Yea! You’re finally done with renting wetsuits!
You know what some people do in those wetsuits… oops a bladder leak!
There are a couple of ways you can purchase your wetsuit. The first is to go to your local supplier and talk face to face with a qualified sales rep. This is much easier but you may not always find what you’re looking for especially if you have done some wetsuit researches online and find there’s a greater variety of wetsuits to choose from.
The other is to make your purchase online after doing some researches.
Before you jump into buying a wetsuit, there are some things I want you to think about when looking for your right wetsuit.
First, why do you want to buy a wetsuit?
Purchasing your very own wetsuit is a great investment for several reasons:
1) It’s yours
2) It fits right
3) It feels comfortable
4) It will last you a long time
What’s the purpose of a wetsuit?
You’re looking around for a wetsuit because those rented ones didn’t seem to fit you properly. Do you remember feeling cold during your dives? You shouldn’t have to have experiences like these.
A good wetsuit will give you the following:
1) Warmth! Its main purpose is to keep you warm.
2) Protection from scrapes from coral and jellyfish stings.
3) Provide buoyancy
What type of diving do you want to do?
Decide on what type of diving really fancies you. Do you want to do more cave diving, cold water diving… perhaps you just want to dive someplace warm?
Many divers have more than 1 wetsuit to suit their dive locations. I have 2 wetsuits… one for warm water diving and the other for diving in the Pacific Ocean… cooler water.
Think about the following questions here and jot your answers down on a piece of paper…
1) What are you interested in? – deep diving, night diving, cold water diving, cave exploring, wreck diving…
2) How deep will you be diving?
3) Where do you want to go diving? Geographic locations – mountain lakes, Caribbean…
4) When do you want to go diving? Consider the seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter.
5) What are the water conditions likes? Cold, warm, reefs…
6) What is the likely weather condition? Rainy, cold, very hot…
What are the types of wetsuits (styles)?
Choosing the type of wetsuit depends on the type of diving you do. If you like cold water diving then you should look at drysuits.
4 types of wetsuits:
- Wonderful to wear in warm water (temperature 22 C / 72 F)
- Fits just above the knees.
- Usually short-sleeved.
- Gives you lots of flexibility.
- Gives you no protection against jellyfish stings and scrapes from coral.
2) Full Length
- You get better thermal insulation and will keep you much warmer.
- Gives you protection from jellyfish stings and scrapes from coral.
- Most wetsuits come with zippers at the ankle making it easier to get your feet into and out of the wetsuit.
3) Dive Skin
- Water temperature 25 C / 77 F or warmer.
- Although not considered a wetsuit, some divers will wear this as their protection to coral.
- Material is spandex or lycra and provides you no real warmth.
- Give you lots of flexibility when worn by itself.
- Some will wear their full length wetsuit or shortie over the dive skin making the wetsuit much easier to slip on and off.
The idea behind drysuits is your body doesn’t get wet underwater!
- Great for cold water diving. Lakes.. Ice diving.
- The air in your suit is your insulator.
If you’re interested in buying a drysuit and have never used a drysuit, I highly recommend you take a speciality certification course on drysuit diving which you can take at any dive shops or resorts who offer cold water diving.
You can also go on the internet and check out dive training agencies like PADI, NAUI and SSI for more information. The course teaches you how to wear the drysuit, the functionality, buoyancy, hazards, experience in open water… everything you need to know to be a safe diver wearing the drysuit.
How do you want your wetsuit to fit? Getting the right fit!
It’s really important your wetsuit fits you properly!
If your wetsuit is too big, you risk too much water seeping into your wetsuit. This defeats the purpose of keeping you warm.
If your wetsuit is too tight it will also mean it’s tight around your neck. This can prevent circulation at your neck which can cause you to blackout during your dive.
Here’s what you want for your perfect fit…
1) Your wetsuit should fit you snug, as in tight to your body.
2) You must still be able to maintain your natural body flexibility.
3) When I buy brand new shoes I usually find I have to wear them at home for a few days just to get them to stretch. The same applies with your wetsuit.
After a few dives in your new wetsuit it should stretch enough in all the right places to give you your ‘perfect’ fit.
4) Getting the Right Thickness! This is important because your body needs to keep warm. The easiest way to determine this is your environment, type of water and type of diving.
a) The deeper you go, the more compression in your wetsuit which means you will feel colder!
b) The thicker your wetsuit, the more buoyancy you will get and have less natural flexibility.
Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimetres.
- This is not really referred to as a wetsuit but as a dive skin.
- Wear in very warm water and hot outside temperature 85 F. Example – Caribbean summer.
- Water temperature 29 C + / 85 F
- Wear in warm water with hot outside temperature – Caribbean summer.
- Water temperature 21 – 28 C / 70 – 85 F
- Perfect for diving in the Caribbean
- Water temperature 16 – 20 C / 60 – 70 F
- Example – Pacific Ocean in the summer
- Water temperature 10 – 20 C / 50 – 70F
- Around the 50 F, you might want to start thinking about a drysuit.
5) There are different manufacturers with different makes and styles. You will need to check with the supplier’s sizing chart because they go by their standard stock. If you fall in between the sizes.. Don’t worry!! All you need to do is look at the next size up as long as it’s not a noticeable variance. If it is look at a different supplier.
6) Now a days, you can go on the Supplier’s Chat online and give them your basic measurements like your height, weight and chest size or be more specific and give them your detailed measurements:
– around your head
– around your neck
– mid-neck to wrist bone
– neck-base to crotch
– crotch to ankle bone
7) Wetsuit Fabrication (Material)
Wetsuits are made out of foamed neoprene. This foamed neoprene has gas bubbles so when you dive deeper, your wetsuit will start to compress even more because of the water pressure. When you’re diving, some water will seep into your wetsuit. That water when warmed up by your body becomes your insulation. Wetsuits create buoyancy and so weights are required.
8) Wetsuit Stitching
If you’re looking for quality in a wetsuit, then knowing how the wetsuit is stitched is equally important to get your comfort and watertightness.
2 Stitches to look for:
Flat Lock Stitch (Flat Seam)
- Used on wetsuits that are 3mm thick or less
- Less expensive than blind stitch so the wetsuit costs less
- Look like smooth train tracks and makes the wetsuit feel more comfortable
- This stitch is better for warm water because some water will still seep into the wetsuit
Glued Blind Stitched Seams
It’s called the Blind Stitch because you can only see the stitching on the one side. The needle only goes thru half the material.
Sometimes, you may see stitching on both sides and the needle still doesn’t go all the way thru.
- Used more on drysuits for cold water diving. (50 F or less).
- Prevents water from entering the suit.
- Narrower than the Flat Stitch.
- Process involves gluing, pressing seams together and then stitching.
- The seams can stretch to help you get flexibility.
Cost of a wetsuit
Purchasing your right wetsuit depends on the thickness and the type of wetsuit. It can range anywhere from $150.00 to $800.00. The most popular wetsuit thickness is 3mm to 5mm and price is relatively inexpensive.
Well… that’s it folks! Thanks for reading and I hope this all helps you make your right decision in purchasing your wetsuit. Getting your ‘perfect’ wetsuit is like a dream come true!
I really would like to hear from you.. any questions and comments are welcomed below in my comment box below. Please let me know what wetsuit you purchased and how it felt during your dives.
Hey, are you interested in my review on a great wetsuit? Come check this out!