It is generally accepted that the colder the water you want to dive into the thicker your wetsuit needs to be. However, a question still remains, how do you select from the various levels of thicknesses found in the market?
There are many things that need to be considered here. The first is to consider your personal needs. For example, every person has a different body thermometer from the next. This is based on the sex of the person, weight, the rate of metabolism and age among others. This is the reason why there is a wetsuit temperature guide.
Apart from the issues considered above, there is the diving that you are going to involve in. For example, you want to answer questions as to the number of dives you want to make, how deep you want your dive to be and the length of time you are planning to remain in the water. For these reasons, there is a general guide used to ensure that the suit you have is one suited to the weather conditions.
Understanding Wetsuit Thickness
In order to understand the wetsuit guide, you have to understand the material from which a wetsuit is made. Wetsuits are made from either one hundred percent Neoprene or some other variation of it. The middle sponge can be manufactured from skin, a coating, or fabric lamination. It is the thickness of Neoprene that is measured in millimeters.
There is no single standard on how this thickness is measured. For example, do you include the thickness of the sponge layer too? That is why you may find a suit that should actually be 3mm being sold as a 3.5 mm in thickness. The thickness you will need in order to remain warm depends on a number of factors, of which one of them is the temperature of the water
Understanding The Water Temperature
Another factor you will need to understand when dealing with the wetsuit temperature guide is water temperature. If you are going to be diving into colder water, you are going to need a thicker wetsuit. It is generally agreed that water is more effective than the air when it comes to pulling heat off your body.
This means that you get cold faster when you are in the water than you do when outside. In more graphic terms, it means that if the temperatures were the same, you would last more when you are outside than you will do in the water before dying.
Using The Wetsuit Chart
You will see different wetsuit temperature guides when you visit different sites. The reason behind this is that this guide is not cast in stone. When putting together this guide, the usual aim is to ensure that the user remains in the water for longer and safely. If you are going to use the guide, there are a number of other things you will need to consider.
As an individual, you know how your body reacts to cold conditions. Your age and gender may have a bearing on how you react to cold conditions. The state of your health too. When you have a thicker wetsuit, you may also discover that you get tired sooner than you do when you are using a thinner one.
New wetsuits may be more effective than old ones even if they are the same thickness. Even if you get two suits of the same thickness, if the quality is different you will certainly get a different result from the two.
Wetsuit Temperature Guide
As we have already indicated, the wetsuit temperature guide is not set in stone. This means that you may find differences in different guides you will see. However, it gives you an idea of the thicknesses you will need for different temperatures. If you plan to dive into water at temperatures above 25 degrees C. you will not need a wetsuit, your beach shorts will certainly be fine.
For temperatures above 18 degrees C. but not more than 22 degrees C. you will need a thickness of 3/2. If however this is the only wetsuit you have, you may want to get a 4/3. Depending on how cold you feel, you will use either a shot suit or a shortie.
Once the temperatures start to go below 15 degrees C., you will want to get something quite thick. 5/3 or 5/4/3 will do the job just fine. Below 9 degrees C. think thicknesses of 6/5/4 with your boots, gloves and a hood.
The wetsuit temperature guide is certainly useful when it comes to selecting the right wetsuit for the temperature of the water you plan to dive into. It will help you select the right thickness that will not make you feel either too hot or too cold while you are in it.