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.
In 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.
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).
Recreational 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.
Wetsuits come in a variety of styles:
The seams that hold the wetsuit together come in a variety of types too:
Last but not least, wetsuits come with different zipper configurations:
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 – we offer hassle free returns and exchanges if something doesn’t fit.
Check out Part 2: How To Choose a Wetsuit for Diving.
Do you have a favorite wetsuit style? Let us know in the comments section below!