View Full Version : How to choose a wetsuit for diving! Part 1 (Scubatoys Blog!)

09-28-2015, 18:14

Unless you have the luxury of scuba diving only in the tropics in mid-summer where the water temperature is 90 degrees, you will want a wetsuit! We lose a lot of body heat while in the water, so even water that feels comfortable for swimming can make us feel cold while diving. Another benefit of wearing a wetsuit while diving is to protect your ski from jellyfish or other stinging underwater creatures!
Wetsuits come in different styles, thicknesses, zipper types and seam constructions. Some are better for sports like surfing and kayaking, so you’ll want to choose a suit designed specifically for scuba diving.
You can rent wetsuits anywhere you rent dive gear. However, you’re taking a risk because you may end up with an ill-fitting or leaky suit, which can be a buzz kill on a dive. Click to learn more about buying vs. renting scuba gear (http://blog.scubatoys.com/should-i-buy-my-own-scuba-gear/).
Let’s Explore the Differences in WetsuitsIn this first part of a two-part series on “How to Choose a Wetsuit for Diving,” we’re going to discuss wetsuit basics. The more you know about wetsuits, the easier it will be to find the best suit for your needs.
How Does a Wetsuit Work?First, in case you’ve never worn a wetsuit, you should know that it does not keep you dry! It is designed to let a little water inside, which is quickly warmed by your body heat. The warm water stays trapped inside the suit, so combined with the insulation from the suit itself, you stay warm. Dry suits, on the other hand, are designed to truly keep the water out and are worn only in very cold conditions (water temps 50° F / 10° C or colder).
Wetsuits are generally made of neoprene, a stretchy, flexible waterproof fabric. The neoprene is made of small, closed cells full of air that provide insulation from the cold. It comes in three basic types, from very flexible (but not as warm) to less flexible (warmest).
Wetsuit ThicknessRecreational wetsuits range from 1 mm to 7.5 mm thick. Generally, the thicker the neoprene, the warmer the suit. However, thicker neoprene is less flexible, making it harder to move your arms and legs.
Some wetsuits have a combination of thicknesses, for example, a 3/2 mm suit will use 3 mm neoprene for the body and 2 mm for the arms and legs, making it easier to move while keeping your core warm.
http://blog.scubatoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/man-woman-full-wetsuit-200x300.jpg (http://blog.scubatoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/man-woman-full-wetsuit.jpg)Wetsuit StylesWetsuits come in a variety of styles:

Full Wetsuit: covers the entire body, including the arms and legs to the wrists and ankles. These come in varying thickness for different water temps.

http://blog.scubatoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/men-woman-shorty-wetsuit-200x300.jpg (http://blog.scubatoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/men-woman-shorty-wetsuit.jpg)Shorty Wetsuit: covers the body, but has short sleeves and shorter legs, ending above the knee. These are designed primarily for warm water.

Farmer / Long John Wetsuit: covers the entire body but does not have sleeves. A second, long-sleeved piece is worn over it. These are designed primarily for cold water temps.

Vest: covers the torso but has no sleeves, primarily used in very warm water to keep the torso warm.

http://blog.scubatoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/longjohn-suit-man-woman-200x300.jpg (http://blog.scubatoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/longjohn-suit-man-woman.jpg)Rashguard Shirt / Skin Suit: while not technically wetsuits, these are made of Lycra and offer minimal warmth. They are worn for sun / skin protection or under a wetsuit for added warmth and protection from chafing.

Wetsuit Seam SealsThe seams that hold the wetsuit together come in a variety of types too:

Flatlock Stitching: lies flat again your body and can allow a little water in – for warm water.
Sealed: seams are glued and blind stitched, meaning the stitching does not go all the way through the neoprene – warm to cool water use and almost no water in.
Sealed and Taped: same as Sealed, with an added interior tape – very cold water use and no water in.

ZippersLast but not least, wetsuits come with different zipper configurations:

Back Zipper: runs down the back with a long cord you can reach to zip and unzip. The most common type, these are generally easier to get in and out of but water can seep in.

Short Back Zipper: shorter zipper, usually found on cold water suits because less risk of water entering but are more difficult to get in and out of.

Chest Zipper: zipper runs across the chest with minimal water leakage, but are difficult to get in and out of, and you cannot wear it unzipped to the waist like you can with back zip suits.

If you live in the Dallas area, call Scuba Toys at 877-728-2243 or stop by our shop at 1609 S. Interstate 35E, Carrollton, TX 75006 and we can help you find the perfect suit!

Or check out our huge online selection (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/search_results.asp?iLevel=1&txtsearchParamCat=26) – we offer hassle free returns and exchanges if something doesn’t fit.

Check out Part 2: How To Choose a Wetsuit for Diving (http://blog.scubatoys.com/part-2-how-to-choose-a-wetsuit-for-diving/).

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