Picking The Right Wet Suit For Scuba Diving
If there is one piece of gear which can determine whether you enjoy a dive or not, it has to be your wet suit. If you are too cold, or too constrained, or even too hot, it can make your dive much less enjoyable than it could have been. For that reason we are going to talk about some of the things that you should think about when you are buying your wet suit. We will consider the material, the thickness, buoyancy, as well as some of the other exposure gear which you should be looking at purchasing at the same time as your wet suit. For the purpose of this article we are going to leave out dry suits, which require further training to wear and for which we will devote a completely separate aritcle.
Choosing The Right Thickness For A Wet Suit
The first thing you have to consider is where you will be using your wet suit most often and how warm the water tends to be at that location. If you are only a summer time diver in Arizona you will likely choose something completely different than if you take frequent trips to California.
If you are diving in very warm water and don’t really need a suit for thermal reasons, but would like something to protect you from the chaffing of gear, jellyfish stings, or other environmental concerns, rash guards or skin suits may be a good option. They tend to be less money than thicker wet suits. Provide a full range of motion. Rash guards or skin suits also don’t increase your buoyancy very much in comparison to wet suits, which in turn means you don’t require as much weight when diving.
If you are diving in relatively warm water, but still want some of the warmth and protection that a wet suit offers, you should consider a 3mm thick suit. There are full wet suits which cover your entire arms and legs, and there are also “shorties” which only come down as far as you knees and elbows. Which style you prefer is really a matter of preference and how susceptible you are to being cold while diving.The nice thing about a 3mm suit is that many of them are still quite flexible and don’t restrict your motion so much as some of the thicker wet suits can. There are different types of material which can help with allowing a freer range of motion as well. In Akona, for instance they call their products with more flexible material the “Quantum Stretch.”
As you move into colder water suits, you are looking at suits which are 5mm and up. These suits are very good at retaining your body heat and keeping you warm in most all waters that you will encounter. When you are into these suits you will also have to look at things such as whether to get a suit which has a hood or not attached or to buy one separately. Much of your heat is lost through your head, so ensuring you have a warm hood is essential when looking at a cold water wet suit. If the water is cold enough that you will be requiring a 5mm suit, chances are that you will also be requiring boots and gloves. You will find that all of the cold water wet suits will add a significant amount of buoyancy to you so you will have to plan to have extra weight for your dive. Again with these, try and find a suit which is made of material that helps limit the restriction of movement in your arms and legs.
Ensure The Wet Suit Is A Proper Fit
You should really try on your wet suit prior to making your purchase. Ensuring that the wet suit is fitting properly is one of the most important things you can do to get the most out of your purchase. If the wet suit is too loose, water will flow through easily and will not provide as much warmth and heat retention as it should. If the wet suit is too tight you will run into several problems. The wet suit will not be very comfortable, it will restrict your movement much more than it should be, and it can also even slow down circulation to your hands and feet which will lead to them getting cold much quicker. If you are in the Mesa, Arizona area, we would be happy to take the time with you and help you find a suit which fits you perfectly.
Check The Warranty and Price
Another thing which you should always look at is the warranty that comes with the wet suit as well as the cost of the wet suit. The costs of scuba diving wet suits varies a lot. Some of price will have to do with the brand or manufacturer and some will be more to do with the materials used and the quality of product. When you come into our dive shop located just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, we will give you our honest opinions on what wet suit will give you the most bang for your buck.
Why Not Rent One First?
Another option which we offer our customers is the chance to rent a wet suit prior to buying it. We have a large inventory of rental wet suits. We only keep the wet suits in our rental inventory for a year or so, which means none of our rental wet suits are very old and they are all in really good condition. By trying out a wet suit before buying, you will get an opportunity to ensure that you have the correct fit and thickness for you and your diving, prior to buying. ne today!
Do Your Research
If you do decide to purchase a wet suit online without trying it on, do your research. Read reviews on the different products, compare warranties, and ask lots of questions. Ensuring you purchase the right wet suit and dive gear may determine how much enjoyment and fun you get out of diving!