If you want to explore the world underwater, you will need a proper diving wetsuit to hit the waves. A good wetsuit is worth the investment as it keeps you warm and toasty underwater letting you perform dives that would otherwise be impossible. Also, having your own wetsuit helps you avoid issues common with rented suits, such as poor fit, and unpleasant odours. However, selecting a wetsuit can be tricky because there are so many factors to consider. How do they work? Which type to choose? And, most importantly, what will work best for you? Therefore, before making an impulse purchase, ensure you get the right suit to match the diving you plan to do. Carefully consider how and when you intend to use it, and then start narrowing it down to the specifics.
Let us walk you through our expert guide for purchasing a diving suit so that you can find the best wetsuit for your underwater adventure.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE SELECTING A DIVING WETSUIT
Where do you dive? And how often?
This question is vital because neoprene, the material used for diving wetsuits, is not created equal for all wetsuits. It could vary depending on the requirements of water activities, such as surfing and diving. Similarly, the wetsuit choice can be different based on the water temperature, the depth of the dive, and how often you enjoy diving.
Do you tend to get cold quickly?
As a part of acclimatisation, temperature affects everyone differently. If you are used to a warm climate, you can feel the cold faster in a cold environment. However, the thickness and the type of wetsuit you need can be completely different if you live in a cold climate.
What are the required design specifics?
Diving wetsuits come in various designs with different thicknesses, zip placement, and seam construction (Stitching Style). These variables will also have an impact on the quality of the wetsuit. When making the final selection, your comfort with the design also matters.
HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT DIVING WETSUIT?
Fit and Comfort
A wetsuit’s effectiveness depends on how well it can fit on you like a second skin. It is designed to trap a thin layer of water between your body and the suit once you wear it. This layer allows your body heat to warm the water to help preserve your body heat. If the wetsuit is too big, the extra water flaw will reduce its thermal efficiency, while a too-small fit could make movement and breathing difficult. Too tight fits can also reduce the lifespan of a wetsuit as the neoprene could stretch beyond its breaking point.
You can follow the checklist below to test if your diving wetsuit fits properly.
- The wetsuit must be well-fitted to your body, with no gaps from top to bottom. Raise both arms above your head and push them together to see if the fit is too tight.
- Your neck, wrists, and ankle seals should be snug and comfortable. Adjust the suit size if the seals are overly tight or gape when you move.
- The suit’s crotch should be close to your own and not caught between your nether regions and knees.
- Check if the arms and legs reach your wrists and ankles.
- The wetsuit should take several minutes to wear and should not slide on or off easily.
Thermal Protection Factor and Thickness
As the water temperature differs based on the location, scuba wetsuits come in various thicknesses. It is also crucial to note that each diver has a different tolerance to water temperature.
The typical rule of thumb for determining thickness is as follows.
|Water Temperature Range||Wetsuit Thickness|
|· 75°F and above||Up to 2.5 mm|
|· 70°F to 80°F||Between 3 – 4.5 mm|
|· 60°F to 70°F||Between 5 – 6.5 mm|
|· 45°F to 60°F||7 mm and above|
The thicker the wetsuit, the better it will act as a heat barrier. However, this is only a basic guideline, as a diver’s warmth will depend on various factors. These could include the period of exposure, depth, number of dives, the suit fit, body type, body fat percentage, use of accessories (hoods/gloves/boots), and many more.
As your sole shield underwater, wetsuits exist in a variety of shapes and sizes. Currently, the market is dominated by four types of scuba diving wetsuits.
- Full-body Wetsuits
- Farmer John/Jane
- Wetsuit Separates (Tops and Bottoms)
Full-body wetsuits and farmer John/Jane suits with covering jackets are more suitable for cold water diving, while divers generally wear shorts when diving in warm water. Wetsuit separates are another popular choice and are often used with board shorts or layered under a wetsuit for added warmth.
The zips and stitching in these suits create holes in the neoprene, allowing cold water to get inside the diving wetsuit and negating the warm water. As a result, having the proper stitching and zips is critical to the functioning of your suit.
- Back Zipper
- Extends from the base of the spine to the back of the collar.
- Creates a larger opening for entry and exit.
- They are less flexible and have a looser neck seal allowing more water to flush through.
- Chest Zipper
- Creates a narrow opening that allows for greater mobility.
- It makes a more secure fit that keeps you warm in cooler water.
- No Zip
- The most comfortable and versatile design.
- It makes the suit lighter and more watertight.
- Boosts the suit’s warmth and limits the water flush.
Seams and Stitching
- Overlock Stitching
- Panel edges are rolled and then stitched to hold them together.
- The simplest way to link two neoprene panels but the least effective in keeping water out.
- Commonly used in summer or less expensive wetsuits.
- Reduce seam flexibility and may cause chafing due to the bulge it leaves within the wetsuit.
- Flat Lock Stitching
- Overlaps two pieces of neoprene and stitches the seam.
- Ideal for summer use but not for colder temperatures.
- More breathable and cooler to wear.
- Glued and Blind Stitched (GBS)
- Panels are joined by glue and then stitched halfway through for a watertight seam.
- Superior in quality due to the glue and the blind stitching.
- As stitching does not penetrate the entire suit, water flush is limited.
- Welded Seams
- Neoprene panels are linked using a silicon-based watertight seal.
- This method leaves no pores in the panels, creating a 100% waterproof barrier.
- More durability and flexibility.
- Typically used in expensive and high-quality wetsuits.
SCUBA WAREHOUSE- FOR BEST DIVING WETSUITS IN MALAYSIA
Wearing the right wetsuit can make all the difference in making your diving experience more relaxed and enjoyable. Therefore, product quality should be your top priority when shopping for your wetsuit and other accessories.
Scuba Warehouse is your go-to place to buy high-quality items like a scubapro wetsuit, swimwear or other diving supplies in Malaysia. For all your diving needs, call them at +603-77338910.