Lomo - Venom 5/4/3 Wetsuit

The Lomo Venom wetsuit on test on the West Coast of Scotland. (©Brian Pollock)
Star Rating: **** (4 Stars)

Recommended Retail Price: £99 from Lomo

With Spring now upon us, we recently had an opportunity to test the Lomo Venom 5\4\3 mm Wetsuit, designed primarily for 3 season water sport use. If you're in the market for a new wetsuit to see you through the season ahead, Lomo's top of the line offering may be just what you need.

If you've ever cycle commuted in the Glasgow area, you'll have heard about Lomo (https://www.lomo.co.uk/) - their wet weather bike luggage can be seen being put to hard use on a daily basis. You may not know that they have an extensive collection of wetsuits and other outdoor/ water sports equipment and that their wetsuits have been their longest standing in-shop item, so they know what they're doing with it. Lomo products are proudly designed in Glasgow and available to try on in store but equally available online.

So how did the Venom fair...

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, fit. When first trying on the Venom we found it fitted snuggly throughout with only a little wrestling required to get it on (like every wetsuit). Our tester is 5 foot 10 inches, 30 waist and 40 chest. A size medium was ideal off the shelf with just enough extra material to grip for ease of entry. Around the back and shoulders, the fit was tight creating a good seal. This eased off after a period in the water but not so much so to compromise function. From the torso down the fit was snug but comfortable so a slightly larger waist (32 inches) could be readily accommodated.

Next, features. In this regard, the Venom punches well above its weight, competing with well-established brands charging more than double the price (the Venom retails at a mere £99). From top to bottom, the materials and (glued) stitching feel premium. The Venom uses a combination of (double lined) 5mm neoprene in the torso, with 4 and 3mm panels on the legs and arms to facilitate an optimal range of motion in use. The entry is by back zip which can be challenging to close solo but that's what friends are for. The inner utilises Lomo's 'Bat Wing' system which is effectively a second inner bib and creates a double seal at the neck to mitigate flushing as well as increasing warmth. This is complemented by Lomo's 'flushguard' system which effectively channels any water which does get in back out of the suit via purpose-built holes at the base of the back. At the knees, Lomo have used highly abrasion resistant Armaprene™ panels which enhance durability at arguably the more high wear area. All in, you're getting a lot for your money with function being paramount - there is nothing notably extraneous in Lomo's design.

Getting the suit on in the parking lot. (© Brian Pollock)

You may be thinking it seems too good to be true with an impressive feature set at a seemingly impossible price point, so how did it fair in use? As it happens, very well! For context, we have used the Venom in late Winter and early Spring conditions on the West coast of Scotland, arguably a tough test for a 3 season suit. Firstly, was it warm enough? Yes, but with the caveat that we would recommend picking up a separate hood. Gloves and boots are a must also. With this set up we were comfortable in the water for 2 hours. Whilst this is not a winter suit - the absence of a built in hood limits the Venom in full winter conditions - it could be arguably described as 3 season plus (i.e. it will be more than adequate on warm summer days and just enough for shorter sessions closer to the winter months). 

For paddling and general ease/ range of motion, we couldn't fault the Venom. The body-mapped panelling affords a good degree of stretch, particularly, once it has had an opportunity to relax in the water.

So what are our final thoughts? Overall, you don't just get what you pay for with the Venom, you get considerably more. Long term durability remains to be seen but we have no obvious concerns so far. Fit and function are spot on. If we had to find fault, it would be the fairly prominent branding and colouring. Orange isn't everyone's colour - although if you were to find yourself in a difficult spot, standing out could be crucial.

We liked: Incredible value for money, Versatile and feature-rich, Performed admirably in 3 seasons plus

We didn't like: Lack of integrated hood, Prominent branding