Patagonia broke massive ground in the more sustainable wetsuit market a few years ago by introducing Yulex rubber to surf. The compound is harvested from Forest Stewardship Council Certified sources, instead of being made from limestone or petrochemicals. The move ushered in a leap forward for other brands, who have since followed suit to produce their own Yulex options. Epic stuff.

The Patagonia R1 Wetsuit is their 3/2.5mm steamer option that still sits as the brand’s lead option for sustainable suits. Here’s what they have to say about it:

Offering stretch, comfort and warmth for high-performance surfing, this neoprene-free wetsuit is made of 85% Yulex® natural rubber/15% synthetic rubber by polymer content; the natural rubber is derived from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Suggested water temperatures: 60°–65° F/16°–18° C. Fair Trade Certified™ sewn.

Let’s see if it lives up to expectations. This is your latest Patagonia R1 wetsuit review.

Thermal Lining & Liquid Taped

100% external seam sealing; all seams are triple glued and internally taped

100% Neoprene Free

85% Yulex® natural rubber/15% synthetic rubber

Built Strong

And comes with Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee


If you want a more eco-considered wetsuit from the Godfathers of eco wetsuits, then the Patagonia R1 wetsuit is your go-to. Yulex rubber, recycled jersey, backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad guarantee.

It has a 3mm body and 2.5mm arms so is a touch warmer than a lot of the other 3/2mm Yulex wetsuits on the market, but perhaps because of that thickness is also a bit stiffer. The ‘gonia list a 60°–65° F/16°–18° C range for the R1. I say, you could go colder.

I’d roll this with boots and a hood in mid-winter Bells no worries, which is more like 12° C. I’m like a constipated wombat though – hot, hard and mostly full of shit.



A really good fit, once you get it on. The Patagonia R1 wetsuit is a bit hard to pull over the rig compared with most other 3/2mm suits I tested this year. Perhaps it’s the extra half a mm in the legs, or perhaps it’s the entry system, but there was definitely a difference there. After that though, you’re all cosied up and ready to throw fireballs in the water. The cut is precise, the support feels great on, and the thermal lining is soft instead of scratchy. 8 out of 10 here.


Pretty good, but not amazing. Patagonia made a major breakthrough a few years back with the recycled jersey and its weave to produce something with much more give than before. They’ve made only very minor progress since then, while other brands (cough Billabong) have fully changed the game to come out with recycled wetsuits every bit as stretchy as the top, top performance options. Let’s hope Patagonia can use that lesson, like everyone else learned from their Yulex move. For now though, they’ve dropped back a pace in the flex stakes. 7/10.


The warmest Yulex 3mm bodied suit on the market. That probably has to do with the fact Patagonia have gone the 2.5mm arms and legs, where other brands are 2mm. That means what they’ve sacrificed on performance they’ve made up in toast factor. This would get you through winter easily in West Oz, NSW, and Queensland, with a reasonable amount of crew at Vic and South Oz opting for rubber accessories to stay out of the dreaded 4/3mm suffocator. Warm like a post-surf sausage roll with much less rat in it (unless you’re Ratboy Collins). 9 out of 10 here.


At $650AUD for a top tier suit with eco-considerations built in, this represents solid value. Throw in Patagonia’s Ironclad guarantee and you have something that will stand up to expectations. If you’re looking for something with the same eco specs but much cheaper, you might be keen to look at the Need Essentials Yulex 3.2 (not as warm and less warranty, yet stretchier at half the price). However, if you’re used to paying a bit more for eco and love Patagonia as a brand, this should easily fit in your budget. 8 out of 10.


Tim said:

“The Patagonia R1 wetsuit is a rock solid wetsuit from a rock solid brand. There are some flex limitations, but that’s probably something you’ll only notice if you’ve been in the full performance options form other brands. If you’re a Patagonia fan, you’ll be stoked with the wetsuit no questions asked. It’s super warm, flexible enough and has great sustainability considerations. If you’re more someone who just wants a good deal, the Need Yulex is probably your go. If you’re all about amazing flex, look at the Billabong Natural. It’s really epic to see so many eco-considered wetsuits on the market now and that’s all thanks to Patagonia’s pushing the envelope in this area. Hats off.”

Lincoln said:

“I put the The Patagonia R1 wetsuit on and sat in an ice bath of 10 degress for over ten minutes without even feeling a chill. This is a great suit for Sydney and south if you’re wondering about warmth. Overall it was comfortable enough, and if it was my only suit, I’d get used to it and think it was pretty good. But going from this to the Billabong Yulex, it felt pretty stiff.”  

Jim said:

“Heavy duty, warm & bomb proof suit but starting to fall off the pace for performance when compared against other Yulex suits.”

Overall Rating

  • WARM!
  • Very well built
  • Great eco considerations
  • Not as flexible as other suits
  • Similar suit to two years ago - slow progress
Fit & Comfort 80.
Performance 70.
Warmth 90.
Value 80.
Buy Now


If you’ve got $650 Australian spare and we’ve convinced to get, or re-up, an Patagonia R1 Suit, then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, the Patagonia R1 suit is wildly warm and is very well built, but it’s lacking in performance when compared to other Yulex suits.

Buy an Patagonia R1 suit from :
⋅ Patagonia Australia
⋅ Patagonia USA
⋅ Patagonia Stockists

Alternatively, we’ve pulled together three Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guides if you’re still a little undecided on what to buy:
*Above $550
*Below $350

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If you’re driving, or reading isn’t your thing, then hit the below episode of Lipped where we talk all things wetsuits 2021. First off we chat with the movers and shakers behind the best suits on the market to find out all about the innovations that moved the needle in 2021.

Then from 36.40m Jimmy is joined by Tim Hawken and Lincoln Eather from Empire Ave to look at suits from Billabong, Need Essentials, Xcel, Hurley, Rip Curl, Patagonia and Vissla. If you want to stay warm, stay flexi and potentially look after the world around us then this is a must listen.