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An In-depth Look To The MARES FLEXA Wetsuit

Mares Flexa wetsuit

If you haven’t been a scuba enthusiast for long, you may not have your own wetsuit. That’s a mistake. Rented wetsuits can be uncomfortable, unattractive and smelly. When you begin to shop for a wetsuit, you immediately notice that there are hundreds on the market. As you may suspect, not every wetsuit available for purchase is a smart buy. How do you know the difference between an excellent wetsuit and a substandard one?

That’s where we come in. In this review, we take an in-depth look at the MARES FLEXA wetsuit. Continue reading to discover everything you want to know about this product.

What Is a MARES FLEXA Wetsuit?

When you jump off the boat and into the water, you must have a protective layer to keep you warm and comfortable. The right wetsuit gets the job done. The MARES FLEXA wetsuit isn’t a single wetsuit. Instead, it is a family of wetsuits that consists of three members. The FLEXA 8.6.5 wetsuit is designed to protect divers in cold-water environments. The FLEXA 5.4.3 wetsuit is appropriate for temperate waters. The FLEXA 3.2.2 wetsuit is best for warm-water dives.

Since we are reviewing the FLEXA wetsuit generally, we will provide information for all three styles of FLEXA wetsuits. To avoid confusion, we refer to the suits as cold-water, temperate-water or warm-water suits. When there is commonality between the three, we use the term FLEXA wetsuit without denoting a specific model.

MARES FLEXA Specifications

https://www.amazon.com


FLEXA 8.6.5

FLEXA 5.4.3

FLEXA 3.2.2

Code

412337

412338

412348

Water Temperature

Cold

Temperate

Warm

Thickness

8.6.5

5.4.3

3.2.2

Closure

Zip Front

Zip Front

Zip Front

Back Protection System

Yes

Yes

Yes

Thermo Plush

Yes

Yes

Yes

Hood Keeper Ring

Yes

Yes

Yes

As you can see, the primary difference between the warm, temperate and cold-water FLEXA wetsuits is the thickness of the suit. For cold-water environments, the suit is considerablely thicker than the one used in warm-water dives. To tell the difference in each suit, you can look at its color. The cold-water suit has blue-panel inserts, the temperate suit has red inserts and the warm-water suit has white panel inserts. Still, suit construction is the same for all thicknesses.

Available in a variety of sizes, the FLEXA wetsuit is appropriate for either male or female divers. To choose the right size for you, rely on the MARES size chart on the company’s website. The FLEXA features an innovative design with a front zipper. As such, getting into and out of the suit is usually simple and fast. The ergonomic design helps prevent strains and cramps while suiting up. Moreover, the FLEXA wetsuit consists of Trilastic material that stays firmly in place, regardless of dive conditions.

The FLEXA wetsuit is not a uniform thickness. Instead, MARES designers distribute fabric thickness throughout strategic places in the suit. The result is more protection where you most need it. Likewise, in places that tend to wear, extra material helps extend the life of the FLEXA wetsuit. Moreover, MARES puts extra neoprene on the back of its wetsuits. As you probably know, dive tanks can rub against a diver’s back. This is uncomfortable. The extra fabric helps protect a diver’s back and shoulders.

When divers are underwater, they are susceptible to hypothermia. That’s why they wear wetsuits. MARES uses special technology to better protect divers from the negative consequences of exposure to cold temperatures. By stitching Thermo Plush into the upper section of the FLEXA wetsuit, MARES ensures divers have warmth where they most need it. Since Thermo Plush dries quickly, you don’t have to worry about feeling soggy after you leave the water.

Finally, the FLEXA wetsuit has an integrated hook to hold your diving hood in place. It also features accessories clips that allow you to customize the wetsuit to meet your diving needs. Choose from a variety of aftermarket accessories and dive like a pro. These are not included with the purchase price of a FLEXA wetsuit. Still, adding a smart pocket to the side of the suit makes it more versatile and usable.

MARES FLEXA Pricing

dollar coins

Most FLEXA wetsuits sell for between $200 and $350. The disparity in pricing depends on a variety of factors. For example, the cold-water suit generally costs more than its warm-water counterpart. That makes sense, as the cold-water version has thicker neoprene throughout. MARES suits don’t include hoods or boots. If you want to purchase a pair of MARES boots, expect to pay around $30 or $40. Hoods usually retail for between $30 and $50.

While the FLEXA wetsuit usually refers to full-bodied suits, MARES has some other suits with the FLEXA name. These include core suits, which don’t cover a diver’s arms or legs, and vests. FLEXA core suits often sell for between $130 and $200.

MARES warrants that all products you purchase from an authorized MARES dealer will be free from both material and manufacturing defects usually for two years. This limited warranty changes from product to product, though, so you must be sure you research warranty information for each piece of equipment you plan to buy. The FLEXA wetsuit is subject to the two-year limited warranty.

If you are looking for a MARES FLEXA wetsuit, you have a few options. The company does not sell products directly. Instead, you can find an authorized retailer by using a drop-down menu on the company’s website, www.MARES.com. Remember, you must purchase gear from an authorized MARES retailer to take advantage of the company’s limited warranty.

There is a good chance your local dive shop or scuba center is an authorized MARES retailer. Some sellers on third-party sites, such as Amazon, are also authorized MARES retailers. Still, before you finalize your purchase, you should cross check seller information with the MARES website to be sure you aren’t inadvertently purchasing gear from an unauthorized seller.

Additionally, while purchasing a used FLEXA wetsuit isn’t a bad strategy for saving money, you should know the company’s warranty only applies to new products and initial buyers. As such, you may not be able to take advantage of the company’s warranty if you choose to purchase a used FLEXA wetsuit or other pre-owned MARES gear.

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Why Buy a Wetsuit When You Can Rent?

As we’ve already mentioned, a lot of people prefer renting wetsuits instead of buying since it can look like the more affordable route. To a certain extent, that’s true. If you only scuba dive occasionally – for instance when you go on vacation – renting is definitely an option you should explore.

However, if you scuba dive on a regular basis, buying your own suit should be seen as an investment. The cost may be higher upfront but, as long as you purchase a quality product, the wetsuit will end up saving you cash in the long run. Especially when you calculate the cost per wear, which is a clever metric to use when establishing if an item it worth your hard-earned money. 

Not to mention the fact that you will be sure that no one else wore it and that it’s clean, which is a sanitary concern for a lot of folks when renting. Finally, rental wetsuits are of inferior quality, so you might end up damaging them during your scuba endeavors and losing your deposit. That’s never fun.

How the MARES FLEXA Wetsuit Compares to Other Wetsuits

While the MARES FLEXA has some impressive features, you can’t really know if it is the best suit for you until you compare it with some alternatives. In this section, we compare the FLEXA with three popular competitors.

NeoSport Premium Wetsuit

https://www.amazon.com

The NeoSport Premium wetsuit is an affordable alternative to the MARES FLEXA. This suit is good for warm and cool-water dives but does not offer enough protection for cold-water situations. Still, it has a decent fit and allows you to move freely underwater. We like the reinforced knees and extra fabric on the back of the suit.

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Xcel ThermoFlex Wetsuit

https://www.amazon.com

One of the toughest wetsuits available for purchase is the Xcel ThermoFlex wetsuit. This suit’s material is high-quality compression-resistant nylon II neoprene. That’s as good as it gets. Also, the suit’s seams are bind stitched and four-times glued. You simply can’t find a more heavy-duty suit than the Xcel ThermoFlex wetsuit.

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SCUBAPRO Everflex Wetsuit

https://www.amazon.com

If you value comfort over anything else, the SCUBAPRO Everflex wetsuit is worth a look. This suit moves naturally with your body as you swim underwater. You may not even realize you are wearing a wetsuit at all.

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MARES FLEXA Pros and Cons

The MARES FLEXA is one of the most complete wetsuits on the market today. It has several advantages over other wetsuits. Still, it isn’t perfect. In this section, we discuss what we think are some pros and cons of the MARES FLEXA suit.

Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Range of water temperatures
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Lack of versatility
  • Limited sizes for some models
  • No warranty for pre-owned suits

The Verdict: The MARES FLEXA Wetsuit Is One of the Best Wetsuits on the Market Today

If you need a new wetsuit, you probably can’t go wrong with the MARES FLEXA. In our opinion, the suit is one of the best wetsuits on the market today. Before deciding which FLEXA is right for you, you must think about your diving objectives. Remember, these suits are temperature-specific, so you need to consider where you dive most frequently.

When you are ready to buy, be sure you find an authorized MARES dealer. Not only do these retailers have the best selection of FLEXA wetsuits, but they also allow you to take full advantage of the company’s excellent warranty.

Rating: 4.5/5

Best 10 Snorkeling Mask

blue and orange snorkling mask

Whether you're planning a tropical vacation or taking an underwater photography course, one thing is certain — you will need a snorkeling mask!
 
Snorkeling masks come in a variety of styles, often featuring such things as camera mounts and built-in snorkels. Some snorkeling masks even allow you to breathe through your nose just like you do on land. 
 
With so many options to choose from, narrowing your selection down to just one product can be a little overwhelming. That's why we're here — to take the guesswork out of your snorkeling mask purchase by reviewing some of the best ones on the market today.

Comparison Table

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FAQs about Snorkeling Masks

1. What Is a Snorkeling Mask?

2. What Does a Snorkeling Mask Do?

3. How Do Snorkeling Masks Work?

4. Where Can You Buy a Snorkeling Mask?

How We Reviewed

blue diving mask

Image source: Pixabay

So we could provide you with a shortlist of top snorkeling masks available on the market today, we did a great deal of research into all brands. We compared them against one another based on their individual features, their benefits, any perceived drawbacks, their availability for purchase, their warranties and other similar considerations. From our findings, we were able to come up with the top 10 products we feel give you the best value for your hard-earned money. And, as a bonus, at the end of this article we'll reveal to you our absolute favorite!

Overall Price Range of Snorkeling Masks

Pricing varies widely for snorkeling masks, depending on their designs, added features and where you buy them. What we discovered is that the lower-priced masks are usually made of lower-quality materials, they aren't as durable and they don't perform as good as higher-priced masks. Although the saying "you get as good as you pay for" isn't accurate with many products, it seems to hold true with snorkeling masks. 


You'll be happy to know, all the masks we reviewed cost from around $30 to around $96 — so, we found something suitable for all budgets!

What We Reviewed

  • TUSA M-1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask
  • Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Free Diving Mask Set
  • Scubapro Spectra Mini Dive Mask
  • WildHorn Outfitters Seaview GoPro Compatible Snorkel Mask
  • Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Scuba Mask Snorkel Set
  • Tribord EasyBreath Full-Face Snorkeling Mask
  • ScubaPro Solo Scuba Snorkeling Dive Mask
  • PRODIVE Premium Dry-Top Snorkel with Glass Diving Mask
  • Mares I3 Sunrise Scuba Mask
  • Cressi Panoramic Wide-View Mask Snorkel Set

TUSA M-1001 Freedom HD Scuba Diving Mask

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Features

This single-lens mask is Freedom Technology's latest design, and it provides a panoramic view. It has a 180-degree rotational buckle system that allows the mask to maintain a low profile while still fitting a variety of face sizes. The TUSA has a large frame with minimal internal volume. The strap angle is adjustable to five positions. And, the mask has a rounded-edge skirt.

PROS

  • 180-degree rotational buckle systemLow-profile design
  • 5 adjustable strap angles

CONS

  • Difficult to clear
  • Puts pressure on the bridge of the nose
  • Some users reported leaks

Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Free Diving Mask Set

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Features

This Cressi mask has a liquid silicone skirt directly attached to a tempered-glass lens. The frameless design offers a panoramic field of vision and it packs flat for great portability. Its ultra-clear lens provides clarity and vivid colors, while its push-button buckle makes it easy to adjust.

The dry-top design snorkel with anti-splash top has a valve that seals the snorkel when submerged. It also has a quick-release snorkel keeper and a purge valve.

PROS

  • Frameless design provides a panoramic view    
  • Lens is ultra-clear, for vivid viewing
  • Sports a dry-top snorkel, with a quick-release latch

CONS

  • Users reported the snorkel can be uncomfortable
  • Reportedly tends to fog during use
  • Snorkel clip doesn't rotate

Scubapro Spectra Mini Dive Mask

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Features

This highly comfortable, low-profile mask comes in five stylish colors that emulate the look of fine eyewear, thanks to an innovative metallic paint process. The mask has a dual, feather-edged, silicone skirt and a wide, split strap to create a perfect seal. Maximum underwater vision and light intake can be credited to this mask's dual-tempered, glass lens design. Ears can be equalized easily, even when wearing thick diving gloves, thanks to the one-hand nose pocket. It also has a swiveled, easy-to-adjust buckle system.

The Scubapro mask's lenses are made of ultra-clear, optical-quality glass, so you see true colors as opposed to standard glass lenses that filter everything with a green tint due to iron impurities.

PROS

  • Optical-quality lenses   
  • Variety of stylish, metallic finishes
  • Dual, feather-edged, silicone skirt creates tight seal

CONS

  • Puts pressure on the bridge of the nose
  • Users said it may fog between lens panes

WildHorn Outfitters Seaview GoPro Compatible Snorkel Mask

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Features

The full-face design of this mask allows the user to breathe normally through the mouth and nose while snorkeling. The separate breathing chamber keeps breath away from the main viewing visor to eliminate fog.

This snorkel is designed for leisurely surface snorkeling. Its large air capacity will make diving difficult while its restricted air intake will not allow enough airflow for rigorous swimming. Additionally, it uses dry snorkel technology to prevent a wearer from swallowing water.

Still, it is a great mask for snorkeling and with its 180-degree viewing area and integrated GoPro mount, you can capture images of the wonders you see to share later with others.

PROS

  • Allows a user to breathe naturally through nose 
  • GoPro camera mount integrated into design
  • Separate breathing chamber prevents fog

CONS

  • Some said the camera mount was flimsy
  • Lens tends to scratch easily
  • Limited airflow restricts strenuous swimming
  • Designed for surface snorkeling only

Phantom Aquatics Panoramic Scuba Mask Snorkel Set

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Features

The side lenses on this mask fit precisely to the front lens for a seamless panoramic view. The Phantom mask is made with tempered, glass lenses encased in a durable, polycarbonate frame. And, its double-sealed skirt is made of crystal-clear silicone. This mask features an easy-to-equalize nose pocket and a low-volume design for a secure fit. Additionally, the snorkel features a purge valve at its bottom to flush out any water easily.

PROS

  • Seamless, panoramic view  
  • Double-sealed, clear, 100% silicone skirt
  • Purge valve eases clearing of snorkel
  • Affordable price

CONS

  • Puts pressure on the bridge of the nose
  • Some users reported leaks
  • Doesn't tend to fit small faces

Tribord EasyBreath Full-Face Snorkeling Mask

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Features

This full-face snorkeling mask features a shatterproof, polycarbonate window that yields a 180-degree field of vision. This mask allows the user to breathe naturally through the nose just like he/she would on land. A double airflow system (similar to the technology in domestic extraction fans) prevents fogging.

The Tribord mask has a mechanism that plugs the top of the snorkel and prevents water from entering during full immersion. As such, itisn't designed for free diving or intensive swimming. Additionally, the snorkel features a top that is colored brightly to enhance your visibility to boaters, others in the party, etc. To ensure a proper fit, this mask comes in three sizes.

PROS

  • Allows a user to breathe naturally through nose 
  • Provides 180-degree view
  • Double airflow system prevents fogging

CONS

  • Not suitable for diving or strenuous swimming
  • Low airflow
  • Some users said it can be difficult to clean

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Features

This modern, low-profile, tempered-glass, single-lens mask provides a panoramic open view and a streamlined design. Its watertight, comfortable seal is created by the crystal-clear, double-sealed, silicone skirt that molds to your face. The ScubaPro mask has a non-slip strap that is adjusted easily because of its buckles with flexible mounts. They help the user find a perfect fit. This mask comes in a variety of stylish colors.

PROS

  • Low-volume design    
  • Crystal-clear, double-sealed, silicone skirt
  • Available in a variety of colors to suit personal taste

CONS

  • Has issues with fogging
  • Tends to not fit small faces
  • Expensive compared to others (highest on our list)

PRODIVE Premium Dry-Top Snorkel and Glass Diving Mask

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Features

This mask features a tempered-glass lens that will not only withstand pressure during deep-water dives, but also is impact-resistant. It has an anti-fog lens, allowing you to spend hours exploring in the water without issue. And, the included "Breathe-Easy" dry snorkel keeps water out and lets air in when you're ready to breathe, preventing unwanted gulps of water.

Additionally, the PRODIVE mask has adjustable, silicone straps and a customizable mouthpiece. This kit also includes a waterproof carrying bag for convenience. Of all the masks we've reviewed, this is the only one with any type of one. PRODIVE backs this product with a money-back guarantee.

PROS

  • Lens can withstand pressure from deep water dives      
  • "Breathe-Easy" dry snorkel prevents accidental swallowing of water
  • Includes convenient waterproof carrying case
  • Affordable price, especially for what you get in return

CONS

  • Users said the snorkel unclips too easily
  • It is small for adult use
  • Some reported possible leaks

Mares I3 Sunrise Scuba Mask

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Features

This scuba mask uses Tri-Comfort technology for a comfortable fit. The user will experience a panoramic field of vision with no sense of claustrophobia owing to this mask's side panels of glass that accommodate peripheral vision. The two button-buckles are ergonomic in design, allowing the user to adjust the strap easily and securely for a better fit — even when they're trying to do so when wearing thick diving gloves.

PROS

  • Tri-Comfort technology adds to comfort 
  • Three panel lens yields good peripheral vision
  • Ergonomic button buckles useable even with gloves

CONS

  • Reportedly leaks
  • Some users said it tends to fog up
  • Straps have been known to break

Cressi Panoramic Wide-View Mask Snorkel Set

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Features

This mask is designed for great visibility, fit, durability and comfort. The bright translucent color selection has such eye-catching colorful style, you'll be competing with the fish! It has a sturdy, yet lightweight frame and a low-volume design for panoramic views and easy clearing.

The Cressi's double, feathered-edge skirt is made of silicone for comfort and durability. The lenses are tempered glass. The buckles adjust easily and the split mask strap increases comfort and fit. The submersible, dry-top snorkel prevents water from being accidentally swallowed through the tubing when it is fully submerged. And, the mouthpiece is made of soft silicone and the snorkel tube is flexible.

PROS

  • Side lens panels for a panoramic view
  • Double, feathered-edge skirt
  • Low-volume design

CONS

  • Reportedly leaks
  • Causes pressure on the bridge of the nose
  • Users said the snorkel valve gets stuck easily

The Verdict

After analyzing the features and benefits of these snorkeling masks, we have determined our favorite snorkeling mask overall is the ScubaPro Solo Scuba Snorkeling Dive Mask. It's panoramic view and streamlined design provide superior functionality and style. Reviewers report the mask to be exceptionally comfortable and well worth its price. The frameless design packs flat for easy storage, and it's available in a variety of colors so you'll be fashionable while you cavort with the fishes!

Featured Image: Pixabay

Brand Buying Guide: Element Clothing

logo of Element

Element is a company that has been deeply ingrained in skateboarding culture for nearly three decades and one that has taken the path less traveled when it comes to the general ethos of a clothing/skate company. Their unique focus on both the urban and natural is what sets Element clothing apart from other brands.

While it’s not uncommon these days for companies to preach sustainability and environmental awareness, it’s generally a ‘jump on the bandwagon so we look like we actually care’ kind of facade. Element has been embracing the beauty of nature and encouraging an appreciation and respect for the outdoors since day one. In other words, they mean it.

About Element

Element is a skate brand that produces both clothing and skateboarding gear. Their products are well-made and beautifully designed with great attention to detail while managing to be both durable and timelessly fashionable.

The Art Life

Element clothing has always had a fervent focus on art, so the fact that they have released photography books comes as no surprise.

Team

Like any skateboarding company, they have pros who ride for the team, and Element’s current team and alumni are right up there. Ray Barbee, Mark Appleyard, Nyjah Huston, Brandon Westgate, Chad Tim Tim, and Nick Garcia are among their current lineup, and such hard hitters such as Chad Muska, Bam Margera, Kris Markovich, Natas Kaupas, and Mike Vallely have all skated for the company in the past. Element is definitely a company that has a great respect for the history of skateboarding and the people who made it.

A Brief History of Element Clothing

Element Skateboards was founded in 1992 by Johnny Schillereff, an avid skateboarder since the age of four. After the brand’s inception, East Coast native, Schillereff moved out west to California where Element blossomed into the movement it is today.

Element Collections: Men's

Element clothing has a wide range of men’s clothing and accessories.

Clothing

The men's collection includes pants, jeans, tees, shirts, hoodies, shorts, and sweaters.

Accessories

The accessories offered for men include belts, wallets, hats, beanies, and socks.

Element Collections: Women's

Element clothing’s women’s range is not short of stunning. In the brand’s typical all-encompassing fashion, the products are designed for both aesthetics and practicality.

Clothing

Women's clothing at Element include dresses, tops, tees, tanks, shorts, and jeans.

Accessories

Women's accessories include hats, beanies, bags, backpacks, and scarves.

Element Collections: Boy’s

Element clothing have a boy’s collection that will have adults somewhat green-eyed. Their shirts feature timeless graphics, exceptionally well-cut jeans, and shoes that are perfect for skating. Their shorts are pretty snazzy too.

Element Collections: Camp Collection

Element clothing’s Camp Collection is the perfect embodiment of the brand. The collection’s backpacks are perfect for both skate missions and day hikes. The backpacks are durable, holding up against the elements. Whether it’s concrete or soil, these bags are designed to take what you throw at them. Many feature outer straps to attach your board, which makes taking the bus or riding a motorcycle to the local park much easier. The backpacks are also extremely well-priced.

Element Collections: Skate

As you could expect, Element also boasts an impressive range of skateboards and related accessories. Decks, wheels, grip, hardware, and bearings are all sold by Element. They even make an adjustable flat bar and round rails.

Where and What to Buy

Element has an extremely wide range of products, from art books to skateboards, socks and backpacks, to jeans and dresses. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the best of them, all available on Element clothing’s website.

Men’s

Braid Short Sleeve Tee


The Braid Short Sleeve Tee is absolutely timeless. It comes in two colors (brick red and laurel wreath), and its graphics feature an eagle above a piece of braided rope. One can be yours for $22.

Buffalo Long Sleeve Flannel Shirt


Plaid shirts never go out of style. And this is one you’re going to wear till it wears out. Even then you’ll probably end up stealing it back from out of the dog kennel. The Buffalo Flannel comes in two colors (eclipse navy and stone grey). They sell for $55 each.

Melting Crew Neck Sweatshirt


For $55 the Melting Crew Neck is a steal. It’s warm, comfortable, and comes in two colors: flint black and charcoal heather.

Murray Corduroy Jacket


Element clothing’s Murray Corduroy Jacket is perfect for autumn and winter. Whether you're out skating or taking a walk along the river, it will keep you warm while outdoors and in impeccable style. You can snatch one up for $120.

Sawyer Pants


A classic pair of pants, the Sawyer is made with Element Flex fabric and comes in three colors. They sell for $40 a pair.

Keep Discovering Trucker


This is one badass trucker hat. It features a mesh back with tactical patch logo. They are priced at $22.

Women’s

Tryin’ Sweater Dress


The Tryin’ Sweater Dress is utterly gorgeous. It’s sophisticated while managing to stay relaxed. Don’t sleep on this sweater dress. You can get one for about $70.

​Daytime Sweater


This wine-colored oversized fleece sweater is worth every penny of the approximately $50 you’ll be paying for it. It’s really something.

​Saturday Skinny Fit Jeans


These jet black jeans would have been right at home on the legs of an 80s rock star. They fit perfectly and also come in cloud wash. They are priced at $65 each.

​Adele Romper


This woven romper is as cool as heaven and as hot as hell. And as of this writing, the price is around $50.

​Tomorrow Infinity Scarf


A cute and classy cable knit infinity scarf sells for $25. It comes in black and ivory and features a metal logo plate.

Boy’s

Glasgow Long Sleeve Shirt


This boy’s indigo plaid shirt is smart and stylish. It’s priced at about $40.

Pinion Tee


This rad tee by Element clothing features a timeless logo on the front and is both stylish and smart. It sells for $18.

EO1 Slim Fit Jeans


These stretch denim jeans are perfect for the hyperactive lifestyle that boys lead. They sell for $50.

Topaz C3 Shoes


A classic skate shoe available in black/white and navy/white, they will keep your kid shredding for months. Pick up a pair for $50.

Camp Collection

Beyond Backpack


A simple backpack that is durable and comfortable, the Beyond works well for school, skating, hiking, or just going over to a friend’s house. It comes in multiple colors and is priced at $35.

Mohave Backpack


The Mohave Backpack is perfect for the skateboarder who is on the go. It has a 30-liter capacity, features front skate straps and a handy front pocket for your glasses, wallet, or candy bars. It comes in multiple colors and is priced at around $60.

Timber Waterproof Rolltop Backpack


This is a serious backpack. It’s completely waterproof, has a 55-liter capacity, an adjustable sternum strap, and a neoprene shoulder strap harness. It's perfect for those camping out, dealing with snow, or living in the Pacific Northwest. One can be yours for about $100.

Skate

Nick Garcia Polaroid


This pro model deck features photography by Nick Garcia. It’s unique and beautiful. It comes in 7.8 and 8.2 and is priced at $55.

​Evan Smith Profile


Featuring amazing artwork by Aesthetic Apparatus, this pro model comes in 8.5 and 8.1 and costs $55.

​Greyson Fletcher Bark At The Moon


There are killer graphics on this one by FOS. It comes in 8 and 8.5 and is priced at $55.

​Polaroid Grip Tape Pack


In a blaze of innovation and inspiration, Element has released a grip tape pack which definitely isn’t run of the mill. The pack includes 2 pieces of both black and clear grip and a series of 18 Polaroid prints, letting you customize your set-up and giving you something pretty to look at while you pop tricks. Snatch one up for only $11.

​Layer


These 52mm wheels will keep you rolling for only $30. They are sold as a set of four.

​Artic


Perfect for the teenager who is just starting out, this 8.0 complete set-up is only $90 and features a kick-ass roaring polar bear logo.

​Gloves Off (Twigs)


This complete is from Element’s kid’s Twigs line. The graphics feature a boxing squirrel, and the deck is 7.6. They are priced at $90.

Conclusion

Over the years, Element clothing has held true to itself in a constantly changing world. An all-encompassing love for art, nature, skateboarding, and people is something that you can’t beat. It’s something that holds its own, despite current, past, or future trends. It’s safe to say that Element Skateboards is going to be around for a long time to come.

Whether you’re looking for a backpack to take on a hike, a new deck to replace a snapped one, or just a new pair of jeans, Element clothing has something for everyone who is interested in both skateboarding and the elements.

Featured Image Source: Wikimedia.org

Brand Buying Guide: Armortex

product photo of AKONA 5mm ArmorTex Dive Gloves

For swimmers, proper equipment is a must. Many divers favor trappings with safe and reliable uses, able to withstand the strain of dives and erosion of water exposure. When choosing diving equipment, companies like Akona—a Hawaii-based company—are a great resource. This article will discuss Akona's origin and trademark, their mission statement, and the products they sell, such as ArmorTex. Specs and reviews will focus initially on Akona brand gloves and accessories.

Akona Company Profile

Screenshot from Akona Adventure Gear

Image Source: Akona.com

The Company's Trademark 

Akona, as mentioned above, is a company based in Hawaii. Their trademark logo is a frog with orange stripes, encased in a circle. The corporation specializes in products for scuba diving and swimming.

The Company's History 

Akona began as a simple company. They wanted to offer goods for scuba divers at an affordable price. Akona started with durable diving backpacks that would last, but at the time, the packs weren't marketed at an affordable rate. Gradually, the company evolved to include other 'soft wear' goods, like fins, boots, suits, knives, and other diving accessories.

Today, Akona is a recognized company across Hawaii for all diving needs. Dealers across the country are affiliated with Akona, improving the accessibility of products.

The Company's Mission

​Akona is all about excellent customer service. They have provided clients with equipment—for both underwater and land adventure—that will last for many years against the elements. They designed their goods to be versatile, rugged, trendy, and affordable. Akona also sponsors local, national, and environmental events. Akona's website is full of testimonials that attest to the company's quality. We will discuss those further down this article.

Other Services Provided

​The company website has an FAQ section to discuss any issues customers might have. Akona has a dedicated customer service and item registration form for lost or stolen goods. Akona promises its products to work. They offer a two-year warranty, with exceptions included for airline travel. However, Akona will always put the customer first. If they find a situation where the customer is in need, Akona will compensate the client in any way possible.

Akona ArmorTex

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General Specs

One of Akona's token products is ArmorTex. This material with its durable and lightweight specs lives up to the company's mission. This substance is flexible and designed for finger dexterity while ten times stronger than steel. Akona layers stress points—like fingers and joints—with ArmorTex, instead of the whole product. This method prioritizes durability while maintaining comfort and affordability.

Gloves

One example of Akona's products is the ArmorTex glove. These lightweight and durable products retain fingertip sensitivity without sacrificing durability. Neoprene comprises the glove's inner material, which allows for natural stretching motion. The touch sensitivity enables a wearer to operate precise scuba equipment with the glove equipped. Computer buttons or line reels are no problem with ArmorTex.

​3.5 mm and 5 mm Glove Versions

The product's design reduces water movement inside the glove, keeping the wearer's hands and arms warm—vital to any scuba diving venture. There are two varieties for this function—a 3.5 mm version for temperate water, and a 5 mm for icy water. The 3.5 mm has better flexibility and touch sensitivity, but even with the 5 mm, flexibility and touch are not an issue. Both gloves offer a snug fit, with material that can deter sharp objects.
Below, we summarize the good and bad of the gloves.

Pros

  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Flexible with touch sensitivity
  • Durable protection against damage
  • Low water infiltration

Cons

  • Size may be too small, depending on the client's hand
  • Products are not damage-proof and may require repair years down the road

Be sure to order the correct size online. Return them if they do not fit or are damaged. Akona will gladly take them back for a repair or full refund.

​Price

​The price for 3.5 mm is around $58.

The price for 5 mm is around $64.

Both price at affordable ranges, given the specs they offer. Akona is strongly recognized for its quality products; you can rest easy with your purchase. You can go through Akona's website for information on where to find a dealer or a store specialized for Akona goods.

Akona Gloves Feedback

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Below, we examined testimonials based on our research of Akona's website. Feel free to explore their site for more examples.

ArmorTex Gloves First Review

In July of last year, the customer purchased a pair of ArmorTex gloves. The client had bought many brands of gloves before—and they enjoyed the Akona brand glove performance over others. The client said the gloves proved warm and flexible enough for all his or her recreational needs—and extensive underwater use. After a few months, the customer noticed a tear in one finger. Some Aqua Seal fixed the problem and kept the damage from growing. The customer was satisfied with the product, promising to purchase more.

ArmorTex Gloves Second Review

A second customer bought a pair of ArmorTex gloves over ten years ago. The client thanked Akona for the quality of the product. The gloves had staved off a vicious bite from an eel on the index finger. The customer found only a small scratch, thanks to the gloves. He or she was surprised at the incident, but also glad at the proven quality of Akona's product.

ArmorTex Gloves Third Review

A third client around ten years ago had a similar incident. He or she had stabbed a fish in their arms. The blade had pierced the fish, striking the customer's hand. With little more than a prick from a knife, the glove had saved the buyer's hand from serious injury. The client thanked Akona for their quality product.

Akona Accessories Feedback

​Next, we looked at other equipment offered by Akona—and how it compared. We finished with an examination of how Akona handles returns and repairs.

ArmorTex Seco Boots Review

A few years ago, a customer bought a pair of Seco boots. He or she went for a swim in a pond. The boots, while soaked from the swim, drained readily through holes designed in its length. This development happily surprised the customer—how quick the treads dried. The boots required no flip over and were ready for use. The client expressed their gratitude at Akona's brilliant design, catered to the customer's convenience.

ArmorTex Pro Camera Bag Review

Ten years ago, a buyer—an underwater photographer and NAUI instructor—got a camera bag from Akona. He or she expressed amazement at the bag's insulation and balanced design. Not only did the pack secure the camera, but the bag also kept the fully loaded camera stable throughout many underwater ventures—another testament to Akona's mission statement.

The client tested the pack in many scenarios, placing it in overhead bins, piggybacking other luggage on the bag. The buyer had tested different brands of camera bags, some more expensive. None of the brands have compared to Akona's product of quality and affordability.

ArmorTex Backpack Review

Over ten years ago, a client bought a large backpack for scuba diving. The buyer mentioned the bag on many trips. He or she noticed the frustration in others who owned non-Akona backpacks brands that did not work. The client received praise from traveling companions for the Akona pack's excellent quality. The customer thanked Akona for their product, claiming to use the backpack well into the future.

Repair and Return Review

A client had purchased a set of Akona equipment. After a trip to Cozumel, he or she found the equipment damaged by the airlines. The pull handle had broke, and the zippers tore. Through a local dealer, the customer sent the damaged items away from repairs. The customer's equipment returned in less than two weeks, fully repaired. Free. The client swore as a lifelong customer of Akona, promising to purchase more.

Other Reviews

​Additional customers have expressed their enthusiasm for Akona's products. Some offered suggestions to enhance the design. Akona continues their work year by year to improve their products for buyers. If you own an Akona product, there's a form on the website you can fill out; write your testimonial and see how yours stacks up to what others say.

Conclusion

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Verdict

Akona has proven to be a company that goes above and beyond their mission to assist customers. Whether issues arise with damaged goods or quality of the products, Akona always delivers. The list of testimonials shows Akona incorporates the safety and convenience of their customers into the product. They price their goods at affordable rates compared to the competition. They also offer a variety of online services to assist buyers whether it is a question about a product or where to locate a local retailer.

Our Choice of Akona's Products

Overall, we found the ArmorTex gloves to be the most impressive. The combination of dexterity with safety and finger sensitivity also impressed many customers as seen in the reviews.

We hope this article has helped you with your swimming and diving questions. If you ever find yourself in need of diving resources, remember that trademark frog of Akona. Remember their mission statement of customer safety, convenience, and satisfaction. Happy diving.

Featured Image Source: Amazon.com

Best 5 Casio Dive Watch

casio diving watch for scuba diving

Image source: Unsplash

With all of the equipment to consider while diving, it's easy to get caught up in the big items like wetsuits and oxygen tanks. But the smallest bit of gear might also be the most important: if you're serious about diving, you can't live without a Casio dive watch.

They're not just a flashy accessory or antiquated artifact; dive watches are essential for timing oxygen intake throughout your dive. So, literally, you can't live without one.

Whether you're a first-time buyer or looking to make a long-term upgrade, the sheer number of dive watches on the market can be overwhelming, and it's hard to know where to start. With this list, we've researched the market and narrowed it down to five Casio dive watches, each with their own advantages and disadvantages to suit every type of diver. Join us in finding the perfect fit for your next dive.

F​​​​​aq

Guy wearing Casio dive watch

Image source: Unsplash

1. What Is a Dive Watch?

2. Why Do You Need a Dive Watch?

3. How Does a Dive Watch Work?

4. Where Can You Buy a Dive Watch?

5. Why Casio?

Our Criteria

divers wearing casio dive watches

Image source: Reshot

The following Casio dive watches were reviewed based on the following parameters: Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty. We've invested time and effort to research every spec of every different model of Casio watch, and have come up with a detailed list that should satisfy newcomers and seasoned divers alike.

Overall Price Range of Casio Dive Watches

As previously mentioned, a dive watch is an essential part of any diver's repertoire, so it's best not to skimp on cost now and pay the price later.

The entry-level Casio dive watches cost well under $100, and many of them will get the job done for beginner, or even intermediate divers.

 

The entry-level Casio dive watches cost well under $100, and many of them will get the job done for beginner, or even intermediate divers.

 

In the more expensive range, Casio dive watches can cost upwards of $500 dollars. It might seem like a lot, but it is in this range that you get the ISO-approved watches that are essential for serious divers. It's an investment that can last you a lifetime, and perhaps even save your life.

What We Reviewed

As previously mentioned, a dive watch is an essential part of any diver's repertoire, so it's best not to skimp on cost now and pay the price later. The entry-level Casio dive watches cost well under $100, and many of them will get the job done for beginner, or even intermediate divers. In the more expensive range, Casio dive watches can cost upwards of $500 dollars. It might seem like a lot, but it is in this range that you get the ISO-approved watches that are essential for serious divers. It's an investment that can last you a lifetime, and perhaps even save your life.

  • Casio G-Shock Frogman GWF1000-1
  • Casio Men's Sport Analog Dive Watch
  • Casio Men's 'G-Shock Magnetic Resistant' Quartz Resin Sport Watch
  • Casio Men's G7900-1 G-Shock Rescue Digital Sport Black Resin Watch
  • Casio Men's G-shock DW5600E-1V Shock Resistant Black Resin Sport Watch

Casio G-Shock Frogman GWF1000-1

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F​eatures

The new version of Casio's classic G-Shock Frogman line, the GWF1000-1 is the Cadillac of Casio dive watches. The only model on this list that is ISO-approved, the GWF1000-1 has gone through the rigorous testing that ensures that it will be accurate down to the second on every dive, in every condition. It is approved for a depth of 200m, and it's solar powered, so you'll never have to worry about winding or changing batteries.


It's also is filled to the brim with special features tailor-made for divers, like tide graph, moon phase, and multi-band 6 atomic timekeeping. If you're a lifetime diver who is serious about diving, you need look no further than the Frogman.

Pros

  • ISO-6425 approved
  • Solar Powered
  • Rugged and durable
  • Can handle depths of up to 200m

Cons

  • Slightly bulky
  • High price tag
  • Where to Buy
  • Warranty
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Casio Men's Sport Analog Dive Watch

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F​eatures

This basic dive watch is a good all-around choice for beginning divers on a budget. It's approved for depths up to 300 feet, and is solidly built of Japanese quartz. With style and functionality for miles, the Sport Analog Dive Watch is a great Casio dive watch, at a fraction of the price of some similar models.


It's good for snorkeling and other serious surface water sports, but not recommended for serious scuba divers. If you want to dip your toes into the waters of Casio dive watches, this is an excellent place to start.

Pros

  • Elegant design
  • Water resistant up to 100m
  • Bang for your buck

Cons

  • Lacks some higher end features
  • Not ISO-approved
  • Not capable of deeper dives
  • Where to Buy
  • Warranty
No products found.

Casio G-Shock G100-1BV

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F​eatures

Like the first watch on this list, the G-shock G100-1BV belongs to Casio's high-end G-Shock collection, which is oriented more towards serious divers. Luckily, the price tag isn't so steep. The G100-1BV is built with a hardened mineral display, able to withstand the harshest of conditions. It is water- and pressure-resistant in depths of up to 200m, and resistant to minor magnetic forces.


It's also powered by quartz movement for extra accuracy, and features a dual time display. This watch's one main drawback is that the backlight is notoriously weak, so if you plan on diving in a lot of low-light conditions you should look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Waterproof up to 200m
  • Magnetic resistant
  • Dual time

Cons

  • Weak backlight
  • Lacking premium features
  • Where to Buy
  • Warranty

The Casio G-Shock G100-1BV comes with Casio's standard 1-year warranty, which covers any factory-caused defects and malfunctions.

Casio Men's G7900-1 G-Shock Rescue Digital Sport Black Resin Watch

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F​eatures

The G7900-1 is another fine G-Shock Casio dive watch. The 50mm resin case has a mineral dial window, large digital display, and a buckle closure on the band. Like the other G-Shock models, it's water resistant up to 200m, and as a nice bonus, features moon phase and tide chart data. It's a great choice for beginning or intermediate scuba divers, and will last you through most rugged conditions.

Pros

  • Large, easy-to-read display     
  • Moon phase and tide chart
  • Dual time

Cons

  • Not ISO-approved
  • No barometer
  • Where to Buy
  • Warranty

The Casio G7900-1 G-Shock watch comes with Casio's standard 1-year warranty, which covers any factory-caused defects and malfunctions.

Casio Men's G-shock DW5600E-1V Shock Resistant Black Resin Sport Watch

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F​eatures

The Casio G-Shock DW5600E-1V is yet another premium G-Shock Casio dive watch (notice a pattern?). The DW5600E-1V has a shock-resistant resin cover, and a raised bezel to protect the front display. It's approved for depths of up to 200m, and has a great backlight for dark conditions. There are also some nice additional time features, like a countdown timer, auto calendar, hourly time signal, and auto-repeat. Though it's not the most stylish watch in the world, it's a durable and reliable choice for beginning and intermediate divers.

Pros

  • Shock proof    
  • Waterproof up to 200m
  • Additional time features

Cons

  • Clunky design
  • Not ISO-approved
  • Where to Buy
  • Warranty
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The Verdict

As the list demonstrates, there's a lot of variety among Casio dive watches in price, features, and audience. The sheer number of options can be a lot to take in, but once you've settled on a price range and features that are important to you, the choices become much easier. As the only ISO-approved watch on the list, the Frogman GWF1000-1 is the obvious choice for truly serious divers, with an appropriately serious price tag. We can recommend the Frogman for lifetime divers who are looking for a Casio dive watch that will last them many years. 

 
For those who are newer to diving, or who don't plan on diving below 100m, the Casio Sport Analog Dive Watch is a great entry-level choice, and you really can't beat the price. For other beginner and intermediate divers, you'll have to weigh the pros and cons of the remaining three G-Force watches—the G100-1BV, the G7900-1, and the DW5600E-1V. Each of these premium G-Force Casio dive watches has benefits and drawbacks that will suit different priorities and different skill levels. We hope this list has helped you find the right Casio dive watch for your individual needs. Happy diving!