Trekking: Ditch Neoprene With the Yulex Wetsuit

trekking patagonia yulex wetsuit header
Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons, or fiending to catch some waves someplace other than the North Shore. One day we may highlight a new ultra-light camping stove or minimalist water filter, and the next you may find us getting wrapped up in a set of Norquayco’s handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace and home, so get outside and live it.

From the beginning, manufacturing neoprene was never a sustainable process. The synthetic rubber — developed by an American chemist in the early ’30s — utilizes a toxic process that combines chlorine with butadiene, rendering the petroleum-based materiel as wasteful to produce as it is difficult. Conventional polychloroprene has become the go-to material when crafting wetsuit insulation given the product’s overall chemical stability and its resounding ability to regulate body temperature in frigid waters. However, Patagonia’s Yulex wetsuit ($529+) looks to maintain the insulating properties of neoprene without its heavy footprint on the environment.

Image 1Now, more than 80 years after neoprene’s initial debut, Patagonia has partnered with  Yulex for a line of sustainable wetsuits. The Arizona-based company has been testing the waters with plant-based rubbers for nearly two decades, crafting sustainable materials from the guayule plant. The non-food crop, typically found in Mexico and the southwestern United States, requires little water and utilizes no pesicides, rendering the botanical resource perfectly apt for the company’s water-based separation process. Patagonia’s R2 and R3 front-zip wetsuits employ a 60-40 blend of guayule and neoprene, with the natural plant comprising the majority of the material.

The sleek, jet-black wetsuits are designed for temperatures as low as 48 degrees Fahrenheit, lined with recycled polyester throughout the torso and arms to ensure warmth and movement under the coolest conditions. A windproof Nexkin coating also reduces evaportative cooling, while maintaining durability throughout the suit’s lifetime. Both suits utilize the hypoallergenic and latex-free rubber, with triple-glued seams that are additionally blindstitched and internally tapered on high-stress areas to help prevent breakdown. The interior guayule lining is also more elastic and softer than traditional neoprene, making the choice for a more sustainable future that much more appealing.

Check out the main Patagonia website for a closer look at all of the company’s Yulex wears, or to make a purchase. Also, check one of the company’s many retail locations for other surf offerings.


Idaho is the Ideal Place for a Mountain Home and Payette Lake Cliff House Proves It

Massive boulders seem to rise up out of the ground right into the home at this innovative retreat in Idaho.
Food & Drink

What Is Baijiu: 4 Brands to Try Right Now

Baijiu is one of the most-consumed spirts in the world. It's time to learn why.
Food & Drink

How to Clean a Fish: A Quick Reference Guide

Knowing how to clean a fish is essential for anglers and aspiring chefs. These simple instructions and tools can help you prep your catch in no time.

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Whole Animal Cooking Episode

What is the 'Lord of the Flies' experience at The Cannibal? You'll have to tune in to find out.

The “World’s Most Dangerous Hiking Path” Reopens in Spain

Few hikes can hold a candle to Spain’s deadly El Caminito del Rey — often dubbed “the world’s most dangerous hiking path.”

3 Once-in-a-lifetime Wilderness Adventures in South America

Experience three of the most bucket list-worthy outdoor adventures on one of the world's most rugged and underexplored continents.

Mezcal and the Magic of Oaxaca, Mexico

Mezcal is certainly one of Oaxaca’s most defining cultural characteristics, but the smoky intoxicant is far from the only reason to visit Oaxaca.

Hat’s Off to Our Favorite Hiking Hats

A good hat should be able to keep your face and neck protected from the sun, your head dry even during driving rains, and should be able to help keep you warm or cool depending on the climate.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Summit Pack Helps You Ascend without Weighing You Down

The perfect summit pack is much like the perfect one-liner: until it's needed, one is hardly aware of its presence.

Survival Medical: Cleverly Curated First Aid Kits for Any Situation

Be prepared anywhere with these lifestyle specific first aid kits.

Coast Flashlights: The Only Flashlights or Headlamps You’ll Ever Need

take your time and choose wisely; there's a good chance you're going to own it for the rest of your life.

Hang Em’ High: How to Hang a Bear Bag

If you're heading into the backcountry this summer and know you'll be in bear-itory, it's time to learn how to hang a bear bag.

SOG Sync Multitools: Handy Hardware at the Ready

Remember back in the day when pulling out your multitool entailed the multi-step process of reaching to the side or back of your belt, opening a pouch sealed with velcro or a snap, and then finally pulling the actual tool out so you could…

Klymit Sleeping Pads Review – Comfort In the Field

You can pretty much just throw every other sleeping pad away.