THE SUIT


The Patagonia R2 Yulex is a 3.5/3mm wetsuit which is pretty much leading the sustainability charge for your major winter surf accessory. Here’s a spiel from Patagonia on the Yulex program.

“You don’t have to choose between performance and the planet. Light, warm and ultra-stretchy, our Yulex wetsuits replace conventional neoprene with renewable natural rubber,* and are made in a Fair Trade Certified™ facility with solution-dyed linings that reduce CO2 emissions and water-based AQUAa™ glue that’s free from harmful VOCs. They’re setting a new standard, delivering maximum performance and minimum harm—with no compromise to either.”

The R2 is the thicker cousin of the R1 I tested last year and gave the honour of the season’s best all-round suit. So, I was excited to see how this one stacks up in terms of both warmth and flexibility.

Patagonia R2 Yulex Wetsuit Review

Yulex Rubber

Neoprene-free 85% Yulex® natural rubber/15% synthetic rubber for performance, durability, warmth and sustainability


Performance

100% recycled polyester jersey lining in the arms/legs improves flexibility and dry time.


Fair Trade

Worked with Sheico, the world’s leading wetsuit manufacturer, to introduce Fair Trade to the wetsuit industry.

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR


This suit is amazing for those who want a clean conscience when ripping up clean waves and staying toasty in the process. Not only is the rubber made from sustainably grown trees, but the outer jersey is 100% recycled and it’s Fair Trade Sewn. Triple tick on the responsibility front. Because it’s a 3.5/3mm thickness suit it’s really built for cold water. Patagonia list 13-16 degree water for this suit on their site, but I reckon most crew could go a degree or two less than that and still be sweet, especially paired with boots and/or a hood. That means Victoria, South NSW, South Oz and perhaps some tough Tasmanians would be doing fine. So-Cal in the USA would be another place where this would get worn a bunch. If you’re wanting some ultra flexible, or something for warmer climates this aint it. It’s a penguin hugger through and through.

THE IMPORTANT STUFF


FIT & COMFORT

Comfy like your favourite quilt snuggled up by the fire, reassuring weight included. The fit on the R2 is excellent and the rubber has reasonable stretch for the thickness making it easy to roll around in. There is a bit more weight in this suit than other ones I’ve tested this year for sure, even taking into account it’s a slightly thicker rubber. That does decrease from your ‘light and free’ feeling when rolling around in the carpark. I’d give it a solid 8.5 out of 10 here.

PERFORMANCE

This is the area I most felt the difference against other suits I test this year. It was definitely on the stiffer side. However, it is 0.5mm thicker in the chest and 1mm thicker in the arms and legs, so that has to be taken into account. When I tested the R1 last year it was nice and flexy. Maybe not quite as flexy as other top-tier suits but as an overall balance was great. In a thicker rubber that gap goes a bit wider again. Still plenty flexy to surf, but definitely not loose like a spruce goose. 7 out of 10.

WARMTH

Well slap me in the oven and call me well done, I baked in this like a loaf of cookie dough. This suit is the warmest I tested this year, although it should be noted that it’s also the thickest. There’s no chance I’ll be able to use it even mid-winter in West Oz without overheating during any surf where I’m doing a bit of paddling. Maybe one to save for super inconsistent sessions or ship to a colder state. For what you give up in flex, this suit more than makes up for in heat factor. 9 out of 10.

VALUE

This is a more expensive suit compared to some other brands out there. However, Patagonia also has the best warranty on the market and make their suits to last. I had one guy tell me in the surf he’d had his Patagonia suit for 8 years. Don’t know if that’s true, or how often he surfs, but damn that’s a long time. If I had a suit for half that time it would still be double what I normally get out of a suit. For math’s geniuses, I’ve represented that as an equation (8/2) = (2*2). That all amounts to an 8 for me in terms of value.

VERDICT


The Patagonia R2 is an incredibly warm suit that’s made with more thought and care for the world than anything else on the market. It’s your roasty toasty companion for cold water and positive vibes. However, the excellence in those areas does come with some compromise (counter to Patagonia’s Yulex spiel above). Yulex rubber is a tad heavier and the combined with the recycled jersey it’s a bit stiffer than other suits in this range. I do still need to give big props to Patagonia’s wetsuit design team for improving the flexibility in their suits during recent years. They’re MUCH more stretchy than past offerings, so if you’ve been a Patagonia wetsuit fan in the past and are looking to upgrade this thing will have you pleasantly surprised. For my own situation in West Oz, which is a bit warmer, I’d prefer to go the R1. But, if you’re in cold water, or feel the freeze in your bones more than most, then give this a red-hot look.

Overall Rating

  • Warmth
  • Warranty/Durability
  • Sustainability Approach
  • Not super flexible
Fit & Comfort 85.
Performance 70.
Warmth 90.
Value 80.
Buy Now
Patagonia R2 Yulex Wetsuit Review

WHERE TO BUY

If you’ve got $700 Australian for a Patagonia R2 Yulex wetsuit then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, one of the most expensive suits out there, but if you want the warmest you’ve got to pay the piper.

Buy a Patagonia R2 Yulex Wetsuit from :
– Patagonia Online
– Patagonia Stockists

Alternatively, we’ve pulled together three Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guides if you’re still a little undecided on what to buy:
*Above $500
*$300-$500
*Below $300

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LIPPED PODCAST

If you’re driving, or reading isn’t your thing, then hit the below episode of Lipped where we talk all things wetsuits 2019 with industry experts from Xcel, Rip Curl, O’Neill and Need Essentials. And you’ll also get treated to listening to Tim and Jim take an in-depth look at suits from Rip Curl, Billabong, Xcel, O’Neill, Quiksilver, Need Essentials, Vissla, Patagonia and Hurley.