Choosing a Wetsuit
If you are interested in diving or have ambitions of becoming a serious diver, you fully understand the importance of your wetsuit.
A good wetsuit will keep your body at an optimum temperature and allow you to glide seamlessly through the water. It will also keep the ocean water away from your skin and protect you from other marine elements. A good wetsuit is critical to keeping you safe and comfortable below the waves.
Understand Your Budget
Depending on where you will be diving and what you need the suit for, you can get a wetsuit for as inexpensive as $50. More sophisticated models cost several hundred dollars and when you add on all the bells and whistles, like booties, hoods, and gloves, you could be looking at close to $500.
It’s advisable to spend what you reasonable can because your wetsuit is your first line of defense in the ocean, and because you will be much more comfortable in a suit that conforms to your needs. ScubaPro Men’s Everflex Steamer 3/2mm Wetsuit comes in a little on the higher end but it is built to last and handles beautifully in the water. Bare 5mm Velocity Full Suit Super-Stretch Wetsuit is a great choice for diving in both warm and colder water. It will not give you the protection and warmth of a drysuit, but its tight-fitting color keeps your body warm on deep dives.
There are plenty of options, with reviews, online. Think about what your needs are, make a list of desired features, consider your budget and start doing research. You will find the wetsuit of your dreams in no time.
Know What You Are Using It For
Not all wetsuits accomplish the same end goal. Knowing what you will be primarily using your wetsuit for is important to selecting the right one for you.
Triathalon Or Long Open-Water Swims
These suits are built for speed and maximum mobility and often come with floatation devices situated on various parts of the suit. These floatation elements make them less than ideal for diving, but perfect for covering huge distances while skimming the surface of the water. These suits are generally a little bit less durable so they are not suitable for prolonged diving or deep diving.
Surfing Or Paddling Suits
These suits sit squarely in the middle between Triathalon suits and diving suits. They are made for warmth and mobility, as well as durability for those inevitable wipe-outs. They are great for surfing, kiteboarding, paddling or even snorkeling, but if you want to explore the depths you need a suit with a few more bells and whistles. Still, getting a good surfing wetsuit is a good investment as they are incredibly versatile.
Diving suits are generally made from neoprene; a material that helps insulate and protect the body during deep dives. They are also heavier than both Triathalon and surf wetsuits, and will generally cost you more. If you are planning deep oceanic dives, you need a proper suit. Not only will the neoprene help your body adjust as you descend, it will also keep your core temperature at an optimum level in chilly sea water.
Think About Where You Will Be Diving
Assuming you will be diving with a neoprene wetsuit, there are still other factors that you need to consider before venturing into the open ocean, specifically the trade-off between mobility and warmth.
The thicker your neoprene, the warmer your suit will be. Neoprene is measured in millimeter thickness so when you are choosing your suit, you’ll see the thickness of the material noted right in the product description. If you go with heavier neoprene, typically a 7 mm suit you definitely will not be as cold under the waves, but you will not have the dexterity of a thinner suit. How you lean on the trade-off largely depends on where you will be diving. If diving with a 7 mm wetsuit in chillier climates you will also need to make sure you have a suitably sized hood or hoodie, neoprene gloves or and boots
If you will be exploring chillier waters go for the thicker neoprene. What you lose in mobility you will make up for in comfort, and it is also dangerous to be excessively cold under the water. You are flirting with hypothermia. If you are diving in more tropical areas or will be navigating around tricky underwater formations, like coral reefs or wrecks, choose thinner neoprene.
Another thing to consider is how you’ll be getting into your wetsuit. If you choose one with a back zip you will lose a little mobility but water will be less likely to seep into your suit. Front zips give you more range of motion, but you might find water leaking in.
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing the perfect wetsuit and the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Through careful consideration of what you will be using your suit for you can make a more intelligent purchase that will last you years.