On an earlier trip this fall I had the misfortune to find out (the hard way) that my 10 year old survival suit was no longer waterproof. After three hours of fishing in hard, cold rain I was soaked from my chest to my toes – water was actually running down my legs and filling my boots. Needless to say, this was not fun and it was time to purchase a new survival suit for early spring and late fall fishing, as well as for the odd ice fishing and snowmobiling adventure.After a bit of a search I ended up purchasing the Helly Hansen Alpha one piece survival suit. I’ve now put this suit through its paces on a subsequent late fall trip and I couldn’t be more happy. One of the best features of this suit is the fleece lined collar and fleece lined hand warmer pockets. These both added a great level of comfort during the day. The neoprene adjustable cuffs, along with the hood, worked perfectly during a heavy downpour. One thing to watch for is pooling of water at the waist when you are sitting in the rain. If you don’t catch this some water may get in, however, I should note that this will happen with most suits. The best remedy is to just stand up periodically during heavier rains.
The suit comes with a variety of extras including attached whistle, pen/penlight/glow-stick holders, and a variety of pockets including a handy zippered map pocket just inside the front Velcroed storm flaps. The internal suspenders were also a big plus in comfort.
From the sizing chart I had originally felt I should be in a large but after trying it on I decided to go with the extra large. The large did not have a long enough in-seam for my height. The extra large adds a fair bit of extra room around the torso, good for sitting in a boat with extra layers on but it may be an issue if you are moving around a lot. This is my one nit pick with this suit (as well as the suits from Mustang who also make some excellent products) is that it is not available in a tall version for taller (and yet still slender) people. If you need the extra length you get the extra girth.
These type of suits are a great way to help with your enjoyment of cold weather fishing and could very well save your life in the event of a mishap. More than worth it on both counts.