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XCEL’s Drylock X 3/2 Fullsuit


The Inertia

Welcome to The Inertia’s definitive wetsuit review where we test and rate some of the industry’s best rubber so you can feel informed before purchasing your winter skin. We used a five-star rating system to rank each of our suits’ features (which you can see below). Here, we look at XCEL’s Drylock X 3/2 Fullsuit. 

The Drylock X is XCEL’s top-of-the-line suit — the one with all the bells and whistles.

Testing Location: Los Angeles, Calif. (late fall) 
Average Water Temperature: 58°F – 60°F
Average Air Temperature: 60°F  – 65°F

Warmth: 5 Stars

A 3/2 in late fall/early winter? If I can avoid wearing a 4/3, I will. Every time. Water temps might dip a little under 60°F during winters in Southern California, with the coldest mornings by far being as bad as it’ll ever get. So I’ve long been a believer that a quality 3/2 can get me through winters, opting for less neoprene in favor of optimal flexibility when temperatures dip.

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My first session was a sunny but cool Sunday morning in late November and I was (I’m not exaggerating) sweating through the walk from my car to the water.  The Drylock name is definitely fitting because water isn’t flushing in and out of the suit, which obviously contributes a good deal to keeping warm through longer sessions (and doing it in a 3/2). A month later and the suit is still keeping water out. Overall, this is an exceptionally warm wetsuit — perfectly capable of getting me through an entire winter.

Notably, XCEL’s Celliant Black (its fleece-like liner) is built into the suit from the chest down to the knees. Many makers will just feature their version of a fleece liner in the chest area of a wetsuit but the Drylock X wraps the entire torso. Clearly, an intentional design aiming for optimal warmth.

Side note: I’ve always stashed a 4/3 at mom and dad’s in Northern California for visits home, but I actually opted to bring the Drylock with me north for a trip to the Bay Area. No regrets.

Durability: 4.5 Stars

Everybody knows it takes months to really know how durable a wetsuit may or may not be, so my judgment at this point is based on past experiences with XCEL’s suits and the little time I’ve had with this one. This is to say I expect the Drylock X to hold up well. And at XCEL’s highest price point ($539 for the 3/2 fullsuit) this is certainly an investment you want to last more than one or two seasons.

Comfort and Flexibility: 3.5 Stars

The Drylock X feels a tad heavy and constricting for a 3/2. This is most apparent in the shoulders. It could be because of construction — the more features, stitching, panels, and so on, the more you’re obviously going to sacrifice flexibility. It could also be a sizing issue in my case.

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At 5’11” and anything between 165 to about 170 pounds, I’ve always been in a weird zone for wetsuit fits. By weight and size, I can typically wear most mediums comfortably. By height, I should be in a MT but that often risks the suit being too loose. There is definitely variation in the sizing charts of individual brands (some companies run M up to 5’10”, others up to 5’11”) and without referencing XCEL’s, I ordered a medium out of habit. The Drylock X feels a bit snugger than what I’m used to for a medium, so I’d give the benefit of the doubt this contributes heavily to what the suit lacks in flexibility and comfort.

I’d order a MT if I could have a redo here. With all this in mind, if you’re somebody who is in between wetsuit sizes then consider sizing up.

Notable Features:

Ankle and wrist seals noticeably keep water from flushing in and out of the Drylock X. That’s precisely what they’re designed for and they definitely work. The chest zip and magnetic lock are also sturdy and well-built, which is something a lot of wetsuit makers can overlook easily or flat out cut corners.

Pros:

This thing is warm. If that’s your top priority, then you’ve probably found your jam. I’ll also make a random note that it dries quickly in between sessions and that is a major bonus in my book.

Cons:

I don’t love that this suit lacks flexibility. Personally, I reach for 3/2s over 4/3s so much specifically because keeping my shoulders and back fresh through longer sessions is more comfortable than an abundance of warmth.

Still, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt a major contributor could have been the snug fit.

Overall: 4.3 Stars

Summary:

If you are a warmth-first wetsuit buyer then this may be the warmest 3/2 you can get your hands on. At least it’s the warmest 3/2 I’ve ever worn. Given my experience with the 3/2, I’d imagine the 4/3 is a bonafide neoprene furnace.

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Buy the XCEL Drylock X on Xcelwetsuits.com, or on Evo.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

Disclosure: The Inertia may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from the affiliate links included in this feature at no additional cost to you. Our goal is always to entertain, educate, and inspire, and we hope you find this feature useful.

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