We’re not gonna lie – the office is split on this one. Depending on who you speak to the Dirtsuit is either unadulterated genius or a fashion faux-pas that not even our own Jack Luke would be seen dead in it. And he wears some strange things.
This is the Dirtsuit, straight out of Germany, and if you hadn’t guessed, it’s a waterproof onesie for use when the weather gets really, really mucky.
So why might it be genius? It's because having your jacket and shorts connected means there’s no gaping hole above your backside to let the water in.
Waterproofs are handy in wet conditions, but the dynamic nature of mountain biking means that the bottom of your jacket often gets pulled up, either by your movements or those of the backpack you're carrying. This leaves the small of your back exposed to whatever's getting thrown up by your rear wheel.
Any mud and / or water that sprays into that exposed gap hits whatever jerseys, baselayers or bibs you’ve got on under your jacket and soaks through, leaving the rest of the garment, and you, damp and cold.
Combining the jacket and shorts into one means that gap never opens up. Genius (maybe).
The material has a reported 10,000mm waterproofing and breathability rating, which isn’t the highest out there. But however much moisture and heat it can deal with, it feels robust enough that it should come away pretty unscathed from any crashes on the trail.
As the seams aren’t fully taped, we suspect it won't completely hold out the heaviest rain, but few garments do so we see the Dirtsuit as a garment that's best suited to those dank, damp, splashy days that dominate the UK spring, summer, autumn and winter. If nothing else, it should at least be easier to spray down post ride.
While the breathability isn’t huge (it’s not uncommon to see clothing with figures double those that Dirtlej claim for the Dirtsuit) there are loads of zipped vents in the legs, chest and back. There’s also the huge zip down the front that you use to climb into the suit. The inner is lined, which in our experience helps reduce that clammy feel you get in waterproof clothing.
There’s a hood, which just about fits over a helmet, but thankfully there’s also a Velcro flap inside that can be used to stow it away while riding. At the waist there’s a couple of tabs to cinch the whole thing in.
Dirtlej has clearly put a lot of thought into the suit's finishing touches. The pullers are all sturdy-looking and should be easy to grab with gloves on, and the all the zips are waterproof, including ones for the four pockets.
When it gets dark, the reflective trim and logos should stand out for the spin back to your home or car, and the sleeves are longer above the wrists to help keep water from getting into your gloves.
We first saw the suit at Eurobike, and I was pretty excited to try it out. I'm also pretty excited to go riding in the mud, so I’ll be testing the suit fully over the next couple of months.
It costs €199 from dirtlej.com.
Dirtlej's full range of Dirtsuits includes a harder wearing and a more waterproof Black Edition (€238), a more packable Light Edition (€128) and the Core Edition (€296), which has full length legs and more waterproofing/breathability. The company also has a number of shorts, luggage and bike-protection products.
So, whose side are you on? Is this the future of wet-weather gear or something you wouldn't be seen dead in? Let us know in the comments...