Last Updated on October 6, 2020
Know How to choose a wetsuit for diving? How to choose the right wetsuit size for your wetsuit? For what water temperature is this or that type suitable?
It used to be easy enough to buy a wetsuit. You just asked the salesperson, “Do you have a suit in my size?” But since we live in a time when online commerce is highly developed with dozens (or even hundreds) of offers, it has become more difficult to choose because of the large number of products sold by various brands.
Know How to Choose a Wetsuits
Today, a wide range of dry, semi-dry, wet, and protective wetsuits for diving are presented. The main difference between the dry version is the complete prevention of water penetration thanks to waterproof zippers and special cuffs on the neck and sleeves. This specimen is ideal for hunting and long diving in winter when the water is very cold.
Drysuits are made from fabric, vulcanized rubber, and compressed neoprene. The first option has excellent buoyancy and low weight, while the fabric dries quickly. Rubber suits are more expensive and heavier than fabric suits.
Neoprene variants are dense and durable. They achieve excellent fit without losing movement. When choosing a dry suit, pay attention to the fastener’s location, which can be front, back, vertical, and diagonal. The most convenient for self-donning are products with a front closure.
This Wetsuite is popular with diving enthusiasts. Their main distinguishing feature is that water can penetrate under the outer neoprene layer, but this should not be considered a disadvantage or a problem, as the water heats up quickly and helps to retain heat. For the production of such products, a special foam material is used, which forms an insulating shell.
During the swim, the diver feels as comfortable as possible, since the water penetrated under the suit does not cool the body, but maintains the required temperature. Such products are not used during the cold season and are an excellent option for shallow dives in warm waters. One of the advantages of wet suits is their low price, especially when compared to dry and semi-dry products.
Semi-dry Wetsuits combine the best of dry and wet options, have excellent elasticity, are easy to put on, and provide an excellent fit for the diver who feels as comfortable as possible underwater. Such products have a sealed zipper, which significantly increases water resistance so that the diver can stay underwater for a long time. A semi-dry suit (as opposed to a dry one) does not require additional clothing, which is a significant advantage.
Semi-dry suits combine the best of dry and wet options, have excellent elasticity, are easy to put on, and provide an excellent fit to the body of the diver who feels underwater as comfortable as possible. Such products have a sealed zipper, which significantly increases water resistance, thanks to which the diver can be underwater for a long time. A semi-dry suit (as opposed to a dry one) does not require additional clothing, and this is a significant advantage.
Know How to Choose a Wetsuit for Diving
In order to correctly choose a suitable means of isolating the body from the water, it is necessary to consider for what purposes and in what conditions the product will be used. If you don’t know to choose a wetsuit for diving, you can always ask for help from a sales consultant who will suggest the most suitable option.
Let’s clear up a few questions before heading to your nearest store to purchase the product you need.
How Does a Wetsuit Work?
It’s no secret that such a suit keeps our body warm when we are submerged in water. However, not everyone knows how this happens. The bottom line is that heat is retained thanks to the thinnest layer of water that gets inside. This layer forms and lingers between the suit and the body heats up and retains our heat, which prevents hypothermia (in other words, prevents us from freezing in cool water).
Note that the effectiveness of the suit depends on how much water this protective layer forms. If there is a lot of water, it will not have time to heat up to prevent the body’s hypothermia properly. There will be no benefit even if there is a constant circulation of water (it also does not have time to heat up). That’s why it’s crucial to choose a product that will fit your body perfectly and not let water through.
Choosing the Right Wetsuit Size
To choose the optimal suit, you need to know your physiological parameters. If you do not have the opportunity to measure height or other indicators on your own, then you can ask the employees of the store selling wetsuits about this – as a rule, good retail outlets have all the possibilities for this.
It is recommended to try on such overalls using shampoo since a rubber product is inconvenient to put on on a dry body. During the fitting, you must be careful not to damage the material. When you put on a tight-fitting suit, then you should not have any inconvenience.
Bend over while wearing a suit and see how many folds have appeared and what size they are. The fewer folds, the better, as they are potential reservoirs for water from entering. If you correctly choose the size of a diving suit for diving, there will be practically no folds when bent (or small).
The first most significant choice you have to make is the thickness of your suit. This is one of the main factors that determine how warm you will be underwater. There is no fixed rule for the relationship between water temperature and wetsuit thickness.
Different people start to freeze at different temperatures. When in doubt, lean toward greater thickness. You can always unzip and let in some water to cool it off, but if the suit is too thin, you can freeze and feel uncomfortable.
Divers used to talk about 1/4 “and 1/8” suits, but in the 90s, we switched to the metric system: 3mm is 1/8 “equivalent, 6mm is 1/4”.
The physical construction of the vest also affects thermal comfort. A full 3mm suit provides better protection than shorts. Most of them are monosuits.
It is important to decide where the zipper will be located: front or back. Suits with a zip at the back have a higher collar for added warmth. However, if you are cramped in a stand-up collar, choose a suit with front zip and a sufficiently deep cut.
Some divers prefer 6mm monosuits, but two-piece jumpsuits with a front zip and matching jacket are more common. A hood can be attached to the jumpsuit. The advantage is that the cold water will not run down your back. Disadvantage – you will not be able to unfasten the hood, but only remove it from your head.
Excellent design and expensive materials will be useless if the suit does not fit properly. Remember: denser means warmer:
- Armpits: Small spaces.
- Crotch: snug fit.
- Neck: Tight, but not pinched.
- Loins: There will be a small gap due to the curvature of the spine.
- Wrists and ankles: Should fit snugly as these are the main areas of water penetration.
- Chest zipper: If you have to hold a zipper on both sides to close it, you may need to take the suit one size up (if it zips too easily, then size down).
Often, wetsuits can be customized to fit your body. A finished suite with minor modifications may be cheaper and better fit than a bespoke one.
The way the parts of the suit are connected together affects the durability and cost of the suit.
Glue and tape
Two pieces of neoprene are glued together along the edges, and special adhesive tape is placed on top along the seam. When heated, they stick together. It is very economical (and comfortable if the seam is touching the skin), but not very durable.
Used in areas of least stress, such as the neck or colored inserts. Hoods are often zigzagged on the outside and glue and tape on the inside.
Quite a wide seam that is not glued. It provides 100% strength. Very economical and very strong seam. But if the threads suddenly disperse, the material will not be additionally restrained with glue.
The most durable of all. The material is first glued, then stitched. A blind seam is only stitched halfway. Then the reverse side is sewn in the same way, and the stitches are connected and form a strong but flexible seam.
5. Neoprene type
The cost and durability of the suit depending on the quality of this waterproof material.
6. Foamed with gas or chemically
This refers to the type of neoprene production. Gas-foamed material is stronger and lasts longer, but is quite expensive. Chemically foamed is cheaper, softer, but will shrink and wear out faster.
It is a sleek neoprene that fits snugly but is difficult to put on and take off. Some suits have a silicone coating that allows the material to slide for a more comfortable fit. Dolphin skin is a good choice for the hood’s inner edge, underarms of the jumpsuit, and the wrists of the jacket.
This material definitely adds value to the suit. Heat-reflecting titanium is woven into the threads or covers the outside of the suit. It does its job better – it keeps heat from leaving your body.
9. Knee pads
Such elements must be mandatory. Regardless of the type of water, you are diving into, and you may need to climb stairs on a boat, crawl out to the beach, or wade over rocks. It is much cheaper to wear a suit with knee pads than to treat leg injuries.
10. Zippers at the ankles and wrists
These parts are helpful in putting on and off the suit, but they are leaking water. Most of the zippers are covered with rubber so that less water can enter.
11. Key pocket
This element should be on the inside, preferably with a zipper or Velcro. If the pocket is loose, the keys will not be completely safe and may go down the wetsuit or be lost altogether.
12. Foot protection
Thanks to fins, divers can swim at high speed, which is a must for spearfishing. In order not to rub the feet and prevent them from hypothermia, special socks (about 3 mm thick) and thin boots (about 5 mm thick) are used. Such elements also protect the feet from possible punctures and other injuries.
13. Hand protection
Gloves or mittens are used to protect hands from frostbite. Such products are simply necessary for the cold season. However, it must be remembered that very thick gloves make it difficult to move, although they protect from the cold. The most widespread are products up to 5 mm thick.
The cost of a suit can range from tens of dollars for a thin shorts to hundreds of dollars for thick titanium with all the straps and whistles. Discuss with other divers what they like or dislike about their wetsuits. Follow the advice of the shop assistant. Choosing the right wetsuit is a great investment as it will keep you enjoying diving to its fullest for many years.
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