How Do You Put A Wetsuit On And Off?

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Whether you’re a casual swimmer, a dedicated surfer, or a professional triathlete, there will come a time when you feel utterly defeated by a wetsuit. These rubbery protective suits are great for keeping you warm and dry, but they can also be difficult to get into and out of.

In this guide, we’ll show you some tips for wearing and removing three types of wetsuits, while also answering some of the most commonly asked questions about wetsuits.

Front Zip Wetsuits

Front zip wetsuits have a zipper on the front and may require a little twisting and turning to get inside.

How To Put On A Front Zip Wetsuit

Firstly, you need to slide the legs of the wetsuit over your feet. From there, simply pull the wetsuit up one leg at a time.

Make sure there are no baggy areas as you pull it around your hips. Pause to make necessary adjustments and then put your arms in one at a time.

Once you’ve completed those steps, just pull the zipper.

How To Take Off A Front Zip Wetsuit

To remove the wetsuit, start with one arm. Pull the suit over your shoulder, grab a chunk of the sleeve, and then pull until it’s over your elbow and you can pop your arm out.

Once you have an arm free, you’ve done most of the hard work. Simply work on gradually popping out your other arm and then tugging the wetsuit past your waist.

When it reaches your calves, don’t step on it and pull. It’s a natural instinct, but while it’s okay for your pair of jeans, it’s never a good idea for a wetsuit. Instead, drop it to your ankles, take small steps to push it further down, and then slip it over the balls of your feet.

Tips For Putting On A Front Zip Wetsuit

There are a few things you need to consider when wearing a front zip wetsuit.

Firstly, you don’t want to have any loose fabric. It should fit snug to your skin, but not so snug that it restricts your breathing or blood flow. If there’s far too much baggy fabric, it’s probably too big. If it doesn’t allow for the full range of movement or restricts your breathing/blood flow, it’s too small.

Secondly, if it’s too much of a chore, you can pick up some silicone lubricant or wear a base layer.

Finally, you should be very careful not to damage the neoprene. Don’t stretch, pull, and try to force it. It could damage the suit, and good wetsuits aren’t cheap!

Chest Zip Wetsuits

Chest zip wetsuits can be tricky but getting in and out is usually relatively simple once you get the hang of it.

How To Put On A Chest Zip Wetsuit

Open the suit up and make sure you have a clear entry. Slide your feet and ankles in first and then gently pull the suit to your waist, checking for excess bagginess.

When the suit is around your waist, look for the sleeve furthest away from the zip, as it should stretch more and will be easier to enter first. Slide your arm inside, working it over your wrist, elbow, and then up to the shoulder.

Stretch the suit out to make room for your free arm and slip it inside.

From there, you just need to slip over the zip section and fix it in place before zipping.

How To Take Off A Chest Zip Wetsuit

Unzip the neck entry area and pull it over your head. Peel back the shoulder furthest away from the zip and free your first arm. Repeat the process with your other arm.

Roll the wetsuit to your ankles and then gently push it over your feet, making sure you take it one foot at a time and don’t fall over or stretch the suit.

Tips For Putting On A Chest Zip Wetsuit

Chest zip wetsuits offer a lot of protection by minimizing water entry points. If you have an issue getting inside, simply purchase some silicone lubricant or use the plastic bag tip mentioned near the bottom of this article.

Back Zip Wetsuits

If you find it difficult to get into a front zipping wetsuit, then a back zip may be ideal. These suits have a large zipper on the back that allows for a much wider opening. It means that you don’t need to contort yourself as much to get inside.

How To Put On A Back Zip Wetsuit

Undo the back zipper all of the way and then step inside the suit, pulling it gently over one leg, working out the bagginess, and then pulling it over the other leg.

The armholes are on the front, so you don’t need to twist and contort and can simply push them inside one arm at a time, working the suit past the elbow and up to the shoulder.

When the wetsuit is snug on the front and around the neck, simply reach for the zip string and pull.

How To Take Off A Back Zip Wetsuit

A back zip wetsuit is just as easy to remove as it is to get into.

Pull the zipper to open the wetsuit, peel back your shoulders, free your arms, and then work the suit over your hips and knees. Gently peel the bottom of the suit over each ankle and then remove!

Tips For Putting On A Back Zip Wetsuit

The back zip wetsuit is the easiest to wear and if you’re new to wetsuits, have broad shoulders, or just aren’t very flexible, they’re ideal. They’re also a good option for people who want minimal fuss.

Buy a suit that provides a snug fit without restricting your breathing, and if you find that you’re out of breath trying to put it on and it’s restricting your blood flow, it’s too tight!

The Plastic Grocery Bag Trick

Struggling to put on your wetsuit? A simple plastic shopping bag could help.

The plastic provides a smooth and frictionless surface, allowing the wetsuit to slide on with ease.

Simply step inside the bag and then slide one leg of the suit over it. When the leg is on, remove the bag and repeat on the other foot. You can do the same thing with your arms.

FAQs About Putting on a Wetsuit

If you still have a few questions about putting on a wetsuit, check out the following FAQs:

Should A Wetsuit Be Hard To Take Off?

Wetsuits are designed to provide a snug fit, like a second skin. They can also be fragile and may be a nuisance to wear over wet skin or to remove when the suit is wet. All of this means that it can be difficult to wear and remove a wetsuit.

It’s something that even the most experienced swimmers and surfers struggle with, so you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if you’re having issues as a novice.

What Is The Fastest Way To Remove A Wetsuit?

Simply follow the steps outlined above and take your time. Don’t try to rush it, as you may damage your wetsuit. Over time, you’ll learn how to slip into and out of your suit with ease.

Do You Put On A Wetsuit Wet Or Dry?

If you’re wet, then your wetsuit should be wet as well. If one of you is dry, then both should be dry. It’s very difficult to slide a wet suit over a dry body and you’ll have similar issues getting a dry body into a wet suit!

What Is The Best Way To Put On A Wetsuit?

Using plastic bags is one of the best ways to get into a wetsuit. They will reduce the friction and get you through the tricky steps of sliding your legs and arms into the suit.

Should I Wear Something Underneath?

There are pros and cons to wearing clothing underneath a wetsuit. You could opt for bathing suits, trunks, or even a rash vest, and doing so may help to reduce chafing. It also means you can remove your wetsuit on the beach without worrying about onlookers.

However, wearing additional clothing will increase your body temperature and may lead to bunching.

It all comes down to preference—do what makes you comfortable.