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How To Buy A Wetsuit

You are looking for a wetsuit that will allow you to enjoy your sport of choice all year long without compromising warmth or flexibility.  This guide will help you better understand different wetsuit technologies that we offer.

Water Temp Quick Reference Guide
6/5/4 Sealed 5/4/3 Sealed 4/3 Sealed & Taped 4/3 Sealed 3/2 Sealed 3/2 Flatlock Springsuit Poly Top
General Watersports             Neoprene Top Rash Guard
            Poly Top  
7mm John & Jacket 7mm John & Jacket 7mm John & Jacket 7mm 1 Piece 5mm John & Jacket 3/2 Full John & Jacket 3/2 Full Springsuit
SCUBA Diving     7mm 1 Piece 5mm John & Jacket 3mm John & Jacket 3/2 Full Springsuit Lycra Bodysuit
              Short John
Triathlon 5/3 Full 5/3 Full 5/3 Full 5/3 John 5/3 John 5/3 John 5/3 John Neoprene Vest
Kayak 5/4/3 Sealed 4/3 Sealed 3/2 Sealed 3/2 Flatlock Neoprene Top Neoprene Top Neoprene Vest Rash Guard for chafing

First and Foremost

Wetsuits will not keep you completely dry.  The idea is to allow a small amount of water inside, your body temperature will take care of the rest.  Depending on how your wetsuit is constructed, you may be able to keep the warm water trapped inside and avoid flushing from outside water. 

Our wetsuit listings give you a great snapshot of the suit's construction.  We will explain step-by-step.


4/3mm Men's Jet Pilot ALPHA Full Wetsuit
Neoprene Type: 60% Stretch
Seam Construction: Sealed


Step 1:  Wetsuit Thickness

In the above listing, 4/3mm -or- "Four Three" refers to wetsuit thickness in millimeters.  The first number represents thickness in the torso area, the second number in the extremities.  Less neoprene is used in the extremities to increase flexibility. 

As a rule of thumb, thickness increases warmth and decreases flexibility.  However, you will not notice much of a difference in flexibility going from a 3/2mm to a 4/3mm, but you will notice the added warmth!

Step II: Brand and Model

In this example, the brand is Jet Pilot and the model is Alpha.  Please note that each brand has a unique fit. Always consult the size chart (located at the bottom of each ad) before making a purchase. 

Step III: Length

Rash Guards provide UV and Rash protection.  They do not provide warmth.

Neoprene Tops will provide minimal warmth and can be used for UV, Rash, and Wind protection on warm days with swim trunks.  Tops can also be warn under a wetsuit for added warmth on cold days. 

Shorty / Springsuits have shortened arms and legs.  These suits are great for water temperatures above 70 degrees

Full Wetsuits cover your entire body.  These suits are great for water less than 70F.

Step IV: Neoprene Type

Standard Neoprene provides standard range-of-motion flexibility.  Great for limited use or beginners

30% Stretch - Super stretchy panels of neoprene are placed in the arms, underarm, back, lower back, and shoulders for increased flexibility.  An excellent upgrade from standard neoprene, you will notice the difference when swimming or paddling

60% Stretch - Super stretchy neoprene covers all major flex points for increased mobility.  Excellent compromise for frequent users.  Suits with 60% Stretch are lighter and fit better

100% Stretch forms the ultimate glove around your body.  100% stretch flexes as you move.  Reduces noticeable bulkiness in thicker suits

Step V: Seam Construction

Flatlock Stitching: Recommended for warm water above 62F.  You can recognize this seam from the outside.  It looks like railroad tracks.  The interior and exterior seams look about the same.  The interior seam construction is flat and comfortable against the body. Some water may seep in through these seams.

Sealed (Glued and Blindstitched): Recommended for cold water 55F and up.  This construction is best for cold water because the seams are glued, then stitched.  It looks similar to Flatlock stitching, but is narrower in width.  Very little water will seep through these seams.

Sealed & Taped (Glued Blindstitched & 100% Taped): Recommended for very cold water 55F and below. Same construction as above plus interior seam taping.  The tape reinforces seams for added durability, and prevents any water from seeping through.

Step VI: External Features

Full-Zipper: Standard entry

Short-Zipper: 25% shorter zipper increases flexibility and limits water entry thru zipper

No-Zip: Zipperless wetsuits load from the top.  A neck gasket is opened, you enter the suit, and pull the gasket over your head.  The suit then seals with 2 small velcro tabs.  PROS= Increased flexibility and no chance of zipper breakage CONS= You cannot wear the suit at your waist after a session

Water Repellant Neoprne:  This hi-tech neoprene is treated with a chemical similar to ScotchGuard.  Keeps the water off of your suit, in turn keeping you drier.

Step VII: Internal Features

Flush Resistant Neck ,Arms and Legs:  Tapered cuffs that bond to your skin, preventing flushing

Neoprene Zipper Barrier:  A neoprene panel located between the zipper and your skin.  Keeps flushing water out of the zipper area

Poly Lining: Fleece like material wicks away moisture and retains heat.  Not a gimmick, this stuff feels great and really works!  You can also wear a Poly Rash Guard under a non-lined suit for the same benefits.

Step VIII: Wetsuit Care & Repair

Unfortunately, the process does not end when you have purchased your favorite wetsuit. You should consider salt water and chlorine THE DEVIL! These harsh environments will take a toll on your suit and leave you with a delicate, stinky product. Occasional users should rinse with freshwater after each use and hang dry on a special Wetsuit Hangar. Never use a clothes dryer !! Frequent users should rinse with fresh water and occasionally use a capful of Wetsuit Shampoo.

Wetsuits Stink! One thing you might avoid is peeing in your suit! It's without a doubt the hardest smell to get rid of... But normal sweat and body oils and odors are plenty to make most suits smell, if they're not cared for. If washing and shampooing the suit does not get rid of the smell, use MIRAZYME, it is the best product on the market to break down the body oils and wash away the bacteria that leads to smelliness. The key is to prevent buildup, so don't just do it once, try to repeat the process every few weeks.

Wetsuit tears happen after time, especially due to fingernail cuts. This is not a warranty issue, just nature of the beast. You should repair the suit immediately using a special NEOPRENE ADHESIVE.

>Click to See All of Our Care Products<

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