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How Heavy Are Wetsuits?

   July 22nd, 2020   Posted In: Articles  

How Heavy Are Wetsuits?

Why knowing the weight of your wetsuit is so important

Do you know exactly how much your wetsuit weighs? Do you know how much extra weight is added once you get your wetsuit soaking wet and how to figure it out? Or why it even matters? Not to worry, we will cover it all.

The question “how heavy are wetsuits” is very broad given the different types of suits out there. There are tons of variations that will factor into your overall wetsuit weight. Things like thicknesses and the different types of linings and neoprenes will all make a difference in how much your wetsuit weighs when it is dry and wet.

Also, it is important to consider the ever-changing technology that is making wetsuits lighter and lighter year by year. The goal of wetsuit companies is to make them as light as possible while still offering you optimum comfort and flexibility.

Thanks to new technology, companies have been able to greatly improve the overall structure of neoprene to make it lighter and just as functional. So, it safe to assume that a suit you buy today will be much lighter than a suit you bought ten years ago.

Size Matters

Obviously the bigger the person the bigger the suit. A wetsuit that is an S (small) is going to weigh less than an XL. But the thickness of the core of your suit is also a big factor. Same Logic though. A 4/3mm wetsuit is going to weigh just a little bit more than a 3/2mm suit just because of the added thickness. The difference is so small though that it may not even be that noticeable to the average person.

You do need to start paying attention if you are planning to use a wetsuit in very cold water. Wetsuit thicknesses can go as high as 9mm (sometimes more). If you are used to wearing a 3/2mm and all of a sudden you have to throw on a 9/7/6mm you will feel a difference in wetsuit weight as well as flexibility. Plan accordingly if that is the case.

Why Is Wetsuit Weight Important?

Swimming is not easy. Even when you’re just in your swimsuit treading around in the water takes a lot of energy. Add some extra weight to the mix and things get even harder.

Think of running. It’s pretty tough as well. But if you throw on some light ankle weights it gets much harder. Same sort of thing with a wetsuit. Thankfully a wetsuit covers your whole body so the weight is distributed evenly so you don’t notice the extra weight of a wetsuit as much as you would while running with ankle weights. But still, the extra weight means more energy you have to expend to move around.

Who Really Needs to Know?

It is easy to see why trying to keep the weight of your wetsuit to a minimum can make the activity you’re doing easier. If you have a super-light suit it could ultimately mean you stay out longer doing the activity you want to do like surfing, kayaking, or swimming.

The question “how heavy are wetsuits” is most important for scuba divers. Knowing the exact weight of your suit is critical because of all the other gear you also have to wear like tanks, tubes, masks, and large fins. All that stuff is added weight on your body and the more you have the harder it is to float. It all comes down to buoyancy and so getting your setup as light as you can is critical when doing SCUBA style swims.  If you are renting a wetsuit from a SCUBA company they should know the wetsuit weight so you can calculate the total load you’ll be swimming with once you head underwater. If you have your own suit it is easy to figure out yourself.

How to Figure Out Your Wetsuit Weight

The easiest way to figure out your wetsuit weight both wet and dry is to go put it on then jump on the scale. First, strip down and weigh yourself. I put a towel down over my scale at the start since I will be weighing myself with a dripping wetsuit on later.

I weighed 165.6lbs with no clothes on. When I put on the dry wetsuit my weight bumps up to 168.4lbs. That means my dry wetsuit weighs 2.8lbs. That’s not much considering it’s a Rip Curl 5/3mm which is a bit thicker than average.

Now jump in the shower with your wetsuit on. Make sure to let it soak. Allow the water to flow down through the neck hole so the inside of your suit is completely wet as well. Once you feel like your suit is fully soaked weigh yourself again.

You can see I now weigh 171.6 which is a pretty significant jump. That means my wetsuit weighs exactly 6 pounds when soaking wet. This is definitely on the lighter side when it comes to a suit that has 5mm of thickness in the midsection. The average is right around 7lbs.

For surfers, an extra 1 to 2 pounds of weight won’t make all that much of a difference but if you are using your suit strictly for scuba diving it is important to go through the process I just did. You never know, you may be able to shed a few pounds by buying a new, lighter suit.

how heavy are wetsuits

Is It Time for a New Wetsuit?

As I said above. Wetsuit technology is advancing in a major way every year. When was the last time you checked out what wetsuit companies are doing to make their suits lighter? Chances are, it has been a while. If you are using an older suit that is more than 4 years old it may be time to check out the new advancements. They are not only lighter, but the new systems inside wetsuits are made to keep you warmer for longer. They are also more comfortable and fit better. Upgrading your suit may just make your next adventure much more of a pleasure.

Wes Severson is a fitness enthusiast and bodyboarder from San Francisco, CA who is always at Ocean Beach hitting the waves. He is also an Emmy Award-winning broadcast news writer and producer and a recording artist who goes by the name Wes Magic.

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One Comment

  • How do you loosen the glue holding the zipper in place on the wet suit. Have removed the stitching and have the new zipper but don’t want to tear the suit by pulling on the glue. Is there a way to loosen the glue? Heat? Solvent?

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