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Newbie Looking for Advice: 1st Wetsuit Selection

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by Ryan Neely, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Ryan Neely

    Ryan Neely Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Akeley, MN USA
    30
    6
    8
    Thanks everyone! You guys are awesome. My wife and I are heeding this advice and planning a trip a five-hour trip to our closes metropolis. This way we can hit several dive shops, try on suits from various manufacturers, and find the ones that fit our needs best. (We'll also have the opportunity to hear first-hand knowledge on drysuit selections and recommendations.)

    I really appreciate all the advice! Thank a ton! :-D
     
  2. Compressor

    Compressor ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: NY
    2,504
    1,036
    113
    Won't rehash what was said nicely above. Both SP and Bare are fine.
    Just make sure they fit well.
     
    chillyinCanada and Ryan Neely like this.
  3. Scott

    Scott Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    2,358
    703
    113
    Neoprene is neoprene. Every brand has soft and stretchy neoprene high end models. Every brand has a mid line model. The neoprene likely came from the same manufacture.
    Stitching, tape seams inside, sealed outside, water dams on the wrist or ankles. Feature like that will make a difference, but most importantly is the fit.
    After loosing about 40 pounds my my XL Aqualung suits no longer fit. I tried AL, Fourth Element and Bare on for size. Bare Reactive won out based on fit. I've never owned a Bare suit before and I'm surprised by the warmth.
     
    Esprise Me likes this.
  4. GeekFitGuy

    GeekFitGuy Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Florida
    13
    5
    3
    Can your local shop rent you some suits to try out? I used a Henderson 5mm for my open water and it was just OK, but I have broad shoulders so the fit was really snug in my upper torso. They suggested I try their 3mm Firefleece next and it was MUCH better.
     
  5. Ryan Neely

    Ryan Neely Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Akeley, MN USA
    30
    6
    8
    Thanks for the advice. Yes, we do plan on running through several of the options our LDS has to offer. They host several fun dives a week and (if my schedule works accordingly) my plan is to hit at least one of them each week. I'll be renting gear from them until I purchase my own kit. That being said, I won't suggest that my LDS has a limited selection (and I trust the advice they provide), but I also believe it is a consumer's responsibility to research all options in order to make an informed decision prior to purchase.

    Neoprene is neoprene, that's correct, and I agree that fit is the most important part ... the theoretician in me has discovered that the fit changes based on brand, model, and size and it might be possible that the stock at my LDS may not be as well suited as stock from somewhere else. This is really my concern (beyond the aforementioned desire to be as versatile as possible).

    For what it's worth, for our checkout dives (coming up in about six weeks) we'll be in a 6mm Farmer John and a 7mm Jacket, so that will give me an opportunity to see how cold the water really is (two weeks after ice out) as well as the insulating factors of that neoprene.

    Great suggestion, GeekFitGuy. Thanks! :-D
     
  6. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    7,464
    3,249
    113
    I'm not really sure that's a fair assessment.

    Neoprene ranges from old school Rubatex that is not very stretchy at all, but also compresses very little at depth (i.e. it stays warm, at depth), to the newest stuff that is VERY stretchy. My ScubaPro wetsuits from 2012 are not as stetchy as the current ones. The neoprene has changed.

    Plus, some neoprene has a nylon layer on each side, to protect it. Some only has nylon on the outside, with smoothskin/glideskin on the inside, as you typically find in freediving suits. Some has nylon on one side and a nice, warm, fleecy lining on the other side.

    Anyway, you get my point. The differences in the actual neoprene is one of the important differences between different suits. Typically, less expensive suits have neoprene that is not as nice. Not as stretchy. Doesn't have the nice lining, etc..
     
    Ryan Neely likes this.
  7. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    697
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    There are a LOT of different neoprenes out there. The basic and cheap are rather rigid. You conform to there shape.
    The newer stuff has a lot of flex in it. You can move your arm without the suit springing it back into the shape of the suit. It will adapt to your size a lot better. In general, a lot more comfortable in both fit and warmth.
     
  8. Ryan Neely

    Ryan Neely Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Akeley, MN USA
    30
    6
    8
    Thanks @stuartv and @broncobowsher . I appreciate that. The term "neoprene is neoprene" is something that has been bandied about my local dive shop. To a point this makes sense, but I see what you're saying about stiffness and manufacture styles. That makes sense. Thanks! :-D
     
  9. Hatul

    Hatul Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tustin, California, United States
    3,997
    554
    113
    My best 7mm wetsuit is a Henderson Thermaxx jumpsuit, which I wear under a hooded vest (and lately with a Thermalution heated vest). This is fine for 60 degree Southern California water, but if I dove in your area I'd just bite the bullet and start with a drysuit.
     
    Ryan Neely likes this.
  10. Ryan Neely

    Ryan Neely Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Akeley, MN USA
    30
    6
    8
    Update: Today, my wife and I drove down to the cities and hit up six different dive shops. We tried on over a dozen exposure suits. If we continue to work toward (what we consider) our logical goal (5mm wetsuit layered with a skin ... not a rash guard ... that we can wear locally this summer and fall and take with us for single-use options down south; then look to purchase drysuits for next year and use the skins as thermal layers under those) we have narrowed our options to:

    AquaLung AquaFlex and Henderson Thermaxx

    However, we're still undecided on the skins for layering. We're down to Lavacore or Fourth Element Themocline. The thing is, the Thermocline is absolutely amazing. Slick so it slips right inside the wetsuit, but I broke the zipper (cheap plastic) just trying pull it up. The Lavacore isn't slick and it's a struggle getting both layers on.

    Anyone else do this kind of crazy ****? Do you have suggestions?
     

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