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5 or 7mm suit ? North Wales UK

pob

Member
May 6, 2014
16
4
8
Middlewich cheshire
Hi all . I am looking at buying an entry level suit and am stuck between 5 or 7mm 2piece , i do a lot of river kayaking so have kit bags full of base layers and rash vests ect that i was thinking of using in conjunct with a 5mm to give some flexibility if it ever warms up !
Or do you guys think i would be better to buy a 7mm .
Oh thinking of doing sheltered bays and close to shore while i practice .
Cheers

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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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Sunny Britain
Normally, I would recommend 5mm (unless you particularly feel the cold - perhaps coming from the tropics) open-cell suit (against your skin, not a rash vest) with spearo trousers (high waist) & nylon outer (such as made-to-measure Elios basic Ecoline suit -- there is a Greek company which is cheaper now though).

But, for you pod, as a kayaker, I would suggest that you get a 5mm suit with long-john style trousers - that will give you the option to paddle without your jacket on. Also, with the jacket on, your body core will have 2 layers of 5mm neoprene over, which should be more than enough (provided you buy a proper, well fitting spearo wet suit, with hood).

I think a nylon outer makes sense - it provides a lot of much need protection & strength for the open cell neoprene. However, if kayaking, a smooth outer would dry more quickly -- but it will be much more vulnerable to damage(e.g. from rocks & other sticky out bits), so if you go for that option you might want to consider some reinforcement (e.g. partial nylon outer and/or knee/elbow pads).

I would normally suggest simple, cheap, effective open-cell inside - however, if you anticipate putting your jacket on and taking it off while on your kayak, it might be worth considering one of the fancy slippery interior coatings - which I would normally avoid. You might also want to consider one or more zips - which are not normal on spearo wetsuits but which might make sense on a kayak (I recall the late, great Old Man Dave got zips on his last wetsuit just to make it easier to get on & off - pragmatic).

Neoprene booties & gloves complete the outfit. 2mm stretch neoprene gloves are ok for the summer but I find my 2mm stretch Beuchat gloves a bit cold sometimes compared to my slightly thicker, earlier Beuchat gloves (which are excellent) - but the stretch is a handy feature. I suggest that you choose the thickness of your booties to get a good, slightly loose fit with your fins - rather than worrying about warmth. My reasoning is as follows: if your socks are too thick your fins will be tight & circulation to your feet will be compromised - this will make your feet cold, despite the insulation. In the summer, I sometimes forgo booties as my feet swell with the warmth - but as it is warm, I don't need the booties anyway.

BTW it is possible to be too hot in a wetsuit (which is another reason, perhaps, not to get a 7mm wetsuit). When I first dived in my brand new 5mm Elios wetsuit in November I almost got heat stroke. The suits v. gradually loose a little "loft" (insulation) over time & you learn a few tricks to tweak your temperature -- drink plenty of water the day before diving too, you want to be well hydrated.

A 7mm suit will require that you carry more lead on your weight belt (similarly a long john wetsuit will likely need a little more lead than a suit with spearo trousers).

If you get a suit made to your measurements (a good idea, especially if you normally have trouble finding your size(s) "off the peg"), then:
1. make sure you allow plenty of space around your throat - to avoid choking reflex.
2. take each measurement several times, carefully and as instructed, on both sides of your body, ideally on different days under different conditions (discard outliers, average the rest).
 
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pob

pob

Member
May 6, 2014
16
4
8
Middlewich cheshire
Thank you Mr . X
That's a mass of info that i can have a look at and hopefully pick something up that's right for me -:)
Thanks again for taking the time and effort for such an informative reply .

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Kuya

Simon
Nov 6, 2012
303
27
58
Southbourne, Dorset - UK
I use both : 5mm from about now until early November and 7mm during the winter time. I have low body fat so maybe the cold affects me more.

A lot of my time is spent breathing up on the surface between dives. During the winter time it can be freezing cold just lying there motionless trying to relax . I find 5mm too thin during the winter and have move around to keep warm hampering the relaxation which helps my bottom time.

Given it's May I'd go for the 5mm suit.

--oops just realised this thread was started over 10 days ago.
 
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manalive!

Well-Known Member
Nov 9, 2010
756
143
83
Manchester, UK
www.conceptcad.com
I assume you're Spearing, not just freediving? What times of the year will you be diving? I have a 7mm for the colder months and a 5mm for all else. Spearing you move around a lot more than pure freediving. I have a 1.5mm neoprene undervest that I wear under my
 
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pob

pob

Member
May 6, 2014
16
4
8
Middlewich cheshire
Thanks for your replies .

I eventually went for a 2 piece entry level 5mm apnea suit and am chuffed to bits with it , I have only used it on 2 short test dives at the weekend in North Wales and i was very comfortable indeed .

I did however move up to xxl instead of my normal clothing size of xl and it was defiantly the right choice to do so .

Thanks again for your advice chaps .

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fenit

New Member
Dec 17, 2014
1
0
1
59
Ireland
Hello, I would like to ask a question. I found a suit that seems to be a perfect fit to my size, but unfortunately not to my weight. According to the measurements I need to put on another 4-5 kilograms and I am not sure if it's not too risky to buy it from internet. My body has no fat and I don't know if 5mm for Irish water is ok (spring to autumn). Do you have any experience? Thanks
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
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Jul 14, 2005
7,304
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Sunny Britain
Would probably be best to start a new thread - would likely get more response. Hard to estimate fit, not knowing specifically which wetsuit & size you are considering and what your body size & shape is. That's why I opted for a made-to-measure wetsuit -- I have never regretted that decision.

4-5kg that's 10-12lb. If you are small, that's quite a difference, if you are XXL not much difference. My bodyweight has fluctuated more that this without the need for a new wetsuit. Of course what that weight is made up of (muscle needs much less space than fat) and where it is carried -- or in this case, what the manufacturer designed for.

You could always buy it and then decide whether you need to eat more pies or "pump up" to fit it. :D
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,304
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Sunny Britain
Since my earlier post I bought a new wetsuit "off the peg", having found a manufacturer (Mares) that offered a size (XL) with a range that covered my measurements, pretty much. Part of the way they manage this extraordinary feat is by using very stretchy neoprene: my new Mares off-the-peg wetsuit is much softer & stretchier than my custom-made Elios wetsuit. Consequently it covers quite a range of size variations. The cost will likely be some loss of insulation, especially at depth when the softer neoprene will likely compress more. To help offset that loss , I suspect, Mares actually uses 5.5mm neoprene rather than 5mm and the pants are very high going an inch or two higher than my Elios pants.

Almost forget, I would think Irish conditions are similar to the UK so 5mm is probably a good thickness to go for. As you say you have no body fat you might feel the cold more than most. If so, options include: long john pants (which would give you more coverage around the chest & shoulder), thicker neoprene (e.g. 6-7mm) for some or all of the suit. However, if it were me, I would go for a regular 5mm spearo wetsuit with regular high waisted spearo pants. If you still get cold, you could later purchase a thin neoprene vest (e.g. 2-4mm) to wear underneath - but you probably won't need it. Another option suggested by Foxfish is to wear a cheap, shorties surfing wetsuit (~£15) over your wetsuit in colder months - as you are concerned that the suit might be too big, perhaps you could wear in underneath you spearo suit (easier said than done I dare say).
 

stefpix

Member
Aug 15, 2015
36
7
23
52
Brooklyn NY
stefanogiovannini.com
[QUOTE="Mr. X, post: 954347, member: 6011 Another option suggested by Foxfish is to wear a cheap, shorties surfing wetsuit (~£15) over your wetsuit in colder months - as you are concerned that the suit might be too big, perhaps you could wear in underneath you spearo suit (easier said than done I dare say).[/QUOTE]

Wouldn't the shorty worn under the open cell prevent the seal on the skin with the neoprene making it less insulated? I se some brands sell also a combo 5mm pants and 7mm top.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,304
1,385
418
Sunny Britain
Elios sell a neoprene vest that is intended to be worn under a wetsuit. Last time I looked though it was surprisingly expensive - and their prices have risen a lot for UK buyers since then :(
 
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