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How Does a Wetsuit Work?

   January 24th, 2019   Posted In: Articles  

How Does a Wetsuit Work?

This is probably one of our most commonly asked questions so we decided, hey, why not write a post about how a wetsuit works? And yes, your wetsuit does get wet, hence the word ‘wetsuit’ – there is no such thing as a dry wetsuit.

how does a wetsuit work

Water gets trapped between your skin and the wetsuit, thus creating an insulating layer.

How does a wetsuit work? To put it simply, wetsuits work by trapping a small amount of water between the wetsuit and your skin. The trapped water is rapidly warmed up by your body heat, and becomes an insulating layer. Neoprene is the material used in making wetsuits and it’s what acts as the insulator. The thicker the neoprene (e.g. 5/4mm or 6/5/4mm, etc.), the warmer you will be. You can expect a small portion of water to get into the suit, however, you don’t want a ton of water to get into the suit. This is why it’s important that your wetsuit fits like a second skin, not loose or baggy. For real, you can’t have a loose wetsuit or else that baby’s going to get flushed with water and you clearly won’t be warm or comfortable.

Wetsuits with fleece linings reduce the amount of water against your skin. With a fleece lining, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to stay warm. The less water against your skin, the warmer you will stay for longer. You can find fleece linings in most wetsuits on the market now. In low to mid price ranges, the fleece is usually found on the chest and/or back panels. Higher end wetsuits (mostly cold water wetsuits) typically have a fleece lining throughout most, if not all, of the wetsuit.

Semi-dry suits leave a very small amount of water inside of the wetsuit. These suits also provide warmth based on their thickness. The thicker the neoprene, the more protection you have from cold water.

What are the biggest takeaways on how does a wetsuit work? It’s supposed to get wet and trap water and ultimately acts as an insulating layer to help you stay warm! And it is most definitely supposed to fit like a second skin, not baggy or loose. Now you know how wetsuits work – yay! Time to get in the water (with your wetsuit of course) and have some fun!

Lauren (LoLo) has been turning words into blog posts for Wetsuit Wearhouse since 2014. She learned to surf for the first time ever in Costa Rica but she gravitates more towards SUP. When she's not scouring the web for travel deals, you can find her either hiking, running, gardening, tending to her animals, or reading a good book outside on a beautiful day.

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