The other day I got into an interesting conversation regarding dry suits, the materials they are made of, and how well they hold up over the test of time. Some of the major brands discussed included DUI and SANTI. When it came time to purchase a dry suit I narrowed my options down to two suits. The DUI TLS 350 and the Whites Fusion Bullet. I now have a little over 50 dives on my Whites Fusion Bullet and wanted to document how well the suit stands up to the abuse that SCUBA can dish out whether good or bad.
I purchased the Fusion Bullet in a package deal which included the dry suit itself, the MK3 undergarment, a 7 mil hood, a pair of 7 mil gloves, a pair of 3 mil socks, a pair of rock boots, and a backpack to put it all in. I opted for the Seal Lock Technology upgrade with the silicone neck and wrist seals. Over all I'm quite satisfied with the contents of the package.
The drysuit consists of two layers. The internal waterproof bladder which is constructed of 200 denier BiLam and the external skin which is made up of various types of neoprene. The external skin helps mold the inner bladder to the shape of your body. Because of this feature, Whites claims the need for a custom fitting suit is no longer needed. I have no other experience to base this on but I can tell you that I've never had an issue with managing the bubble in my dry suit. The stock size fits my body perfectly and is very comfortable. My range of motion also feels unrestricted. There are three options from Whites regarding skins and for mine I chose the Bullet and Tech Skins. I've yet to try the included Tech Skin.
The dry suit came with a pin sized hole near the exhaust valve made by Apex. Unknown to me my first few dives were wet and I had issues locating the source of the leak. At first I though the water was coming from either the neck seal, wrist seal, or exhaust valve. After many attempts to locate the source of the leak I finally found the hole, patched it with some gorilla tape and ever since it's been dry. Since then I've replaced the temporary fix with a more permanent dry suit repair kit patch from Whites.
The outer Bullet Skin is a mix between high stretch, abrasion resistant Gatortech Neoprene and super stretch neoprene. After the first couple of dives I noticed some stitching coming lose on my right cuff on one of the seams. I was given the option to return and replace the Bullet Skin but declined the offer to instead repair it myself with some thread and a needle. After the repairs the outer skin for the most part has been trouble free. I've started to notice the formation and buildup of fuzz in high wear areas. It makes me question how long the outer skin will remain presentable in terms of looks. I've also noticed that the super stretch neoprene is starting to develop a purplish tint. I don't know if it's from the fresh water I use to rinse the suit, from the salt water, or even the sun. The high stretch, abrasion resistant Gatortech neoprene still looks as if it were new from the factory.
The zipper on the suit still requires some force to open and close but the operation of it is smooth and water tight. I was told by other divers that the zipper would break in over time but that seems to not be the case. I've gone through great efforts to keep it clean and waxed so I'm curious as to how long it will last. There has been some fraying on the outer edge but a sharp pair of scissors makes a quick job of cleaning it up. As for the silicone seals they seem to be holding up fine. Nothing out of the ordinary at this point.
One last observation of the suit regards the feet. I've started to notice some wear marks due to rubbing. At this point it's only discoloration although I'll keep an eye on it to see if it develops into anything else. As for the boots they work as they should and so far have held up rather well.
The MK3 undergarment its well made, thick, and provides a lot of warmth. During the peak summer days in Seattle, WA it almost provides a little too much warmth. Hopefully that stays true for the winter months and next year I plan on buying a thinner undergarment for the warmer summer months. The hood is awesome! It's comfortable, fit's well, and has vent's on the top to allow those pesky bubbles to escape easily with no effort on the divers part. While the gloves are nice, I instead opted for a dry glove system so they don't get much use. The times I did use them they seemed to work well and kept my fingers warm. The socks also keep my feet warm and make donning the drysuit simple and snag free.
As for the backpack I now use it to carry my undergarment and accessories. I've found it to be a little to small to hold the dry suit so I stopped trying. Over all I've been really happy with the Whites Fusion Bullet. Hopefully it will provide me with years of trouble free use.