Ianovated Wetsuit Review
THE HYPE:This unique wetsuit has a breath powered hand heating system. Via a mouth piece and tubes that mainly run along the inside of the suit to your hands, you can exhale warm breath into your gloves or palm less mittens whenever your hands ask you to do so.
You can become a pioneer Ianovated sailor for as little as £200 with a guarantee of your money back any time in the first six weeks of use if you don’t agree that this suit keeps your hands warm!
Get this wetsuit out on the sub 11°C days when your current winter wetsuit just does not look after you. It is a 5/4mm, rear horizontal dry zip, loose upper body fitting steamer. Smooth skin or nylon lined.
In the sub 10°C conditions you will be amazed by how long just two to three breaths down this system will then keep your hands comfortable. Most of the time the mouth piece can rest against your chest waiting for the next time your fingers ask you to use it.
TEST TEAM NOTES:
WORDS – Chris Bull / CBK Hayling Island
This wetsuit is certainly unique. At first glance it could be mistaken as some type of scuba equipment. It is a 5/4mm, rear horizontal dry zip, loose upper body fitting steamer... and is definitely a conversation starter.
The wetsuit has tubes that travel up from each wrist and into the suit appearing at the back then joining at the front to a mouthpiece similar to one that you would use for snorkelling. The tubes at the wrist feed into your gloves or mitts. The idea is that when your hands get cold you put the breather into your mouth and breath down the tubes, sending warm air to your hands via your gloves, warming them up.
At first I was a little sceptical of this suit. The wetsuit itself is a little old school compared to many of the modern super flexible, thin suits we are using at the moment. Its seams are glued and stitched, not welded, the fit is quite loose, entry is at the back via a shoulder zip. It reminds me of the classic winter windsurf suit we all used to use.
Despite the suit not feeling like the modern, tight and super stretchy fit, it is well made and feels sturdy and strong and gives the impression that it will last. The leg and arm cuffs are very sturdy, well sized and comfortable. Getting the suit on is effort less, even with the breathing tubes. You do need help with the zip though and its quite chunky and pretty firm to use.
Once the suit is on, put your gloves on and stick the tubes inside. The gloves I used were quite long so keeping the tubes in was easy and they don't bother you as a sailor. You can also adjust the length of the tubes quite easily by pushing or pulling the tube through the suit. At this point you can put the breather in your mouth and see how the system works.
The breather conveniently sits just below your chin and is easy to locate and place in your mouth when you need it. When you breathe in you feel your warm breath circulate around your hand and fingers and it's quite amusing because the gloves actually swell a little, like when you blow into rubber gloves for washing up.
I have used this suit now in a variety of conditions: cold, northerly winds and various days when the temp is below 10 degrees. The system definitely works and although baggy, the suit keeps you warm and largely dry with the blind stitched seams. Every time I have used this suit my hands have never been cold and I was surprised how little I had to use the breather; just whenever you can feel your fingers start to tingle and 30 seconds of breathing warms them up straight away. After a while of riding in these very cold conditions my feet were cold and numb but my hands weren't at all. I wonder if the system could be modified for the legs, too?
After a big crash water goes up the tubes and later when you blow down the tubes to warm up your hands you feel warm water flood into your gloves which has been warmed by your body, which is a nice sensation!
SUMMARY:So the system definitely works. It doesn't get in the way of your riding and does make those cold days better. It would be good to see some more technology on the suit, for example it would benefit from welded seems as I found that the suit got a little colder in the groin, an area where there are a lot of seems. If you ride in cold conditions a lot you should consider this wetsuit; the breathing system is unique and works well, it's simple and easy to maintain, the suit is tough and well made - just don't expect it to feel as comfy as in your skin tight, super stretchy, air bubble filled modern winter suit.
It may look a little weird and people might give you strange looks, but whilst out on the water I really appreciated the warm hand system and chuckled to myself when people I was riding wish were sucking their fingers and moaning. I was definitely warmer and that's what counts most of the time.
Life after Nemo - ianovated wetsuit tried and tested in 27 F (-2 c)
Winter storm Nemo brings 2' of snow, a driving ban that I break driving home from work Friday night, and a question about whether I can get some kiting in this weekend. - Blog below taken from: waterloggedbyscooper.blogspot.com/2013/02/life-after-nemo.html
Sunday morning- I roll out of bed just before sunrise. It's 10 degrees F. outside. Downy snow glistens in the predawn twilight through the window. Common sense would say go back to bed. Fortunately, I don't have much of that. I have horse sense. Horse sense says go to Chapin and kite with Igor. Igor has horse sense too.
The road to Chapin is closed. The road to Mayflower is unplowed. Bayview is open! It has some power lines down across the path and the dunes have erosion but it's accessible, and windy!It's warmed up. Maybe to low to mid 20's? Igor and I lie to each other, saying that we're perfectly warm and comfy in our drysuits.
Igor may be telling the truth. He has a secret weapon. Igor's new drysuit has hand warming tubes allowing him to breath warm air into his 2mm Glacier Gloves. He does looks perfectly warm and comfy. Especially his hands.
My secret weapon is 6mm neoprene mitts. They're very tight and restrictive. My hands are warm enough but after a couple of hours my forearms are useless. The muscles have completely failed, leaving 2 limp rags where my arms used to be. Igor's secret weapon beats my secret weapon.
How low to go?- Kiting in under 27 F. means saltwater will freeze. You won't be able to scrape up any sand to anchor your kite because the beach is concrete. You'll slip on wet ice getting into the slushwater before you can waterstart. Spray will freeze and coat the floats and ends of your lines. Your depower rope will keep slipping in it's cleat. And your hands will fail from wearing 6mm mitts. It's fun! I recommend it to anyone who is strong of heart and hand.