How to choose a wetsuit

How to choose a wetsuit


I am often asked advice about how to choose a wetsuit when deciding to purchase your own, so what better blog to start with than this very subject!

1.  What activities do you plan to use it for?  And when?

Are you looking to do some kayaking in summer months only?  Or are you getting into paddleboarding and maybe someone who falls in a lot! (I have lessons to help you with that!).  Are you looking for more of a year round suit?

2.  Suit thickness

Wetsuits come in different thicknesses, such as 2mm, 3mm, 4mm and 5mm.  

As a guide a 2mm is great for summer watersports when the water is a bit warmer, the suits are quite thin but have plenty movement in them and will be adequate to get you going in warmer weather.

A 5mm suit will keep you a lot warmer in colder weather but it will probably be too warm in the summer and the movement will be more restricted.

The wetsuits I provide my clients with are generally 3/2mm which means that the main body of the suit is 3mm thick, but areas such as under the arms and around the knees are 2mm allowing better movement.

If you're unsure of what suit thickness you think you'll need contact me and I can show you different thicknesses or give you further advice.

3.  Suit style

Wetsuits come in a variety of styles, let's have a look at some of those below

Full length wetsuits such as the one above are good all-round wetsuits (considering thickness as above).  They will help keep you warmer if you are someone who spends a bit of time in the water, or if there's more of a chance of you falling in.  Disadvantages for kayaking can be that they are a little bit restrictive in arm movement.   For kayaking you might be better with a longjohn suit, as below.


Longjohn wetsuits are probably better for kayaking as they are much less restrictive around the arms, allowing better movement.  You can wear a kayaking jacket (to be covered in another blog) to help keep the wind off.  

Shortie wetsuits are another option, they have short arms and short legs, though definitely more of a summer option!

4.  Which make and size should I get?

The answer to this question really comes down to budget and use I think. The likes of Aldis and Lidls do wetsuits which will generally be 2mm thickness but will be at the cheaper end of the scale and will probably be adequate to get you started.

If you're looking for perhaps a better quality suit the likes of Palm, Peak and Circle One do great suits.  There are lots of different manufacturers out there.  

Sizing often varies from brand to brand so it's worth trying some on first if you can.  When I select wetsuits for my clients I generally go for one size up from their dress size in-order to make the suits a bit easier to get on and off.


Hopefully this short blog gives you some starters for ten for looking for a wetsuit, however if you're still unsure book a session with me and you can try some of my different suits and see what you think. I'm happy to answer queries during the session too.

And remember Och Aye Canoe may be able to order the suit you're after!



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