seal. I must admit that I found it a real challenge to fit the system to my neoprene seals on my Otter Drysuit. At one point I was about to give up and send my suit to Northern Diver to have them fit the glove system. I did however speak to Al Wright of Northern Diver who gave me a few helpful tips that enabled me to eventually fit the seals. No sealant is required if you fit the system to latex seals. For neoprene seals you do require to build up multiple layers of sealant to form a clean seal for the ring to seat onto. Accurate positioning and application of the sealant is required and to be honest the amount of sealant supplied with the system is barely enough and I required around twice the supplied amount to do a good job. There are good videos on YouTube produced by Northern Diver that explain the process for both types of seal. Fitting the system to latex seals looks a breeze by comparison.
Donning the gloves
I have often been on dive boats and looked at divers trying to don their dry gloves. It always looked a huge hassle to me. This is probably due to earlier dry glove systems being very bulky with thick inner liners.  When it came to fitting my gloves for a dive I found it no problem at all. The Northern Diver ring lock system is very simple. The ring has an open and locked position. Once the glove is inserted in the housing, the ring is set to the locked position and a secondary lock stops the locking ring from moving. To remove the gloves it’s a push of a button and a twist of the locking ring. Once this is done the gloves can be pulled off or if you fit them just right they will pop off if you flex your wrist.
In the water
In the water I found the gloves to be very dexterous and I had no problems operating my camera’s buttons and levers. The dry inner liners were fairly thin and did keep my hands fairly warm. I will have to ensure that I can transfer air from my suit into the gloves to equalise the pressure and keep my hands warm. One niggle I found was the stitching on the dry glove liners. Putting the gloves on, I found that the stitching was fairly prominent and could be felt running along the side of my fingers. I found this a little uncomfortable initially. That said once I was in the water it didn’t bother me at all. The outer gloves performed very well.
 I was certainly took more care with these gloves than if I was wearing standard neoprene gloves but I did grab onto my fair share of rocks and wreckage. These thin gloves coped with everything I threw at them and I did not experience any leeks or tears.
I found these gloves a pleasure to use once I had successfully attached the system to my drysuit. It was a challenge getting them fitted to my neoprene seals but perseverance paid off. These gloves can be fitted to neoprene or latex seals which is excellent as not all dry gloves systems can do this. They are not permanently secured to your drysuit and can be removed should you wish to use standard gloves in the summer months. That said the system can stay on the suit and standard gloves can still be used. It is still the drysuit seal rather than the dry gloves that form the seal at the wrist. The ring system is a little bulky around the wrist but in the water I found they did not impede me at all and were very comfortable to use, if fitted properly.
The gloves are flexible and dextrous. They are easy to use and most importantly keep your hands warm.  The gloves themselves are easy to fit and remove.
Fitting the ring system to thick neoprene seals can be challenging. The amount of sealant supplied by Northern Diver in the kit is barely enough to do a good job.
I would recommend this product.
2nd generation NORTHERN DIVER DRY GLOVES rrp £69 as per the Northern Diver Website.

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