Test: SeasonFive Water Line

Staking a claim as a new category between a surfer’s rash-guard and a wetsuit, Colorado-based SeasonFive has a unique product offering with its Phantom shirt and Barrier pant apparel. The $170 suit — the top is $100, bottoms are $70 — was designed to “fill the gap” states the company’s literature, as it is thicker and tougher than a rash guard but much lighter and less restrictive than a wetsuit.

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Phantom long-sleeve top from SeasonFive

SeasonFive uses a proprietary fabric “engineered to block wind, water and harmful UV rays, while allowing heat vapor to escape,” the company touts. The whole line is available in men’s and women’s models, short-sleeve or long.

I tested the suit this month on a kayaking and snorkeling trip in Florida. Though the suit wasn’t designed for the warm waters I was in, I got a feel for what the product line can do.

Until submerged, the fabric sheds water easily. It offers protection from spray and splashes and would be nice for a spring or early summer paddle where a wetsuit is overkill.

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Barrier bottoms from SeasonFive

In the water, the suit regulated temp and added a thin layer of insulation. It gave a little protection from the sharp coral as I swam. Out of the water and dripping wet, I got chilled quickly in the wind.

Overall, you probably won’t wear the SeasonFive suit for its out-of-water comfort. The company’s stretchy “Atmos” fabric is a little stiff and feels somewhat rubbery.

But in the seat of a kayak or submerged in the water where it belongs, the apparel is far more comfortable than the average wetsuit (but then not nearly as warm either). For paddlers, kite-boarders, surfers, and divers, the suit offers a middle ground alternative for “extending your season,” as the company suggests.

—T.C. Worley

Posted by willy - 03/31/2011 09:29 PM

Sounds like just what I’ve been looking for for snorkeling—-“rash guard” pants, almost impossible to find. Any idea whether it would protect against jellyfish stings? Jellyfish and sunburn are my two primary considerations.

Posted by T.C. Worley - 04/01/2011 03:24 PM

Not sure of that one, Willy. I imagine the company would be able to at least give you an educated guess, however?

Posted by Kyle - 04/04/2011 07:38 AM

I love my S5 top for surfing in both Bali and Northern California. It’s perfect!

Posted by Joel - 04/04/2011 01:26 PM

Just Got My Barrier Top and it totally kicks ass for the Washingtonian wet cold wet paddler who is itching to paddle this time of year since we got teased with a couple moments of sun

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