ITS TRAGIC TO HEAR that an American vagrant, seeking to escape the effects of cold weather, spends the night in a dumpster, only to get killed in the early hours when he's tipped with the rubbish from it into the masher of a collecting garbage truck. But what made me think of that?
Not that I've ever done it, but climbing into a Fusion drysuit is reminiscent of climbing into a heavy-duty garbage sack.
Fusion suits are made by Whites in Canada, not very far from the USA, on behalf of Scubapro. This probably accounts for the price differential over other Scubapro suits made in the Far East.
The inner core is of a tough grey plastic bi-laminate, complete with long conical wrist seals and a latex neck seal, and terminating in Nylon sock-ends. This inner suit is entirely waterproof, and responsible for keeping a thermal underlayer (of your choice) dry.
Over the top is a sleek outer layer made from 1mm-thick neoprene in both standard and super-flexible types, depending on what is needed at different panels in the suit.
Although this outer layer is attached at wrists and neck, it can be replaced should it become too damaged from heavy use.
A generous layer of neoprene material covers the neck- and wrist-seals, with Velcro in these areas serving to keep the two layers of the suit together.

Now if all this unusual arrangementsounds a little familiar, its because, not so long ago, we reviewed the original Whites Fusion suit - only that was different, in that it had only a lightweight nylon outer shell. In photographs, however, the two suits do look similar, with that same Buzz Lightyear appearance, the result of a unique zip route that starts behind one shoulder, dips down across the chest and then makes its way back up to the other shoulder.
Once youve unravelled the interior, got over the initial crackling of plastic, pulled the bib with its latex neck-seal over your head, and done up the unique U-profile zip, with the outer zip in the neoprene layer done up over that, this suit looks very smart indeed.
The knee- or shin-pads add to the effect by being of very shiny, soft, black plastic.

Getting into this suit takes some getting used to. First, you need to make sure that the inner legs are indeed inside the correct outer legs. Then you have to push your feet past the restriction at the ankles and into the sock-ends.
These Nylon sock-ends are intended to be worn with Rock-boots or Neoprene wetsuit boots. Dont be tempted to walk about on hard or sharp surfaces without such footwear, or a leak in the foot will surely follow.
One good point is that the internal braces detach easily, so if you do get them in a twist, or find that youve stepped the wrong side of them, you can soon rectify things.
I needed help with the dry zip because it started over my shoulder, so I cant call this a self-donning suit. Is there such a thing My buddy closed the outer covering zip for me, too.

The conical latex seals should be cut to fit. As the suit wasnt mine, I left them as supplied, and endured all three a little too tight. The water never got past them, but then neither did much blood to my hands.
The seals are marked to make the job easy, but dont overdo it, or youll suffer the wet consequences.
The Fusion offers a sleek profile in the water, and Scubapro claims that youll get away with carrying less weight than with some other suits.
It all depends on the bulk of the insulation you wear beneath the Fusion, of course. I was lucky enough to try it during our summer months, when the wind wasnt blowing the volcanic ash down from the icy north. If you need less weight, youll use less air, too.
A SiTech inflation valve uses the conventional push-button to activate, although I prefer the option of the side-push type.
SiTech valves never leave a wet patch on my chest, which is not always the case with some other drysuit valves.
I was a little concerned that the crumpled bi-laminate inner might trap air within it, and make an ascent fraught with problems, but this was not the case. Not only this, but the SiTech dump-valve was positioned in exactly the right spot, so the auto-dump effect was just that.
I often refer to thigh-mounted pockets as sea-anchors. This suit has a couple of pockets that avail themselves of the gap between inner core and outer layer. In this way, when not in use, they make no difference to the profile of the leg.
Dont confuse these zipped pockets, secured with Velcro, with the other zips on the thighs, which allow more freedom of movement in the leg when sitting down, or simply increase the available capacity of each pocket.
The unusual Scubapro Fusion needs to be worn and used to be appreciated. It is a triumph of experience over the low expectation you feel when you first put it on!

OThree Ri2100, £1076
Bare Trilaminate HD Tech, £1000

PRICE £1059
MATERIAL Bi-laminate inner/neoprene outer
SUPPLIED WITH Bag, hood, & hose
DIVER GUIDE width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100% width=100%