Read on for a review of the ION Fuse 2014 drysuit. First, a comparison with wetsuits.
This post compares neoprene wetsuits with neoprene drysuits, more specifically the suits I’m using; O’neill Epic 5/3 and ION Fuse 4/3.
A drysuit might seem tempting in the cold winter months, but let’s face it – Wetsuits work fine in most countries, especially if it’s a thicker winter suit. There are a number of benefits compared with drysuits.
- More versatile (can be used all year around)
- More flexible and comfortable to wear
- Lighter and less bulky to carry around
Even in a drysuit you still need separate gloves and socks, which will let water in. Having said that, your fingers and toes will still be warmer then in a wetsuit since they can ‘borrow’ heat from your body.
Your body will sweat which could cool the body down unless wearing breathable underwear on both legs and body.
Oh, and just check out the difference in weight and bulkiness!
- O’neill Epic: 1.5 kg dry
- ION Fuse: 3 kg dry
Why get a drysuit for kitesurfing?
Keeps you dry. Nice feeling while riding and getting changed.
Keeps you warmer = longer sessions and a safer option if something would happen.
A nice-to-have luxury for the coldest winter and spring months (January – April for UK), or a good choice instead of a winter wetsuit if you live around the Baltic sea etc.
Review of ION Fuse 2014
I was thinking about getting a drysuit already last year when the weather was getting colder. I did a lot of research back then but in the end I manned up and kept using my wetsuit all the way through to spring.
This winter I was on about it again after yet another wet change on a cold and windy parking lot. Actually what I really hate is not so much the cold water, but the horrific experience when you pull yourself out of a wet wetsuit and have to get changed after the session. Ideally I was looking for an Ocean Rodeo Soul, but when the cheapest I could find would set me back £500 I just couldn’t justify it. Another attractive option was ION Fuse, and by pure luck I got a brand new one on an ebay auction for only £260.
I’ve been using my Fuse now during December and January and now by the end of January I’m really starting to see the value in having it. December isn’t really that cold, but now I’m staying out twice as long as everyone else – this thing really keeps me dry and warm!
It’s easy to get in and out of, but you do need someone around to zip and unzip your opening in the back. It can be done solo as well, but I’ve tried and it’s not easy. Well, there’s almost always someone around anyway right, so no big deal.
Once in it, it’s quite comfortable and you have good range of movement. The only thing worth mentioning is the zip on the back which makes the upper back a bit stiff, but once riding I tend to forget about this.
Underneath the suit I wear boxers and a rash vest and that’s all. The suit is a 4/3 neoprene so it keeps me warm like that. During heavy sessions I do sweat a lot in it so breathable materials are important. In February I’m getting long johns and a long sleeved tshirt made from bamboo fibre so that should help a lot, because now the sweat transfers into the suit which becomes wet and even smelly!
So once done, you have a suit that is wet on the outside and potentially also on the inside. This makes for a really heavy suit to carry home, and it takes days to dry! Other than the weight and bulkiness of it I can’t say much negative things about it. It comes with a hood for really cold days, but you still need good gloves and booties in addition.
I really like it, and I can’t wait to use it in February and March which are UK’s coldest months. Having said that, modern winter wetsuits are also great at keeping you warm and hardly lets any water in so this might be a good alternative for less money.
2023 update: I’m selling my IN Fuse drysuit!
Buy it here, on ebay. International shipping.