To us, thermal wetsuits initially seemed a welcome if inessential purchase if you already had a tri wetsuit. Over time, and especially after a year spent swimming solely in the UK, we’d now flip that and say that a thermal wetsuit is our primary neoprene outfit, offering more versatility and durability than a conventional tri wetsuit that largely appeals from May to September only.
As for off-season swimming, combine a thermal wetsuit with Huub’s formidable Varme swim balaclava (which covers the key carotid arteries on the neck), a decent pair of boots and gloves, and possibly a Dryrobe, and you’re set for off-season swimming from a gear perspective (and a smart approach to acclimatisation and post-swim recovery, of course).
So, how does the Aegis III fare? After remembering to size up if you’re between sizes, the first thing to note is that it boasts a breakaway zipper, meaning you have to fasten both sides before attempting to get into the suit. Watch a video on how to do this beforehand or you’ll be left on dry land doing a reverse Houdini impression. Once the zips are connected at the bottom, it can still be tricky to pull the zipper up and help may be needed – not ideal in the Covid-era.
Thankfully, the Aegis III impresses more in the water. The suit boasts Huub’s winning buoyancy mix of 3mm core/5mm leg neoprene thickness with a denser, if sadly not furry, thermal inner aiding the cold-thwarting process but not at the expense of upper-body flexibility. It’s undoubtedly a swift thermal suit for the speedsters out there, and it’s certainly easier to get off than on. But, partly due to the zipper and the comparatively thinner materials, we’ll likely reach for our Thermal Reaction or Maverick Pro the next time the bracing lakes call.
Verdict: Good in the water, but there are warmer, easier suits out there, 80%