There’s no denying that while it is an invaluable piece of equipment for many water-based activities, a wetsuit can represent a significant investment and put a rather large dent in your finances.
With that in mind, you probably want to know how long your wetsuit is going to last before it needs to be replaced and what the warning signs are that tell you when it is time to replace a wetsuit. We’re going to be looking at both of those questions today and helping to shed some light on the myths around the vastly debated subject.
How Long You Can Expect Your Wetsuit to Last?
Well of course, how long your wetsuit will last and how frequently you will need to physically replace it is going to be determined by how often you use it, how carefully you maintain it on-going and of course, the quality of the wetsuit you invested in the first place.
As a very rough and quite expansive rule of thumb, you are looking at anywhere from four years to 10 years lifespan depending upon its quality of construction and the regularity of use. It may be that while the wetsuit itself is technically in great condition, one of the zippers might fail you and you definitely don’t want any cold water entering into your wetsuit which in turn can lead to unwanted flushing.
What Are the Most Common Causes Of Wetsuit Failure?
There are a handful of common issues that can lead to your wetsuit requiring to be replaced more quickly than you had anticipated so if you are vigilant to avoid these common issues you might be able to get longer life out of your wetsuit after all. They are pretty common sense, but it’s worth making a note of them.
First up, make sure that you don’t roughly handle your wetsuit or tug too hard on the zippers and Velcro attachments. These are a vital part of keeping you warm inside your suit and so if you damage them in any way it could well be time to replace that wetsuit. Also remember that if you are using that wetsuit in salty or chlorinated and heavily treated, chemical water, it is going to need to be thoroughly rinsed to ensure its longevity.
Finally, routinely examine your wetsuit and keep a careful eye to spot any innocuous little tears that could quite quickly become problematic. That way you can theoretically repair your suit before you might have to physically go to the full expense of replacing it.
Why Does Quality Matter When It Comes to Wetsuits?
If you’ve just started doing your research or you are the proud owner of a wetsuit already, then you will know that price varies significantly when it comes to wetsuits. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for, and the increase in price is usually in line with the quality of the construction and the lifespan you can expect to enjoy from your wetsuit.
The difference as we’ve already mentioned concerning how and when you might need to replace your wetsuit will come down to features like zippers, quality of seams and stitching and the technology used in the manufacturing process.
To the uneducated and naked eye, two wetsuits hung side by side may not look significantly different but you will soon appreciate the importance when you get into the water and especially when it comes to how often you might need to replace it. We recommend that you invest in the best wetsuit that you can personally afford and hopefully that way, the question of replacing it won’t come up for many years to come.
How Do I Really Know When It Is Time to Replace My Wetsuit?
Most divers and participants in sports that require the use of a wetsuit will routinely check all their essential equipment at the beginning or end of each season. The triathletes among you will put your tri-bike in for a service, the divers comprehensively review their tank and breathing apparatus.
How many of you though pay quite as much care and due attention to your wetsuit which is really just as important? Don’t wait until you spot a gaping hole before you decide to take action. Be vigilant, responsible and pro-active about routinely checking your wetsuit and keep an eye out for key indicators that it might sadly be time to replace or at the very least try and repair it.
What kind of indicators should you be looking out for that signal it’s time to replace your wetsuit?
If it’s starting to smell to such an extent that you suspect it could probably dive solo, then it’s time to trade it in! Your nose doesn’t lie! Your wetsuit, sorry but we are going there, is subject to all kinds of bodily fluids and we don’t just mean sweat. That means the build-up of lots of little micro-organisms in places we don’t care to mention and which your enzyme cleaner can only take care of for so long.
Don’t let your wetsuit rot before you decide it’s time to replace it! Check that diver’s log book as a reliable indicator of how much time you and your wetsuit have spent in the water. The more time you’ve been submerged under the water, the more the neoprene will have been compressed by water pressure, which can damage the tiny pockets of air bubbles.
Over time these insulating air pockets in the neoprene can start to erode your wetsuit and make it feel thinner. Once you get that feeling, it’s definitely time to replace. Also, do a regular touch test. If the Neoprene has started to feel a bit stiff and crumbly to the touch then again, that’s a good indicator that it’s time you invested in a new one.
Finally, What About the Fit?
Let’s face it, we are all prone to weight gains and fluctuations, and your wetsuit might just need replacing because quite frankly it doesn’t fit you anymore! If your wetsuit is too loose, it won’t be able to hold onto that warm layer of insulated water you need to keep your body temperature regulated inside your suit.
Conversely, if you can’t zip it up or it’s obscenely tight to the point that it restricts your mobility in and out of the water then it’s time to either replace or get yourself on a fast track diet plan!
One thing for sure, a wetsuit may well not be the most expensive bit of kit you have as a dedicated diver, but it is essential to your warmth and safety. Be prepared to regularly and routinely replace it just as you would any other vital piece of equipment.