A good wetsuit is hard to come by. One that is comfortable, fits like a glove, is easy to take on and off, and is, dare we say, stylish. The Xcel Comp 4/3 wetsuit is all that and more. It’s lightweight, stretchy, and feels like a second skin, all while remaining toasty warm. It’s got all the bells and whistles: a chest zip entry, taped seams, a watertight zipper, and a convenient key pocket. Plus, it’s affordable. Need we say more?
|Only available in one color
|Super flexible and comfortable
|No plus-size options
Out of the box, I was super excited about this suit. With so much black neoprene out there, it’s nice to add a splash of color to the lineup. This suit looks sleek and is a super fun maroon color, which I absolutely love. But sometimes, looks can be deceiving, and I was hopeful that this suit would be as comfortable and functional as it was stylish.
I’m 5’7”, 125 pounds and typically wear a size six in wetsuits. I ordered my normal size and was pleased to find that the Xcel Comp 4/3 fit well, with just a tad bit of extra room in the stomach and crotch.
Before you purchase a suit, it’s nice to know what goes into its construction. The Xcel Comp features 100% Ultra Flex, Plush Thermo Lite IR, a one-piece front and back body panel, a front zip entry with a watertight zipper, and seam tape-reinforced stress points.
Of all of the wetsuits in Xcel’s expansive line, the Comp is the softest, lightest, and stretchiest thanks to, what Xcel calls its 100% ultra-stretch exterior. They don’t go into any specifics on what that means, but there’s no doubt that the material feels incredibly lightweight, comfortable, and is easy to get on. After testing over ten different suits for our women’s wetsuits review, the only other suit that feels as stretchy as this one is the Feral 3mm2.
Front zip entries are a popular wetsuit design these days, and for good reason. Front zip suits, also known as chest zips, have a head piece that goes over your head and neck and then zips horizontally across the chest. Although they can be challenging to get in, they’re easy to zip yourself and allow for a better fit and enhanced insulation when compared to back zip suits.
Due to its incredible warmth and stretch, Thermolite IR is in the interior of Xcel’s Axis Series, Comp, Infiniti, and Phoenix wetsuits. According to Xcel’s website, it’s a “lightweight, stretchy, quick drying fiber that is infrared infused to enhance warmth by helping create and hold heat generated by the body.”
The interior of the Xcel Comp feels buttery soft, with a thin, flat-pressed fleece lining that is oh-so-cozy and delivers all the warmth you’d expect of a 4/3, despite the light and stretchy feeling in the water.
Fusion X Seam Tape
Taped seams are a great feature to look for in a wetsuit. They help seal out water and in turn, seal in warmth. Additionally, they add extra reinforcement at the seams, which can help prevent them from tearing or ripping. The Xcel Comp doesn’t feature tape all throughout, but in critical locations where seams usually start to leak or give way with full taping through the crotch and spot taping for reinforcement in the upper chest/shoulders.
The Test Run
I have a love-hate relationship with chest zip suits. I know the idea is to prevent water from flushing through your suit and seal in the warmth, but halfway choking yourself to get the head portion on is no fun. Like most front-zips, getting the head on wasn’t my favorite experience, but the material was super stretchy, so it went on pretty easily.
For a 4/3, I was impressed with how stretchy this suit is and how easy it was to get on and off. My first time testing it, I ended up pulling the suit back on for a second session while it was still damp (which always makes it even more difficult to put on a wetsuit), but I was surprised by how easy it was to put on.
In order to test the Xcel Comp, I took it out for multiple surfs at San Onofre in California, where temperatures range from low 50s to low 70s, depending on the time of the year. I did the bulk of my testing in the early winter, so the waters weren’t too cold yet, but I’m a self-proclaimed cold-water wimp. Despite surfing in this suit for hours, it kept me nice and warm. The Comp is really lightweight compared to other 4/3s I’ve worn and so flexible and comfortable. Plus, the color is incredible. I only wish they offered this suit in more color options!
There weren’t a lot of drawbacks with the Xcel Comp but as with most things, there’s always room for improvement. I appreciate that the suit included a spot for a key, but I’m personally not a fan of it being in the chest area as it can sometimes dig in while paddling.
Overall, the suit fit pretty well, but I did find it too have a little extra room in the stomach and crotch area, which isn’t the most flattering look when you’re sitting on your board.
As a lightweight 4/3, there’s always the concern it won’t hold up to colder mid-winter temperatures, but it has held up so far, and depending on where in the world you surf, a lightweight 4/3 may be all you need to get you through the winter.
All in all, I’m really pleased and impressed with the Xcel Comp 4/3. It’s lightweight, comfortable, flexible, and warm. It fits true to size and comes in a unique color option that really stands out in a sea of black neoprene. The suit is well made and durable and I’m hopeful that it will last me for many surf trips and surfs to come.CHECK PRICE ON Amazon CHECK PRICE ON Xcel
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