Once you’re completely addicted to being on the water in whatever location of the country you might be in, you are bound to want to extend your season or start it a little earlier next year. How do you combat the chilly water? Look no further than the brands here that manufacture some of the best products to keep you comfortable, no matter the time of year. There is a vest or wetsuit for all types of water temperatures, so you can always stay comfy and cozy while riding.
Also called rubber, neoprene is the material from which the majority of wetsuits are made. The neoprene with the most stretch is better because it flexes with your body movements, and the stretchiness typically is a large factor in the cost of the suit.
A suit’s thickness determines the warmth, and millimeters are used to measure the neoprene’s thickness. Anywhere from .5 mm up to 2 mm is the standard thickness for wetsuit tops, and spring suits (shorties) are usually in that thickness range as well. When you see a suit that is a 3/2, this means the suit has 3 mm thick neoprene on the body panels, and 2 mm thickness on the arms and legs. For serious cold water, opt for a 4/3 suit, but you probably won’t want to get too much thicker than that in a wetsuit, for mobility’s sake.
There are essentially three different types of seams out there. Flat-locked stitched seams are used on smaller-thickness suits and will let a little bit of water through. Glued and blind-stitched (also called sealed) seams let very little water through, tend to be a little more expensive, and are the most common. Finally there are glued, blind-stitched and taped seams (also called sealed and taped), in which the seams are taped for extra durability, and the assurance of little to no water getting through.
Keep an eye out for the wrist and ankle seals; most brands will have some sort of material to keep these seals nice and tight. All suits are not created equal and will provide a different fit. Check out your local dealer to try on different suits to see what fits best for your body type.