The Crux drysuit by Idaho based NRS is a front entry drysuit meaning that using the zip is far easier to do by yourself compared to a zip positioned on the rear of a suit.
The new Crux relies on plastic TiZips for both the entry and relief zipper. This is a change from the previous versions that used brass zips. In my book I see this as an upgrade as having used TiZips on various different suits I know that the technology works really well and is far more comfortable/flexible for the end user.
The Crux utilises latex neck and wrist gaskets with neoprene over gaskets to help protect the latex neck and polyurethane cover gaskets to protect the latex at the wrists. The over gaskets on the wrist are adjustable via a small Velcro tab.
The feet of the Crux are created using the same fabric as the rest of the suit. The feet are well shaped and are taped well and in the large size has plenty of room for my size 10 (UK) feet. A minimum number of seams have been used in the area, which shows a great deal of care and attention has been given to the design and construction of the suit. Over cuffs are also provided and are Velcro adjustable. In my case the over cuffs are just long enough to provide a good seal with river boots such as the Five Ten Water Tennie.
As mentioned previously the entry zip runs at a diagonal across the chest from shoulder right to waist left. The zip is protected by a large flap that has a few Velcro fastenings along its length. The position of the zip does mean that at the lower end it sits underneath the outer spray skirt length.
It is therefore theoretically possible for water to make its way into the area occupied by the spray skirt tunnel via the Velcro flap. As I use the excellent fitting Immersion Research Klingon empire skirt I haven’t found any discernable water ingress.
The cut of the Crux has also been well thought out with just enough fabric to maximise freedom of movement without creating a huge mass of excess material that simply gets in the way. I do find using the front entry zip on this suit to need a special technique to get on an off, particularly when getting my arms out of the sleeves. However once mastered it is dead simple to get the Crux both on and off by myself and without any dramas.
Having swam in the suit on a couple of occasions now I have been impressed at how well it has performed. The fabric seams to also breath pretty well. I tend to wear hiking socks when wearing drysuits and have found after using the Crux that my socks have become only slightly damp. This is no better or worse than some of the more expensive drysuits I have tried over the years.
The Crux is available in a wide range of sizes that should mean most would be able to find a suit that will fit them well. I went for a large suit that fits pretty well, a slightly longer leg over cuff would make the Crux absolutely perfect for my build and height but this is a minor point that didn’t detract from the performance of the Crux.
The suit has been well used on the water and through some pretty tough ground whilst portaging. The elbow, knee and butt area of the suit are re-enforced and have taken a beating in their stride. Overall it is holding up really well with only one loose set of stitching on the waist over seal being an issue. Less than five minutes with a needle and thread sorted that although it would never have caused performance issues.
Having worn it for paddling during the last six months I can say that the overall fit and performance far exceeds the suits extremely reasonable RRP of around £700 (The Crux can be found online for £400!).
Specs from NRS:
With its innovative 4-layer Eclipse™ waterproof-breathable fabric and performance-cut design, the NRS Men’s Crux Drysuit gives kayakers a new standard of unmatched freedom of movement and dry comfort.
4-layer Eclipse fabric, with its proprietary waterproof-breathable barrier and Nanosphere® DWR finish lock water out while letting moisture escape.
The supple polyester microfiber shell allows frictionless paddling with superior resistance to puncture and abrasion.
The overskirt, with its 5″ wide neoprene band and double-pull hook-and-loop closure fits over your sprayskirt tunnel to complete a watertight seal.
Attached drysocks are made from the same 125 denier Eclipse fabric. The seams are taped inside and out for extra durability.
We’ve included a wide heavy-duty YKK® waterproof relief zipper so you can answer nature’s call without having to strip out of the suit.
Top quality latex wrist and neck gaskets seal water out.
The heavy-duty YKK waterproof entry zipper allows easy entrance and is covered with a hook-and-loop sealed flap for extra protection.
Volcano-style self-draining punch-through neoprene neck overcuff protects the tough latex neck gasket.
Stretchy polyurethane overcuffs with adjustable hook-and-loop closures on the wrists and ankles protect the latex wrist gaskets and Eclipse socks.
Single-seam legs eliminate wear points and improve mobility.
Cordura® fabric reinforces the seat while the knees are protected with an additional layer of Eclipse fabric for rugged protection in high-wear areas.