Are you aware of the different types of wetsuits? Do you know what a steamer wetsuit is? Do you know how to choose the right wetsuit? There are more wetsuit brands out there than you can imagine. There are also numerous magazines and blogs that recommend a particular brand without really explaining what makes that particular type or brand right for buyers. This is why choosing a wetsuit can quickly get overwhelming. Here are a few things you should know about a steamer wetsuit and how to choose the right one.
What Is A Steamer Wetsuit?
A steamer wetsuit is nothing but a wetsuit that is full length with long legs and long sleeves. It is designed to help you preserve body heat when you are surfing on the water or diving underwater. A steamer is preferable when surfing in cold water to keep you safe from the chilling effect by reducing the loss of body heat. Steamers are available in a wide range of thicknesses with each designed to keep you comfortable in different water temperature ranges.
In addition to steamers, there are also many other types of wetsuits such as spring suits, wetsuit jackets, long john wetsuits, short john wetsuits, and full suits, among others. All these different types are designed to be worn in different weather conditions. For example, spring suits or shorty wetsuits are designed to keep you comfortable on hot summer days.
Choosing The Right Steamer Wetsuit
All wetsuits might look the same to the untrained eye but there are a lot of small differences that, put together, can make a big difference to your overall experience. Here are a few essential tips to help you make the right choice when buying a steamer:
- Stretching Ability
- Outer Coating
- Type of Zip
- Stretching Ability
Most wetsuits are made of neoprene which is very stretchy. However, it is bonded with other materials to prevent neoprene from coming into touch with your skin. In the earlier days, backing made of nylon were used. Naturally, nylon isn’t as stretchy as neoprene. These days, nylon has been replaced with lycra which makes modern wetsuits truly stretchy.
One thing you should know is that sometimes neoprene, lycra or similar materials are used only for arms and other materials are used for other parts in order to cut costs. Also, the thickness of the suit, number of seams, zips as well as thermal linings will also affect its stretching ability which ultimately means that you will need to compromise between flexibility and warmth when choosing a steamer for a really cold climate.
Thickness is measured in millimetres and you will usually find two numbers for thickness. The first number typically refers to the body thickness whereas the second number is the thickness of legs and arms. A slightly thinner material is used on legs and arms in order to provide greater freedom of movement.
When it comes to choosing the thickness, always remember the thinner the material – the more flexible it is. Ultimately, choose a thickness based on the conditions where you are going to wear your wetsuit.
The highest quality wetsuits have liquid seams. This simply means that liquid glue is used to stick together different layers. These layers are then stitched but the needle does not penetrate all the way through. It goes only halfway through to the neoprene which means it does not create thousands of tiny holes. However, not all the wetsuits available in the market today use this kind of seam. Other types of seams are not completely watertight.
If you’re buying a steamer or a winter suit, it is better to buy one with a water repellent coating. Water repellent coating ensures that the outer layer of the wetsuit does not absorb water and keeps you safe from the effects of wind chill.
Type Of Zip
Zips are stretchy due to their very nature. There are different kinds of zip styles available in the market including front zip, back zip, or no zip. Back zip is the traditional design and offers the most comfortable way to enter the wetsuit. However, it also creates a very inflexible area in the back.
Front or chest zips make the whole back stretchy but some people don’t like it as entering the wetsuit is a bit difficult. There are also zipper-less or no zip suits. These are the most flexible wetsuits but getting into such wetsuits can be tricky.
Overall, there is no shortage of wetsuit brands and styles out there. However, not every design and every brand are right for you. It’s important to check its stretching ability, thickness, type of seams, outer coating, zip type as well as size.
Don’t forget that a good quality wetsuit should last you years. Hopefully, this short guide will help you choose the best wetsuit for your budget.
At Beachin Surf, we offer a wide variety of surfing essentials. We have surfboards, wetsuits, board bags, clothing, footwear, accessories and surf hardware including eco-friendly alternatives. We are more than happy to help you with your surfing journey.
For all your surfing essentials, please visit us at 262 Maine Road, Toukley, NSW. You can also call ahead to make sure we are there to assist you properly.
Please call us today on (02) 4396 5159 or feel free to send us an inquiry.