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

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