My World’s Toughest Mudder Wetsuit Strategy
Robert Killian April 21st, 2017 Posted In: Articles, How-To, Reviews Tags: OCR
Determine Your World’s Toughest Mudder Wetsuit Strategy:
With the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) season rapidly approaching, it’s time to decide on a ‘Toughest Mudder’ Wetsuit strategy and conquer not only the obstacles, but the elements as well. Choosing the right Toughest Mudder wetsuit can take your OCR endurance game to the next level and there’s no better time to start than now! Wetsuit Wearhouse is the perfect spot to start your search. With events like the Spartan Race Ultra Beast and addition of the America’s Toughest series, this year more than ever you’ll need to put some serious thought into your Toughest Mudder wetsuit and other ways to save precious calories by staying warm. Let’s get started on some of the more appropriate Toughest Mudder wetsuits and gear to consider!
Know Your Needs:
My thought process was really provoked after World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) 2015. Unfortunately, I had to stop at around 2:00 am to wait for the sun to come up, unable to keep a normal core temperature. This was caused by using an old surfing suit that didn’t have a protective layer to block the wind. The concept of a wetsuit is to allow the water trapped in the suit next to your skin to stay warm; therefore keeping you warm. What happens while you’re frequently in and out of cold water is the downfall of many suits, especially if it’s windy. The warm water drains out while the wind makes the suit even colder, having the opposite effect, making you colder, not warmer. The key to solving this issue is to get a very thick suit that is thermally insulated at 4mm or thicker, and/or get a suit with a shiny smoothskin outer layer that will block the wind and utilize your body heat.
Last year’s Worlds Toughest Mudder Wetsuit Strategy consisted of everything from:
- Compression baselayer
- 1mm sealskin JetPilot F-38 neoprene top
- Blueseventy Reaction Sleeveless Wetsuit (5mm)
- 2mm thermal insulated cap
- 3mm-5mm neoprene gloves
- Two full XCEL suits with attached hoodies (4mm and a 5mm)
Understand Features and Functions:
Specifically for OCR, you want to look at something very durable which is why I went with the XCEL Drylock and XCEL Infiniti X2 suits. What I like most is that the attached hood doesn’t allow for water to get into the suit when being drenched under the “snot rocket obstacle”. Another great thing about XCEL is the Drylock technology which helps keep cold water out as well. However, I did find at times that the warm water stayed in the suit, and took a bit longer to drain out once I started running to the next few obstacles. Not to worry though, the XCEL Infiniti X2 doesn’t have the Drylock option and is truly amazing as well! Paired with the XCEL Infiniti comp 5 finger gloves that are perfect for water drainage and have even better grip. Getting cold will be the last thing on your mind so you can focus on crushing obstacles.
Other great features on the XCEL Infiniti and Drylock are the knee and elbow pad support, making it much easier with crawl not having to worry about getting scratched up or even cut. For the longer swim portions, a thicker suit will also help keep you more buoyant in the water, less effort used and more calories saved. For fit, I suggest getting something that isn’t crazy tight. Normally for swimming or other water sports, it’s not a bad thing to have a skin tight suit, but for OCR, it’s not very beneficial. Having a suit that is super tight will make running and using your arms harder because you’re fighting the compression of the suit to your skin. You’ll especially feel this when swimming which is why a lot of people go with a sleeveless top, shorty, or spring suit.
Always Be Prepared:
You never want to leave the pit area thinking “I’ll probably be alright” or “I’ll only be cold for a minute.” It’s better to be warm for a while and ready for the next cold water obstacle. You always have the option to drop the top half of your suit as needed and zip it back up quite easily on the move. I started out the 2016 WTM with just a pair of compression shorts which doubled as a great base layer when transitioning to a wetsuit. I also used a very thin breathable base layer (Reebok Spartan Race Line) which is perfect to prevent skin rashes and chaffing. Once I started to feel even a little bit cold, and burning a ton more calories, I began to layer up. I stared with the JetPilot F-38 1mm long sleeve top (which I also used during the Spartan Race Ultra Beast World Championships in Tahoe with great success, especially at the top where we faced 40mph+ wind gusts). A few laps later at WTM, the sun started to go down and it was time to make a decision on a suit. Desert weather is so unpredictable, you never know how cold it might get in just an hour’s time, but since I wasn’t all that cold I went with a 2xu Propel 2mm full suit.
One final product that is especially important to me, being bald, is a swim cap. Your head is where body heat escapes, so keeping your dome warm will undoubtedly help you fight the cold. During the Spartan Race Ultra Beast World Championships, I wore a blueseventy thermal insulated cap which worked amazingly. The great thing about a cap is that you can take it off to cool down and put it right back on to warm up without having to stop or fuss with much gear. Same goes for gloves, they can easily be removed and stored in the top of your suit or top when not needed.
To cap off your Toughest Mudder Wetsuit Strategy, make sure to test whatever you can BEFORE you race. It’s never a good idea to use, try or do something new on race day. Also, be sure to invest in some BodyGlide or something to apply to areas where you might get some skin chaffing, even if you have a base layer. My go-to for both triathlon and Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) gear when fighting cold and wet conditions is www.wetsuitwearhouse.com. For the best prices and largest selections topped with super fast shipping plus a great return policy, you can’t go wrong there!
Are you competing this season? What’s your Toughest Mudder Wetsuit Strategy? Whether you’re a first timer or an avid competitor, let us know in the comments below! We love to share ideas, success stories and the not-so-ideal moments, too! Don’t forget, Wetsuit Wearhouse staff is always around via phone (866.906.7848), live chat, and e-mail!
Great post Rob.
Hypothermia is no joke! Seems like a small price to pay for protecting ones health and well being.
Not to mention the medical costs you guys have to pay over the other side of the pond. (US/UK).
Great site keep up the awesomeness 🙂
Hi guys, I’m new to this blog. I have sign up for winter OCR championship coming June in Sydney.
Thinking of getting wetsuit. However I’m contemplating between full or half wetsuit or long sleeve or short sleeve.
Can I ask an opinion on this matter. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge in this …
Truthfully, a lot of OCR athletes will grab a few different cuts since as the day progresses, the weather and temperature can change dramatically. It is usually a good idea to have both a fullsuit and some separates, like a jacket and shorts. If you need more guidance, don’t hesitate to contact customer service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (866) 906-7848. Thank you!
Hey Robert, I’m lined up to do America’s Toughest Mudder in Atlanta at the end of April. I know that overnight temps(average is 56 F) will probably be cold enough that when combined with water obstacles and the inevitable Arctic Enema I will need a wet suit. What’s your recommendation on suit design for Atlanta in late Apil?
Hey Dylan! Awesome that you’ll be out in Atlanta for ATM! It’s definitely going to be cold enough for a wetsuit, especially since TM loves to make their water obstacles super cold! I would recommend a 2mm or 3mm max suit, with a thermal insulated swim cap, that way you aren’t committed to a hooded suit that might leave you too hot. Also make sure to stay way from suits with any type of extra dry lock seal around the feet and wrists. I’ve noticed that when you get out of the water it takes much longer to drain the water out in these types of suits. You might even be able to get away with a sleeveless suit depending on your body type. For gloves, again a 2mm or 3mm with a great grip pattern are a must! Check out the Xcel Xplorer 3/2mm suit, I really like their brand, but to be honest there are a ton of great suits from Wetsuit Wearhouse that have great knee pad support as well as durability and warmth. Blueseventy makes the best caps, and the Neosport Xspan 3mm gloves are awesome!