What Is the BARE Velocity Wetsuit and How Does It Work?
The BARE Velocity Ultra is the current iteration of the Velocity line of wetsuits by BARE. The latest Velocity line of wetsuits by BARE is currently available only for men (read on to learn about the selection available for women). It boasts extra stretching capacity while being “ultra” warm.
The ultra warmth feature is why this new version of the BARE Velocity wetsuit is called “Ultra.” This is what makes it a great SCUBA wetsuit.
Features Of The BARE Velocity Ultra Wetsuit
The BARE Velocity Ultra wetsuit is designed for SCUBA divers and anyone who wants more warmth in the ocean water while maintaining flexibility.
Here are the features of the 3MM full wetsuit as listed on the BARE website. They will be similar but slightly different for thicker versions.
- Comfortable contoured 2mm GLIDESKIN collar with 360 Velcro adjustment to reduce flushing
- Velcro® adjustment on collar features a booklet-style SUIT SAVER to stop snags and catches
- Seamless underarms for superior comfort when worn on its own, with an additional wet layer or with a BCD
- PROTEKT knee protection provides the next generation of abrasion and wear resistance
- Heavy-duty ankle zippers for easy donning and doffing
- Comfortable contoured GLIDESKIN collar
- Rolled GLIDESKIN wrist and ankle seals
- Flatseam construction throughout for stretch and comfort
The neoprene is made with what they call “PROGRESSIVE FULL-STRETCH” construction (PFS), along with “BARE-FIT,” which is an ergonomic design made to conform naturally to the body. This special neoprene is also supposed to provide “exceptional stretch.”
The Velocity Ultra wetsuit is designed to maintain more heat through Celliant® Infrared Technology in the torso. We will talk more about this technology later.
What Thicknesses Does The BARE Velocity Ultra Wetsuit Come In?
Depending on the temperature of the water, you will want a different thickness of wetsuit. When looking for a SCUBA wetsuit, the thickness and warming capacity is crucial. Here are the thicknesses available in the BARE Velocity Ultra wetsuit line for men, along with the temperature ranges listed on the website:
- 3 MM Full Wetsuit – Water temperature: 30 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and 25 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit
- 5 MM Full Wetsuit – Water temperature: 25 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and 14 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit
- 7 MM Full Wetsuit – Water temperature: 14 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit and 6 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit
- 8/7 MM Hooded Semi-Dry – Water temperature: 14 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit and 6 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit
Is There A Women’s Version Of the BARE Velocity Wetsuit?
A version of the BARE Velocity wetsuit – minus the “Ultra” – used to be available for women, but is no longer sold on BARE’s website. You can still find discontinued, but brand new, BARE Velocity websites for women sometimes on online stores such as Amazon.
The two BARE wetsuits lines available for women now are the Evoke and Nixie lines. Unfortunately, the options for women are not as good as the men’s options. Nixie is (amazingly, in this day and age) focused on accentuating women’s curves and making you look good, as opposed to SCUBA wetsuit performance.
From the BARE website:
“Made specifically for women, it uses our proprietary blend of neoprene materials in a fashion-forward design that hugs and flatters the natural lines of the female form.”
If you are a woman and want something more functional, because you are planning on being in the water and not on a fashion runway, then the Evoke wetsuits for women are more comparable to Velocity Ultra.
These wetsuits boast the same Ultrawarmth Celliant® Infrared Technology found in Velocity Ultra.
Unfortunately, BARE appears to have hired a bunch of shallow “designers” to create the women’s suits, as the website keeps promising us a feminine design. This Evoke wetsuit “reflects current yoga and active-wear styles that accentuate and enhance the female form.”
(Serious yogis are also rolling their eyes at this one.)
That said, the Evoke wetsuit, at least according to this patronizing company, is supposed to be the warmest women’s wetsuit on the market. Unfortunately, they do not have a hooded version of a SCUBA wetsuit for women.
What Makes A BARE Velocity Wetsuit Unique
The main selling point of the BARE Velocity Ultra website (and its sister wetsuit, the Evoke for women) is its heating properties. As described on the BARE website:
“Using minerals woven into the fabric of the suit, Celliant® turns wasted body heat into infrared energy, reflecting it back to your body. This results in increased warmth, faster recovery times, and greater stamina for longer, more comfortable dives.”
This new technology is also what makes this an upgrade from their previous Velocity wetsuits, which were focused on being stretchy and comfortable.
BARE Velocity Ultra wetsuits are not the cheapest wetsuits on the market, but they are also not the most expensive. Of course, the thicker the wetsuit, the more expensive it is because of all the added neoprene. Here are the prices for the wetsuits at various thicknesses on the BARE website. These prices are current as of this writing and may have gone up or down since:
- 3 MM Full Wetsuit – $$
- 5 MM Full Wetsuit – $$
- 7 MM Full Wetsuit – $$
- 8/7 MM Hooded Semi-Dry – $$
If you are looking for the women’s equivalent in the Evoke wetsuit line, they are quite expensive comparatively. And, remember that the Evoke line does not offer a hooded semi-dry option either. Here are the prices as currently listed on the BARE website:
- 3 MM Full Evoke Wetsuit – $$
- 5 MM Full Evoke Wetsuit – $$
- 7 MM Full Evoke Wetsuit – $$
Public Perception (Other BARE Velocity Wetsuit Reviews)
The Velocity Ultra wetsuits all get five-star ratings on the BARE website. Sure, you might think these ratings are fixed, but the “fashion forward” 2/3 MM Nixie women’s full suit gets two stars!
Here is one review for the 5 MM version:
“Just got done using this suit for the first time in the Philippines, and this suit was great. It was super easy to doff and don, and seemed to dry quite quickly. The stretchier material also made it ver form-fitting, so I didn’t feel any water flow even when down deeper under the thermocline.”
As for the thickest suit in the bunch, the 8/7 MM Hooded Semi-Dry, one reviewer tested it out in the cold water of Vancouver, BC, Canada. He reported that the water temperature was 48 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit at the bottom where he was diving, with the deepest part being 100 feet.
He completed a total of eight dives over three weeks. He found that he needed to add a 3 MM vest to cover the zipper, because that is where the neoprene is thinner. With the added vest, he felt the wetsuit was quite warm above 80 feet and you only felt the cold minimally below that.
He rated the wetsuit five stars, but could not gauge its longevity over time yet.
What about reviews on other websites?
Amazon is one of the best places to look at product reviews, even if you are not purchasing something from the website. Unfortunately, the newest version of the BARE Velocity wetsuit (the Ultra) has not been around long enough to get any reviews on Amazon.
However, the previous version of the BARE Velocity wetsuit has gotten rave reviews, with most Amazon product listings for having a five-star or a near five-star, rating average.
In these reviews, you can find people who have raved about the longevity of this wetsuit, which is good to know. Perhaps the latest version, with the ultra-warming capacity added to it, will be just as long-lived.
How It Compares
We kind of see today’s wetsuits as being somewhat similar to modern golf clubs.
In the golfing world, companies keep trying to outdo themselves with the newest and latest technologies to try to convince you to get rid of your perfectly good golf clubs for the latest and greatest technologies.
All of these supposedly amazing technologies come with fancy names and promise the world, while not necessarily adding that much more to your golf swing.
Wetsuits are kind of like that. Neoprene is neoprene, and it can last a long, long time if you treat it well. You can have a wetsuit from twenty years ago that can still work decently, provided that you can still fit into it.
As with any garment, the weakest point in a wetsuit is the seams. If the seams aren’t holding, then you won’t have a wetsuit worth wearing.
But, has seam technology really advanced that much since the advent of the modern serger sewing machine? Probably not.
At any rate, BARE promises a lot with their Velocity Ultra wetsuit design. The question is, is it worth the upgrade? Do you really need to trade in your old but sturdy and functional O’Neill wetsuit for the BARE Velocity Ultra?
It could be, that with a company like O’Neill, ultimately a surfing and lifestyle company, that you want more as a serious SCUBA diver. Is the latest in so-called high-performance wetsuit technology all that it’s cracked up to be? BARE says so – but you may have to try it for yourself to find out if it is really worth it.
What We Think
Without any objective evidence to suggest that their Ultrawarmth Celliant® Infrared Technology really does make you warmer in the water, we won’t be so quick to buy BARE’s claims. Maybe it does make you feel warmer, but is part of that a placebo effect, a trick of the mind?
In some cases, that extra reflected warmth may actually make some people a little too hot in warmer water. It probably depends on whether you are the type of person who tends to run too hot as opposed to too cold.
At any rate, some of this technology may be worth it, and if you are looking for a new SCUBA wetsuit, this might be the brand to try.
Unfortunately, we are not that impressed with BARE’s shallow appeal to fashion with their two women’s lines of wetsuits. It would be great if this company offered a BARE Velocity Ultra wetsuit for women that was focused solely on performance, and not whether the wetsuit potentially makes you “look fat” or not – which is really the gist of BARE’s marketing copy for women.
While you do see more colorful options in the women’s wetsuits on O’Neill’s website, the basic designs are pretty much the same as the men’s. O’Neill’s wetsuits aren’t designed with crazy seams everywhere to make them more “slimming” for women. O’Neill isn’t pandering, but BARE might be.
Serious women SCUBA divers deserve more respect than this.
Coupons And Deals
You can often find deals for wetsuits on online shopping websites such as Amazon and eBay. Do be aware that some of the “BARE Velocity” wetsuits sold new on Amazon are actually the previous version that is now discontinued. Look for “BARE Velocity Ultra” in the product name to get the latest version.
(If you are a woman looking for a discontinued original BARE Velocity wetsuit, this is where you might be able to find them).
The prices are not necessarily that much cheaper than what you can get on the BARE website itself, however.
You might want to help out your local economy instead. Visit your local surf shop or SCUBA training school and see if they are selling BARE Velocity Ultra wetsuits. Of course, if you are living in the heartland, this is not an option. But if you are on the coast, then you may have plenty of local surfing and diving store options to choose from.