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View Full Version : Front Vs. Back Zipper



DarinMartell
01-01-2008, 11:00
I'm looking at getting my first suit and have only used rentals with back zippers. What are the Pro's & Con's of each? Thanks in advance! :sunsmiley:

RoadRacer1978
01-01-2008, 11:04
Here is a post with some good information about the advantages and disadvantages of the front and back mounted zippers.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/dry-suits/7920-back-entry.html

Tom A
01-01-2008, 11:25
when i first got certifed in 79 had a farm john loved it. but there hard to find now. have a back zipper now im older an have a bad shoulder so kind of hard getting to back zipper

DarinMartell
01-01-2008, 11:34
Thanks for the link. They are discussing Dry Suits, do the same issues apply with Wet? I am on a budget (like everyone) and the least expensive is a front zip. My concern is more the comfort level and flexability. Does a zipper in the front end up being uncomfortable at depth when the suit is compressed and you are trying to bend your upper body?:sunsmiley:

whse56
01-01-2008, 11:38
Rented a farmer john a couple of times they tend to be warmer but feel very bulky, trade offs I guess. Back zip is more common and what I have now, if you like your suit tight you may need help zipping it up. Front vertical zip, you can dress yourself and wear a very tight suit. I've never tried a horizontal zip, I would imagine it's a little harder to get in if you like your suits tight. All a matter of personal preferance

fireflock
01-01-2008, 12:05
Front zip is easier to open and relieve yourself without peeing on the suit.

Some water will get in along the zipper, so your comfort might depend to some extent on how cold the water is. 3mm range will probably be fine.

I've never thought that my front zip got in the way. I use both, and both are fine. I give a slight nod to the front zip.

Rich

Navy OnStar
01-01-2008, 12:48
I like the back zip. My Pinnacle wet suits have a 10mm spine pad that there is no way I could feel the zipper through. The only issue for me would be pulling the zipper up, which isn't a problem for me, I dive with my wife and just have her zip it up. Getting it off is easy.

RoadRacer1978
01-01-2008, 12:55
Oh, sorry. Didn't look and see this was in the wetsuit forum. I have worn both a front zip farmer john and now have a back zip one piece. If you don't have any shoulder problem the back zip is fine. The zipper has a long strap on it that when zipped up hangs down to the bottom of the zipper, just above your hind quarters. Without any type of shoulder problem you should be able to reach the strap to unzip it yourself and with a little manuvering you can easily zip it up yourself as well. It can e a pain to zipt it up without getting the ziper caught in the little flap of neoprene that is behind the zipper and I usually have to pull the zipper down a bit and rezip it to keep that from happening.
What tye of sit are you going to be diving, a one piece or farmer john? I have a front zip on my lycra suit and can feel the zipper in front when I bend foward and though not uncomfortable, I know it is there. On my farmer john, with the bottom suit under the zipper, I could not tell the ziper was even there. And on a wetsuit, instead of a one piece lycra suit there would probably be a thin peice of neoprense behind the zipper that would add to the comfort. Go somewhere and try a back zip suit on and see if it works for you and try on a front zip and see for yourself if it rubs your skin and hinders your movement in any way. Trying them on is really thr only way you can get a feel for what you might like best, but I don't see a huge difference either way.

DarinMartell
01-01-2008, 13:50
Thanks for all of the responses and suggestions. I am looking at a 1 piece 7mm with a front zipper and zippers on the arms and legs for $80. I don't want to go and try things on because I am going the budget route and buying over the net. I am in sales and don't like to take up a salespersons time when I KNOW I will not be buying from them. I know that I should "try before you buy" but I figure at $80 I can always have some alterations made if it does not fit right.

Soonerwink
01-01-2008, 14:22
Thanks for all of the responses and suggestions. I am looking at a 1 piece 7mm with a front zipper and zippers on the arms and legs for $80. I don't want to go and try things on because I am going the budget route and buying over the net. I am in sales and don't like to take up a salespersons time when I KNOW I will not be buying from them. I know that I should "try before you buy" but I figure at $80 I can always have some alterations made if it does not fit right.
At that price you are probably going to only find a 7mm on ebay and it is probably going to be used. I did buy a new Bare 7mm jumpsuit with a backzip for 79.00 on ebay though. But I was lucky.

skippy11
01-01-2008, 21:42
I bought a back zip; which works fine, but if i had it to do over...I would probably look a little harder for a front zip. They are just easier to get in and out of (my opinion).

As far as, what you are looking for...if you find it...please pass on the link. thanks.

skippy11
01-01-2008, 21:43
Sorry, the 7mm front zip for $80 was what I was referring to.

CompuDude
01-02-2008, 02:21
Most wetsuits have zippers in the back because of tradition. They got their start with surfers, and front zippers are uncomfortable to lie down on the surfboard.

That said, it also makes sense to have the zipper go down your back, where there is little curve against the zipper (meaning, you only curl away from it, not over it as with a front zip). The front zip suits can be a little easier to put on, but it's not something that's terribly difficult either way.

The other reason for a back zip is the bulky zipper shield is less uncomfortable against your back than it would be against your front. You need to one help against the cold water that inevitably comes in through a zipper, and that's not not cool to have a big lump/ridge down your front, as opposed to down your spine where the padding is actually nice to have between you and the tank.

DarinMartell
01-02-2008, 10:19
The site I found is called Tommy D Sports, He sells on E-bay and has over 4000 positive feedbacks. The few negative were not about quality only communication and shipping issues. I bought his hood, it fits well and looks to be made decently. The reason for this question was because all of him male suits are front zip and it is not something I have seen often.

What Compudude said about the way we bend and padding makes sense. I am now wondering if the front zip is worth the savings? Here is the link:

Scuba Diving Gear Wet Suits - Regulators - Fins - Masks - Diving Accessories - New line of Electric Start Generators at Tommy D Sports (http://www.tommydsports.com/)

CC1020
01-02-2008, 11:04
I have a 1.5 mm front zip that is harder to get off than my back zip suits, FWIW

Miked
01-02-2008, 12:22
For the last 25+ years, I've been a WWW, so the wetsuits I have are 3 mm and 1 mm. All are back zip.
I had a front zip "polartech " suit a few years ago, and I tried a front zip 3mm wetsuit.
My experience: the back zips were easier to get out of than the front zips. Trying to remove the front zippered resulted in more "contortions", or needing the help of a friend, to get the top part off the arms/elbows.
Putting the suit on (either front or back zip) was about the same, and with the with the "ribbon"/lanyard on the zipper, the back zips were as easy to zip up.

As I said-IMO-and for 1 mm and 3 mm suits. For thicker suits, ?????
Mike

CODMAN
01-03-2008, 13:53
Darin, those suits are about half to a third of the price of the main manufacturers. Sometimes when something seems too good to be true... It is too good to be true. I'd be weary of these if I were you. Unless you don't mind getting a throw away wetsuit... I know I'd invest for longer term use...

Just my 0.02$


The site I found is called Tommy D Sports, He sells on E-bay and has over 4000 positive feedbacks. The few negative were not about quality only communication and shipping issues. I bought his hood, it fits well and looks to be made decently. The reason for this question was because all of him male suits are front zip and it is not something I have seen often.

What Compudude said about the way we bend and padding makes sense. I am now wondering if the front zip is worth the savings? Here is the link:

Scuba Diving Gear Wet Suits - Regulators - Fins - Masks - Diving Accessories - New line of Electric Start Generators at Tommy D Sports (http://www.tommydsports.com/)