There is no exact science to selecting the proper wetsuit, but the following insights will make wetsuit selection much easier.
The primary factors to consider when choosing your wetsuit is the sport in which it would be used and water conditions, namely the water temperatures.
The folks at Wetsuit Wearhouse point out that there are no hard and fast rules for selecting wetsuit thickness. However, to assist in your wetsuit selection they provide a handy chart that clearly indicates teh suggested thickness for wetsuits as it relates to specific activities. You can find their wetsuit thickness chart here on Wetsuitwearhouse.com. This chart is an excellent a starting point to guide your selection of the appropriate thicknesses for your suit.
Other factors to consider when selecting wetsuit thickness include Air temperature, Your tolerance for Cold, the amount of time spent you will spend in the water vs. out of the water as well as your performance requirements.
Read on below for more insights about wetsuit selection:
The wearer’s tolerance for cold
-Depending upon the user’s individual tolerance for cold, a thicker or thinner wetsuit may be required or desired. If you are someone that tends to feel cold, err on the side of going with a thicker wetsuit. Otherwise, using the wetsuit thickness table should be a very good place to selecting the right wetsuit style and thickness.
-An early morning surfer hitting the water as the sun rises may want to consider a slightly heavier suit or more coverage. Without the warming rays of the sun and a higher ambient temperature or mid or late day, sometimes it can feel a bit chilly. Which leads to…
Time spent in water vs. out of water
-Also relating to air temperature is the amount of time spent in or out of the water. Air temperature will become even more important for a wakeboarder or waterskier, since most of the sport is out of the water. To use the wakeboarder example, if the air temps are 80+ but water only in the 60’s, a wetsuit top or springsuit could still do the job for most people. Conversely, a cool or cold fall day while the water is still warm could mean needing more coverage than usual.
Wearer’s performance expectations
-This also relates to the previous two considerations. Something the user will have to take in account is their demand for high performance. The less wetsuit (meaning thinner and less coverage) worn will translate to high performance. If performance is at the top of the user’s wetsuit requirement list, they may be inclined to buy a slightly thinner wetsuit or go with reduced coverage as applicable. Alternatively, if budget can accommodate, a higher-end wetsuit can provide a user with appropriate insulation and very high performance.
Read the entire article here on wetsuitwearhouse.com
After determining the thickness and performance factors required for your wetsuit you must determine the type of wetsuit you need. The selections include rash guards ( Lycra, poly fleece, baselayers, et.), Spring Suits ( tops and botoms), Sleeveless full suits or fullsuits.
Now that you’ve discovered you need a springsuit you’re wondering: What the heck is a springsuit?Here is a quick overview of different wetsuit products:
Lycra rash guards, poly fleece, baselayers, etc.
-These items are primarily worn under wetsuits or alone, as sun and/or abrasion protection. These items do not provide thermal protection when worn alone, so they are only appropriate for water that is typically 75F+.Shop Rash Guards & Baselayers: Men, Women, Kids
Springsuits, tops (jackets), and bottoms
-These items provide wetsuit coverage to areas of the body. When a little insulation is needed and water temps are in the high 60’s, these types of products would be perfect. They also work well in heated swimming pools that just aren’t quite heated enough!Shop Springsuits, Tops, & Bottoms: Men, Women, Kids
Johns & Janes
-Johns (men’s) and janes (women’s) are essentially sleeveless fullsuits. This style of suit is popular in layering applications, like SCUBA and kayaking. Johns & janes are also a popular style in triathlon/swimming style wetsuits, as this cut allows for full range of motion in the arms and shoulders.Shop Johns & Janes: Men, Women, KidsFullsuits -Fullsuits come in a variety of thicknesses for all water temperature conditions. In most cases, the thickness will be described with two numbers, such as 3/2mm. This means the majority of the suit is made of 3mm neoprene (wetsuit material) and the flex points 2mm. Manufacturers do this to enhance the comfort and flexibility of the suit.
Fullsuits come with different seams. For water in the 60’s, flatlock stitching will work well. Flatlock stitches contain no glue, and will allow water to freely enter the suit at the seams. For that reason, you generally will not find flatlock stitches on anything thicker than 3mm. Sealed seams add glue into the construction. The seams are glued and stitched. This gluing helps dramatically reduce the amount of water that enters into a wetsuit. The less water entering your wetsuit, the warmer you will be! Liquid taping on top of sealed seams takes your wetsuit to another level! A rubber bead is applied to the outside of the seams to add durability to the seams and also further reduce the chance of cold water trickling into the suit.
From here you should be well on your way to choosing the right wetsuit for your sport and water conditions. If you need some more help, we’ve got you covered! Give us a call, email, or live chat. We can assist you personally.
Images Source: WetsuitWearhouse.com