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What Should I Consider When Buying a Wetsuit?

Divers should consider the temperature of the waters they'll be exploring when they purchase a wetsuit.
A wetsuit should be purchased for a specific wearer so as to avoid loosely fitting edges or folds.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2014
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When buying a wetsuit, be sure to purchase one that will keep you safe while in the water. In addition, it is important to consider both comfort and style when buying a wetsuit.

When you go diving, the water temperature is generally much cooler than your own body temperature. Through the laws of physics, the cooler water will absorb your warmer body heat. This must be taken into consideration when buying a wetsuit. The thickness of the wetsuit is the biggest factor in determining how well it will protect your body from becoming cold.

When buying a wetsuit, you should look for one that is ¼ to 1/8 inch (6 to 3 mm) thick. There is no rule stating how thick a wetsuit should be for a specific water temperature. After all, different people feel cold at varying rates. This should also be taken into consideration when buying a wetsuit – the thickness that works for your diving buddy may not be the right thickness for you.

If you are unsure of the thickness you should go with when buying a wetsuit, it is best to always err on the side of too thick. This is because you can easily unzip the suit and let water in to cool yourself down if necessary. You do not have many options available if your wetsuit is too thin.

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Design is another consideration when buying a wetsuit. You can choose between a one piece and a two piece wetsuit. They also come with hoods that are attached and hoods that are not. You can also choose whether to have the zipper on the front or on the back.

A full suit offers the most protection, and an attached hood helps prevent water from running down your back when you dive in. At the same time, an attached hood cannot be completely removed if necessary. Often, a wetsuit with a back zipper has a higher collar. This can provide a little extra warmth, but can be irritating if you have a gag reflex or find a higher collar to be too restrictive.

You also must consider the fit when buying a wet suit. If the wetsuit does not fit you properly, it will not provide the protection you need. When buying a wetsuit, make sure there are no major gaps in the armpit area, in the crotch, or in the neck.

You should also look at the small of your back when buying a wetsuit. The wetsuit should leave a small gap because of the curve of your spine. You might want to purchase a spine pad for this area if one is not already included.

The area around your wrists and ankles should be smooth and snug. These areas are the most problematic when it comes to water seepage. When zipping the wetsuit, you shouldn’t have to hold it together to get the zipper up. At the same time, the wetsuit should not zip extremely easily. If this happens when buying a wetsuit, you should try the next size down.

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Discuss this Article

popcorn
Post 2

There are a lot of things to consider when sizing your wetsuit. Often you can get combo suits that having varying thicknesses for different parts of your body. This may be a 5mm torso, 3mm arms and 4mm leggings.

People find that different places need varying protection, so you can mix and match thicknesses for the most comfort.

Wetsuits also have different styles to choose from. As an example, "shorties" are just a torso cover that has very short sleeves and legs. A "steamer" covers everything except your head, hands and feet.

You can also buy numerous accessories for wetsuits, such as gloves, hoods, and shoes. When you head in to buy your wetsuit, talking to a knowledgeable staff member at the store will really help you find everything you need.

wander
Post 1

If you need to buy a wetsuit you should consider renting one first. Often these are available at places that rent scuba diving equipment and surfing equipment. There are also some shops that rent online and ship the products out.

While it is one thing to try a wetsuit on in the store and walk around in it, it is another thing entirely to swim in it.

If you want to find a perfect fit and figure out which thickness really works for you need to be in the water. Wetsuits can be quite expensive, so you should really know that you will be comfortable when you purchase one.

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