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. Maybe you are wondering how should a wetsuit fit?
Knowing how a wetsuit works as well as wetsuit sizing is also something you should look into if you’re thinking of making a wetsuit purchase.
How Should a Wetsuit Fit?
A wetsuit should fit snuggly around your body, but not so tight that water is unable to enter and it restricts your movement or even worse your circulation. As it 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, and even if you know the difference between a wetsuit and drysuit, all can be tricky to put on. The problem is that if it is far too tight for you, it will make your experience underwater uncomfortable.
Not only is it likely that you will enjoy it less, but you may even feel claustrophobic and panicky because of the restriction to your limbs, torso, and even worse crotch area.
On the other hand, if the wetsuit sizes are too big and have 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 and this is the really important fact to remember when you are sizing wetsuits, as it might be easier to put on and take off but you risk getting really cold.
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 give you some tips when sizing for wetsuits. We will also share some tips about how to put one on easily and try to answer the question, of how tight should a wetsuit be for scuba diving?
Size of Wetsuit
If you’ve been renting suits since you started diving you will know all about wet suit sizes and how hard it can be to find the right rental size, so 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 it is snug, whether you are buying a wetsuit for women or men. The whole idea of it 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.
While it’s vital that the suit should be snug, you still need to have mobility. If you have a suit with a neckline that is too high and tight, you will find it harder to breathe and your time underwater will be uncomfortable and your experience is more likely to be stressful, which is not what scuba diving is about. If you feel your body is hunching over while wearing your suit, it is 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 form air pockets and 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
Below is a wetsuit size guide with some tips on how to sizing a wetsuit. How to tell if a wetsuit is too small or too big, although the latter is somewhat obvious. How is a wetsuit supposed to fit and what size wetsuit do I need? are just two of the most commonly asked questions by those new to the adventures of scuba diving.
Tips to Know When Trying on a Wetsuit
- Try bending your knees or crouching and moving your arms and shoulders while you try it on. If it is too restrictive or uncomfortable, you need to try a bigger size range.
- Can you pull the zipper up easily
- 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, wetsuits sizes feel much tighter out of the water than it will in.
Length of your Wetsuit
Another important aspect of choosing the right one is the length. It 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 as this would mean that you will lose body heat.
How a Two-Piece Should Fit
Many scuba divers actually prefer the choice of wearing a two-piece suit. A two-piece features a bottom 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 suits are too restrictive and are diving in warmer waters.
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.
Don’t forget to check out the size chart for wetsuits from the wetsuit manufacturer you are looking at buying as this will hopefully avoid trying too many on before finding the size for you. We hope this wetsuit sizing guide has helped you along the way to having comfortable dives in the future.
Tips for Putting one on Easily
If you have a suit that is snug, you will be faced with the challenge of putting it on while it is 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 it 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 and don’t fix them straight away, it could stretch and alter the comfortable fit you once had.
We recently reviewed the best scuba wetsuits in a different post, here are our 3 top picks that our viewers usually go for;
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 sleeve or leg. The plastic bag helps to guide 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 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 liquid and swish it around, while also lathering some on your own skin too.
This provides a lubricant and will ensure that even the tightest fit 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 it 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 off 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 damage to the neoprene and create folds. You should also use a proper hanger rather than pegs to stop it stretching out the shoulders and chest too much. That’s it for this wetsuit fit guide and care, happy diving.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Well, there you have it, folks, our guide on finding the right fit for your wetsuit. We hope this has helped you on your way to investing in the right one, allowing you to experience the wonderful world that exists beneath the waves in comfort. Happy Diving.
Do wetsuits get bigger when wet?
Materials such as neoprene will stretch when exposed to the water, so wetsuits do get bigger when wet. They will also stretch with use so when purchasing yours ensure that it is a nice snug fit when dry.
How should a surf wetsuit fit?
A surfing wetsuit should be a snug fit and be comfortable, but not so snug that it restricts your movement. Pay close attention to the head and hand area as these need to be tight enough to retain an insulating layer of water between you and the wetsuit, and not allowing flooding, this in turn will ensure that you keep warm.