The Rip Curl Dawn Patrol has been a really popular wetsuit here at the shop for years and is one of our most trusted models. Josh, the owner, liked the dependability and warmth so much that he outfitted the entire Cleanline rental fleet with Dawn Patrol back zips a couple years ago.
Now for 2019, Rip Curl redesigned the Dawn Patrol and made some serious improvements. This new Dawn Patrol isn’t just last year’s model with some new logos. If you’re looking for a backup wetsuit or just want to get the most value for your money, the Dawn Patrol is hands down the way to go.
Two years ago, Rip Curl first introduced the hooded version of the Dawn Patrol and it immediately became one of our most popular hooded wetsuits. After hearing really good feedback from just about everyone who bought one, I decided to pick up one of the new 2019 suits. For $269 I knew it’d be a decent suit but never would’ve guessed it’d be as flexible and warm as it is.
New E5 Rubber
Rip Curl for this year, gave the Dawn Patrol a huge upgrade by building the entire suit with their E5 Neoprene. E5 is the same material you’ll find on their best, most expensive model, the Flash Bomb. This new rubber is an immediately noticeable difference between last year’s Dawn Patrol and feels way more flexible. This material is also lighter and more comfortable than the E4 neoprene that was previously used.
More Flash Lining
Another new feature is Rip Curl’s “Flash Lining” throughout the core down to the knees. Flash Lining is that orange fuzzy material that has lined the insides of Rip Curl’s best wetsuits like the Flash Bomb for years. This material has been so consistently popular because it dries very quickly (as little as 15 minutes in the sun) while adding some additional warmth and comfort.
Flash Lining does add a little bit of weight though, so I think it was a smart move to keep the lining to the area that needs the most warmth (the core) while leaving it out of the arms and shoulders, keeping those areas lightweight and flexible.
Seams and Stitching
Another exciting new feature of the Dawn Patrol is that all the seams through the body are now sealed internally with E5 Tape over glued-and-blindstitched seams. Most wetsuits in this price range might only have some basic tape in the stress point of the seams. Having all body sealed with a high-performance tape is a huge bonus to the overall warmth and durability of this wetsuit. The arms, shoulders and hood aren’t taped completely (they still have tape in the key stress areas) but I think that was to keep those areas more flexible.
Fit and Durability
The fit is pretty true to size, Rip Curl in general does run a little bit on the short side but other than that, the Dawn Patrol feels good. The hood has a normal cut to it and there’s an easy to thread zipper on the chest entry.
I’ve been wearing the Dawn Patrol for a couple months now and have been stoked on how it’s held up. The stitching, tape, and rubber are all solid and the construction feels strong.
Another especially noteworthy detail of this suit is that it doesn’t have a smooth skin section in the chest. Smooth skin chest panels have become standard on most every wetsuit from $50 to $500 and especially common on coldwater suits. I know some surfers really like smooth skin for its ability to help cut down on wind chill, but to be honest, I didn’t notice any real difference in comfort or warmth and personally like the suit better without it.
The Bottom Line
This new Dawn Patrol is a huge improvement over last year’s version and basically a simplified version of last year’s Flash Bomb. I think at this price point, it’s easily the best-hooded wetsuit under $300 right now.
Check out our full selection of Rip Curl Suits here and if you have any questions about the Dawn Patrol, sizing or wetsuits in general, give us a call at 1-888-546-6176, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.