Body Glove utilizes infrared-savvy material
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 15 December, 2014 - In a nutshell, the most exciting thing about the new Body Glove Vapor X Red Cell is the interior lining of the neoprene. While fluffy, quick-drying neoprenes with more insulative properties are the norm on wetsuits these days, Body Glove claims their Red Cell lining actually redirects heat back to your body.
Let’s back up. OK, a few years ago we discovered that your body heats air more efficiently than water, thus wetsuits with plushier, water repellent linings kept you warmer. The Body Glove Red Cell material looks like several other fluffy interior neoprenes, but the ad-line is that the Red Cell redirects infrared rays back to the body, thus heating more efficiently.
“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,” said Body Glove Wetsuit designer John Federoff. “The balance between emitted and absorbed infrared rays has a critical effect on the human body’s ability to maintain a constant body temperature.”
This is exciting stuff, as infrared could become the new standard for wetsuits. Earlier this year Xcel introduced their Thermo Dry Celiant, or TDC lining which also uses infrared material. We’ve tested both wetsuits and the two materials have a very different feel from one another, with Red Cell being the softer of the two.
So now there are two wetsuit makers utilizing materials that reflect and maintain infrared rays. Let’s say that we have opened the door to a new frontier, what wonderful things can we expect with this new infrared technology?
Federoff explains: “Smart Fiber technology has come a long way since its inception, and manufacturers of this type of “Third Generation” fabric claim there is an increase in blood flow, increased oxygen levels and even improved overall wellbeing.” He also cautioned that “Many of these claims can be highly subjective and their effectiveness can vary greatly from one person to another.”
Design-wise the Vapor X Red Cell lining employs a series of elevated Hexagons along the interior. The Channels surrounding the hexagons facilitate enhanced breathability and allow for faster dry time.
How did the Body Glove Vapor X Red Cell perform?
For warmth and flexibility the Red Cell material was on par, if not above par to other similar high-end suit materials. The Red Cell is comfortable, flexible and very warm. Whether this warmth was due to increased blood flow and oxygen levels, or just that the Red Cell is a good insulator, I could not tell.
The seams were comfortable against the skin and we found no major water seepage through the seams.
Body Glove uses their Liquid Weld on the seams. This taping is made of a highly elasticized liquid polymer to cover seams on the interior of the suit. They came up with a good formula here, as the interior tape is not too rubbery and feels comfortable against the skin.
On some suits we’ve found that the inner-seam welds, if made too rubbery, can chafe as well as crack and peel. Body Gove’s Liquid Weld also bonds quite well to the fluffier Red Cell material. Some suits on the market have had trouble with interior tape bonding to water-wicking interior lining materials.
On this suit Body Glove uses a thin, flexible exterior tape instead of the previous generation’s design that utilized a thick band of stiff silicone on the outer seams. Thinner outer seams equal more flex.
Along these lines, the only room for improvement we could find on the Body Glove Vapor X Red Cell is their Refle-X upper back ‘X’ shaped panel. It felt stiff across the back shoulders. The Refle-X is designed to move with the motions of paddling, and while overall the suit is very flexible, the added outer seams necessary to create the ‘X’ shape stiffened up the suit across the upper back. That said, the over all flexibility and paddling motion range in the suit was good.
Other bells and whistles in the Body Glove Vapor X Red Cell are the Airlock zipper design, ankle, exterior key pocket, Nano Tritec kneepads and slant zip.
In a nutshell the suit performs like a top-end suit, utilizing all the best seams, constructions and materials available on the market. We liked the entry slanted zip design and we had no flushing during test surfs.
Pluses included: soft and warm Red Cell material; top-end inner and outer seam construction; overall comfort; no flushing; very warm suit. Minuses: ‘X’ shape seams feels stiff across the upper back.
Should you find yourself in the position to purchase a top-end suit, we would definitely consider the Body Glove Vapor X Red Cell.