Polartec Aquashell

I have been watching for some specific comments on the performance of a couple of Polartec Aquashell applications and while posts have gotten close I haven’t really seen the sort of user opinion that helps me out. I know that Patagonia’s Water Heater and Kokatat’s Surfskin assortments are made of this product. While there have been plenty of endorsements for Reeds Chillcheaters which look to be superior not much is mentioned about Aquashell. So lets leave Chillcheater out of this as I think we all have enough to go on there.

What about Waterheaters and Surfskin?

Who has used or is using them?

What do you like and dislike about them?

What conditions do you use them in?

How warm can the air temp be (for you) without roasting?

How have they held up?

What are some direct comparisons between these products and NRS Mystery?

Would you buy products made from this material by either of these companys again?

I am a huge fan of the nylon faced

– Last Updated: Apr-06-05 11:53 PM EST –

aquashell product. It's like a 175 gram polarfleece with a membrane which is impermeable to water and very impermeable to wind. comfy and nice. Way more comfy that 3 mm neoprene in warm or cold-windy conditions almost as warm on a swim. Got a great suit made by aeroskin of calfornia. Drys super quick and you can throw it in the washer. 5 years and going strong. I think it is warmer than the urethane type on a long swim. It is bulkier though

I recently found that there are two kinds of aquashell, the nylon faced type I use and the urethane faced thinner type. That looks more like thin neoprene etc. Never used that exact type but someone was trashing it on the discussion board for poor wear resistance on their wetsuit bottoms. Take that second hand opinion for what it is worth. I am a big malden mills fan.

the patagonia and kokatat and product you mention is made of the urethane type. I Personally believe that manufacturers are turning to it because of the fetish factor or a rubbery suit and because it wears out faster than the nylon faced items, (which look almost like polartec powerstretch 150; very low fetish factor), and last a long time because the waterproof membrane is pridected by fabric on both sides. That said, I do like the fuzzy rubber type hood because it can fit into a pfd pocket easily (less bulk). The new one from kokatat looks really nice, (I lost my old one in a rolling clinic), and I would not have known about it if I had not looked up the products to answer your question.

As to temps I would not know, I just bow dip or roll to cool. Way more comfy than neoprene in hot weather because of wicking and breathability. Nothing I do not like really except nobody makes an inexpensive suit fron the nylon faced fabric.

Agree with Peter and and a limit to them
I agree with Peter wholeheartedly, for water down to 60 ish very nice, especially good to resist evaporative cooling on windy rainy days. More comfortable than neoprene.





You may not be asking about how effective compared with neoprene, but some of the forum folks felt quite strongly that the claim of some manufacturers that it was equvalent to 2.5 mm neoprene was quite inflated because it exchanges water faster than neoprene and in colder water the rush of cold water into the fabric is a gasp reflex risk. Perhaps it is possible to make if more effective if like neoprene you get it to fit really tightly so water exchange is reduced.

I think the nylon faced
stuff is warmer that the urethane but certainly not as warm as 3mm. Thanks for reminding.

Who besides Aeroskin of California…
…are using this fabric?

mauntainsurf I think

– Last Updated: Apr-07-05 7:14 PM EST –

and that's about it, YOu can do it yourself if you can sew at all polartec does not ravel so you do not have to finish the edges!

Not Tough Enough
I have a RapidStyle farmer john of AquaShell and while I like the comfort factor, I have found the material to be prone to delaminate at stress points like the seams that converge at the crotch and the seams around the ankles. My suit started to deteriorate after only eight months of use and at two year, the seat is pretty well blow out.



I’m sure my degree of usage is on the high side in that I wear mine surfing my wave ski three to four times a week, year around. But I have used traditional neoprene suits and have gotten up to three years before needing to buy a replacement.



Bottom line for me is is that AquaShell it not a hardy enough material to stand up to the rigors of surfing. I would not buy another suit made of this material for wave riding…but maybe for touring since its so comfortable.

Let’w remember
that you are using the more fragile urethane faced version, rather than the nylon version.