It is never a terribly pleasant or fun experience getting yourself in and out of a wetsuit, it’s a real struggle for most divers. You can often find yourself wriggling around like a fish that’s just been caught as you try to stretch that extremely stretch the material over your body.
Whether you have yet to try and put one on or are still struggling with that part of the whole experience, even with a few dives under your belt, you may be wondering how should a wetsuit actually fit? Knowing how a wetsuit works is also something you should look into if you’re thinking of investing in a new scuba diving suit.
How Should a Wetsuit Fit?
A wetsuit should fit snuggly around your body, but not so tight that water is unable to enter. A wetsuit works by allowing a layer of water to surround your body that stays warm during the duration of your dive.
There are a few different types of wetsuits, even if you know the difference between a wetsuit and drysuit, all wetsuits can be tricky to put on. The problem is that if a wetsuit is far too tight for you, it will make your experience underwater more uncomfortable. Not only is it likely that you will enjoy it less, but you may even feel claustrophobic and panicky.
On the other hand, if your wetsuit is too big and has gaping areas around the body, there is probably going to be leakage while you dive and you won’t have that important layer of warmth against your skin.
At Ocean Scuba Dive, we wanted to make everything a little easier for you and discuss in greater detail how your wetsuit should fit and share some tips about how to put on a wetsuit easily.
Size of Wetsuit
If you’ve been renting suits since you started diving, it may be time to start looking for the best wetsuits for diving and invest in your own. The biggest advantage of owning a suit is that it will fit your body shape and size perfectly.
It is important when it comes to size, that your wetsuit is snug, whether you are buying a wetsuit for women or men. The whole idea of a wetsuit is that it traps a layer of water around your skin that heats up and keeps you warm while you dive. It’s also a good idea to know the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit. The fit and size are both important therefore in serving this purpose of protecting and insulating your body against the elements.
While its vital that the wetsuit should be snug, you still need to have mobility. If you have a suit with a neckline that is too tight, you will find it harder to breath and your time underwater will be uncomfortable and your experience is more likely to be stressful too. If you feel your body is hunching over while wearing your suit, it is probably too small and will prevent you from moving as much as you need to.
Conversely, if the suit sags or slouches around your back, chest and knees, it is far too big. A suit that is too big will not be able to trap water to form that protective layer and cold water will just flush against your body.
How to Choose the Size of your Wetsuit
Tips to Know when Trying on a Wetsuit
- Try bending your knees or crouching while you try on a wetsuit. If your wetsuit is too restrictive or uncomfortable, you may need to try a bigger size.
- Try pinching the suit away from your body to assess if there is excess space. If it is easy to pull it from your skin, and large air pockets form, then it is definitely too big.
- Remember, a wetsuit will feel much tighter out of the water than it will in the water
Length of your Wetsuit
Another important aspect of choosing the right wetsuit is the length. A wetsuit might be the right fit for your body, but if your legs and arms are long, the suit might run a bit short, exposing your ankles and wrists.
However, if the legs and arms of your suit are too long, you won’t have the benefit of the seal around your joints and water could flush up into your suit through the legs and sleeves. This means that you will lose body heat, as it is not forming that protective layer of warm water around your body.
How a Two-Piece Wetsuit Should Fit
Many scuba divers actually prefer to wear a two-piece suit. A two-piece consists of a bottom layer that is similar to overalls and a pullover top. This kind of suit can often allow you a greater amount of mobility, particularly if you think one-piece wetsuits are too restrictive.
Both of the suit’s pieces should still feel very snug on your body. They are often known as Farmer John suits and are commonly used by spearfishermen because of the enhanced maneuverability.
Although bulkier than a one piece, a two-piece can actually provide greater warmth, particularly across your core. They normally consist of a hood attached to the top, so it’s important to make sure the hood comfortably fits on your head while keeping a tight seal around your face.
If it is too tight, it could cause headaches and neck strain, so be cautious.
Tips for Putting on a Wetsuit Easily
If you have a wetsuit that is snug, you will be faced with the challenge of putting it on while its dry. You could try rolling the arms and legs into a doughnut, or you could try one of the two common techniques that experienced scuba divers use to easily put their wetsuit on without needing a whole team of helpers.
How you clean and care for your wetsuit will also help you when putting it on. If you disregard tears in your wetsuit and don’t fix them straight away, your wetsuit could stretch and alter the comfortable fit you once had.
Using a Plastic Bag
It may surprise you to learn that you can use a plastic bag to put on a wetsuit. Simply start by placing the plastic bag over your hand or foot and then push into the wetsuit. The plastic bag helps to glide your arms and legs inside.
You will still have to wriggle and wiggle a little to make sure it fits around your core snugly and doesn’t sag at the crotch or waist, but it is still easier than doing it without a plastic bag.
Alternatively, you should consider keeping a bottle of water with some added shampoo in your dive bag. Then, before you start putting your suit on, pour some of the soapy water in your wetsuit and swish it around, while also lathering some on your own skin too.
This provides a lubricant and will ensure that even the tightest fitting wetsuit slips on as easily as that silk shirt you have in your wardrobe.
Taking Care of Your Wetsuit
Wetsuits, like other diving gear, are very expensive and an important investment, it is crucial that you learn how to store and look after yours. Taking care of a wetsuit will ensure it stays in good condition and when you store it properly it will stop it from getting out of shape.
You, therefore, should always rinse your wetsuit in fresh water after each dive and give it time to drip dry in a well-shaded place. If you leave it in the sun for extended periods of time, it could cause it damage. You should also use a proper hanger rather than pegs to stop it stretching out the shoulders and chests too much.