Admittedly, this review could’ve been published over a year ago, as we first conducted our initial testing last winter having received our Jobe Ruthless Drysuit in early 2015. As it were, we simply had waited too long to pen the story and figured nobody would be interested in a drysuit review in April – plus, we wanted to really give the drysuit a second season. See, the idea of wading out into a brutally frigid lake fully dressed and expect to come out both dry and warm is still such an unnatural feeling that we wanted to give it another go.
For those unfamiliar with a true drysuit, it is the exact opposite of a wetsuit – and the second is outlined in the names themselves. One is dry and the other is wet. As a wetsuit’s neoprene allows for ambient water to enter and collect a thin film between your skin and the suit itself – using your body’s natural heat to warm the water layer, a drysuit is a sealed garment allowing neither water to enter nor air to escape. This sounds like a far superior option to wriggling into a wetsuit, but it’s really not all that great.
The Jobe Ruthless Drysuit is tailored large, far larger than we have come to expect from Jobe’s European sizing chart. The purpose of the larger proportioning is to allow you to properly dress for a day out in or on the water. While a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt might not be ideal over say a set of thermal underwear or other full-body temperature-sensitive clothing, we were able to climb into the drysuit adequately. Made from 320 denier breathable nylon fabric with a tricot coating and taped waterproof seams, the suit lives up to its name.
Last year, we wore it exclusively while riding PWC during a very brisk, snowy winter. We stayed dry, but never dared to wade out into the lake like we performed this time around. The heavy latex rubber seals at the neck, wrist and ankle are thick and durable. Entry into the suit is through a very wide shoulder-to-shoulder seam sealed by a “high-tech” waterproof zipper that closes you inside. Being sealed inside the suit (fully dress, mind you) gave us an almost immediate claustrophobic feeling, especially with how tight the neck seal is around our throat.
Velcro-lined straps cinch around your wrists and ankles, but note that your extremities are exposed. These aren’t fishing waders, so you’re going to need to find some thick neoprene socks and boots to use with your drysuit. During our most recent photoshoot, we forgot our Jobe cold weather gloves, and immediately regretted it. The air trapped into the suit will balloon if not allowed to escape, making us look a little bit like Mikey’s younger brother wearing his “puffy jacket” from “A Christmas Story.”
While we don’t expect many of you to spend as much time as we did wading chest deep in your local lake in December, you will walk out surprisingly warm and dry (except for your hands and feet, which if you’re like us, will ache because of the cold). When worn while riding, it too will keep you warm, but we found the neck so tight that it was too uncomfortable to enjoy wearing casually. We also found that the strap tethered to the zipper is so short it’s impossible to use by yourself, requiring us to dress and undress with the help of an assistant.
Yet again, as with so many Jobe products there are small details that make a product a “winner.” We liked the adjustable elastic suspenders stitched into the inner liner, helping keep the suit positioned comfortably and making dressing and undressing a little easier. Priced at $494.99, the Jobe Ruthless Drysuit isn’t what you’d call cheap, but if cold weather – particularly windy and/or wet – riding is what you’re planning for, then the drysuit will be exactly what you’re looking for.