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How To Tell if a Wetsuit Fits
First things first…
You may be wondering why it’s even important to own a wetsuit, especially when you’ve heard rumours about travelling, and about how most dive shops have rental services. Firstly, owning your own wetsuit makes your life endlessly easier no matter where you decide to travel. Having a wetsuit that you know fits properly, has only been worn by you (or people you trust) and is in top shape is super important. Plus, most wetsuits will fit in your luggage on a plane, if not in your dive bag already. Like all equipment, owning something personally means you’re in charge of what happens to it. Essentially, for your own comfort and peace of mind, the best option is to have your own wetsuit.
The easiest way and most efficient way to tell if a wetsuit fits or not is how you feel when you first put it on. However, there are some points to take into account. Firstly, if you’re trying on a brand new wetsuit, it’ll be a lot stiffer than the ones used in a rental service. Secondly, the stiffness of the wetsuit will also depend on how thick it is. A 2/3mm will feel a lot different than a 7mm, so it’s important to remember that not all suits will feel the same way. A great way to test to see if you feel comfortable is to try doing a series of stretches that move your arms and legs in different directions. If anything is inadvertently squeezing, or if you can’t get it on properly, it probably doesn’t fit!
The neckline of a wetsuit is supposed to be loose enough for water to enter, but tight enough to allow water to become heated. This is why a wetsuit neck will feel very different from a drysuit neck seal. To see if a wetsuit fits, the neck will feel tight but will not constrict motion or breath in any way. However, the neckline can also be too loose. A good rule of thumb is to see how many fingers you can fit in the neck while wearing it. If it seems like it’s too tight, you’ll know right away. Different wetsuits have different size necklines, so one brand may fit in one size, while another might fit differently. It all depends on the shape of your body!
Arms and legs
One of the best ways to tell if a wetsuit fits is by how long the sleeves are, and by how baggy they seem. Obviously, if the sleeves extend past your wrist, the suit will not be as effective when heating water with the body. If the sleeves are too tight, it’ll be extremely uncomfortable, especially with added atmospheric pressure. Around the leg area, the same rule applies for the ankles. Wetsuits that fit well are smooth and don’t have any added room. If you find yourself having to adjust the suit by pulling it up or down, it might not be the right fit or even the right size.
The chest area is where the distinction between mens and womens-style wetsuits is most apparent. Obviously, womens-style suits will have added wiggle room around the hips, but the added room around the chest makes for a much more comfortable fit. However, as size goes up, the space will get bigger so it might be hard to find a suit that fits waist and bust. The best way to tell if it fits is by how much pressure you feel applied on the sides and front of your chest.