New Patagonia wetsuit has less environmental impact

Patagonia has reinvented the wetsuit. The traditional neoprene wetsuit has dominated the category for years. The material works, but it’s a petroleum-based, nonrenewable material that requires lots of energy for manufacturing. Now there’s an alternative, as Patagonia as teamed a company called Yulex to create a plant-based material with the same attributes of neoprene but with much less of an environmental impact.

The suits are made from a natural rubber source that comes from trees that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning they are farmed in a sustainable way that doesn’t contribute to deforestation. Patagonia launched the material this summer, offering 21 different full-length wetsuits with the new Yulex material for men, women and children.

According the Patagonia, the wetsuits perform as well as traditional neoprene suits, but manufacturing produces 80 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions. Choose from full-suits each designed for different water conditions — from relatively warm water to near-freezing conditions. Eventually the Yulex material will make its way to all wetsuits in the Patagonia line.