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February 02, 2021 7 min read

Over the years, adventure water sports have become quite popular. Many people, be it an expert or a beginner, show keen interest in these sports. If you want to dedicate your free time to try out some of these water activities, then you'll need a wetsuit first. But buying a wetsuit is not as easy as it may sound. As there are different waters sports, the features and peculiarities may differ. While these sports require similar wetsuits, the main thing is technicality which can differ from one type of sport to another. The most important technicalities that matter when it comes to choosing a wetsuit are – temperature, thickness and wetsuit type. To make it easier and better for you, we have a complete wetsuit water temp & thickness guide that will help you to pick the right one for you.

 

Why Wetsuit Thickness Is Important to Consider?

The main function of the wetsuit is to protect your body from different factors like water, UV rays, sea creatures and many more. These wetsuits are available in different thicknesses. When you are driving or surfing around, it is extremely important for you to preserve the body's core heat. This heat will help you to prevent the condition of hypothermia. When the thickness is high, it means that it will give your body more warmth but it will not provide as much flexibility like the thinner ones.

 

Nowadays, most of the wetsuits are made up of neoprene which is a very flexible material that can stand smooth on your skin. Hence, it helps you to move your body properly inside as well as outside the water. While thicker neoprene gives more warmth than the thinner neoprene material, it gives lesser flexibility than the thinner ones too. Now, you have to choose the right thickness of your wetsuit depending on many factors. We will discuss this below.

 

 

Different Thicknesses of Wetsuits

The most asked question that people ask is - how to choose the right wetsuit thicknessbased on water temperature? A basic guidance can help you to select the right thickness when it comes to choosing a wetsuit. The thickness of your wetsuit is mainly measured in millimeters. The thickness of these wetsuits comes in different ranges such as 2 millimeter, 3 millimeter, 5 millimeter and 7 millimeter. Mainly, the thickness of wetsuit is decided based on the actual temperature of the water or weather. Here is a small guiding chart that can help you:

 

Water Temperature Thickness  Wetsuit Type
29˚ C and Above 1-2mm  Shorty, Springsuit, Shorty John/Jane or No Wetsuit Required (Lycra Dive Skin, Swimsuit, etc.)
26-28˚ C 1-2mm  Shorty, Springsuit, Short/Long John/Jane, Fulsuit or No Wetsuit Required  (Lycra Dive Skin, Swimsuit, etc.) 
22-25˚ C 2-3mm  Shorty Wetsuit, Springsuit, Long John/Jane or Fullsuit
18-21˚ C 3-5mm  Fullsuit + Optional Hood
10-17˚ C 5-7mm  Hooded Fullsuit + Boots + Gloves
Below 10˚ C 7mm  Hooded Semi-dry or Drysuit + Boots + Gloves

 

  • A 1-2 millimeter (mm) wetsuit is perfect for the water with more than 25 degrees Celsius.
  • A 3 millimeter (mm) wetsuit is perfect for the water with 18 to 25 degrees Celsius.
  • A 5 millimeter (mm) wetsuit is perfect for the water with a temperature between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius.
  • A 7 millimeter (mm) wetsuit is the thickest wetsuit of all and it is perfect for keeping you warm in the icy cold water like 10-17 ˚ C. Wear a 7mm semi-dry suit or drysuit if the water temp drops below 10 ˚ C.
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    You have to select the thickness of the wetsuit depending on the temperature of the water you are going to perform the water sport. Besides this, there also many more variables that determine the actual thickness of the wetsuit that you need to choose.

     

    Different Variables to Consider for Wetsuit Thickness

    When you are buying a wetsuit for the water sports, there are some variables that you must consider. These variables are actually the factors that can vary from one person to another. Hence, they are termed as variables and these are:

     

    Tolerance Level

    Tolerance is an important aspect that you may have to consider. Not everyone is same and hence people to have different body temperatures as well as different levels of tolerance. A person can feel warmer or colder than the other, at the same given temperature. While some people prefer sleeveless wetsuit, some like full-length sleeves for their wetsuits. So, there can be a lot of differences when it comes to preferences for the type or thickness of the wetsuit.

     

     

    Body Areas for Losing Heat

    Another variable that you have to consider is the body area from where the heat is lost. There are mainly three major areas for losing heat. These are - neck and head, underarms and the inner thighs. If your wetsuit is not properly fitted, then it can sip in too much of water. This can allow the heat to lose and it can keep the body away from heat. These three areas need proper and complete insulation from the cold water. So, it is important to choose a wetsuit which is properly fitted to keep your body warm in the water all the time.

     

    Environment (Temperature of the Water and Sea Creatures)

    The actual thickness of your wetsuit is considered depending on the types of places too. Some places are warmer while others are colder. In warmer places the thickness should be lesser than the areas where the temperature is higher. To ensure that the wetsuit temperature is ideal, you have to choose the right thickness for more or less thermal protection. Also, another thing that comes to environment is the sea life. Depending on the sea, you may have to wear thicker wetsuit as you will have to protect your body from the bruises and bites of the creatures in the water.

     

    Choosing the Right Wetsuit Thickness

    If you want to indulge yourself into some of the water sports, then you need to have the best wetsuit for that. When buying a wetsuit, you need to consider the thickness, as mentioned above. We have discussed all the variables that determine what the thickness of your wetsuit should be and also which temperature is ideal for which thickness. Here is a more detailed guide that can finally help you to pick the right one:

     

    1.5 or 2mm Thickness

    Wetsuits of this thickness range are usually spring wetsuits or shorty wetsuits. The summer or spring time is an ideal time of the year for enjoying some adventure water sports. If you are mainly buying a wetsuit for that reason, then consider buying a lighter thickness like this. A 1-2 mm wetsuit is the thinnest of all and will help your body to stay protected from water as well as from the sun. But it will not keep your body overheat your body and will keep the exhaustion to the minimum. This is ideal for the places where the temperature is above 25 degrees Celsius. If you are a diver prone to cold, you can choose a full wetsuit of this thickness range.

     

    3mm Wetsuits

    This is the wetsuit that you can wear in spring, fall and winter. It is especially made for the early colder months. So, if you have a plan to surf or try any other water sports during this time of the year, then you will need to choose a wetsuit that keeps you a little warmer. A 3mm wetsuit can be the perfect one. It can also be worn in the summer, especially if you are in the UK or Ireland. It is ideal for the months when the temperature of the water remains somewhere between 18 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius. If you are warm-blooded, go for a 3mm shorty wetsuits, springsuit, farmer John or Jane wetsuit. But if you can easily feel the cold, select a fullsuit with or without a hood.  

     

    5mm Wetsuits

    The 5mm wetsuit (normally a hooded full body one with long sleeve and long leg) is pretty thick and this wetsuit thickness is essential when you are trying some water sports in deep winter months. A cold-water surfing can be quite freezing. You need to choose a wetsuit that is thick enough to keep you warm and cozy. A neoprene wetsuit with 5mm thickness can be a bit less flexible but it is needed to save you from the freezing cold water of the winter. Along with that you have to also wear gloves and booties to keep your body warm. Whenever you are trying a water sport in a cold winter day (water temp (10-21 ˚ C), go for the 5mm wetsuit.



    7mm wetsuit

    The 7mm wetsuit is the thickest of all and it is the least flexible of all too. It is perfect when you are surfing or trying other water sports in extreme cold conditions. It is essential before you go into the icy cold water (10-17 ˚ C, or even colder). With this, gloves, booties as well as hoods are essential to keep your body warm in the ice cold water. As the thickness is quite a lot, it tends to keep your body warm by locking the heat inside. And the insulation is so strong that the heat cannot escape your wetsuit. It also doesn't allow the cold to enter into the suit keeping you warm overall.



    Conclusion

    With this complete wetsuit water temp & thickness guide, hopefully, you will able to find the right wetsuit for you. Make sure to choose a wetsuit which is made up of a high quality material. It is better if you can choose neoprene as it can resist the sunlight, weather and several other factors. Also, it can offer you great flexibility while providing you proper protection from the water. Even with the thickest wetsuit made up of neoprene, you will be able to enjoy some flexibility other than the other material. Also the neoprene is much more durable and resistant to tears and wears. All you have to do is to choose the right thickness and wetsuit type according to the guide given above and pick the best wetsuit for your water sport adventure.

     

    Also of Interest: 

     

    Liz H.
    Liz H.


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