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which is better?high waist or long jons?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Oct 6, 2004
Hi there all!
i'm just beginning my journey into serious freediving by ordering my first elios wetsuit. i didn't specify in my enquiry as to which style of suit i wanted, though i did describe what i wanted it for, and they suggested high waist pants for ease of breathing and some other factor which i forget. i'm just wondering whether those of you who have tried either or both of the options can comment as to which you think is better and why. i suspect that the long jons will be slightly warmer and the high waist pants enabling better breathing[as they suggested] and perhaps less wait needed. ideally i want to get away with little weight as possible[as i suspect we all do] while still being comfortably warm in the water i dive. i live in perth, wa, the water is between 16-20 degrees c and i get cold fairly easily.
i used both and high waist is definatelly better for me. It allows no water in, better sealed that long johns. As you stated it allows you dive with less wieght and easier to breathe:)

I prefer high-waist because in my opinion, they are much more versatile. When it's warmer I just wear the high waist pants and jacket and then as it gets colder during the winter I add a vest underneath my jacket and get the same effect as having on long-john bottoms except with the added bonus that I don't have to totally undress if I have to go to the bathroom during the day.

Elios will make you a separate vest. I have a nice 1 mm from them (smoothskin/open cell) and I also have a nice Picasso 3 mm with gold coated open cell/smoothskin.

Hope this helps.

My vote also goes for high waist.
I have not tried longjohn for apnea, only scuba, but from my expirience and what I've seen and heard, long johns are more restricting and NOT AS WARM as high pants. Although you have more neopren, the longjons might leave some air spaces that will give water more place to flow. The point is to have more neopren at 0 distance you your body, and high waist allow that much better in my opinion.
I think this is also Elios's official stand.

When I think about it even more, longjohns should be a thing of the past, a relic from scuba suit designs. Apnea suits are much superior. The only reason one should prefer a longjohn is because one might want to dive without the top part at all.

By the way, what thinkness do you plan to order?
I'll agree with some of the comment mentioned above. One that i thought would include myself is being somewhat restrictive around the chest area.

I have two apena suits with johns' in which i was thinking of converting into high waist band trousers.

Was wondering if anybody on this forum has done this before and could give me some advice on the best procedure to go about it and how far down from the straps should be cut off.

Let me make a small suggestion. Once when I put on weight, the long john suit seemed too tight. I took a pair of scissors and cut it from the belly button to the top.I never noticed any difference in warmth (my body sealed the seam with blubber anyway), but it was easier to get a deep breath. If you do make a high waist later, no harm done and you can easily glue it back together if it doesn't work. I like my waist belly button high in front and 10 cm higher in the back to fill the small of the back and pad the weights. That works for my perfect body shape (perfect for a pear, that is).
thanks everyone! i think i will go with the high waist pants. in reply to scott, elios did mention that an extra vest in addition to the high waist would be the go, but at this point i'm trying to get away as cheaply as possible. in reply to michael, elios suggested a 5mm, though others on the forum have said that 3mm open cell from elios is toasty. as a compromise i was thinking 3mm waist pants, as the bottom half doesn'y get as cold, and a 5mm jacket. how does that sound? by the way i was going to get open cell mid density heiwa with kanoko outer. this seems a good compromise between elasticity and strength. does anyone else have any other suggestions? and how long would one expect to get out of a suit that is more delicate-e.g. a smoothskin?
I understand why there are different recommendations regarding thickness. It's because different places of the world have different definitions of what is warm/cold water. The coldest I've been with my 3mm Elios so far was 22c-20c, and I was warm.
But I can also get cold easly in 25c if I'm not moving enough or have too long surface intervals. Water in our part of the med peaks to 30c every year here and on some years to 32c (on the shallows), so that explains why here people are more sensitive to cold water (wusses!). On the other side of the world, you have people doing Ice diving in 5mm elios suits. I guess it's a matter of sensitivty. I think that a 5mm might last longer though, and that in 20c you can always flush the suit a little if you're too warm. A 3mm/5mm combination also sounds like a good solution.

Regarding kanoko, it's for a really tough environment, nylon superstretch should be enough for most normal usage I think. How harsh is the environment you dive in?

Don't know about smoothskin, it mostly depends also on your diving conditions (boat/shore-spearfishing/line diving) and on how gentle you are.
often, especially spring through autumn i will river dive around structures such as jetties and bridges which are covered in muscles and barnicles, and fairly regularly i will scrape past them as i'm weaving my way through. the rest of the time thus far i've been doing shore based dives on shallow reefs pursuing the small but tasty silver bream or tarwhine as they are sometimes called. in the near future over summer and on into the future i hope to be doing more boat diving in pursuit of the prized wa fish, the west australian dhufish! that will also push me into deeper water and hopefully increase my breathhold capablities.
Smoothskin on muscles and barnicles? Might last a day or a week with lots of glue. :)
Maybe when you'll start boat diving you could buy a second suit, as an open water one...
Anyway, kanoko doesn't sound like a bad option afterall.
considering that my current wetsuit is a 5mm two piece, double sided nylon scuba wetsuit without hood, i think that an elios with open cell and kanoko should be a vast improvement!



While scouting for the 2000 Nationals in Northern CA I was having some minor stomach troubles and found myself having to go in early nearly every day to hit the bathroom. I was wearing a farmer john 2 piece in 7 mm and found it impossible to undress and dress myself while on a kayak so I had to go back to shore to be able to take care of my business. I decided this would simply not be an option come tournament day so I reluctantly cut my farmer john bottoms into high waist pants and threw a 3 mm vest underneath my jacket to hopefully make up the difference in warmth (water temp was 48 degrees on the surface). The next day diving I was pleasantly surprised to find the 3 mm vest was as warm as the 7/5 mm uppers on my farmer johns and of course I could now relieve myself while at sea. After I got back home I cut all the suits I had that were farmer john into high waist and have never looked back. I cut the 7 mm pants real high (just under my armpits because I was paranoid about being cold but most of my other suits I cut up to just below my diaphragm. I also have one pair of 3 mm that I cut real low (just above my waist) for warm water applications. Cutting wetsuits is real simple, just get a pair of scissors and cut a strait line across the pants. Nothing will separate but if you have a place where you cut across a seam, I do recommend putting on a small drop of glue (Aquaseal) on it to prevent the thread from unraveling. Some farmerjohns have a seam going all the way around them at just about the height where you’d want to cut them. This is perfect, just cut above the seam.

The benefit of then wearing a vest under your jacket with high waist pants when it starts to get cold is that the vest will help stop any water that gets into your suit from coming in contact your back. That's what really gets me cold is when a minor flush of new water comes in my suit and a couple drops touches my back.

I own both farmer john and high-waist suits. The high-waist suits are, by far, my favorite. They are MUCH easier to breath in and since most of them are custom cut, Elios, suits I have no problems with water exchange.

I will use a seperate 2mm vest with my 3mm suit to extend my season in it, but aven't found a need to use it with my 6mm suit- even in 4 (C) water. I now wish I would have gotten the 5mm suit instead of the 6mm suit, but I hope to really put the 6mm to the test this winter wants the lakes start to freeze up.

I have been pleasantly suprised by how well my smooth skin suit has held up, but would still go with some type of outer lining for your first suit, or if your going to ever use it for scuba. As a compromise you might want to go with lining on the pants and smooth skin on the jacket.

I second both Jon's recommendations. As a spearfisherman who loves to crawl around on the bottom, I've found that nylon out pants combined with a smoothskin out jacket is my favorite combination of suit but for someone purchasing their first suit, I agree that Jon’s suggestion of nylon out for both jacket and pants is probably the best way to go.

Glad to have been able to help.


Thanks for your advice. I do have a seem that go completely around the john's midwaist. I'll half to buy a good pair of scissors though! lol...

Thanks again for i'am going to try it . I'll think than it won't feel so restricting around the chest area. Although no problem for the suit fits good.

i thought that chopping the long johns sounded good but i forgot in the heat of the moment that my zip-up open neck scuba wettie wasn't water tight!
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