As soon as simply an clothing store for the Navy, Particular Forces, and rescue groups, Mustang Survival has pivoted to additionally supply gear to leisure customers. And now, it’s acquired gear for ladies too.
Mustang Survival has been making PFDs and paddle gear for almost 50 years. Although it’s solely been making leisure gear for the previous 2-3 years. Earlier than that, it outfitted everybody from Navy SEALs to industrial fishers. And now, its gear trove features a full ladies’s line, together with a ladies’s-specific drysuit.
The Helix Dry Suit, which is available in two fashions, is the model’s remedy for individuals who paddle or work in winter and shoulder seasons.
We examined the brand new drysuit final fall and this winter to see the way it performs in a wide range of climate and water — and, in fact, to take a look at the ladies’s match and a few of the go well with’s distinctive options.
Helix Dry Go well with: First Look
A bit concerning the model: Mustang Survival relies in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a workforce of feminine designers and feminine athlete ambassadors labored on this ladies’s line.
This implies (1) the model actually dialed on this go well with for cold-water efficiency and (2) had feminine designers and athletes throughout a wide range of sports activities (crusing, paddling, rafting) vetting the go well with earlier than it got here to market.
As a lanky, curvy feminine paddler, I used to be past excited to check this go well with. Sure, it has some customary options you would possibly discover in different drysuits, however the truth that it was particularly designed for ladies, from scratch, was an enormous draw.
“Nothing says ‘you don’t belong right here’ like a complete part of males’s clothes choices,” stated Vanessa Fors, Mustang’s ladies’s product line supervisor and lead designer. “The launch of this assortment is our method of making certain that well-fitting attire just isn’t one other barrier to entry.”
On condition that this was the model’s first entrée into ladies’s gear, we admire that it spent a variety of time within the testing part. The design course of — from preliminary design to focus group testing to closing design — took 18 months, plus a couple of extra months to come back to market.
Once I requested Fors what essentially the most technical a part of the design course of was, her response was fairly cool.
“The zipper took years,” Fors stated. She’s speaking concerning the easy, one-handed helical zipper design, which is likely to be my favourite side of this drysuit.
I’ve worn a variety of drysuits and wetsuits in my life, they usually’re at all times a little bit of a chore to placed on. This go well with’s crossbody zipper makes placing the go well with on extra like donning a jacket. You simply zip it up. On high of that, it’s apparent the backseat location of the zipper was designed with ladies’s backcountry rest room habits considered. Bless.
A word on match: I’m above common peak for ladies (5’8″), often a measurement small in pants. However this can be a full-body go well with. Due to my peak, and wanting to depart room for any layers beneath, I attempted a measurement medium.
The go well with match nice within the chest, shoulders, and arms. And the strengthened and articulated knee pads fell in the correct place. The size from the hips down might need been a hair lengthy on my body, however in any other case sizing was spot on.
- Options: Helical zipper, detachable suspenders, neoprene wrist cuffs, drain holes at collar and wrist gussets, detachable contoured knee pads and adjustable straps at knees and ankles, Closed Consolation System Exoskin collar, waterproof pocket
- Material and waterproofing: Marinespec four-layer material with 500-denier CORDURA seat, knees, and soles
- Zippers: Waterproof YKK Aquaseal zippers
- Sizing: S-XL
- Worth: $1,099
Mustang’s Consolation Closure System: Higher Than Latex
Moreover the distinctive design, match, and efficiency of the go well with general, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out its callout characteristic: the Consolation Closure System. As an alternative of a stiff latex collar that sticks to your neck like superglue, Mustang designed this go well with with a smooth and adjustable Exoskin collar.
The 2-layer Exoskin materials is barely extra pliable than latex, and it has a cinching wire, toggle, and Velcro tab for adjusting and securing the collar in place. Why did the model stray from conventional latex right here?
“With the 2 closure types, we wished to have two [options] for various kinds of customers,” defined Fors. “Discovering the correct closure fashion was a high-quality stability.”
For customers like skilled kayakers and rafters — or these in drysuits for lengthy hours of the day — the Consolation Closure lets you vent sweat and warmth when not in high-moving water. Throughout exercise, you may cinch up the collar to create a slightly-more-comfortable-than-latex watertight seal. For extra leisure paddlers, the usual latex closure is a (cheaper) possibility that may get the job performed.
Helix Dry Go well with: General Impression
When you can’t inform from my tacky grin within the picture above, this drysuit was a blast to check. Extra importantly, it labored throughout intense actions that require an unrestricted vary of movement (packrafting, paddleboarding). And it was cozy.
My solely suggestions for the model was reinforcing the soles of the ft only a bit extra. I’m not speaking concerning the exterior material, however as a substitute including thicker or further cushioning on the soles.
It’s value noting that Mustang Survival did add EVA foam pads to the articulated knees on the drysuit. And in my view, having one thing related for the ft could be superior. That being stated, the outside material on the soles and seat has been a lot sturdy in my testing up to now.
When you’re simply beginning out in paddlesports, this go well with most likely isn’t for you. It’s definitely not cost-effective for the occasional want. However in case you’re a lady who’s often on the water, Mustang’s Helix go well with is value trying out.
The Helix Dry Go well with with the Comfort Closure System (which we reviewed right here) retails for $1,100. Mustang Survival’s Helix Dry Go well with with a standard latex closure retails for $1,000.