The benefits of YULEX wetsuits & giving a f**K about where your clothing come from

Patagonia natural YULEX wetsuits are now Fair Trade Certified in addition to being one of the most sustainable wetsuits on the market. If you care about your environmental impact and the impact of the brands you purchase, have a read of the below.


I have absolute admiration of what the brand Patagonia stands for. Occasionally I review books that they releases through Patagonia Publishing – all stories of adventures and global escapades, my favourite being the adventures of Captain Liz Clark who has sailed over 20,000 nautical miles across the South Pacific in search of surf. Read her book Swell, you won’t be disappointed!

The latest move by the ethically-driven company is a shift of its already sustainability-minded Yulex wetsuits to Fair Trade Certified. This stands as another notch on the bedpost of responsible manufacturing & thought-leadership from the already admirable brand that donated $10million of its Black Friday sales to grass-roots conservation efforts. Oh, and they stand up to President Trump and his God-awful environmental policies.


Back to wetsuits!


Every time I see a Patagonia Yulex wetsuit I stare in admiration. Are they really as good as everyone says they are? Are they durable enough to warrant the heafy price tag (a 3″2 will set you back $429USD). What makes them different is the materials they are made from: 85% YULEX rubber, 15% synthetic rubber, and 100% recycled polyester for the lining.


We started with Yulex suits knowing that the majority of surfers are wearing petroleum based, polluting wetsuits into the very ocean that they are passionate about protecting. With our new Yulex suits, you’re now able to have a high performing suit and a clean conscious.


Rubber trees for wetsuit production
Photo from Patagonia – Rubber trees for wetsuit production


Here’s why Patagonia chose Yulex & other sustainable materials over neoprene:

  • Neoprene, or polychloroprene, is a substance developed in 1930 that’s most commonly made by chlorinating and polymerizing butadiene, a petrochemical refined from crude oil.
  • Yulex is a renewable, plant-based replacement for neoprene. A natural rubber that is warm, and reduces CO2 emissions by up to approximately 80% when compared to conventional, nonrenewable neoprene.
  • The Yulex emulsion removes over 99% of impurities and delivers a stronger, non-sensitizing natural material. Plant sources are irrigated by ambient rainfall and a recycled water supply is used in manufacturing.
  • Yulex natural rubber comes from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Meaning that the source plantation isn’t contributing to deforestation and that it’s managed in a way that maintains the ecological functions and integrity of the forest.
  • Most importantly, since only 0.5% of the world’s rubber supply currently comes from FSC certified sources. Patagonia are trying to set a new standard for other manufacturers to follow.
  • Solution-Dyed Fabrics – The company has moved to solution dyeing in the manufacturing and production process for the face fabric and lining of their Yulex wetsuits, using 86% less water and reducing CO2 emissions by 96%, in comparison to conventional dyeing.
  • Water-based AQUAa™ Glue – Eliminates harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the lamination process.
  • The highest possible recycled polyester content in our high-stretch exterior and interior linings lessens our use of petroleum to make virgin polyester while repurposing scrap material from the waste stream.



So then on top of all the efforts to make a wetsuit that is basically WAY less damaging on all fronts, to the environment, they have taken it one step further to address the human impact and ensure all factories are Fair Trade Certified. This means that Patagonia pays a premium that the factory workers can use at their discretion. Fair Trade Certified factories must also adhere to a strict set of standards for safe working conditions and environmental responsibility. These are the first-ever Fair Trade Certified wetsuits on the market.


Oh and they stand behind every wetsuit they sell. If it doesn’t perform to your satisfaction, they’ll take it back for replacement, refund or repair.


I know this might read like an ad for Patagonia, but since reading the founder’s book Let My People Go Surfing, I have had nothing but admiration for this brand. As a consumer you have a choice of where to spend your money, knowing that your dollars can and will inspire change in industries. The more people that say no to fast fashion and buy fewer things of greater quality, and reduced impact on the environment, the more companies that will follow suit and change their production methods.


Surfing in Hokkaido in Winter - Alexa Hohenberg is STOKED!
Pure joy – we had to go surfing in the snow again


So what am I going to do? For my next winter in Japan where I go surfing in sub-zero temperatures in the North Sea of Japan. I’m going to save up for a sustainable wetsuit, made from Yulex, from a brand that gives a f**k about the same things I care about.


Check out the new range of Patagonia women’s Yulex wetsuits here.

Hiya, I'm Alexa. Always on some sort of adventure! I'm excited to share my stories & introduce you to other rad women, also living the dream. I'm here to inspire you to do the same :-)


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