In this blog, we'll break down the key factors to consider when choosing a wetsuit.
When it comes to water sports, a wetsuit is an essential piece of gear that provides insulation and protection in cold water environments. Choosing the right wetsuit can make all the difference in your comfort and performance in the water.
However, with so many different types and brands of wetsuits available, it can be overwhelming to know how to choose the right one for your needs. In this blog, we'll break down the key factors to consider when choosing a wetsuit.
1. Type of Water Activity
The first thing to consider when choosing a wetsuit is the type of water activity you will be doing. Different water sports require different levels of insulation and protection. For example, surfing in cold water requires a thicker and more durable wetsuit than paddleboarding during summer. Determine the activity you'll be using your wetsuit for before deciding on a thickness.
2. Water Temperature
The water temperature also plays a crucial role in determining the thickness of the wetsuit you need. Water temperature ranges are typically divided into the following categories:
- Cold Water: 10-14°C (50-58°F)
- Cool Water: 15-20°C (59-68°F)
- Warm Water: 21-25°C (69-77°F)
- Tropical Water: 26°C+ (78°F+)
Generally, the colder the water, the thicker the wetsuit needed.
Wetsuits are available in a variety of thicknesses, usually measured in millimeters (mm), and the thickness you choose should correspond to the water temperature. Here's a general guideline:
- 2mm wetsuits are best for water temperatures above 75°F (24°C)
- 3/2mm wetsuits are suitable for water temperatures between 60-70°F (16-21°C)
- 4/3mm wetsuits are good for water temperatures between 50-60°F (10-15°C)
- 5/4/3mm wetsuits are best for water temperatures below 50°F (10°C)
3. Wetsuit Thickness
Wetsuits are available in different thicknesses, typically ranging from 2mm to 7mm. The thicker the wetsuit, the more insulation it provides, but also the less mobility you'll have.
As mentioned earlier, the thickness of the wetsuit needed depends on the water temperature and the type of water activity. When choosing the right wetsuit thickness, consider your personal tolerance to cold water and the duration of your water activity. If you get cold easily or plan on staying in the water for an extended period, opt for a thicker wetsuit.
4. Wetsuit Style and Fit
Wetsuits come in various styles, such as full suits, spring suits, shorties, and tops. A full suit covers the entire body, while a spring suit is a shorter version with short sleeves and legs. A shorty covers the torso and upper legs, and a top is a wetsuit jacket with long sleeves.
Choosing the right style depends on your water activity and personal preference. A full suit offers the most coverage and insulation and is suitable for colder water temperatures, while a shorty or top is ideal for warmer water temperatures.
Aside from the style, the fit of the wetsuit is also important. A wetsuit that is too loose will let in water, reducing its insulation properties, while a wetsuit that is too tight will restrict movement and cause discomfort. Ensure that the wetsuit fits snugly but not too tight.
5. Wetsuit Material
Wetsuits are typically made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber that provides insulation and flexibility. However, not all neoprene is created equal, and the quality of the material can affect the wetsuit's durability and performance.
High-quality neoprene is denser and provides better insulation and flexibility, while lower quality neoprene may degrade faster and lose its insulation properties over time. Look for wetsuits made from high-quality neoprene or other innovative materials like limestone neoprene, which is more environmentally friendly.
6. Back-zip vs Front-zip
Back zip wetsuits are the more traditional design, with a long zipper running down the back of the wetsuit. The zipper is typically made from plastic or metal and can be opened and closed with a cord or a strap.
One of the main advantages of a back zip wetsuit is ease of use. The long zipper makes it easy to put on and take off the wetsuit, even when it is wet. Additionally, the design provides a larger opening for the neck, making it more comfortable for some people.
However, there are also some disadvantages to back zip wetsuits. The design can sometimes cause water to seep into the suit, reducing its insulation properties. Additionally, the zipper can reduce the flexibility of the suit
Now let's talk about thefFront zip wetsuits. One of the main advantages of a front zip wetsuit is its improved insulation properties. The design reduces the amount of water that seeps into the suit, keeping you warmer in cold water. Additionally, the design provides a more flexible comfortable fit.
However, there are also some disadvantages to front zip wetsuits. The design can sometimes be more challenging to put on and take off, especially when the suit is wet. Additionally, the design provides a smaller opening for the neck, which can be less comfortable for some people.
In conclusion, choosing the right wetsuit involves considering the type of water activity, water temperature, wetsuit thickness, style and fit, and wetsuit material. By taking these factors into account, you can find a wetsuit that provides optimal insulation and protection, while allowing you to move comfortably in the water.
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have more questions about wetsuits. We also recommend that you come see us to try different models to find which wetsuit fits you best.