Is it time you added a wetsuit to your lazarette? We test out the latest microfleece model from Zhik
Wetsuits may not be top of every motor boat owner’s agenda, but given the number of SUPs, Seabobs and Jetskis that seem to accumulate on the bathing platforms of even quite modest cruising boats these days, a wetsuit can make the difference between a fun day out on the water and a dull, cold, miserable one.
Zhik’s latest wetsuit, the Microfleece X is primarily aimed at dinghy sailors but it looks equally well suited to activities such as paddleboarding and PWC riding, when you hope to spend most of the time out of the water but don’t want to freeze the minute you do fall in.
Rather than being a full-length, heavy-duty winter wetsuit it’s a lightweight summer suit without any arms. The separate long-sleeved top costs £169.96.
The Zhik Microfleece X’s other unique selling point is that it’s made from natural plant-based rubber and recycled plastic bottles rather than oil-based neoprene. Despite this, it is claimed to be just as warm as a conventional ‘non bio-degradable’ wetsuit.
It’s certainly very easy to put on and comfortable to wear thanks to its lightweight construction, flatlock stitched seams and very stretchy fabric.
The Microfleece X clings in all the right places without feeling restrictive and did quite a good job of making my slightly saggy 51-year-old Dad Bod look rather leaner that it is. It even has a waterproof flap for taking a pee without having to strip off.
However, with only 2mm of thermal insulation and those oversized arm and neck holes, I would have preferred a slightly thicker fabric and more conventional cut with short arms and a higher, tighter-fitting collar.
The Zhik Microfleece X is fine for warm summer days in the UK or chillier days in the Med but I reckon that if you’re going to produce a range of wetsuits, it might as well include some warmer versions of this otherwise convincing product.
Price: £229.96 (£169.96 for the longsleeve top)
MBY rating: 3/5
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First published in the May 2020 edition of Motor Boat & Yachting.