Review: Seland Verdon AZ Wetsuit
We Kill Gear.
We are a pretty active company and are out most days canyoning, coasteering, mountain biking, canoeing, and mountaineering. We take good care of our equipment but it gets used, and used! Our “We Kill Gear” reviews are our own experience of the equipment that we use to work and play, and our own opinions on how it performed. Today we are reviewing the Seland Verdon AZ wetsuit.
Review: Seland Verdon AZ
The Seland Verdon AZ is a double lined neoprene canyoning wetsuit. The Verdon AZ is a two piece wetsuit (long john and jacket combo) with the jacket in 5mm, chest with 4mm arms and the long john in 5mm. Other noteworthy facts about this wetsuit are that the jacket has a “QUICK DRY” lining which is designed to keep you warm and, you guessed it…dry quickly. This canyon suit has a range of well thought out quirks from a neck gaiter to pockets on your chest and sleeve. It also possesses the Emerid emergency identification system in the long johns that you can add your personal data to… The Seland Verdon AZ costs in the region of €340 or £270 and from our perspective would be classed as a “top of the range” canyoning wetsuit.
The Seland Verdon AZ was my wetsuit of choice for guiding canyons and personal canyoneering in 2018. I used my Verdon in Scottish and Swiss canyons and this review is based on the 80 or so days of canyoning that I did in 2018, wearing that suit.
From my point of view, performance is about 70% of what I am looking for in any equipment that I am using for personal adventuring or work. With durability being the remaining 30% of what impacts my decision making. In the context of a canyoning wetsuit, what I mean by performance is that I want the suit to be warm, have a good range of movement so not to restrict me when swimming; I want the wetsuit to be quick drying and can be used day after day without undue care or attention.
Here are the key performance points:
- This wetsuit is warm. In my opinion, it is not as warm as the Vade equivalents guide suits, but it is plenty warm enough for Scottish canyons and Scottish canyoneers canyoning in Switzerland in September.
- I would give the Seland Verdon AZ a 10 out of 10 for mobility and range of movement. Both in terms of walk in’s and approaches, and the physical process of canyoning, this wetsuit performs better than almost any other wetsuit that I have worn. The addition of the extra stretchy neoprene on joins made me feel, and move, more naturally and I would say that this is the stand out feature of the wetsuit.
- The “QUICK DRY” lining does what it says on the tin. Hang it on your car door for 20 mins and it’s pretty much dry.
- The extras of this wetsuit, and by that I mean the velcro strap on the shoulder of the long johns, the neck gaiter and pockets are great. Clearly, the designers put a lot of time and effort into making sure this wetsuit performs.
- High end, low maintenance? Getting stored wet, stuffed in a dry bag and thrown in the back of a minibus day and day was a way of life for my wetsuit last season. All I can say is it got abused and continued to perform day after day.
From a performance perspective this wetsuit was everything I want, and nothing more (which is also something I want). I really enjoyed wearing it both for work and play. What else is there to say?
All gear gets a beating in a canyoning environment and it is rare for a piece of kit to last well. Throughout the season I certainly experienced fading, colours running in the fabric, cuts, scrapes, and fluffing of material. I would say that from my experience the nylon/neoprene combination that makes up this wetsuit handles cuts and gashes better, but abrasion worse that competitors. By that I mean the Seland Verdon after a full season of use had far fewer cuts or tears in the fabric than other wetsuits that I have used. But it did have signs of abrasion almost like the fluffing on a dyneema sling.
As I said, all gear gets a beating in a canyoning environment. And ultimately I would take fluffing and scuffing over rips and tears and day of the week. I was impressed by the durability of this wetsuit to the extent that the suit I wore last year could probably do a second season, which is unusual.
The Seland Verdon AZ comes in around the €340 or £270 mark. This is obviously as the higher end of the scale in terms of canyoning wetsuits but then is still much cheaper than some of the surfing equivalents. Based on the performance, durability, and the experience I have had wearing this wetsuit over the last 9 months, I think the price is more than justified.
Conclusion and (more) person thoughts
I will keep this simple. I like this wetsuit, if I was going to buy a two piece canyoning wetsuit, it would be this one. It performs well and lasts better than most. If you are a recreational canyoner and it is more than you are looking to spend, that is more than fair and I would check out the Seland Bitet.