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The 9 Best Wetsuits in 2022
Throwing yourself into a body of water has to be one of the most liberating feelings there is for a human. Particularly if you find yourself trapped behind a desk or stuck inside for the majority of any given day. And it’s not just the ocean either, any stretch of H20 for that matter is fair game.
However, these aquatic environments are not always the warmest, and unless you have a thick layer of blubber and a set of gills to match – you’re likely going to feel the cold.
This is where a great wetsuit is going to fit the bill and provide you with endless hours of shredding waves, kayaking your favorite river, or rock jumping your local lake. But, with so many options out there how does a wannabe fish like yourself approach the task of buying one? Leave that to us as we run down the 9 best wetsuits you can buy in 2021.
1. XCEL Drylock 3/2 Full Wetsuit
In recent years, this Hawaii grown brand has been quietly making a name for itself in quality wetsuits. So much so that one of their better-known customers is none other than the US Special Forces. Partner this with top-notch technology and a string of awards to boot and you have a premium wetsuit producer.
The Drylock 3/2 has unparalleled materials and features uber-efficient wrist seals and a gliding collar, both of which, when you spend time in the water, prove invaluable. Sitting on the higher end of most people’s budget, this suit is built to last, and with a high level of manufacture, it will also tackle much cooler conditions than most other 3/2 wetsuits out there.
2. O’Neill Psycho Tech
Touted as being the very first label to ever produce a commercially available wetsuit, O’Neil has been consistently pushing the advancement of wetsuit technology for over 60 years. Put simply, what these guys don’t know – isn’t worth knowing.
Their latest advancement comes in the form of the TB3 neoprene construction, which you will see is integral in the Psycho Tech series and really is inspiring stuff.
Pro-surfer Jordy Smith talks highly of this new material, and this guy knows cold water – he grew up surfing in South Africa. By utilizing trapped air technology and fluid seam welds this suit is not only incredibly flexible but it isn’t going to catch you out with those random flushes of cold water – which can happen from time to time.
3. Vissla 7 Seas 3/2 Back Zip Wetsuit
Vissla is the type of brand that’s cool, you know, the not trying too hard and don’t particularly care kind of cool. Neither are they pretentious – all round they just make good, honest, stylish gear. The Vissla 7 Seas series of suits could be interpreted as the brand’s bread and butter suit, your entry-level purchase, but do not be fooled by this.
The wetsuit is one of the most durable and best fitting products out of their entire range. Two features worth noting are the dope dyed fabric anti-fade material made by Bluesign approved mills and AquaA solvent-free water-based lamination; meaning not only do you have a great well-priced suit, but you also have one that hasn’t harmed the planet.
4. Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Full Zip Wetsuit
You want to feel guilt-free about your wetsuit, yes? Well, Patagonia has been leading the charge with environmentally made wetsuits for a while now; implemented heavily by their extensive use of sustainably sourced materials and ethical practices to which they work. Every aspect of the brand’s clothing construction has been scrutinized and made as eco-friendly as possible.
Yulex is an American corporation making huge changes in the wetsuit industry, albeit at a slow pace. By using sustainably sourced natural rubber in place of energy-intensive neoprene means up to 80% less climate-altering CO2 is emitted – and a resulting material that outperforms conventional neoprene.
Patagonia utilizes this material across their range and the results in the water are nothing short of impressive.
5. Rip Curl E-Bomb 3/4 Zip Free Wetsuit
The Australian icon of wetsuits has long been associated with the cooler waters off the country’s Southern coast around Victoria and in particular Torquay (remember the final scene of Point Break?). And boy, they get some pretty cold water down that corner of the planet.
This super stretchy suit is the perfect go to for an intermediate/advanced level of surfer, hinging its appeal on its performance and flexibility – thus allowing those freakishly talented individuals to do their thing. Rip Curl’s E6 technology is some of the best on the market and they have been fine-tuning it year in, year out.
Interestingly, this was the same wetsuit Mick Fanning was wearing when he was famously knocked from his board by a Great White in South Africa back in 2016 – did we mention it acts as a shark repellent?
6. Billabong 6/5 Hooded Furnace Wetsuit
Come winter, if you’re looking to tackle some pretty cold water and heading to some of those more northern spots, or even Canada, you’re going to need to pull out the thick stuff. Billabong’s 6/5 hooded furnace comp wetsuit is the perfect solution to avoiding a one-way ticket to hyperthermia.
Being a thicker suit, you’d be forgiven for looking at it and thinking it’s likely going to be heavy, meaning there is no way as a surfer you’re going to be pulling your best moves. Well, you’re wrong.
Graphene yarns are wrapped with carbon fibers meaning the weight of this wetsuit is 50% lighter than traditional hollow fibers. Looking to practice your air-reverses next time you take a surf trip somewhere frigid, then, this is the suit for you.
7. Hurley Advantage Plus 3/2 Wetsuit
The Hurley Advantage Plus 3/2mm Full suit is the stylish answer to get you into the water when things cool down to around 55 to 64°F. Made from lightweight, warm, and uber stretchy Exoflex neoprene, with a clever chest zip entry system, it’s super easy to get in to – and quick to get back out of!
Watertight and contoured to your shape, the Advantage Plus’s chest zipper cleverly opens at both ends, allowing it to stretch with the suit and therefore prevent breakage while getting in and out. When you’re in a hurry the innovative toggle fastener lets you secure the chest opening with one hand, so you can cinch and get out on the water in no time.
8. Matuse Dante Short Sleeve Wetsuit
When things start to warm up you will need to consider a thinner wetsuit. A short sleeve option is not only going to give you a feeling of more freedom of movement; it also means you get to tan those pipes and impress the ladies as you go about your business.
Jokes aside – the Matuse Dante is THE wetsuit for people who find putting a wetsuit on and taking it off again an irksome task. How do they do this? The Dante wetsuit has a very unique butterfly collar entry, which has to be seen to be believed.
Hence, it wholly suits people that don’t like front zips and/or back zips and it’s specifically engineered for customers – wait for it – that don’t like putting a wetsuit on or taking one-off. Score!
9. Peak Climax Pro Zip Free 4/3 Wetsuit
Should you find yourself caught in the dilemma of cold water, yet not seriously face numbing kind of cold water, then a 4/3 wetsuit is likely going to fit the bill. Designed specifically for the avid surfer who won’t let cold conditions put them off, the wetsuit is positioned as an affordable full-body intended for water temps of around 53 to 57°F; meaning the Peak Climax Pro is going to allow you to get wet whilst keeping you toasty warm and not breaking the bank either.
Zip-free means should your hands become less than functional it won’t matter, and fully sealed seams will keep the movement of water around your torso to an absolute minimum. A suit like this paired with some good booties, gloves, and hood will mean you’re pretty set to face anything the states are likely to throw at you.
A wetsuit that is going to allow you the most amount of movement, whilst at the same time fitting your body shape and performing its primary job of keeping you warm. Should there be long waits between waves – and there often can be – the last thing you want is to start feeling the cold.
Your first consideration should be cost. Once you have identified your budget you can then begin to look at certain brands and see which features are prevalent amongst their line up: are they eco-friendly, are they zip free, do they come in colors and styles I like?
Sizing is an important factor also, I would strongly suggest you physically try on a wetsuit that you are keen on, after all, not all wetsuits are made the same! A certain brand’s wetsuits might fit your body shape better than another’s for a variety of reasons.
Wetsuits have come a long way and at the end of the day, you are going to pay for that. Companies have spent endless hours in research and developing their materials so the cost of your wetsuit inevitably reflects this.
Eco-friendly wetsuits are always going to cost you more, but if that’s important to you then it shouldn’t matter. For a quality full body wetsuit that is going to last you at least two years, you’re likely going to be looking around the $300-400 mark.