Xcel Drylock Wetsuit Review
Winning Wetsuit of the Year three times, XCEL has a distinct reputation for being one of the warmest branded wetsuits that money can buy. The Drylock is one of the most acclaimed suits in their wetsuit repertoire, which the company describes as ‘the warmest wetsuit that you will ever own.’
What makes XCEL so popular in the winter months, and does all this warmth compromise the wetsuit's flexibility? Loving anything wetsuit related, we investigate the science and technology behind the Drylock wetsuit and explain exactly how it works!
If you want to see what wetsuits we have here at Wetsuit Centre, check out our range of XCEL wetsuits in the UK!
- XCEL Drylock in a Nutshell
- Extra Details
- Environmentally Conscious
- What is the Drylock X?
- Available Thicknesses
- When and Where Should You Use an XCEL Drylock Wetsuit?
XCEL Drylock in a Nutshell
The XCEL Drylock wetsuit series is one of the most advanced wetsuit ranges available. It is directed at hardcore surfers, with both performance and warmth as key motivators behind its design.
Top features of the wetsuit include:
- Celliant Black TDC
- Triple-glued and blind-stitched seams
- FusionX tape for sealing
- Channel Flex neoprene
We look at some of its top features in more detail below!
The XCEL Drylock wetsuit comprises various effective materials that have been specifically engineered with warmth as the priority.
Celliant Black TDC
An outstanding aspect of XCEL Drylock wetsuit is the thermo dry celliant, also known as TDC.
Unique to XCEL, the Drylock wetsuit is embossed by this thermal lining from the chest to the knees.
It offers impeccable levels of heat retention. A distinctive feature of the suit, it not only efficiently enhances warmth, but the Celliant Black TDC also effectively retains the generated heat.
How Its Works
Created from ‘brushed hollow fibres’ embellished with heat-retaining components, the Celliant Black TDC opens up blood capillaries when in contact with the skin.
In turn, the body is warmed up through an infrared process that increases blood flow in your body, generating heat.
This heat warms up the air and water in the suit, trapped by the Celliant Black TDC technology, thereby keeping you warmer for longer.
Triple-Glued and Blind-Stitched Seams
You may be familiar with double glued and blind stitched seams, and the XCEL Drylock goes one step above. The extra glue ensures that the seams of the wetsuit are water-tight.
How Its Works
Any foam edges of the suit are glued a significant number of times to create a faultless seal. The seal’s strength is enhanced by a stitch that only inserts a quarter of the way through the neoprene.
XCEL has performance at the heart of their design process. Naturally, the thicker a wetsuit is, the less flexible it will become. However, XCEL has introduced unique features in their design which ensures that the suit offers flexibility.
Ultra Flexible Neoprene
The Drylock range is complete with Ultra-Flex in the lower part of the suit. The upper body consists of Channel Flex neoprene.
Channel Flex one of XCEL’s most recent technological updates to their wetsuits. The neoprene appears lightly gridded, which helps to keep water absorption to a minimum. With less water carried by the neoprene, it ensures the wetsuit remains lightweight and unrestrictive when worn.
Flexible Sleeve Design
In the Drylock X, sleeves are created with a one-piece sleeve design, ensuring maximum flexibility. This minimises seams in areas of the body that demand high mobility, reducing any unnecessary obstruction to movement.
With so much emphasis on warmth and flexibility, it can you leave you wondering if the XCEL Drylock will last? If you’re heading into the water regularly, a durable wetsuit is a must, especially when you have paid good money for it.
Fortunately, the Drylock range delivers on strength.
As pioneers in wetsuit seam technology, XCEL have advanced their Drylock range with FusionX Tape.
FusionX Tape is created through pressure and heat processes. The tape is machine-pressed onto the seams of the suit. This improves heat retention and maximises the durability and strength of the suit, especially on areas where the wetsuit may receive higher levels of strain and stretch.
You will also find that this finish on the seams offers a more comfortable experience when wearing the wetsuit as it removes any excess glue that can cause discomfort.
The XCEL Drylock range doesn’t duck out of the little details that matter. Each part of the suit appears to be carefully deliberated, from the Drylock wrist and ankle seals to the glide skin collar; each of these elements has been specifically created to prevent the flushing of cold water through the entry areas of your suit.
The Drylock X is also complete with a 100% waterproof zipper, which helps the wetsuit reduce water absorption and support warmth and flexibility.
Smaller details like the Back Knee Flex Grooves help so stop bunching behind your knees, which contributes to the warmth of the suit and feels more comfortable.
One of the most appealing aspects we find with XCEL wetsuits is the brand’s dedication to sourcing more environmentally-conscious materials and manufacturing processes.
As someone appreciating the ocean, this is likely something you are considering as you purchase surf gear.
To help reduce Volatile Organic Compounds, also known as VOCs, XCEL has transformed their laminate glue from a solvent base into a water-based product.
If you’re not familiar with VOCs, in short, they are gases or vapours which are released when burning certain products and fuels, including solvents.
Eco Carbon Black
When making their suits, XCEL uses carbon black from scrap rubber tyres through a process called pyrolysis. It is reported to cut CO2 emissions by 200g for each wetsuit produced!
As we all know, neoprene isn’t exactly the most environmentally-friendly product out there.
However, as technology advances, more eco-friendly manufacturing methods are being developed.
Still with some issues, limestone neoprene is reportedly producing the smallest carbon footprint in the wetsuit industry.
Limestone neoprene is derived from calcium carbonate, which is found in limestone. This is used as an alternative to petroleum-based compounds.
XCEL also say that they recycle as much waste neoprene as possible during the production process.
These are only a few of the eco-initiatives that XCEL is pursuing in their wetsuit production process! They also opt to use recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles and dope-dying yarn, which reduces water and energy consumption.
What is the Drylock X?
Many customers ask about the difference between the Drylock and Drylock X. As you can imagine, the premise is pretty similar.
The main difference is the thickness of the Celliant Black. XCEL have created two types which they call ‘low pile jacquard’ and ‘high pile jacquard’. The low pile jacquard is red in appearance and slightly thinner than the high pile jacquard, which is black and white.
Both suits consist of both Celliant Blacks, but Drylock X has more of the high pile jacquard, making the wetsuit slightly more insulated.
There are also smaller differences, such as how seams are sealed. For example, the seams of the Drylock are triple glued and blind stitched. On the other hand, the Drylock X uses a stitch-free power seam.
What Thicknesses Are Available in the XCEL Drylock Range?
The XCEL Drylock range is available in various thicknesses, from 3:2 summer suits to 6:5 hooded wetsuits for the coldest of conditions! The series also comes in 4:3 thicknesses with or without a hood or 5:4 hooded suits.
When and Where Should You Use an Xcel Drylock Wetsuit?
Due to the technology and research that goes into making an incredibly warm suit, the XCEL Drylock series is perfect for those who surf regularly and have warmth at the top of their priorities.
As a high-end suit, the XCEL Drylock range is geared to those who want to invest in a performance suit.
When and where you can use your XCEL Drylock suit will depend on the temperature of the water and the thickness you choose.
In general, 5:4 thicknesses are perfect for surfing in UK waters over the winter period. A 5:4 XCEL suit is recommended in water temperatures of 8°C – 12°C, with additional boots, gloves and hood.
Whichever wetsuit you decide to buy, regardless of price and brand, the most essential thing is getting the correct sizing.
A wetsuit that is too big is useless, so ensuring that the suit fits like a second skin is a must. Any significant gaps will allow excess water to flush through and make you cold when in the water.
If you’re unsure about sizing, get in touch with one of our team! We are here to help and can point you in the right direction when sizing wetsuits!
When deciding if this the wetsuit for you, you should weigh up warmth vs flex. If warmth is your primary concern and budget is no issue, then the XCEL Drylock is the best that money can buy.
Below, Jeff talks through the 2015/16 XCEL Drylock suit which has the same premise for XCEL wetsuits released more recently.
Here at Wetsuit Centre, we strive to offer a variety of wetsuits suitable for all types of surf conditions! If this sounds like the right wetsuit for you, you can discover our range of XCEL wetsuits below!