A wetsuit protects you from the cold water and keeps your body heat in. Other rough materials now also don't chafe your skin. Read everything you need to know about wetsuits here!

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What is a wetsuit?

A wetsuit is a piece of water equipment designed to provide you with thermal protection while wet. Wetsuits are made of different layering of materials, while the most important is the foamed neoprene.

Its construction provides thermal insulation, buoyancy, and protection from abrasion, ultraviolet exposure, and stings from marine organisms to surfers, stand up paddlers, divers, windsurfers, canoeists, and other water sports lovers.

The foamed neoprene, as the most important segment of the wetsuit, contains bubbles of gas enclosed in the material which trap warm air and keeping constant control of the temperature. These bubbles also give you the chance to float higher in water, hence the higher buoyancy, which makes you swim faster and move easier in general.


How does a wetsuit work?

A wetsuit is made of a specific neoprene material that traps a thin layer of water on the inside. This small amount of water is then warmed by your body temperature, and it stays there to keep you from losing your body heat when in water.

While there are many different constructions and designs for a wetsuit, their baseline is providing insulation against cold water temperatures while keeping the heat inside so that you do not go into hypothermia.

If you’d like to know more on the 4 main segments of a wetsuit, and what exactly is its functionality, read this full article 😉


What to wear under a wetsuit?

There are certain things to think about when deciding what to wear under a wetsuit. Wearing a piece of clothing or none at all both have their pros and cons.

While every paddler will tell you differently, you should decide whether wearing a Speedo or going completely commando underneath works for you. This is it’s a matter of personal preference. Here are the recommended undergarments for a wetsuit, should you decided to wear anything.

  • Diving or fitted bicycle shorts
  • A rash guard
  • A full-body jumpsuit
  • Briefs
  • Sleeveless vests or compression shirts
  • A one-piece swimsuit

Each one has their own benefits, and you can read more on why wearing anything underneath would be better than nothing at all.


How to wash a wetsuit

Taking good care of your wetsuit expands its lifespan and improves its performance on the water. So you have to know how to wash a wetsuit to keep it in great condition.

This is why, after each use, you should wash your wetsuit with fresh water thoroughly and adequately set it to dry on a specialized hanger turned inside-out. Once your suit is dried inside and out, you should place it away from the sun in a place with a constant temperature that gets aired regularly. This way, your suit won’t develop a stink, and you will preserve the neoprene material longer.

And speaking of unpleasant smells, there are specific shampoos that are designed to remove all dirt and bacterial residue from the wetsuit that should be used from time to time. Want to know more about this? Read this whole article about how to wash a wetsuit then ;-).


How to put on a wetsuit

When you have the right size and fit for a wetsuit, then slipping into your wetsuit is easy.

When putting it on, you can either use a water-based lubricant or go into water so you can have some liquid getting between your skin and the neoprene. You can also use one of the 5 easy techniques here to make it all more comfortable. Just remember not to pull too hard because you will stretch out the seams and destroy the neoprene.

The more you wear your wetsuit the easier it will be putting it on, since the neoprene has “memory” to remember your body shape and conform to it more and more each time.


What is the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit?

Both wetsuits and drysuits have the ability to keep you warm when in water. However, these suits do it in a different way.

Wetsuits actually let in a small amount of water in that you heat with your body as a way to control the temperature and slow the heat loss of your body. You have the choice to wear undergarments under your wetsuit or not, and the wetsuit will still maintain its primary function of keeping you warm.

Drysuits keep you completely dry, and they have a little looser fit than the wetsuits, so they don’t offer as much movement or flexibility as wetsuits. However, they are better in the sense that you can put as many layers of undergarments as you’d like below, depending on the water temperature you’re in. This makes them a bit more practical if you’re paddling or diving throughout the year.

Check out this whole article on wetsuits vs. drysuits to find the complete list of differences and cost of maintenance that can help you decide which one to buy.


What material is used for making a wetsuit?

Since the invention of neoprene rubber, wetsuits have been manufactured from it. As technology advances, neoprene gets continuously updated to improve the flexibility, fit, and performance of the suit. With that, you have

  • Nylon-Lined Neoprene
  • Smooth Skin Neoprene
  • Air Neoprene
  • Yulex

as some of the most popular fabrics for wetsuits. They all have their pros and cons, but the overall performance also largely depends on the type of seams, entry systems, lining, and paneling. Curious to know how? Check out this article that will help you make an informed decision on precisely the type of wetsuit you need for your water adventures.


Wetsuit temperature guide

Getting the right range of thickness for your wetsuit largely determines how much enjoyment you’ll get out of your water activities. So, choose carefully.

Here’s a table of wetsuit thickness in millimeters based on the water temperature.

  • For a water temperature of 24° C and up, no wetsuit is needed. Instead, you might want to wear board shorts, a jacket, and /or shorts.
  • For a water temperature of 18° C to 24° C, 3/2mm or 2mm thick wetsuit would be good. It can be in the form of a full suit or spring suit only.
  • For water temperature that ranges from 16° C to 20° C, 3/2mm thick wetsuit would be good. It can be in the form of a full suit or spring suit only.
  • For water temperature that ranges from 14° C to 17° C, I would suggest 3/2mm or 4/3mm in the form of a full suit or full hooded suit.
  • For water temperature that ranges from 11° C to 14° C, I would suggest 4/3mm or 5/4/3mm in the form of a full suit or full hooded suit.
  • For water temperature that ranges from 6° C to 11° C, I would suggest 5/4/3mm or 6/5/4mm in the form of a full suit or full hooded suit.
  • For water temperature below 6° C, I would suggest 6/5/4mm in the form of a full hooded suit.

For more explanation on what those numbers divided by slash mean and which body part they refer to, check the full article here.


Wetsuit Boots

When paddling, you’ll be in the water, but what’s the terrain like outside the water? Is it all pebbles and sand, or is it a rocky beach? Will you be hiking a little or descending through mud paths before reaching the water? Or maybe stomping through marshes?

This is very important, especially if you’ll be using your neoprene boots regularly, and you will be hopping in and out of your kayak or paddle board often.

Read more about the different types of wetsuit boots and which are best to use in certain circumstances in this extensive article and find the best wetsuit boots for you.


Wetsuit Gloves

Neoprene gloves vary in the thickness of material from 1 mm to 5 mm, and the thicker it is, the more resistance to the cold it provides. However, this comes with a disadvantage.

The thicker the neoprene is, the more it impairs your fingers and blocks your control from using your gloves effectively.

So, if you are paddle boarding, kayaking, or surfing, or doing any other activity in the water where you don’t need your fingers as much for fine work, then it is ok to go with thicker material gloves that will provide more warmth.

However, if you are working with tools, or you need better control of your fingers, then you should get thinner neoprene gloves no matter the weather or water temperature.

Read more about the different types of wetsuit gloves and which are best to use in certain circumstances in this extensive article and find the best wetsuit gloves for you.

Wetsuit hood

Wetsuit Hood

By using a wetsuit hood to insulate your head and a wetsuit to insulate your core temperature, you are retaining heat throughout your body and are preventing fatigue and conserving energy so that you can stay longer in water and be comfortable.

Otherwise, if your body is cold, it has to work twice as hard to replace lost heat, which decreases your time in the water.

On the market today, there’s a huge variety of wetsuit hood designs, models, materials, and fits that can leave you clueless as to what’s good and what to pick.

Read more about the different types of wetsuit hoods and which are best to use in certain circumstances in this extensive article and find the best wetsuit hood for you.


Wetsuit Tops

Whether paddling, surfing, swimming, or doing any other activity in the water, picking a good wetsuit top to match with the rest of your wetsuit gear will keep your core warm and safe when in the water.

Wondering why you would need a vest? Well, sometimes, in warmer weather, you can’t have a full wetsuit on merely because it’s hot, and it can make you feel restricted. However, a thin protective wetsuit top that acts like a rash guard and a vest at the same time might be just the thing you need to protect you from the harmful UV rays and the wind.

After all, the long and short sleeve wetsuit top models I have picked are made from a high-quality and super-stretchy neoprene that feels like a second skin.

Considering buying one? In this article you will find the most important things to look for in a wetsuit top so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing one.


Women’s Wetsuits

Once you try paddling or surfing, if you are anything like me, you know you are hooked for life. However, we in the northern hemisphere are quite limited to only a few months of enjoying the water all day long truly.

However, if you own a wetsuit, you can practically go into the water for swimming, surfing, paddling, or scuba diving whenever you feel like it.

This piece of equipment is there to keep you warm even when wet, so you don’t die of hypothermia in the cold waters. With that said, in this article, we are going to talk about the 7 womens wetsuit picks.


Kids Wetsuits

Buying your child solid kids wetsuits goes a long way not only in ensuring their safety and taking the inevitable precaution when surfing, swimming, or paddle boarding but also for your child feeling comfortable and truly loving and appreciating any water sport.

The wetsuits for kids are especially important because adults can withstand lower temperatures as their body is more resistant. Still, children need the wetsuit’s warmth and insulation that keep the body temperature levels at an optimal range, no matter the water or the weather.

Kids wetsuits nowadays can be found in multiple models and styles as well as thicknesses both for girls and boys, so you have the freedom to choose the right one for the expected water conditions.


Plus Size Wetsuit

Long gone are the days when we had two or three different models and people had to cross fingers and hope their wetsuit fits. Nowadays, we have a plethora of different models and dimensions that fit everyone for any occasion. This way, nothing stops you from trying and learning a new water sport.

And trust me when I say, once you try paddling, you know you are hooked for life. And what’s even better is that, if you own a wetsuit, you can practically go swimming, surfing, paddling, or scuba diving whenever you feel like it, any time of the year. Cold water can’t stop you!

The wetsuit is there to keep you warm when wet, so you don’t die of hypothermia in the cold waters. With that said, in this article, we are going to talk about the 7 plus size wetsuit picks, but if you want to know more about wetsuits in general and when they were invented, or why we need them, you are welcome to take a look at this post.