Women's Crux drysuit by NRS.

Women’s Crux drysuit by NRS.

Women's Crux Drysuit by NRS

(nrs.com, $990)

By Amanda Nichols

Made from NRS's proprietary four-layer waterproof-breathable Eclipse fabric, the Crux lies somewhere between the Amp and the Surge on the heavy-duty spectrum, striking a nice balance between lightweight feel, feminine flair and on-the-water performance. The micro-fiber exterior is smoother than the other suits in this group, so it causes less friction while you paddle. Seat and knees are subtly reinforced, keeping these high-stress areas of the suit from wearing through without adding bulk to the stylish pant cut. We were glad to see the booties have been upgraded from the thick latex socks found on earlier versions of the Crux to thin, tough waterproof-breathable booties.

The Crux is the only suit in this trio that has a traditional drop-seat relief zipper. For female rafters, canoeists or more casual kayakers this is both convenient and comfortable. Its plastic teeth lie flat, making it easy to forget it's there. More committed whitewater boaters may need to experiment to see if the drop-seat zipper works well with their boat's outfitting.

In the mornings especially, it was nice to wear just the lower half of the drysuit with the sleeves tied around the waist. We found this was slightly harder with the Crux since it lacks both the waist elastic of the Amp and the waist drawstring of the Surge. Also missing are pockets to stash chapstick, a snack or a small tube of sunscreen. Both are minor issues that could also be seen as selling points. Since the Crux refuses to get bogged down with these additional features, it remains simple and comfortable. What's more, it remained dry throughout the trip, letting moisture escape from the suit when the sun was baking us between rapids but also keeping that insulating fleece dry after many long days in the kayak.

Bottom Line
The crux of the women's Crux is increased mobility, a lightweight feel, and excellent performance on the river. With its tasteful combination of style and effectiveness against the elements, the Crux has a wide range of applications. We felt at home in it regardless of whether we were lounging on the raft, surfing a wave, or punching a kayak through one giant hole after another in Hance.

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