How Do Wetsuits Keep You Warm?

Last Updated: July 18, 2023

Are you someone who loves being in and around water? Do you also have a wetsuit for all the fun water activities that you like to do?

If you answered a vibrant yes, today, I’m going to tell you all about the most fundamental aspect of your wetsuit – the warmth it generates. How does the wetsuit keep you warm despite the cold water?

Let’s dive into it.

What is a Wetsuit

how does wetsuit keep you warm

Firstly, let me make clear that wetsuits and drysuits are different. They both have various functions.

Wetsuits were first designed in the 1950s and have undergone a substantial amount of evolution ever since. Not only do the sizes of wetsuits, but also the thickness varies. Different thicknesses are meant for different temperatures. You can buy a wetsuit either in a cropped design or a full length.

If you want to find out whether your wetsuit is perfect for you, you should ensure that it is a good fit for your body.

Do Wetsuits Keep You Warm?

Yes, a wetsuit does keep you warm.

I’m sure you know by now that wetsuits aren’t meant to keep you dry, that is how a drysuit works. You will get wet when you’re in a wetsuit.

Interestingly, you will feel no difference if you jump into the water with or without a wetsuit. However, the difference can be noticed shortly after. Your wetsuit’s ability to keep you warm is entirely dependent upon how much water it lets in.

Many people believe that a way to stay warm is by wearing a wetsuit and avoiding getting wet. However, on the contrary, the insulation in the wetsuit comes from the water. I’m sure you have noticed that your wetsuit is tight-fitting and hugs your body tightly.

It sticks to your skin, leaving just enough space for a layer of water to enter. The gap between the fabric of the wetsuit and your skin is filled with a small quantity of water.

The trapped water is so small in quantity that it enables the heat produced by your body to heat the water. This provides you with a layer of insulation. It is this insulation that does the job of keeping your body warm against the cold environment.

The heat generated protects you from conditions like hypothermia.

How Long Does it Take For a Wetsuit To Warm Up?

The tighter your wetsuit is, the shorter it will take to warm up. You don’t need to be an expert to understand the science behind this. The smaller amount of water inside your wetsuit means that your body will warm up the wetsuit very quickly.

However, if your wetsuit is baggy, more water will enter into it. This entails that your wetsuit will be warmed up in a more extended period.

You already know that heat gravitates towards colder areas. When you’re sitting on a chair at room temperature, your body emits a certain amount of heat.

When you go for a walk, in winter, your body emits heat, so you feel cold. Simple, isn’t it? Well, wetsuits also operate on the exact science. In wetsuits, the heat is emitted more quickly as it is added to water.

If you were to jump into seawater without a wetsuit, your body would immediately become extremely cold, exposing you to hypothermia, which is caused when your body becomes so cold that it cannot reheat itself.

When such a situation occurs, your body organs will start to struggle and then shut down. But you shouldn’t worry about it if you are wearing a wetsuit and something underneath as well. It will prevent such a situation from arising.

Wetsuits have a great design that enables the trapped water and the wetsuit material to favor your body. The trapped water is only one factor that contributes to the effectiveness of a wetsuit.

Recommended Read: Why Do Scuba Divers Wear Black Wetsuits?

All wetsuits are made of multiple layers because these are essential to trap the heat within the wetsuit. They work much like the layers of clothes you put on in the winter.

Every single layer of the wetsuit traps a certain amount of heat. When these layers combine, they provide you with impeccable insulation. They work incredibly well with the outer layer of your wetsuit, which is made of neoprene – a thick material made of rubber. It is constructed with trapped nitrogen bubbles. Neoprene, undoubtedly, is a fantastic heat insulator.

So, when all these layers come together with the heat trapped between your skin and the suit, a certain amount of heat is generated to keep you warm while you’re at sea.

So, this is how your wetsuit does all the work for you. It works like a mini yet convenient and effective heating system to ensure that you are not cold.

Wrapping Up

No rocket science is involved in the functioning of your wet suit. The wetsuit creates its heating system with all the layers present inside it. The multiple layers trap the air and the wetsuit as a whole traps water between itself and your skin, and the outermost layer – neoprene is responsible for insulating the heat within your suit.

The heat generated ensures that you are warm enough at all times and don’t fall prey to hypothermia. Enabling you to enjoy all the water activities to the fullest.

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