Home News Gear Review: The Patagonia Yulex 2.0 Wetsuit

Gear Review: The Patagonia Yulex 2.0 Wetsuit


After analyzing Patagonia’s completely neoprene-free R1 a couple years back, we called it the ‘Tesla of wetsuits’, an remarkable synergy of craftsmanship, design, and eco-innovation. But only now do we totally appreciate that comparison given its obvious — though, small discussed — shortcomings. Yulex 1.0 was by almost all accounts — including our own and also of those who designed it — not quite as flexible as neoprene.

However, that has been a mere footnote one of the near universal praise. Really, going neoprene free is an incredibly purposeful act of ecological stewardship for a surfer and, for a number of them, that alone justified buying one — even though there were a few bugs. Ironically, Patagonia itself throw the harshest light on these bugs with the launching of its Fall 2018 line — wetsuits that are so near perfection they make the former version look like a model.

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It ends up that the fit and flexibility issues could be traced to a mistake. Patagonia wetsuit line manager Hub Hubbard states a small variation in the production process, involving test-suits and production suits, resulted in significantly less flexible Yulex. “It kind of blindsided us,” he acknowledges. “But something occurred in the 90s if Patagonia decided to go a hundred percent organic cotton. ” In other words, Patagonia sees setbacks such as these as an acceptable complication of the speed where they innovate. And maybe all that really matters is that the difference between the feel of Yulex 2016 and Yulex 2018 is notable.

Patagonia Yulex 2.0 WetsuitPatagonia

Patagonia wetsuit redesign operates in two-year cycles, where small tweaks are created mid-cycle and important revamps happen bi-annually. The 2018 line is the very first to utilize the most recent edition of Yulex and will appear in most matches until Fall 2020. In analyzing Yulex 2.0, we actually decided to spend some time surfing in three unique suits: the original Yulex model (an R1 Lite), the current one (an R2, to match cold Spring requirements ), along with a regular neoprene 3-2 suit from one of the major brands.

The difference in texture between the old and new Yulex is evident the moment you hold the newest Patagonia suit on your hands. Placing it on is also an entirely different experience, the kind of simple rote task you can perform while studying the setup (which made wiggling into the older suit look even worse this time round ). The old suits didn’t have a fit so precise it sensed painted , but was likely more to do with its inflexibility than trim. Aside from reformulating the Yulex — still a pure rubber, harvested from sustainable Havea tree crops — Patagonia also “opened the suit up” around a centimeter. For all of us, this was most noticeable at the crease between our torso and shoulders, an area where there even seemed to be a little too much distance. Perhaps the improved flexibility obviated the need to add room.

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Surfing in the new Yulex suit is not vastly different than surfing at the original suit. The flexibility is the most evident on the paddle and pop up, and, overall, the suit is slightly more comfortable while simply sitting at the lineup. And it’s not only the Yulex-to-skin feel. Patagonia says they also softened the inner torso lining (our initial thinner suit didn’t even have a liner ). However, after a session wearing our old neoprene lawsuit , we’d say there is still a tiny bit of room for improvement at the feel section.

That said, we wouldn’t even wait for Yulex 3.0 in the event that you don’t even own you yet. Patagonia suits are exceptional to mass-production matches in virtually any way — strength, flushing, thickness-to-warmth ratio. An odd evaluation system can make it a little difficult to do an apples to apples comparison — Patagonia now has a cheat-sheet with the true thickness on the inner rib — however there’s no doubt the chill of this unseasonably cold spring sea churns into our “spring” neoprene suit faster than it did our R2, a suit Patagonia calls its best “all-rounder”.

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Finally, it has to be pointed out that even after removed chloroprene from the production process — which became a much more purposeful milestone when the EPA recently declared that chloroprene likely causes cancer — Patagonia is not quite ready to have a victory lap on their environmental accomplishment. For Chouinard and co, there is always more work to be carried out. This time they used alternative dyed fabrics, significantly reducing the amount of water needed in production, and also the entire Yulex line is now fully acceptable trade. Patagonia also still asserts that their technology is up for grabs for almost any company that is prepared to make the switch. Hubbard states that while margin-sensitive large brands have been slow to the party, some smaller brands such as British company Finnistair and women’s wetsuit manufacturer Seea, have taken them up on the offer.

The sheer number of folks bobbing around at the lineup nowadays wearing that small flying fish emblem speaks for itself.

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