Wetsuits are usually made of Neoprene
Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by polymerization of chloroprene. Neoprene exhibits good chemical stability and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range. Neoprene is sold either as solid rubber or in latex form, and is used in a wide variety of applications, such as laptop sleeves, orthopedic braces (wrist, knee, etc.), electrical insulation, liquid and sheet applied elastomeric membranes or flashings, and automotive fan belts.
- Wetsuits keep your body warm in colder weather and colder waters.
- Functions by trapping a thin layer of water between you and the neoprene or wetsuit.
- The water trapped between you and the neoprene is warmed by your body heat.
- The thicker the Neoprene, the warmer you’ll feel, the more heat is trapped inside your suit and layer of water.
- Based on the technology of the neoprene and wetsuit, the heat trap technology can vary.
- Wetsuits will not keep you dry, in fact, you’ll be wet, as there is a thin layer of water inside the suit to keep you warm.
- Wetsuits are measured in millimeters.
- . Wetsuit thickness is indicated by 2 or 3 millimeter numbers separated by dashes. The first set of numbers represent the thickness of the wetsuit at your core or torso area, the 2nd set indicates the thickness of the wetsuit at your body extremities such as arms and legs. If there is a 3rd number, then that represents your leg wetsuit thickness number.
- If the water is very cold, consider wearing wetsuit boots, gloves and hoods.
Other Factors to Consider:
- Air Temperature
- The General Weather
- Your Personal Body Fitness
- Sport or Activity
- Your wetsuit should fit tight and snug, not loose. Remember that a thin layer of water should get trapped between your skin and the wetsuit
- You can wear a rashguard underneath your wetsuit or a swimsuit.
- Wetsuits are generally difficult to put on when dry.
Wetsuit Stitching Types
- Flatlock stitching is recommended for water that is warmer than 62degrees Fahrenheit
- Flatlock stitching is flat against your body and more comfortable.
- Flatlock stitching may let more water in.
Flatlock stitching is the stitching that looks like overlocking on both sides of a seam and is often used in swimwear, sportswear, on baby's clothes, or just as a decorative exposed seam. It creates a seam that is flat and has the same appearance both inside and out.
- Sealed stitching is recommended for water temperature over 55degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sealed stitching lets in less water
- Sealed stitching uses panels that are glued and then blind stitched
- Blind Stitches do not go through entirely into the neoprene material.
- The stitch is then glued over.
Sealed and Taped
- Great for water temperature below 55degrees Fahrenheit
- Similar technique to Sealed Stitching with the added benefit of interior taping.
- Less water will come through
Back Zippers – Traditional and typical zipper type. Easy to enter, but lets in more water. Can make your back colder.
Chest Zippers – More difficult to put on. More comfortable and warmer once you’re in.
Types of Wetsuits
Covers your entire body from neck to ankles, legs and arms.
Shorty Wetsuits | Springsuits
Covers your main core, covers most of your arms and legs. Exposes your forearms and bottom half of your legs. Used in warmer waters.
Long John Wetsuits
A complete suit that looks like a muscle shirt or vest. Covers your entire legs but not the arms.
Top Only Wetsuits
Top or vest only. Used in warmer weather.
Bottoms Only Wetsuits
Shorts or leggings of neoprene. Used in warmer weather.
Light top made of lycra, polyester or other light/thin material. UV resistant. Can be worn underneath a full wetsuit.
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