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Buying my first scuba diving wetsuit
2021 is the year for trying new hobbies. We’re on the cusp of what will hopefully be a Covid-free summer. After the hardships we’ve endured the past year, it’s not surprising people want to make the most out of their post-pandemic lifestyles.
Scuba diving is a hobby unlike any other; it lets you connect with nature and see the wonders of our planet from a completely different perspective. If you’re looking to get into scuba diving in 2021, you’re probably looking into buying a wetsuit.
Whilst buying a wetsuit for diving is a worthwhile investment, there are a few things you need to know when you’re buying a wetsuit for scuba diving. In this blog post, we’re going to explore the ins-and-outs of buying your first wetsuit.
Benefits Of Buying Your Own Wetsuit
If you’re just starting out, buying a wetsuit for scuba diving might seem pointless. You might be under the impression that renting or borrowing a wetsuit will be a better decision than investing in a wetsuit for yourself. In reality, this isn’t the case, and you will benefit from buying your own wetsuit no matter what stage you’re at in your scuba diving journey. This is due to two reasons: making sure your wetsuit fits, and avoiding any health risks.
The Perfect Fit
Wetsuits come in all different sizes, and having the right fitting wetsuit for scuba diving is of high priority. If your wetsuit is too big, water will be able to seep in and out of your wetsuit. The presence of water inside your suit causes your wetsuit to lose its layer of insulation, and your body will have to use more energy trying to stay warm. In addition to this, the water in your suit can slow you down and make swimming in your suit more difficult.
Alternatively, if your wetsuit is too small, this can cause restricted movement and breathing problems. Your wetsuit mustn’t cut off your circulation.
No Health Risks
No one wants to be sharing sweaty old socks with a stranger. That’s what borrowing a wetsuit can be like. Sweatsuits are super absorbent, meaning they absorb all kinds of liquid: sweat, urine, water. Wearing someone else’s wetsuit can result in you being a little too close for comfort with someone else’s bodily fluids.
Neoprene, the material wetsuits are usually made from, is highly absorbent. This means bacteria and germs can be absorbed into the wetsuit and can irritate the skin. Owning your own wetsuit means you know where it’s been, how it’s been washed, and you can avoid the risk of potential infection or irritation caused by harmful bacteria.
What To Look Out For When Buying Your First Wetsuit
Whether Gul, Cressi, Mares or Osprey are your brand of choice, there are some general facts and information you need to know before buying wetsuits for diving.
As mentioned previously, wetsuits are made from a material called neoprene. The neoprene in your wetsuit traps heat and helps insulate your body while in water. Neoprene is made up of a combination of synthetic rubbers, which means it can stay flexible in different environments and at different temperatures.
Like most materials, not all neoprene is made equally, and you should be aware of the quality of neoprene you’re investing in.
In a wetsuit, the neoprene is sandwiched between two pieces of fabric. These pieces of fabric are usually nylon or polyester. A nylon wetsuit is usually slightly stronger compared to polyester, however, a polyester wetsuit keeps its colour better. It’s up to you to decide which of these is your main priority and make the decision accordingly.
Full length or shorty
Wetsuits come in two different styles: full length or shorty. Shorty wetsuits finish just below the knees and have short arms, whereas the full-length wetsuit covers the whole body. Wetsuits for diving in the UK tend to be full length due to the colder temperatures. Shorty’s can still keep you warm, but they insulate heat around just the torso. Despite this, some Brits still opt for a shorty due to shorty’s being better for tanning.
The thicker your wetsuit, the warmer you’ll be. If you’re looking for Wetsuits for diving in the UK, you’ll want to invest in a thicker wetsuit than if you’re diving in warmer climates such as the Philippines. Finding the right thickness for your location and needs is something you must consider when buying your first scuba diving wetsuit.
Types Of Closures
Wetsuits come with three different types of closure: back-zip, zipless, and chest-zip.
The back-zip is the most common form of closure and the one you’ll likely have seen the most.
Back-zip wetsuits have a long-zip down the back of the wetsuit. This zip makes them easy to get on and off but may cause potential leakage with more space for water to seep through. Some people find the back-zip more comfortable as there isn’t any restriction or the risk of a hard zip digging into the neck or chest.
The front zip allows the back of your suit to be covered with a whole sheet of neoprene, making your suit more flexible. A front zip suit also tends to have fewer gaps, resulting in less space for water to seep through. This means your front-zip wetsuit may have better insulation properties than a back-zip suit. However, the opening for a front-zip suit is generally much smaller and can be more difficult to get on and off.
The absence of the zip on a zipless wetsuit makes them the most flexible suit out of the three. This style also has the lowest risk of potential water leakage and eliminates any pain or irritation caused by a digging-in zip. The downside of the zipless wetsuit is that getting it on and off can be more of a challenge.
As mentioned previously, the warmth and insulation properties of your wetsuit are dependent on how much water can seep through. Stitching pokes tiny holes in the fabric. The larger these holes are, the more water will be able to transfer through and affect how warm your wetsuit is. The stitch on your suit will also contribute towards flexibility, chafing and comfort.
There are four types of seams to consider when buying your first diving wetsuit: stitching, flatlock, overlock, blindstitch.
How To Look After Your Wetsuit
Whether your wetsuit is Cressi, Gul, Osprey or Mares, you need to make sure you’re looking after it in the right way. Once you’ve worn your suit, rinse it well, hang it up to dry in a shaded area, turn it inside out and allow it to dry on the other side. Every so often, you can wash your wetsuit in the washing machine using wetsuit shampoo– this is a good idea if you’re worried your suit might contain germs or harmful bacterias.
How To Transport Your Wetsuit
Whether you’re taking your wetsuit to Lundy Island in Devon, Southeast Florida or the Andaman Sea in Thailand, you need to look after your wetsuit when travelling. To do this, make sure you fold your wetsuit as neatly as possible and lay it flat whilst travelling. When you arrive at your dream scuba diving location, unfold and hang your wetsuit up as soon as possible
The most important thing about owning your own wetsuit is to enjoy it. Owning a wetsuit gives you the freedom to go scuba diving whenever and wherever your heart desires! You no longer have to wait on a mate or seek out a trusty place to hire from. Instead, you can jump right to it, get in the water and explore all the beauties of the natural world.
In this article, we’ve outlined the key things you need to know before you buy a wetsuit for scuba diving. These tips will help you find the perfect wetsuit for you and help you take care of it on the many adventures you have to come.