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Wetsuits - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Wetsuits buying guide

To enjoy the water sport with full safety, you have to invest in suitable gear. Wetsuits are an indispensable piece of equipment that keeps you safe and comfortable while exploring different water activities.

Whether you are an experienced sportsperson or a greenhorn, arming yourself with a good quality suit will offer many advantages. However, while scrutinizing the best model, you have to look into some key elements.

A well-detailed buying guide offers all the information on different aspects of the product in a jiffy. You can quickly analyze all the pointers and strike down the best variant.

Starting with a brief introduction, let us begin our hunt without wasting any more time.

What are Wetsuits, and how do they work?

If you are a water lover, a wetsuit can be a useful gear for you to keep on your water activities throughout the year.

Having a wetsuit with the proper thickness will effectively help you keep yourself warm when you are in the water, and thus, you can have great fun.

A diving wetsuit can withstand an ocean's depth, where a surfing wetsuit offers better mobility and more buoyancy. The primary purpose of the wetsuit is to keep you warm and protect you from the underwater world.

If you have a 1-2 mm thick wetsuit, it will keep you protected from sun, coral, and jellyfish without any insulation.

During surfing or any other water sports, you tend to hit the water frequently, and a right wetsuit will create a barrier to cushion that impact effectively.

A wetsuit can trap a small amount of water between the suit and your body, and this water layer collects your body heat to get warm. This is how it can keep you warm in the water all day long.

It does not keep you dry. Instead, the neoprene helps to provide better insulation and trap the heat for a long time.

Types of Wetsuits

  1. Full Wetsuit

As the name suggests, a full wetsuit can cover your whole body. You can find these suits in different thicknesses that can handle different temperatures of the water. By wearing a full wetsuit, you can cover your entire body along with your arms up to the wrists and legs up to the ankles.

  1. Shorty Wetsuit/Springsuit/Short Johns

Shorties, spring suits, etc. are designed with thinner material, but they are ideal for warmer waters. These suits cover your full body, but they come with shorts, arms, and legs, so your arms and legs will not be covered entirely.

  1. Long John/Jane Wetsuit

These suits are more like a full suit, but the only difference you will find is their materials' thickness. Commonly thinner neoprene is used in making these suits, but there are no materials in the arms. So, they are perfect to be used in warmer waters.

  1. Wetsuit Top

These tops are made with neoprene that has a

the thickness of 0.5-2 mm. You can use these vests with a bikini bottom or boardshorts. You can consider these tops for warm water.

You can also use a wetsuit top as a layer under the full wetsuit to get additional warmth in colder water.

  1. Wetsuit Bottom

You can choose the wetsuit bottoms for warm water temperatures. These bottoms are designed with neoprene. You can wear shorts, pants or leggings for the bottoms according to your preference.

  1. Rash Guards

Rashguard is more like a light shirt that helps you protect from the harmful UV rays because they are made of Lycra or other materials resistant to UV rays. You can wear this under your wetsuit to avoid irritation, and you also get good protection against sand and sun.

Things to deem while selecting purchasing suitbale wetsuits

Fit

Your wetsuit should have a proper fit without being too tight or too loose. You should choose a snug fit that can act as your second skin.

The wetsuits work as a thin layer between your suit and your body that can trap water effectively. Having a loose fit means it will allow flushing through a lot of water, so the suit can not hold much warmth.

On the other hand, you should make sure the wetsuit you have provides a snug fit around the neck. You can use a rashguard under your wetsuit to avoid neck rashes. Women can consider wearing a swimsuit underneath to have more support and protection.

When you wear your wetsuit, make sure that there is no extra room in your torso, crotch, knees, and shoulders. Also, it should not restrict your mobility.

If you lift your hands over the head and stretch them, the wetsuit should feel a little restrictive.

You should check whether you can squat down easily or not after wearing the wetsuit.

Thickness

It is very important to check the wetsuits' thickness because their thickness determines the wetsuit warmth. Usually, milliliters are used to measure the thickness of the wetsuit.

When you are checking your wetsuit thickness, you will see some numbers that are separated from each other.

The first number tells you how thick the neoprene is in the torso. The second number determines how thick the neoprene is in the extremities.

If you see the third number, it will represent how thick the neoprene is in the arms (in this case, the second number will represent the neoprene's thickness in the legs).

You will find thicker neoprene in the torso area so that it can retain the core body warmth. It helps to prevent the hypothermic situation in case the water is too cold.

On the contrary, you will see thinner neoprene in the extremities. Thicker neoprene provides more warmth, but it is not good for flexibility. So, thinner neoprene is used in the arms and legs where your body moves constantly.

Quality Zippers

  1. Back Zip

Back zips are found in the wetsuits' backside, which you can see in any traditional wetsuit designs. The zipper goes along the spine length, and it has a long cord that you can hold easily to zip in and out.

Back zips allow you to have the easiest entry and exit, which comes in handy to deal with the skin-tight wetsuit. But one major downside is that water can get inside the suit through the seam area, making you colder quickly.

Some companies offer flush guards to prevent this problem. Also, the back zippers may create a problem by restricting your movement when you bend forward.

  1. Chest Zip

Chest zip wetsuits come with a zippered cut-out, and as they have the entry around the neck, you need to drop down inside the suit through that neckline. Then you can close the zipper tightly in the chest area.

But chest zips are a little more difficult to maintain than the other two styles in terms of entry and exit. But they can prevent the water from penetrating inside the suit through the neckline and seams.

Chest zip wetsuits come with a snug fit if they are very comfortable to wear, and you will not have any rashes in the neck. Also, the zipperless back ensures more flexibility and mobility.

  1. Zipperless

Generally, lightweight wetsuit designs come zipperless, and they also have neoprene taps. You can have better mobility instead of warmth from these zipperless designs.

People having mobility issues can choose this design for surfing and paddling. You will find the entry near the neck or chest, which is properly secured by velcro, elastic, or a small zipper.

Types of Seams

  1. Flatlock Stitching

You can consider this stitching for warmer water temperatures, which are more than 62 degrees. The best thing about flatlock stitching is that it remains flat against the body to not create any discomfort.

However, it cannot prevent water penetration completely, so it may reduce the warmth a little.

  1. Glued Seams

Glued seams are appropriate for the water temperatures of 55° or more. These glued seams are very common in designing the wetsuits.

Typically, glue is used to attach the stitch panels, and they are blindstitched. Blindstitch are essential to make the suits watertight.

It helps to make the seams stronger and thus reduces the water entry.

  1. Taped Seams

It will be better to consider taped seams for the water temperature of less than 55°. These seams are glued and blindstitched as the glued seams, but the interior taping makes the difference. It helps to enhance the durability of the suits, provides reinforced seams, and prevents water penetration.

You will find three types of taped seams including:

  1. Spot tapes seams

2p sizes wetsuit pieces are glued together in the most critical areas that add durability and strength to the suit.

  1. Fully taped seams

Inside the seams, the tapes are glued together.

  1. Liquid taped seams

It is designed with a special kind of liquid rubber. It is applied to the seams to make the suits completely waterproof. It is considered as the ultimate seam.

Materials

  1. Open Cell Neoprene

Open Cell neoprene cones with higher quality, and it makes the wetsuits soft and flexible. This is why many people like this material for their suits.

With this material, it is very easy to have better insulation to keep you warm for a long time. This material is less restrictive, so it allows you to move comfortably.

This neoprene is more delicate, and it is more expensive than any other materials used in designing the suits. Some manufacturers use extra padding in knees and other areas, which are more prone to wear and tear.

  1. Closed Cell Neoprene

Closed Cell neoprene is the most common materials used in designing the suits. It comes cheaper than the Open Cell neoprene, so it can be a very effective choice for beginners.

It feels like a rubber material, which is extremely rigid and durable as well. But, you may find it a little difficult to wear and remove this wetsuit because of this rigidity.

Moreover, you will not get the same amount of insulation that you can get from the Open Cell neoprene. So, it can be ideal for warmer waters.

  1. Double-lined Neoprene

It is covered by nylon on each side to protect the neoprene materials from getting damaged by shared objects. Also, it increases the durability of the neoprene.

  1. Single-lined Neoprene

Nylon surrounds this neoprene just on one side. It looks smoother than the double-lined neoprene. Different types of single-lined neoprene materials are available in the market, including mesh skin, sharkskin, glide skin, smooth skin, etc. Single-lined neoprene is used to make the suits more elastic.

  1. Lycra

If you are planning to dive in warm waters, you will need a lightweight wetsuit. Lycra is the only material used in making light suits.

Because of the lighter weight, these suits can not provide better insulation, but you will get more protection from the sun and different underwater elements like rocks, corals, etc.

Shorty suits have arms and legs designed with thinner materials, so Lycra is the best choice for these suits.

Price

You must consider the wetsuits' price before making your purchase, and you are suggested not to go beyond your budget.

It is needless to mention that a higher quality wetsuit comes with more features. If you want to buy an entry-level wetsuit, you can get it for under £100. These suits have high-quality and solid construction, which can last long for an extended period.

However, most people prefer mid-range suits between £100 and £250 because they provide several essential and worthy features of your money.

It is entirely up to your choice whether you want to buy a high-end wetsuit or not. You have to pay £300 or more, but you will be delighted with the material quality, seams construction, and fit of the suits.


Size

Size is one of the essential buying factors that you must consider while choosing your wetsuit. The right fit of the wetsuit is determined by the size you choose, so you should pay much attention to get the suit's proper size.

You should choose a size that will work as tightly as a second skin, and thus it can prevent the water from flushing through the suits.

Usually, water flushes through the arms, legs, or neck openings. So, having the right size of the wetsuit will reduce this problem, increasing the comfort and warmth effectively.

Before selecting a size, you should check your chest size and height. Female divers can choose the wetsuit size depending on their dress size, but it must fit snugly to the body.

If you want to get a fair amount of insulation from your wetsuit, you should check the precise dimensions. Moreover, you can follow the sizing chart given by the manufacturers.

Freedom of movement

When you are in the water, you will want to move freely without any restrictions. So, you must go for those wetsuits which will never impede your free movement.

How comfortably you can move in the water depends on the fit you choose. A wetsuit having a too snug fit will limit your freedom of movement in the water.

Therefore, you should make sure whether the wetsuit feels comfortable on your skin or it restricts your arm, leg, and body movement.

Some suits fit snugly to prevent water penetration. But it should not make the suit too tight so that it can reduce your mobility.

Not all the wetsuit manufacturers come with the same size, so you should check the sizing guide and choose your wetsuit accordingly so that you can get more flexibility and mobility.

Lining

If you want to enjoy your water activities for an extended period, you should make sure that your wetsuit is capable of preventing hypothermia. It is very crucial for the wetsuits to hold the body heat.

With a view to that, you can look for the thermal lining placed inside of the suits. Most of the companies offer their suits with these additional thermal linings. These linings are also known as bio-fleece or firewall, depending on the company.

It is nearly impossible to find thermal linings in the cheaper suits, but most high-end suits are designed with thermal linings. They are usually found around the torso area.

Thermal lining offers you more flexibility, but it does not increase the weight. They provide better comfort than the classic neoprene, and the advantage of using these thermal linings is that they dry faster.

It allows you to use your wetsuit twice a day without any issues. If you are going surfing or paddling in colder situations or are prone to have cold quickly, you must consider the thermal linings to maximize your comfort.

Style

  1. Shorty

As the name implies, a shorty wetsuit comes with short sleeves. So, you can buy these wetsuits for warmer waters. The bottom of the suits also reaches up to knee length.

Due to this significant design, these suits are very convenient to use, and you can get in or get out of this suit very quickly. If you plan to surf near the coast in the summer, you can easily go for this style.

  1. Full

A full wetsuit covers your entire body. It goes up to your wrists and ankles to ensure better protection. Besides protecting your body, it also provides a good amount of warmth when you are diving.

Especially if you are an entry-level diver, you should opt for a full wetsuit to get rid of the underwater elements like jellyfish, corals, rocks, etc. These suits consist of thicker neoprene, so they can also add more insulation effectively.

  1. Jane

This another popular style of the wetsuit that is divided into two separate pieces. One piece is down to your ankles, but it does not cover your arms, where the second piece acts like a jacket and adds warmth to your body.

It offers added insulation to your core body, so you can select this style of the wetsuit for colder waters.

How to care for and maintain your Wetsuits?

To increase your wetsuit's durability, you must maintain it properly so that you can use it without replacement for long years. It is nothing very difficult to take care of your wetsuit. You need to follow some simple steps to get your job done effortlessly.

Clean it properly

After every use, you must wash your wetsuit to make sure there are no salt crystals or any other dirt accumulated on the suit.

Rinse it thoroughly with fresh water and keep it in a dry place to dry completely. It will protect the rubber from getting damaged quickly, and you can also expand the lifespan of the wetsuit.

Wash it regularly

No matter what, your wetsuit will collect salt, body oil, dirt, was, etc. so you must wash it regularly. If you want your suit to perform well, clean it at a frequent interval.

You can use some warm water and wetsuit shampoo to wash the suit. Swirl the suit inside a bucket and let it dry for hours.

Repair it

If you see any damages, you must repair it immediately. Use a little amount of neoprene glue to fix the rip to avoid a complete replacement of the suits.

Store properly

You must keep your wetsuit in a proper place. You should not leave it in your car, never keep it in a dryer, do not ever use harsh detergent to wash the suits. Also, you should not expose the suit to direct sunlight.

You should never put it in a washing machine or a tumble dryer to better maintain the wetsuit. Also, keep the suit protected from UV rays so that it does not harm the neoprene.

Moreover, you should remember that if you leave the suit in the car or bag for a long time, it will become stinky. So, it will be better to use wetsuit shampoo or mild detergents to wash the suit.

FAQs

  1. How to store the suit properly?

Once you have completed the cleaning process, dry the product properly in the sun. Without folding the suit, store it in a dry place and direct sunlight.

  1. Can I use any cleaner to wash my wetsuit?

Before using any clear or strong detergent, always read the manufacturer guidelines so that the product is not damaged. Generally, you can use a regular soap solution with fresh water to clean it.

Final Verdict

Wetsuits present a safe and comfortable way to explore the deep depths of the ocean. All you need is to sort out the best fit.

Here, in this comprehensive guide, you will find all the necessary pointers to look into while selecting the suit. Have a look at them and purchase an elite suit for your expedition.

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