The latest version of NeoFlex products hit the shelves this Spring and I was lucky enough to receive mine just before I travelled to Switzerland and Italy. So I’ve decided to put some words down on why it’s one of my favourite bits of kit and why it should rank pretty high on your kit list!
Getting kitted up
Let’s begin from the start – putting it on. NeoFlex is super stretchy with a soft lining, so it slips on really easily, wet or dry. Watching all my buddies chucking a layer on, followed by a sweaty cag over the top made me appreciate having it even more. The tops are only half a millimetre thick which meant I wasn’t overheating in the sun when carrying my boat to the put-in. Needless to say getting kitted up in NeoFlex was a breeze and saved a bit of time too!
My trip to the Alps was a great time to test out how well NeoFlex would perform in more extreme temperatures. The air temperature there often reaches the high 30s, while the water you’re boating on would have just melted off the glaciers that very same morning, brr!
I thought the 0.5 mm thickness might not be enough for these more extreme water temperatures, but I was pleasantly surprised … there was certainly no gasping for breath as the first freezing cold splashes hit my face and body, and by the time I could feel the water, it was refreshing! The NeoFlex tops are lined with a soft lining that wicks away moisture when off the water and keeps you warm whilst on the water which is perfect for a hot weather, cold water combo. This lining is also great when the top is already wet, it takes away that goosebump feeling when chucking on wet kit.
Now let’s talk about the fit. I’m a stocky 5’9 and the medium fits perfectly – no baggy bits and no discomfort. In fact, I hardly felt it on when I wore it, it was so nice to be on challenging whitewater and have total free range of movement and to feel no restriction. No seams under the arms is also a big win for me, I hate nothing more than chaffing under the arms whilst you’re trying to enjoy a river. It was great to be able to paddle all day in comfort and not have to suffer the next day!
How does it look? This can be pretty important to some people, I know I like a little bit of colour coordination! The mens comes in a deep blue and dark grey colour with lime green graphics, which coincidentally matched most of my current gear setup. The ladies version comes in a two-tone light blue with a number of other NeoFlex products such as the bra top and shorts, ideal for SUPing, hitting the surf or boating in warm conditions.
I found my top to be pretty robust. Although I had packed elbow pads, I almost always forget or think I won’t need them. Of course, this is when you end up taking a hit! I took a few minor elbow and shoulder hits and one bigger hit to the elbow, after some deep breaths and self-criticism about leaving my elbow pads behind I checked to see the damage, not a mark, and my elbow still works. Happy days!
There’s only one point the NeoFlex might not be ideal and that’s if the wind is picking up. Breezes and mild wind I didn’t find to be an issue at all. But if you’re choosing between your cag and your NeoFlex and the wind is blowing strong, it’s best to play it safe and chuck a cag on. Having packed both on my trip this wasn’t an issue.
Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked on my NeoFlex tops, they have exceeded my expectations by a long shot and I can guarantee they’ll make your boating a little more special.