0
hjumper33

Squirrel Suit Colugo Review

Recommended Posts

So I got my first 5 flights on a Colugo yesterday, and wanted to post some initial impressions. I should also thank Matt with Squirrel who sent me the suit that you see on their main page for my upcoming travels as mine wont be ready for another week after I leave. I only have 5 flights on it, and it is admittedly about an inch and a half too short on me as well, so take this with a grain of salt.

Build quality: Right up there with any of the big wingsuit manufacturers. I was very impressed with the fit and finish of the suit. Carbon grippers are very light and feel stiffer than the standard metal ones on most suits. The 3D vent design is one of my favorite features. It seems like you could crush them down, but they always pop back up into the perfect shape. I really like the attention to detail in a combined chest pocket and camera zipper as well as the pouch in the leg wing which will be perfect for a waterbottle or stash bag. I wasnt a fan of neoprene on a leading edge on previous suits, but the glide skin on the colugo seems a lot more durable with a different feel.

Flight: Even with it being a bit on the small side for me, this thing cooks. I was really impressed at the combination of forward speed and float as well. I was flying with V4s and an apache and was really impressed with its range. The best part about this suit is the control though. I always liked how easy it was to fly a V4, but liked the ability to float in an apache, which is why I had both, but hated having to switch between two very different suits. This suit floats and has the desired flight characteristics of a big suit with the ease of flight and turning characteristics more like a PF suit. Matt says that his goal was to build a really well rounded base jumping suit with this design, and he has done exactly that. It glides effortlessly, and can turn on a dime. Also of note, this escape sleeve design is the first one ive used that I feel confident in and wont grab my sleeves.

I will hopefully be base jumping it within the next few days and will report on that as well. If this is just a prototype, I cant wait for my full production model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Post some pictures if you get a chance, please. :)
Edited to add: Did you attempt to backfly it at all?
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok guys, so had more time to fly my demo, and recieved my very own suit when I arrived back in the states yesterday. I am very impressed with even the packaging of squirrel. It comes with tags and instruction booklets that youd expect on any high end outdoor gear. Its a little thing, but a really nice touch when youre spending $1700 for a piece of high end custom gear.

The suit is interesting to fly because it has so much range. I need to actually get out a flysite to find my perfect glide speed. It feels awesome divey and fast, but also very stable slow and floaty, so its hard to tell when it flys best at.

Did my first base jumps on it down in new zealand, and holy shit does this thing start fast. I in no way was starting aggresively, and you can just see the suit instantly wanting to inflate. Super stable in turns, and definitely much easier to fly than an apache as far as diving sweeeping turns go. Ill post some pictures on this page later today when I get a chance to, but you can see my first base jump on it if you go to the squirrel facebook page.

Like I said before, if people have specific questions, let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Like I said before, if people have specific questions, let me know.



I think I speak for a lot of us, when I say we'd like to see photos of the suit and close ups of the stitching.

Am I right in that their suit design - since it's intended to be used both for BASE and skydiving - relies on two zippers to permit access to the cutaway and handle? How did they handle the whole "don't get the handles sucked into the suit" problem? Does yours have a dual zipper system? How does it hold the cutaway handles (or the zippers around the cutaway handles) in place?
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Funny you should ask for pictures when Squirrel has a far more detailed website with a ton of upclose photos of the suit then any of the other manufacturers site.http://www.squirrel.ws/colugo

I can tell you that the build quality is as good as it gets, very impressed. Large/thick zippers throughout, no mesh internal ribs, it's all crossported lightweight porcher skytek and cut with a hot knife. Zero flex grippers. It's very clear to me that they design each and every suit based on the measurements you give them, I believe they cad model each one.

Customer service is top notch, and direct from Squirrel, no third party communications. On the day the suit arrives I also got an email from them asking how everything was. In the box was a pamphlet about the suit, and the "care and feeding" of your squirrel.

Innie outie mode is very straightforward and as long as you hook it up right I have no worries that the handles will disappear into the suit in Skydive mode. Infact I think this system is superior in that it can be adjusted to fit just about any rig and the zippers will move with the rig to prevent opening shock from ripping seams on the suit around the openings, which I have seen on a number of suits. I wouldn't want to see it on beginner suits though.

Initial flight impressions, very fast and naturally trimmed for a lower AOA then some suits. No need to drop arms behind the body to build speed, rails turns at speed. Rock solid inflation, no flapping at all and I mean NONE. Natural glide seems pretty high. Rapid arm deployment system works very well, could fly canopy and land with all zippers closed if necessary. Inflation is rock solid for deployment, little to no chance of getting wing instead of PC on deployment.

It's clearly designed to be an all around terrain flying Wingsuit BASE suit, capable of crisp and agile handling. In my opinion backfly inlets would be a detriment to the design and purpose of the suit. It's not for acrobatics or slow flight, not to say it wont do both though, I'll backfly it next time out. If I want to party, I have a ghost for that. If that's what you are after there are much better choices out there.

FYI, the only suit I have jumped of similar size is the V4. I found the Colugo to be easier to fly physically and technically and to have a greater range of stable flight speeds. I didn't feel the need to haul ass to generate lift like I have experienced in the V4.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yah I agree with everything said here. And yes, backfly inlets are not in the stated purpose of the suit. Im sure future offerings intended more for the skydiving world will be.

Innie outie is the exact same mod that tony suits is now putting on the apache to make it more skydive friendly. The stiching looks like stitching, and is well done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Funny you should ask for pictures when Squirrel has a far more detailed website with a ton of upclose photos of the suit then any of the other manufacturers site.http://www.squirrel.ws/colugo



Ever seen a McDonalds ad? The burgers look amazing. Ever seen one in person? Not so much. That's why I asked for pictures for a production, non-demo model. Not saying a burger-switch is the case here, but since I haven't seen any demos - or anyone else who has one - I'd like to see one, or preferably demo one, before I order. Call me crazy. [Shrug.]

Part of the reason I wanted to see photos of the dual zipper system is to see how it was done in comparison to, for example, the current Tonysuits arrangement. I tried on a TS suit at Flock & Dock that had the dual zipper system, and it fit one of my rigs great, but fit the other rig poorly enough that it posed a hazard. So I'm really curious to see how it was executed in the Squirrel case. I get the idea of it being useful for dual purpose (BASE and skydive) jumpers, but for those of us that just skydive, I'm not sure it's a great arrangement. (This isn't a comment on the Squirrel suit - since as I've said I've not seen one in person - this is a comment on the dual zipper approach.)

By the way, thanks for the detailed review.
Skwrl Productions - Wingsuit Photography

Northeast Bird School - Chief Logistics Guy and Video Dork

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
touche, I had seen that B| though looking for more input/real world experience. I.e. that looks like PD factory team possibly on a peregrine as opposed to something like AXIS w/Alex. I guess what I am asking is does it have the ability, like the X3 to float with highly loaded X brace canopies w/out trim tabs as opposed to prototype canopies possibly with trim tabs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's my experience with the Colugo so far:

Comfort:
Immediately I noticed how easy it is to don this suit. No squeezing into a tight awkward position, there is plenty of room for winter clothes and equipment, and performance doesn't appear to change with footwear (boots vs shoes). It was very quick and easy to install the container and the innie / outie zipper system left me very confident that I would be able to reach my emergency handles in the case of a malfunction. Small details such as the nut sack and chest pouch are small additions that make things like phone access, sunglasses and stash bag storage easy and convenient. Gear or clothing storage doesn’t seem to affect the performance or comfort of the suit. These features will be really appreciated on those big mountain jumps.

First impression, post skydiving:
Since most of my BASE and skydive experience has been in suits that have a cut and position much different, I was prepared for a considerable learning curve. I expected it to resemble the characteristics more like that of a different manufacturer. The Colugo, in my opinion, is NOT a copy or modification of a different suit. The center of gravity, initiating dives and turns, gripper inputs, and basically everything feels very different from my experience flying suits of similar surface area.

Most importantly, the pull and RAD system (rapid arm deployment) is clean and confident inspiring. The plan for my first skydive was to have a nice stable exit and practice my pull, as with all my first jumps with new suits. The pull, as advertised, is very clean and fast. Not once did I grab wing or double dab to find the pud. Initially pulling symmetrically with the arms, then later asymmetric with one arm (as is conventional thought to reduce altitude loss during deployment). However, since the suit stays inflated during the reach, it will take me more time with the suit to establish if an asymmetrical pull is even beneficial. The punch out system never worked adequately for me in suits from other brands. In the Colugo I had my hands on the risers before the slider hit the stops and felt no need to unzip my arms prior to landing. It should also be mentioned that this is a demo suit and built for arms of smaller dimensions. The RAD system was a major selling point for me and basically I am very VERY happy with the results.

The learning curve:
I was very surprised how quickly I felt comfortable in the suit. I anticipated considerable skydiving practice prior to bringing it to the mountains, but this was not the case. The suit feels so balanced and intuitive, I feel confident suggesting it to people coming from smaller suits with adequate skydive training and experience.

The performance, start arch, turning and diving:
Since the suit has such positive inflation, during my first exit I was hesitant to release the leg wing prematurely in fear it would put me head down. Even with this conservative approach it started faster than the suit I have over one hundred base jumps with. During my second exit, I D arched after approximately 2 seconds and I experienced the amazing potential this suit has to start really fast.

I am still learning the optimal aoa and body position for glide performance and need more time to make a thorough assessment. However, I was immediately impressed with glide performance and look forward to even more with subtle adjustments.

Another surprise was how this suit dives and turns. The wing feels SOLID at very high speeds. No hint of wobble, flapping, or wing deformation whatsoever during dive or recovery arch. Very simply, the turning in this suit is sharp and precise without being twitchy. Honestly, I didn't expect it to feel as precise as it does due to its large surface area. I never felt like I was fighting the suit, that it wanted to flip me on my back or that I would loose control.

With nothing but love and respect for all wingsuit manufactures out there, I feel like this suit is a positive addition to our community in terms of performance, comfort and most importantly safety. Thanks to Matt Gerdes, Dan Vicary, Sean Leary , Nicola Martinez , and Scotty Bob for the help and advice.

- Laurent Frat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have now 11 skydives and 3 base jumps on the Colugo.
The set up of the suit for skydiving and BASE is straightforward and intuitive.
Flight characteristics were a whole lot different to the Vampires (1 to 4) I have flown before. It took me some jumps to relax and fly with a minimal input.

At Brento I already felt natural in the suit. I had very fast starts and better control on every jump.

I am extremely impressed by the ease of the pull, for me it seems easier than in a Prodigy. I always was scared pulling from the BOC in a big suit, not anymore

Regarding communication and service Squirrel lives up to its claims.
I got the suit within a month after payment.
On the first jump I got squeezed in a full tandemload. A tandem dropped on my carbon gripper and the gripper split. Instant feedback to my emails. I got replacement within week. At the same time I got the first addition to the manual, warning about the possibility of that kind of damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4th base jump on a squirrel and second on my actual suit and I flew the same line I flew in my old apache to the same landing. Not saying it glides the exact same or better, just seems quite similar already without a ton of experience. Lau had a great review. Im excited to learn this suit more and more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0