Women's Patagonia Yulex Wetsuit Review
Patagonia has been providing premium gear for people to experience the outdoors since the 1970s. When Yvon Chouinard started Patagonia, he focused on creating gear with minimal environmental impact by ethically sourcing materials, working with Fair Trade Certified factories, and designing gear meant to last a lifetime. Patagonia’s surf gear follows these same principles to provide surfers worldwide with high-quality, ethically made wetsuits. So, what makes the Patagonia suits so great? Are they worth the price? Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of Patagonia’s surf collection to find out.
- Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Spring Juanita - $148.95
- Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex 1.5mm Sleeveless Spring Jane - $128.95
- Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex 2mm Chest Zip Long Sleeve Spring Jane - $168.95
- Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex 2mm Sleeveless Spring Long Jane - $168.95
- Patagonia R1 Yulex 3/2.5mm Chest Zip - $428.95
- Patagonia R2 Yulex 3.5/3mm Chest Zip - $458.95
- Patagonia R3 Yulex 4.5/3.5mm Chest Zip - $488.95
- Patagonia R4 Yulex 5.5/4mm Chest Zip - $548.95
*indicates slightly different construction*
Highlights and Features
- Yulex Rubber
- Eco-conscious materials and sourcing
- Under the IronClad Warranty
- Soft Yulex lining
- Fully taped and welded seams
Patagonia Yulex Wetsuit
What does Patagonia Surf do for the Environment?
Patagonia is one of the first companies to revolutionize what environmentalism means in the world of mass-produced wetsuits. Since the beginning of time, wetsuit manufacturers have used neoprene rubber. While neoprene has made significant technological advancements in flexibility and warmth, it continues to have a negative impact on the environment. Patagonia’s mission as a wetsuit producer is to create a rubber with less environmental impact while still equipping surfers with warmth, flexibility, and the confidence to charge in any conditions. Hence the use of Yulex.
Patagonia uses a material called Yulex for their wetsuits that performs just as well as neoprene and reduces CO2 emissions by 80% during production. Yulex is unique because it is sourced from natural rubber derived from the Hevea tree, leaving a far smaller environmental footprint than traditional neoprene.
Not only does Patagonia work to reduce its environmental footprint during production, but the company covers many other bases throughout the process. Keeping up with production needs requires more trees to make the Yulex. So, Patagonia partnered with the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure that the rubber they are sourcing comes from plantations that preserve biodiversity and ecological integrity. The creation of Yulex has changed the way manufacturers look at rubber production, and Patagonia’s mission goes beyond its suits. They have made Yulex available for any wetsuit company to use if they want.
Yulex and Lining
In the past, surfers that tried the Patagonia Yulex wetsuits were not stoked about the flexibility. It felt stiff and often too tight compared to the suggested sizing offered by Patagonia. However, Patagonia has changed that stigma with added technology to create a truly high-performance wetsuit.
Patagonia has made adjustments to the balance of the Yulex by introducing a 100% recycled polyester jersey lining throughout, improving flexibility and dry time. After testing the R1 3/2.5mm on a dawn patrol session, a complete rinse, and some time inside-out in the sun, the entire suit dried within a few hours. The Yulex liner is soft to the touch and comfortable in all of the most critical areas.
Seams & Stitching
Patagonia keeps the environment in mind with each part of the wetsuit, from the rubber, lining, and seams. Each panel of a Patagonia wetsuit is glued together with a glue called Aqua X. This particular glue is solvent-free and water-based, making the seams ecoconscious. Through trial, these seams have proven more robust than ever, and you should feel confident to charge without fear of busting your suit.
Added seam support on high-performance areas such as the shoulders and groin increases the suit's longevity. All of the seams on the suits are fully taped on the inside to ensure extra durability. There’s even added grip on the wrists to ensure the suit stays in place and prevents any potential flushing.
Fit & Cut
Under general consensus, Patagonia wetsuits tend to run on the tighter side. Sizing up is recommended; however, these wetsuits are like anything truly great: they get better with time. As you continue to wear the suit, it will uniquely form to your body shape. According to the size chart, at 5’7 and 140 lbs, I would fit into a size 10 comfortably. However, with my body type, there was some bunching in the armpits and extra fabric in the torso, so I believe a size 8 would fit better. Quick disclaimer: I prefer my wetsuits to fit on the snug side. That said, size up for a more comfortable fit or size down if you like a smaller, more snug fit.
Initially, when trying on the R1 3/2.5mm, it felt stiff and took a minute to wiggle on. This particular suit is a front zip, so the top chest piece comes over the head from the back and must be threaded together to close. This resulted in a tighter feeling on my neck, but the pull felt less intrusive once the suit got wet.
While most wetsuits are made to feel like you don’t have a wetsuit on, Patagonia’s suits leave you feeling ready to battle in the most elite armor. Not only does this suit truly feel like a wetsuit, but it also performs as it needs to in providing warmth and technical ability.
While using the suit, I felt extra confident that I would be able to keep warm during early dawn patrol sessions without feeling restricted in my surf performance. Not only did this suit perform while surfing, but also when navigating the chilly waters to photograph surfers. Its flexibility allowed me to keep up with heavy rip currents while chasing down surfers to get the perfect shot.
Value & Durability
Patagonia is easily one of the most durable wetsuit brands on the market. The higher price tags are easily associated with their suits' high-quality materials and construction. The construction of the Yulex wetsuits is designed to last and be worn in the gnarliest of conditions. Not only are the suits constructed to last, but Patagonia kept in mind that rubber doesn’t last forever. With Patagonia’s IronClad warranty system, anyone that purchases a new Patagonia Yulex wetsuit from a certified retailer is eligible to send it in for repairs. Patagonia truly believes in reducing, reusing, and repairing gear throughout a life span to eliminate unnecessary waste. The Patagonia Yulex Wetsuit line is an investment not only in your surfing but also in the planet.
This Wetsuit is Also Featured In:
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So, is Patagonia worth the price? Are they as eco-conscious as they claim to be? In my own experience using the R1 3/2.5 chest zip full suit, I thought it was everything I expected. Patagonia’s Yulex wetsuits are durable and truly made to last many seasons. If you’re looking to invest in their gear for durability, performance, and ethical practices, this suit is for you. Sizing is tricky with these suits, so contact our team to dial you in with the perfect model. Call us at 888-546-6176 or send us an email at email@example.com.