Hotline Reflex Hooded 5/4mm Wetsuit Review
The new Reflex is the top-of-the-line, performance hooded 5mm wetsuit from the guys and gals down at Hotline Wetsuits. Two of our employees recently picked one up, put it through the wringer for a couple of months, and came back with two different reviews on the suit. The Reflex ended up surpassing everyone's expectations as it just might be the biggest sleeper in the hooded wetsuit category.
"Are you ready for a new wetsuit?" - A quite frequently asked question throughout a surfer's life. Some don't mess around and look for a new suit right away at any cost. Others drag their suit out till it's beyond doing its job, to the point where it's holey, sun-faded and the glue is peeling off it like a banana. Either way, if you're in need of a new suit, look no further than the Hotline Reflex.
If you're new to Hotline, they're a ma and pa core brand residing in Santa Cruz, CA. They've had a legendary list of team riders like Peter Mel, Flea, and Shawn Barney Barron. Building durable, warm, and flexible wetsuits is what has kept them around since 1979 and they're still going strong today.
Starting from the inside, the Reflex is lined head to toe with "Magnum FireSeam GT Tape" over triple glued blindstitched seams. This premium watertight taping helps prevent leaking at the seams and extends the suit's lifespan. The chest and back panels of this suit use Hotline's Tri-Ply Bubble Rubber which gives your core warmth, wind resistance, and comfort in harsh conditions. I've noticed this suit doesn't hold water like other suits I've had in the past. Retaining essentially the same weight wet as when dry, the Reflex gives you a great range of motion in the water and dry really fast.
However, let's be real, not every suit is perfect. I've noticed the hood does not have a circular design like most hoods on the market today. It's more of a square at the top part of the hood and not as snug as other hoods I've used in the past. This is my only complaint with the suit since I've started wearing it and to be honest, it doesn't affect my overall surfing performance.
The Reflex has held up through the test of time so far, and let me tell you, I don't treat my suits with care. Changing in and out of it on the rocks, stepping on it as it drags across the asphalt. I am lucky if my suit is even dry most of the time, but this suit has held on strong and has many more sessions to go.
With a great range of flexibility, durability, and warmth, you can’t go wrong with the Reflex. I would highly recommend this suit to any avid cold water surfer who is in the market for a new wetsuit.
Before this review, I had never worn a Hotline suit and wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I had always heard that Hotline makes great suits but they just weren't as flexible as the top suits from other brands. After wearing the Reflex for a couple of months, I completely disagree.
The Reflex uses Hotline’s “Like Butter” Neoprene, which off the bat surprised me as being way more flexible than anticipated. While it may not stretch as much as other top-of-the-line neoprene, it’s pretty darn close and definitely one of the more flexible cold water suits available. This neoprene also dries very quickly. I'm not sure what exactly why, but it turns out I'm not alone in this opinion as everyone else I've talked to who has worn this suit, also mentioned how freakishly quick it can dry.
To me, one of the most standout features of this suit is the construction. High-end wetsuits today, often ditch extra stitching and tape to make the lightest, most “performance”, suit possible. Hotline has brought the old-school style construction to today's lighter more flexible materials on this wetsuit. All of the seams are internally taped with extra-wide tape, there’s a sturdy zipper and what they call the “Ring of Fire”, which is basically this ultra-stitched circle around the entry panel. Chest zip suits experience a lot of wear and tear at the entry panel and the Ring of Fire helps keep the suit and you in the water.
The front chest zip entry on this suit is solid and easy to get in and out of. The hood, however, is the one area I think that could use improvement with the Reflex. The hood's fit is a little strange and seems to flush a little easier than most hoods. Overall it’s still a warm, usable hood but I think it's worth mentioning. The rest of the suit runs really warm even for a 5/4mm and does an excellent job of keeping you warm even in frigid conditions.
A few months later, I'm sold on Hotline's suits and I think the Reflex is the most underrated hooded 5mm suit available. Stoked!
What We Really Liked: What We Didn't Like As Much:
-Runs Warm Even For Its Thickness -The Hood Design Could Use Tweaking
-Strong Construction and Durability
THE BOTTOM LINE
Hotline's gear is the real deal and the Reflex is a really, really well-balanced wetsuit on all fronts. For $420 it's going to be hard to find a better suit at the price.
For anyone interested in one, we recommend double-checking the Hotline size chart, as their suits are sized differently than other companies. If you have any sizing questions you can always shoot us an email at email@example.com or call us at 1-888-546-6176.