Outdoor clothing design company, Patagonia, has released what it claims to be the most environmental friendly wetsuit to date. Called the R1, the suits are available in various styles: full, short sleeve full, long sleeve full and sprint suits for men, and full and long sleeve spring suits for women. The company says that its latest products are made using recycled polyester and are lined with spandex and a recycled blend that’s woven into the Regulator grid.
The R1 wetsuits were developed for warmer waters of 18-23 degrees Celsius. They incorporate 2mm neoprene that’s lined with recycled nylon and polyester. The handmade suits are said to be exceptionally strong and durable. The kitted grid pattern helps increase flexibility while insulating the body against cold.
A wind-block internal flap at the back with polyester grid lining separates skin from the zipper teeth for added safety, warmth and comfort. To enable easy paddling, the neoprene underarm panels incorporate recycled polyester jersey for better stretch. A neck closure flap with a Velcro hook provides for a stronger seal while increasing comfort.
To reduce hydraulic lift and flushing, the ankle cuff edges have been heat-pressed while Melco reinforcements, glue dots and 1cm bartacks secure important seam locations and high stress areas. According to Patagonia, the suits dry faster and last longer, setting them apart from standard wetsuits.
The company chooses to use recycled materials instead of bamboo as it claims that over half of toxic carbon disulfide used in converting bamboo into fabric is released back into the environment. Recycled polyester, on the other hand, doesn’t need to make use of such solvents, making it more eco friendly than bamboo.
Patagonia appears to be pretty engaged in environmental activities. Since 1985, 1 percent of its sales have been donated to environmental groups to help them make a difference in their local communities. The mail order company also makes use of paper that uses post consumer recycled fiber.