The surf report is in and the conditions are prime! You can’t wait to get out there, but it’s also early in morning, the air is crisp, and recent currents have brought in the frigid waters. This is a scenario that comes with the territory for any watersport enthusiast, and having the right gear on the ready to stay comfortable in one of Mother Nature’s most brutal environments is key! This summer, we’ve taken to the waters of Lake Michigan with the Body Glove Red Cell Wetsuit, and on solid testing grounds with exceptionally cold water currents for this time of year.
- Red Cell infrared insulation fabric
- Thermoplush fiber in legs
- Evoflex super stretch neoprene with microbead sealant to keep water out
- Liquidweld internal seams
- Reflr-X ergonomically shaped back panel for paddle efficiency and stretch
- Nano Tritec kneepads
- Exterior key pocket with cord
- Drain holes
- Left shoulder bib cinch and cordlock
As with any wetsuit, the focus in the Body Glove Red Cell’s design is warmth in a not so warm environment. This wetsuit is lined with a honeycomb patterned infrared insulated fabric. Manufactured with moderate degree of fluffiness, the idea here is to create a consistent air barrier within the wetsuit while re-directing infrared heat back at the body.
The science behind the Red Cell technology is most efficient when dry, so the secondary focus of the Red Cell Wetsuit design is in keeping the water out. This wetsuit is constructed with evoflex stretch neoprene with microbead sealant, and the internal seams are adhered with a liquidweld formula, preventing any amount of seepage if high-flex locations. On top of all that, the ankle, wrist, and neck are tight yet flexible, preventing water infiltration at these most exposed areas. We did experience a small amount of water seepage at times when diving into water, but that was only due to the explosive change in pressure at the point of entry. Any water that did get in was quickly absorbed by the Red Cell interior, and had very little consequence to the wetsuit’s performance.
In addition, the Red Cell Wetsuit has chest and back drain holes, so the majority of water that is able to seep in from the neck is quickly flushed out. There is also a cinch chord with locking mechanism in the left shoulder that can be adjusted depending on your body type and preference for water tightness. Also, for anyone who needs to keep a car key on them, a secure key chord is provided in the chest area behind the zipper.
When it comes to wetsuits, the balance between comfort and performance can be difficult to achieve. The materials are designed to be form fitting to the entire body, and with water-tightness in mind, how tight is too tight? I fall right into the height and weight class of the Red Cell Wetsuit we’ve been testing, and I did find it quite difficult to get in and out of. This particular wetsuit requires that the wearer enter through the neck of the suit, and while the neoprene in that area is quite stretchy, it is still a bit tight to work your way into. Once the Red Cell is on though, we have few complaints. With similar wetsuits we’ve used in the past, the internal rubber seams had a tendancy to rub and chaffe against the skin, but we’ve found the liquidweld interior seams of the Red Cell to cause very little issue.
“The yarns of the Red Cell lining are produced entirely from a highly specialized, thermally receptive polymer that captures infrared rays and reflects them back to the body,” –Body Glove Wetsuit designer John Federoff.
Without a doubt, the Red Cell is one of the warmest wetsuits we’ve ever slipped into. Whether you manage to keep it dry or a little water is let in, the Red Cell fibers that make up the majority of this wetsuit’s inner-lining does the job extremely well. Even in waters that were frigid enough to instantly numb our hands and feet, our cores were kept at a comfortable and well regulated temperature.
It’s one thing stay warm and comfortable in the cold waters, but without good mobility your favorite water sports will become dull very quickly. When we first put the Red Cell Wetsuit on, we felt a bit inhibited in our shoulders and arms, but once in the water there is an added flex and forgiveness that makes movement pretty effortless. To help with mobility, Body Glove uses a flexible exterior tape, which makes the seam thin and able to handle more movement while remaining water tight.
The reflr-X ergonomically shaped back panel did work pretty well at keeping the lower back tight to the body. One of the most annoying characteristics of older wetsuits is the gap of air that tends to form in the lower back, which reduces efficiency, but we had no problem in this department. We will say that the X shaped panel felt a little tighter than necessary in the shoulder blade area, but any loss of movement because of this was minimal.
We’ve taken the Red Cell wetsuit on quite a few lake excursions, and everything appears to be holding together strong. The interior and exterior seams all remain in great shape and have stayed highly flexible. Even after some hard use, the knee pads look brand new and the points that endure the most movement look great. With any wetsuit, as long as you take care of it well, it’ll do the same for you, and we don’t have any reason to doubt the Red Cell’s life will be a long one.
Definitely on the high end in quality and comfort the price of the Red Cell Wetsuit may raise some eyebrows, but anyone who plans to push the limits in the harshest of conditions will be glad they coughed up the extra cash for the heavy hitter. While we’ve enjoyed some surf this June, the break will be most optimal in the big lake in October. It’s gonna be cold out there, but we aren’t the least bit nervous knowing we have one of the warmest wetsuits available to protect us.
Buy Now: $489.99 or to learn more go to: BodyGlove.com
- Insanely Warm
- Great Mobility
- Excellent Water Tightness
- Difficult to Put On
- Tight In Shoulder Blades
- On the Pricey Side
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