What is the best wetsuit to buy / get?
A wetsuit works by having a layer of neoprene gripped against your skin. When you jump in the water an extremely thin layer of water then sits between the neoprene and your skin. As the wetsuit is designed to fit tightly, it means that your body heats the water and the neoprene then acts as an insulator. A poor fitting wetsuit i.e. one that is too big will allow the water to flush straight out through the arms, legs or neck and provide less protection.
The neoprene is made of a rubber-like material that has millions of tiny air bubbles, the deeper you descend it means that the wetsuit will start to compress thus providing less insulation. It also means that you lose more buoyancy – something to consider when doing your weight check.
The main types of wetsuits are:
Shortie – this is a wetsuit that covers the torso and the tops of arms and legs. They are normally 2.5 to 3mm in thickness and are ideal for use in heated swimming pools and tropical climates.
Full length wetsuits – these cover your torso, arms and legs and come in a range of ticknesses to suit different water temperatures:
– 3mm ideal for warm water, also gives more protection to coral and sharp objects such as those found on wrecks
– 5mm – a good all round suit and good in mild to warm water
– 6.5 or 7mm – a good suit for colder water, ideal for temperatures from about 12 degrees upwards. A shortie can often be placed over the top for added protection but requires more weight to be added.
Semi-dry – these are normally full length wetsuits that are designed to allow very little water in to the suit keeping you much warmer. They also normally have an interior lining for added warmth.
Drysuit – these aren’t wetsuits but are worth a mention. These are designed for cold water diving such as the UK and Ice Diving. Prices can vary from a few hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds.
A few tips when considering buy a wetsuit:
– How often are you going to use it. If you are only going to use it once or twice a year then you can sometimes find a bargain from supermarkets and discount stores
– Make sure it fits comfortably and is tight against the skin
– The thickness of the wetsuit depending on where you think you’ll use it and the time of year
– The amount you want to spend – a good quality wetsuit will be very well shaped, should last many years and keep you much warmer. Most of the main manufacturers tend to include a few USP’s to keep you nice and toasty.
Who are the main manufactures?
I would consider any of the following; Bare, Fourth Element, Mares, Waterproof and Aqua Lung. Our Online Shop has a full selection of the best wetsuits.