Explore the convention space, and take note of where the fursuiting areas are before suiting up for the first time. Make a note of where obstacles and large groups of people hang around, as well as water stations, photo opportunities, and of course, the Headless Lounges. The Headless Lounge offers air conditioners, fans, and water. They are restricted to fursuiters and their handlers, to provide privacy and convenience. Overall, they are a nifty pit stop to allow fursuiters to cool off and take a break.
Be a Character, Act Out
Fursuiting gives you the chance to be somebody else, to play, to let your imagination run wild! Don’t sit still and be stagnant! Move, be curious, explore. Let your suit develop its own personality and character. Make it memorable and unique.
There is no rule that says you aren’t allowed to speak or do anything else to “ruin the magic.” If you want to speak, then speak. If not, learn to pantomime some essential gestures most people will recognize. Point to your wrist as though asking the time, fan your face with your hand if you’re too hot, or make a drinking motion if you need water.
Stay Cool & Hydrated
Proper hydration is important, and makes fursuiting a better experience. It not only helps keep you cool, but lets you stay in suit far longer. Avoid drinking soda or alcohol, and stick to water or sports drinks to help replenish fluids and salt lost from excessive sweating.
Sweating? Absolutely! Wearing a fursuit can be like wearing a second, third, or even a fourth layer of skin all at once. It can take a lot out of you (especially first timers). Try not to sit still in warmth if you can help it, but also pace yourself. Learn you how well you and the suit work together, how much heat it builds up, and don’t be afraid to take a breaks.
If you start feeling flushed or dizzy, or are having trouble breathing, remove your fursuit head and find water immediately. If you need assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for a staff member or handler for help – all fursuiters and handlers will understand what you are going through, and you’ll have no problem in getting assistance.
First time suiting, or still unsure about going it alone? Grab a friend to help! Handlers can make the experience safer, easier, and all the more enjoyable. Your handler is there to help be your eyes and ears, lend a hand when you need a hydration break, or if you start feeling overheated. They can also help clear a path, and make sure you don’t bump into anything.
Oh, and don’t forget to have them take plenty of pictures and video!
Suiting Upkeep & Maintenance
- Blower Fans – Affordable, highly effective, and they kill sweat where it stands. Air blowers allow you to dry off your fursuits or costumes swiftly, and help you get back into the game faster. They’re particularly well suited for drying fursuit heads.
- Anti-Bacterial – If you’re fursuiting, you’re sweating. Simple as that. Sweat creates a venerable feeding ground for bacteria. Using anti-bacterial sprays will not only help keep your fursuit or costume clean, but also smelling good. A good smelling fursuit is a happy fursuit and a happier fursuiter.
- A Portable Clothing Rack – Being able to hang your suit to air dry is always useful. Not all hotel rooms have proper clothing racks, so investing in a clothes rack you can take with you can help out quite a bit. A clumped up suit will not dry as fast as one hanging. Generally speaking, fursuits and balconies do not mix (especially lighter items such as gloves and tails, on higher floors).
- Under Armour: Hot Gear – Under Armour makes a line of clothing called Hot Gear. It is specifically designed to help keep you cool, and allows your skin to breathe easier. An Under Armour Heat Gear Balaclava is especially useful for keeping sweat from dripping into your eyes and soaking into your suit. If you can’t afford Under Armour, general mesh clothing or cheap undershirts will work wonders.
- A Sewing Kit – A basic kit with needle and thread for on-the-go repairs.
Replicated and Modified with Permission from FA United, USA.