THE SUIT


Xcel have been a mainstay in the wetsuit world for a long time. Known for making sturdy, high-performing wetsuits, the Xcel Drylock X 3/2 is their top of the wozza option. Reflecting their no-nonsense brand image, Xcel elect for straightforward dot points on their website to give out info on the suit. Of which you’ll find three below

Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit Review

Celliant Black

Covering more of the core body; this textile has higher hollow fiber content


Drylock X

Water-tight construction with unparalleled warmth.


Supple Quick-Dry Exterior

Reduces overall weight when submerged for long periods of time.

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR


This suit is a kind of like getting a Tesla Model X with Holden badges on it. Not the sexiest brand, but damn the thing flies. It’s a perfect option for those wanting a suit that’s going to keep you plenty warm, plenty flexy, and surfing in it for ages, yet are willing to pay top dollar for that privilege ($650). Xcel’s reputation for quality precedes them and given this is their top option it has everything you could want in a steamer. 

There’s thermal lining, liquid tape seams, a good fit and neat touches like their magnetic zip keeper. Depending on how much you feel the cold, I reckon you’d get through winter in 12-13 degree Celsius water if you pair it with boots and hood. So, Victoria and South Oz as maybe, definitely NSW and WA, probably too hot for Queensland.

If you’re after the most flexible suit out there, look toward the Billabong Pro Series (link to review). However, if you want an epic all-rounder this is one of your best options out there along with the Rip Curl Heat Seeker (link to review).

Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit Review

THE IMPORTANT STUFF


FIT & COMFORT

Maaaate. Fits like a balaclava on a bank robber’s face. The Drylock is nipped and tucked in all the right spots, has a great entry system that’s simple to negotiate and has nice soft rubber to boot. The leopard-print interior is a nice touch too, making the thermal lining feel like an apex predator cat is purring around your midriff while you roll around in the carpark. Overall this is one of the more comfortable suits you’ll pull on in the change room this winter. 9 out of 10.

PERFORMANCE

Like a supercharged Datsun 180B, this bad boy will lever around the corners fast and free, yet doesn’t quite keep up to the very best on the straight. Why I always fall back on car analogies I don’t know, but in more simple terms, it’s a very flexible suit without being the most flexible on the market. Once you balance it with how warm the thing is though, you’ve got one of the best all-round suits for both. The Xcel Drylock X is one of the few suits where I didn’t noticeably feel the liquid tape restricting things. 8.5 out of 10.

WARMTH

Cosy like a glass of red wine by an open-hearth fire. Maybe even rolling around on a fur rug too. This suit is well sealed, leaving no leaks, has great insulation and had me nice and toasty on the colder mornings in May when I tested it in West Oz. It’s warmer than other all-round suits I tried, like the O’Neill Psycho 1 and Quiksilver Highline, but wasn’t quiiiite as warm as the Rip Curl Heat Seeker or Patagonia R2. Overall, I’d give it an 8 out of 10 here.

VALUE

At $650 the Xcel Drylock X is a top of the range suit. So, if you’re wanting value out of it you want warmth, flexibility and durability. The first two are massive ticks on my end. Job done. The third is tricky to figure out for sure in just a few weeks of testing. However, I will say that Xcel’s reputation is second to perhaps only Patagonia in terms of longevity from suits. They have liquid tape seams on the Drylock, meaning you’ll get a longer seal from it, plus Xcel cover everything with a 1 year warranty. Overall 8.5 out of 10

VERDICT


I knew Xcel made good suits but I was still pleasantly surprised with the Xcel Drylock X. It exceeded my already high expectations. Its balance of warmth and flexibility was great and the attention to detail in the suit was top notch. Things like the magnetic closure on the zip had me thinking ‘why doesn’t everyone else do this?!’. Such an elegant solution to an issue others have something dicky for.

Probably the closest suit on the market to this one is the Rip Curl Heat Seeker, which is another epic all-round suit. I’d say the Heat Seeker is a touch warmer and a touch more comfortable, however the Xcel will save you $50 at retail and the liquid tape seams make me think you’ll get a bit more longevity from the seal of the suit. One to toss up on your end.

West Australians and New South Welshmen will get through a cold winter in this no worries. Hard nut South Aussies and Victorians will get through with some extra rubber accessories, while any delicate flower Queenslanders who really feel the cold would pull this on and say ahhhh. Highly recommend.

Overall Rating

  • Great balance of warmth & stretch
  • Nice attention to detail
  • Excellent fit
  • Hitting top range in price at $650AUD
Fit & Comfort 90.
Performance 85.
Warmth 80.
Value 85.
Buy Now

WHERE TO BUY

If you’ve got $650 Australian spare and we’ve convinced to get an Xcel Drylock X Suit, then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, the most expensive suit out there, but if you want one of the best fitting suits out there, you’ve got to pay the piper.

Buy an Xcel Drylock X Steamer from :
⋅ Xcel Australia
⋅ Xcel USA
⋅ Xcel 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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Xcel Drylock X Wetsuit Review

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.