Everything about what to wear under a wetsuit and what the advantages and disadvantages of certain pieces of clothing are
‘What to wear under a wetsuit?’ is probably one of those questions I get asked most often when I’m at the beach. This is why I’ve decided to make a piece on what to wear under a wetsuit so that we can clear some misconceptions together, and you can find what suits you best.
After all, you cannot enjoy standup paddling or surfing if you don’t enjoy your wetsuit. So, let’s get to it!
While every paddler will tell you differently about what to wear under a wetsuit, you should decide whether wearing a Speedo or going completely commando underneath works for you. After all, it’s all based on personal experience.
However, 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. So, with that in mind, read on to find out why I personally recommend wearing something underneath and what exactly.
The benefits of wearing undergarments with your wetsuit
More insulation and protection
We all wear wetsuits for the added warmth and protection from the cold water. So, when adding these extra layers, they will keep your body much warmer whether you’re immersed in water or above the water.
In my opinion, if you find yourself struggling with flexibility and your wetsuit limits your movement in the water, then it is time you get a thinner one and wear something underneath for added warmth and insulation.
Check out my other post on How does a wetsuit work where I go in depth on how wetsuits work and which are the 4 attributes to choosing the perfect wetsuit for you.
Additionally, undergarments for wetsuits provide protection for the air temperature too. Also, if you choose a good clothing material for under your wetsuit, they can protect you from bites, stings, cuts, or scrapes. This is why you should decide on getting the right type for your water activity, and the season you are in (full-body, one-piece, or two-piece), serving as an additional layer between the elements and your skin.
Comfort Some suits, depending on the inside seams, can be pretty uncomfortable to wear for an extended period of time when fully naked underneath. However, some divers and paddlers find that underclothing, on the other hand, may be uncomfortable too. However, wearing at least a Speedo or a two-piece swimming suit for women underneath can provide much more comfort on your intimate parts. Plus, not to mention, you can be much more comfy when taking it down in public places.
Hygiene Taking care of your wetsuit and washing it properly ensures that it lasts longer and doesn’t smell bad. However, how you wear it has a part in this since if you are wearing it naked underneath all the time, the rubber may start developing a smell.
One even more important thing to pay attention to is if you are renting the wetsuit or wearing your own. If you are renting it out, then you definitely need to wear something underneath, since the people at the shop may not wash their wetsuits so often, plus those renting it before may have been full-on commando. So, in that case, I would suggest wearing a full jumpsuit on, so that you protect your entire body from the wetsuit. You can check out my article on how to properly take care and wash your wetsuit.
What to wear under a wetsuit
Diving or fitted bicycle shorts are an excellent protection for your body in the wetsuit. Since they are pressed tightly against your skin, you won’t feel them once you put on your wetsuit, and they won’t limit your movement. Plus, they’ll add an extra layer for diving in slightly colder temperatures, and these shorts also help you get in and out of your wetsuit easily.
If you’re looking to buy one pair, then make sure they are made of neoprene. This will make them light and add buoyancy to them for added thickness and warmth. Also, be on the lookout for a super-stretch neoprene foam, so they don’t wrinkle when you are putting them on.
A rash guard for your upper body is also advisable to avoid chaffing and itchiness from the wetsuit material. When paddling in colder temperatures, this extra layer of clothing will keep your body warm. You have the chance to choose a rash guard with long sleeves or one with shorter sleeves.
Additionally, with rash guards, you have to make sure they are made of lightweight material that is about 85% polyester and 15% spandex. This will make the material dry out quickly, will give you 50+ UV protection, and won’t limit you in all kinds of water sports.
Next, you have the option of choosing a full-body jumpsuit for women or men. These are 1mm thin jumpsuits that provide full coverage against your wetsuit and won’t limit your movement in any way. Practically you won’t even feel them once you slip into your wetsuit.
The added benefit of wearing a full-on jumpsuit is the more significant protection from the UV radiation, plus you will be warmer in colder temperatures. Also, you should pick a material that dries quickly rather than a thick one that may limit your movements in the water.
Briefs for men usually come in thin lycra that provides protection from your wetsuit on your crotch but are lightweight enough, so they don’t limit you or make you too warm when outside.
I would suggest picking briefs made of lycra and nylon fiber, thin enough to dry quickly, yet thick enough to provide the much-needed protection for your skin.
Women usually pick sleeveless vests for their upper body protection instead of compression shirts. While both are a great option, the sleeveless vests provide more freedom around the shoulders and arms.
Again, when choosing your sleeveless vest, it should be a thin, quick-dry, lightweight fabric that is suitable for water sports, layering under wetsuits, and swimming.
A one-piece swimsuit is an excellent choice if you are a woman. This type of swimsuit provides coverage on all sensitive parts, but it also gives you the freedom to move and does not close you as much as a full-on jumpsuit does.
This can be any one-piece swimsuit that feels comfortable enough on your skin.
Being aware of your options surely makes it easier for you to choose your preferred undergarment for your wetsuit.
If you’d ask me to weigh-in the options and tell you what to buy and what to wear under a wetsuit, all I can say is, it depends.
Choosing what to wear under a wetsuit is a personal preference and a choice that depends on your specific circumstances.
For instance, if you are stand up paddle boarding mid-February, then, of course, I would say put a full-body jumpsuit under your wetsuit for added warmth and insulation.
However, if you’ll be surfing in summer and don’t really need the extra temperature, then going for just men’s briefs or a two-piece swimsuit for women will be great as well.
On the other hand, if you cannot stand anything underneath your wetsuit and you would feel your best being naked underneath, then that’s fine too. I would just advise buying a thicker wetsuit in that case so you can be warmer in the cold months when paddle boarding.
The only thing I would definitely recommend is going for an undergarment like a rash guard and some shorts when renting your wetsuit. This is out of health and hygienic reasons, and I would absolutely recommend it.
So weigh-in carefully and consider all outer and inner conditions before buying your next wetsuit and deciding what to wear under a wetsuit.
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