Let’s run through the advantages of neoprene, what you can wear in different temperatures, what we offer from Palm and then answer some of the most common questions about neoprene …
Cold weather gear
A one piece suit, which protects your legs and core, will eliminate cold spots between your top and bottom, and will leave your shoulders and arms free to move unrestricted.
You’ll want something warm to throw over the top to keep your arms warm and the water out. For extra warmth try a NeoFlex top and a Mistral paddle jacket on to keep you dry. Your buoyancy aid will add a layer of warmth too.
When winter temperatures get really cold, insulating your head, hands and feet really helps. A neoprene skull cap will keep you warm and take away some of the shock if you take a swim. Neoprene paddle gloves or mittens keep hands warm and help keep a firm grip on your paddle. Neoprene booties will help keep your feet warm too.
Owning a longjohn wetsuit for paddling means that as the weather warms up, you can swap out your warm outer layers in favour of something lighter, like a shortie cag or a NeoFlex top, or if it is really warm out, just wear the longjohn on its own.
Shoulder season gear
Longjohn wetsuits will work great for paddling through spring and autumn, but as temperatures are slightly warmer, you have some great other options.
Our NeoFlex range is the most flexible of all our neoprene wear. Since NeoFlex is only half a millimetre thick, it’s so thin and stretchy it can be worn in lots of different combinations and it’s easy to throw on a jacket over the top for added wind protection.
If you want a little more insulation then a set of 3 mm neoprene trousers or shorts on your legs will keep you warm and flexible. The Blaze or Quantum work great when combined with a paddle jacket too.
Warm weather gear
Ideally you’ll just be out in your boardies and a rashie for sun protection a hot summers day. But if the water’s not that warm or a summer storm is coming, then neoprene shorts or a NeoFlex top will do the job.
In very cold water, even in the summer sunshine, like on a glacier lake or alpine river, dress warm enough that you can withstand a plunge. Something more like what you would wear in the spring and autumn, like a NeoFlex top or paddling jacket along with Blaze pants or NeoFlex pants.
Blaze or Quantum?
Both the Quantum and Blaze wetsuit ranges are made from 3 mm thick neoprene. They’ll both work well to keep you warm in colder conditions.
For extra insulation, choose a Blaze, with plush Thermofibre lining in the shorts and pants, and Quick Dry thermal lining in the Blaze longjohn, which makes them that much warmer and even more comfortable.
The Blaze also has GlideSkin neoprene ankle seals on the pants and longjohns to stop flushes of cold water.
Both the Blaze and Quantum are available as shorts, pants and longjohns. The shorts and pants are cut high at the back so you don’t get cold spots when you’re sat in a kayak.
The pants and longjohns also have reinforced padding on the knees.
The Quantum kids’ longjohn is made for young paddlers in sizes for children from 8 to 16. Extra velcro height adjustment on the shoulders and adjustable ankle cuffs make the Quantum kids’ longjohn a wetsuit that will last as you grow.
NeoFlex is half millimetre thick neoprene with a plush thermal liner that is super stretchy and comfortable, wet or dry. Popular with active paddlers, like surfers, slalom paddlers, freestylers and paddle boarders. NeoFlex really suits short training sessions or highly active paddlers.
We’ve got several options for NeoFlex tops and leggings, so you can mix and match the right layers for your session.
It’s good to have a light jacket with you if you’re out for a longer paddle, since NeoFlex is less resistant to wind-chill than thicker neoprene layers.
Frequently asked questions
How to get a good fit?
Wetsuits are made from neoprene, so should fit next to your skin like a glove. When you try on a well sized neoprene garment in a shop, it will feel quite tight. Remember that neoprene stretches when wet, and only works when it’s against your skin. A baggy wetsuit will not keep you warm, regardless of how good it is. Obviously you don’t want your wetsuit so tight it will restrict your movement or circulation, which will just be uncomfortable.
Our kit ranges from kids’ small up to women’s XL and men’s XXL. You can check your height, chest size, waist size and inside leg against our size charts. The best way to get the right size for you is to try several sizes at your nearest paddlesports store.
Do wetsuits need to be wet to keep you warm?
A common myth is that you need water inside your wetsuit, warmed by your body heat, to keep you warm. This isn’t the case. Wetsuits keep you warm because neoprene is an excellent thermal insulator. If you do get flushes of water down your suit, the heat from your body will warm it up quickly as there is little room in the suit for cold water to accumulate, however, when a wetsuit is totally dry is when it is at its warmest.
Should you wear anything underneath your wetsuit?
Neoprene works best when it is against your skin, so if you’re going to layer up, be sure to put additional layers on top, rather than under your neoprene layer. Even a swimsuit can bunch up and be uncomfortable, much better to enjoy the stretchy wetsuit.
Can I wash my wetsuit?
Since you wear neoprene next to your skin and often in salty and sandy conditions it’s best to rinse your wetsuit and neoprene gear with fresh water after every use and once in a while give it a hand wash in the bath-tub or a big bucket.
The best way to thoroughly wash your wetsuit is by hand in a bucket of warm water with a little soap. A gear wash like Granger’s Performance Wash or a dedicated neoprene wash McNett Wetsuit Shampoo can help to cure stubborn odours. Once it has soaked, give it a rinse and leave it to drip dry.
Dry your wetsuit in the shade away from direct sunlight, and whatever you do, don’t hang it on the radiator! Hang it through a hanger like you would a pair of trousers. Avoid hanging your wetsuit on a narrow coat hanger like you would a jacket, as this stretches the neoprene and opens the seams over time. Drip dry your neoprene inside out and then turn it back the right way, since neoprene is waterproof, this will help to thoroughly dry both sides.
Does weeing in my wetsuit damage it?
Nope. But if you do choose to add a layer of golden insulation, be double sure to wash it out afterwards.
I’ve got a cut in my wetsuit, is it repairable?
For small cuts, all you need is a bit of waterproof neoprene glue like Black Witch or Aquasure. For slightly larger holes, you might want to stick on a fabric or neoprene patch with neoprene adhesive. Repairing small nicks and tears sooner rather than later will prevent them from becoming larger.
Time to go paddling!
Did we miss something? Let us know your questions in the comments over on YouTube.