View Full Version : Warmth of Wetsuits

October 21st, 2009, 04:10 PM
Over the summer we had a pool installed with an Endless Pool swim unit. My goal is to use it as much as possible in each season, but since it is a full size backyard pool, and not a typical 5'x10' Endless Pool, we can't heat it year around. Yesterday the temp dipped to below 70, so I decided to dig out my sleeveless wetsuit. Amazing how much warmth a wetsuit provides, but I wonder how much more I can get with a full suit with sleeves.

I've looked at the manufacturer information for Blue Seventy, 2xu, Quintana Roo, and Xterra, but I did not see anything that led me to believe one model or brand held in warmth more than another.

My guess is that they are all pretty equal, but I thought I'd check with the experts here first. If a group of people around the world doing cold open water swimming doesn't know about warm wetsuits, I don't know who would.

October 22nd, 2009, 07:53 AM
Well.....I'm not an open water swimmer per se, but I have been surfing for about 35 years. The primary warmth factor for a wetsuit is the thickness of the neoprene, usually measured in 'mils' or millimeters. Arms and legs for active sports are generally thinner than body panels. Find out the mils and you'll have a very accurate idea of the warmth. The secondary consideration is if the seams are glued, stitched, and taped. Each step costs $, but improves durability and warmth.


October 22nd, 2009, 09:24 AM
Another forum stated that USAT limits the thickness of wetsuits to 5mm, but I did not see this in the official rules. Most likely they are right about USAT limiting the thickness. I have yet to find a SWIMMING wetsuit thicker than 5mm.

On land I can add layers as it gets colder, but I don't think layers would work very well in the water. There's always plenty of acclimation info in the OW threads.

October 23rd, 2009, 01:18 PM
Check out DeSoto's T1 WaterRover. It's 10mm thick! That should keep you plenty warm.

October 23rd, 2009, 03:42 PM
More important than the possible differences among full wetsuits in how warm they are, is how flexible they are. I own a couple of wetsuits I use for triathlons. My best race suit uses 1 mm (I think) in places in the arms and shoulders for more flexibility (Xterra Vendetta). As an open water swimmer, if I am going to wear a wetsuit, I don't want to know it's there. I have another one that uses 2 mm in arms and shoulders and I can notice that difference in flexibility (Zoot Z1). Part is the thickness but part is also the kind of rubber they use. Both suits use 5 mm thickness in the legs and abdomen which unavoidably raises your legs in the water requiring an adjustment in swimming form. I have just bought a sleeveless for next year for warmer water triathlons.

While a full suit has been shown to be faster that a sleevless suit, I had 2 races where the water water temperature was wetsuit legal, but far too warm for me in my wetsuit. The first one I tossed my cap in the middle of the race and stopped to open up my neck for a quick rush of water in a 4K. The second was a triathlon. I decided to go without one and gave up approximately 1:30 to the competition (and thus my decision to buy a sleeveless). It is a great time to buy a wetsuit during end of the year sales by many online retailers. Xterra which sells direct might still be having theirs. You can also get a discount by following their link on begginertriathlete.com. On the flip side, I do not wear a wetsuit for open water swims unless they are allowed and all swimmers are ranked together (the 4K I mentioned above was co-sponsored by USMS and a local triathlon club)

October 24th, 2009, 02:12 PM
dont forget a warm cap can help keep a lot of heat in, You may not need another wetsuit with a warmer cap system.

http://www.geocities.com/lapswimr/coldwatercaps.html Till Oct 26 and the plug is pulled.