We review one of the toastiest winter suits on the market
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #91 IN JANUARY, 2018
TEST TEAM NOTES: Written by Jim Gaunt
I do enjoy receiving a new winter suit. It comes with a special sort of anticipation that perhaps this magical item is going to transform winter into feeling like summer. The beaches are already pretty empty by the time November rolls around and a new suit that will keep you totally toasty and warm could bring about some of your best sessions of the year.
The Legend is Mystic’s top end full-on winter suit and is available both with and without the built-in hood. We tried the hooded version as I’ve never actually used a suit with a hood that’s built in. Usually I would either wear just a hood that tucks into the neck line of your suit, or a hood that’s part of an underlying vest.
The downside of a built-in hood is that you’re always going to be stuck with it hanging behind your head and collecting water if you don’t need to use it, however – and this is huge – the total barrier it forms around your neck line prevents any water getting in and washing down the inside of your suit.
The hood is also pretty tight (a good thing), though isn’t uncomfortable. (I was wearing my Snugs earphones underneath the hood, and you can probably see their imprint against the neoprene in the picture. So yes, the hood is a good tight fit and the resulting warmth is impressive.
The suit is only a 5/3, which I was initially quite surprised about considering this is Mystic’s deep winter suit. However the ‘power seam’ barrier against water getting in, combined with that total seal around the neck line, really does keep you very warm and feeling dry. Plus, being that little bit thinner than some winter suits, you have just a bit more flexibility – and any extra manoeuvrability is welcome in a winter suit.
Access into the suit through the neck is also good. Getting into and out of a new suit often makes you look like that scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden is fighting himself without realising it, but the Legend isn’t overly tight and difficult to begin with. Mystic have slightly altered the zip for easier entry. Pull the top part of the suit overhead and then seal it all up with the easy front zip across the chest.
Construction-wise the Legend seems very tough with a double skin exterior and special mesh neoprene chest and back panels. Mystic also provide good Velcro tabs for the ankles so you can have a bit of allowance to pull the suit over the top of your booties and then tighten the Velcro fasteners around the ankle to form a great seal.
The inside of the suit is a quick-dry lining and is impressive. The seals of the suit obviously work so well, but even when you take the suit off, the inside of the suit feels very dry. So even if the suit hasn’t totally dried on the outside, if you put it on again soon after, the inside will feel good against your skin.
Final finishes include the Glideskin thin neck construction, non-slip cuffs, 4-way stretch knee pads, a key pocket and an Aquaflush vent in the ankles so that, should any water get in, it’s able to exit quickly and you maintain that nice insulated shell.
The Legend really does what it says on the tin. It’s warm, strong, comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and that built-in hood really does make a difference in the depths of winter. The only thing missing is the van you need to get changed in so you don’t have to get in and out of it in a cold car park. Unless of course, like me, you wait until you get home, drip your way through the house and get changed in the shower. It’s always worth the trouble, though!
It may mean buying an extra suit for the spring and autumn when you don’t need it, but we’re sold on a built-in hood. So good!
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Perhaps there will be a way of designing the hood so it’s detachable for the days you don’t need it, but you would obviously then lose the great seal.
XXL, XL, LT, LS, L, MT, MS, M and S