What Are the Different Types of Wetsuits?
Wetsuits are chiefly made of neoprene and other neoprene-based proprietary materials, such as Thermoprene, Hyperstretch, or Titanium. Other than that, there are many different types of wetsuits that can be used for different purposes and environments.
A full wetsuit covers your entire body and can come either in one-piece or two-piece (farmer John or Jane) design. Full suits can be found in many different thicknesses made for different water temperatures. This type of wetsuit covers the entire body including arms up to wrists and legs up to ankles.
Shorty wetsuits have short legs and arms and are usually very thin. These suits are most often worn in warmer water temperatures.
Long John is a spring suit that covers your legs and body but has no sleeves.
Whatever suit style you prefer, you will be able to find it in our catalog. Dip ’N Dive carries a full selection of Diving Wetsuits, Jumpsuits, and Shorties. We offer all the major brand name suits in the most popular styles. Choose from Henderson Hyperstretch Wetsuits, Pinnacle Merino-Elastiprene Mares Trilastic, Aqualung Solafx, and Neosport X-span, to name a few. You can also select the thickness that meets your diving needs. We carry everything from dive skins to 8mm Kodiak semi-dry wetsuits.
How Should A Wetsuit Fit?
Although wetsuits should fit snugly, it’s important not to choose one that’s too tight. Ideally, your wetsuit will feel almost like a second skin, but not so tight that it restricts your range of motion. If the wetsuit has full sleeves, they should hit right at your wrist, and the legs should hit just above your ankle. It’s important that there are no pockets or “rolls” of neoprene in your wetsuit, as this means the suit is too large. While the suit should feel tight on land, it will loosen up somewhat when you enter the water.
What Are the Different Types of Wetsuit Seam Seals?
There are a few types of stitching used in quality wetsuits today - overlock, flatlock, and blindstitch. With the overlock stitching, the two edges of the panels are simply rolled inwards and then stitched together, which makes this type of seam less flexible and also results in a bulge on the inside of the wetsuit. The flatlock seam (or flat seam) method involves laying the edge of one panel over the other, then stitching through the neoprene, creating a very strong seam. The drawback though is that this stitching creates a lot of holes going through the neoprene, and is prone to high water penetration. With the blind stitch, the edges of the panels are first glued together and then stitched on the inside in such a way that the stitching only goes partially through the neoprene, thus creating a watertight, flexible seam. This is the ideal seam for cold water temperatures. Additionally, the seams can be sealed. The panels can be glued, taped (fully or in critical areas only), or liquid sealed. All of these methods increase the strength of the seam and provide additional waterproofing.
Wetsuit Zippers - Should I Choose Front/Chest Zip or Back Zip?
There is really no right or wrong answer to the question of wetsuit zipper location. It all comes down to personal preference. The back zip is a more traditional style of wetsuit entry system. Thanks to the wide opening on the back, these suits are the easiest to get into. Due to the fact that there is less pulling about to get them on and off, back zip wetsuits also tend to have longer life spans. The downside is that these wetsuits may offer less flexibility around your shoulders and back. The back zips are also more prone to flushing.
Front zip wetsuits have a much shorter, horizontal or diagonal zip across the chest. They offer a better range of movement and tend to have a more comfortable neck on them. That being said, front zip wetsuits can be a little more challenging to put on sometimes.