WHAT IS AN OPEN CELL WETSUIT?
Choosing the right kind of wetsuit for your specific needs can sometimes be quite confusing. You can find wetsuits specifically designed for either surfing, freediving, spearfishing, or simply diving. This article emphasizes the open cell wetsuits and you get to learn more about them.
So, what is an open cell wetsuit? This kind of wetsuit comprises of pure neoprene inside. The neoprene has lots of air bubbles in them and it helps the suit to stick to your skin. These kinds of wetsuits keep you warmer compared to the closed-cell wetsuits. You can use an open cell wetsuit for freediving and spearfishing.
What exactly is an open cell wetsuit?
To have a proper understanding of what these types of wetsuits are, you need to analyze what these suits are made up of. Neoprene is the main component you can find in a wetsuit. Neoprene is typically a kind of soft rubber. It is a bad conductor of both cold and heat. As such, it behaves like an insulator.
Also, neoprene is pretty much flexible. Because of the flexibility of this material, divers can move under the water with the least effort. There are some wetsuits where you can find an inner lining made of either polyester or nylon, or a combination of both these items.
Those kinds are called closed cell wetsuits. A closed-cell wetsuit is easy to wear without extra effort. And, you can take it off effortlessly. Most importantly, they can take more beating compared to the open cell wetsuits. However, the open cell suits provide you more warmth.
The inner lining found on the closed-cell suits is absent on the open ones. The interior portion of open cell wetsuits is composed of pure neoprene. The air bubbles fill them and allow them to stick to your skin. When it sticks to the skin, a watertight seal is formed. In short, the wetsuit behaves like the second layer of your skin. That way, it helps to keep your body warm even in the coldest winter months.
What about the closed-cell wetsuits?
Closed-cell wetsuits are sturdier and stiffer. And, most of them are made of neoprene. Because these wetsuits are stiffer, you don't want to get in them as they can be accidentally ripped off by your long, sharp fingernails. The closed-cell neoprene wetsuits are cheaper and they tend to work in a limited area.
This type of wetsuit is perfect for beginner divers who have just started their journey. And, they can't invest a lot trying to get the best quality material they don't need at the present moment. They are good for shorter dives.
The wetsuit tends to rub against your skin because of the kind of material used in making the suit. Therefore, when you are wearing a closed-cell wetsuit, you become a bit uncomfortable after wearing it for some time. Whereas, open cell wetsuits are pretty much soft and less abrasive for your delicate skin.
So, what kind of wetsuit is better between the two?
It is pretty much difficult to say which one is better than the other. The right kind of wetsuit depends on a few things such as the material used to make the wetsuit and the situation. You have to consider a lot more when you consider these types. And, neoprene plays a crucial role in it.
As you know, neoprene is the base material required for the wetsuits. It means you have to know the basics about why you may need an open cell or a closed-cell wetsuit. Now, that depends on the extent of diving you would be doing regularly.
If you are into scuba diving for some time and have opted for a closed-cell wetsuit but you want more out of it, you may consider having the other type of wetsuit. It is hoped that you can get what you have anticipated earlier.
If you are new in this area and making your first purchase, you may choose the closed-cell neoprene wetsuit. That's because you don't need to invest a lot of money on a wetsuit if you are out on the waters for not more than a couple of times throughout a year.
Despite the kind of neoprene used in building the wetsuit, you need to consider other features too. For example, you may need a thicker neoprene if you are going in very cold waters. And, you may need a wetsuit with a camouflage color if you are thinking about doing stuff like spearfishing.
Different kinds of open cell neoprene wetsuits:
You can find two different types when looking for open cell neoprene wetsuits. The two types are open-cell external lining wetsuits and open-cell without external lining wetsuits. A wetsuit that doesn't have an external lining is called a smooth skin wetsuit.
The external lining wetsuits are stronger compared to the smooth skin wetsuits. Also, it is much easy to take off and put it on. But you tend to get more drag when you are maneuvering under the water. They aren't flexible either. However, new technologies are being used to develop stronger wetsuits without compromising on the flexibility factor.
The open cell or the smooth skin wetsuits, on the other hand, gives you more warmth. Also, they are hydrodynamic and the most flexible you can ever have. Therefore, it can be the best option when you want to use less effort while getting along with the water.
Despite many good qualities, this kind of wetsuit has a downside. Because of the soft-textured skin on the outside, the wetsuit is prone to scratches and cuts. Also, you need to handle the wetsuit with soft hands. Putting it on and taking it out appears a bit tricky for the first few times. Apart from this, it is highly recommended to buy a smooth skin neoprene wetsuit as your maiden wetsuit.
When do you use open cell wetsuits?
You need to wear the open cell neoprene wetsuits when you are thinking about freediving or spearfishing frequently. Spearfishing involves moving effortlessly and conserving energy in the waters. Therefore, you need the wetsuit to provide warmth. That way, you can remain comfortable and take a little amount of damage without proceeding further.
Open cell wetsuits along with an external lining are used by many people during spearfishing. You may find some divers using a smooth skin neoprene wetsuit for performing better. But you have to be more cautious about that. Freedivers frequently use open cell neoprene wetsuits. The neoprene material is buoyant.
It means, the wetsuit's buoyancy increases when there is an increase in the thickness of the neoprene. Open cell suits give you a thin suit without compromising on your body heat. As such, divers can move easily under the water without worrying about excessive weight.
This kind of wetsuit is perfect in colder regions. When it is too cold, it becomes hard to get enough warmth while wearing a closed cell suit. An open cell suit of about 5mm thickness keeps you warm for about an hour in the freezing waters. And, if the thickness is about 7mm, you can remain underwater for more hours.
Advantages and disadvantages of open cell wetsuits
Every product has some good and bad things about them, and open cell wetsuits are no different. Let's find some of the major advantages and disadvantages of using an open cell wetsuit.
- In general, open cell wetsuits are warmer compared to the closed cell wetsuits
- The suit is hydrodynamic
- They are found in two pieces or one piece.
- The wetsuit creates a strong water seal
- These wetsuits are soft and flexible
- Most divers don't use the wetsuit during high-intensity water sports such as kitesurfing and surfing
- These wetsuits need a lot of maintenance
- Soapy water has to be applied to your skin before putting on the suit
- These suits are fragile
Open cell wetsuits: An overview
Whether you are prepping up for the first dive or your fiftieth dive, you need a good wetsuit that keeps you protected underneath the waters. You may even do something other than free diving or scuba diving. Whatever be it, a great wetsuit helps you to get more comfortable.
When it is about neoprene that you can use, it depends on your preference. A closed cell neoprene wetsuit can be stiffer and a bit uncomfortable. But you can get in and out of it with ease. Also, you don't have to invest much in that.
An open cell neoprene wetsuit is more flexible, softer, and good for insulating the body when you are under water. However, they are a bit expensive. If you want a more functional wetsuit, perhaps you may need to personalize it. Keep in your mind that an ultimate wetsuit has a great fit on your body.
So, it is seen that open cell wetsuits serve as the best choice for sports like spearfishing and freediving. It gives you enough warmth and makes you feel relaxed. If you are buying for the first time, an external lining on the suit is recommended. If you prefer performance, opt for the smooth skin wetsuit. And, for the best experience, go with the personalized one.
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