If you are planning to be in the water for any extended period of time you will want to have a decent wetsuit to keep out the cold, or maybe you just want some protection from the reef, surf or sun. When choosing a wetsuit, there are two main things to consider:
* '''Your budget.'''
** With wetsuits, you get what you pay for and the more you need, the more you'll pay.
** For casual, recreational divers, $100-$250 is about the average you'll spend (give or take depending on the type of suit you need).
** For serious divers, it's worth it to spend the money on a really good suit. Expect to spend from $250 to $500.
* '''The water temperature, the length of exposure time, and depth of a dive (if applicable).'''
** The cooler the water, the longer the exposure, and the deeper you go, the warmer and thicker a suit you will need. See the guide on the right to determine which thickness you'll need.
** Compensate suit thickness depending on how much you will have to exert yourself while in the water. Casual drift dives will be cooler than those in which you fight a current.
Wet Suit Types
Wetsuit Fit Guide
A Good Fit Is Imperative!
When possible, go to a few dive shops and try on different suits. You'll quickly discover which cuts and materials best suit you. You may also want to try on the wetsuits with a BCD, just to be sure that the two pieces are compatible.
* The fit should be '''snug,''' so as to not let water seep in. The more water comes in, the harder it will be to keep warm.
** Crotch and armpits should not be saggy.
** Sleeves and ankles should not be baggy or loose.
** Look for "easy-on" features when available to make getting the suit on and off easier.
* Check the '''seals''' around the neck. It should fit snugly, but not cut off your circulation.
** Get an adjustable velcro collar if possible.
** Zippered seals make the suit easier to get on and off, plus they help the suit adapt to your body size.
Durability Is A Must!
* The '''zipper'''s should lie flat and be layered underneath a protective flap to keep sand and debris out.
** They should be made of heavy-duty plastic.
** Front zippers are usually easier to deal with than back zippers since you don't need to search for a cord, which can sometimes be a hassle. Plus, cords can become entangled on your equipment. Surfers, on the other hand, may prefer back zippers.
** Diagonal zippers, on the other hand, are even better. They make getting into your suit that much easier.
** Ankle zippers are great, especially if you have big feet. It eliminates the tugging around your ankles too.
** Also, you may want to consider getting a suit that has multiple elements to it. For example, if your torso size doesn't coincide with the size of your arms you can always get a "farmer" style suit without arms. Then, over top you can have a jacket piece.
* '''Padding''' on the knees, butt, spine, and shoulders adds comfort, but also bulk, weight, and may increase cost.
** The most useful form of padding for divers is on the spine. However, you may need more or less depending on how long you will be diving.
** Surfers may want knee padding.
If you've ever worn a wetsuit before, you will know, perhaps all too well, that they're not the most comfortable suits you'll wear in your life. First there's all the tugging and yanking to get it on, then it's stiff and a pain to get off. Thankfully, manufacturers have caught on and decided to makes these things more pliable. Today is a good day for divers with these suits reviewed by scubadiving.com: