The Ultimate Wetsuit Temperature Guide

In this ultimate wetsuit temperature guide, you will find some of the most important things to consider. A wetsuit is designed to keep your body warm in cold water conditions and therefore, choosing the right wetsuit thickness based on water temperature is crucial to ensure comfort and safety while surfing, diving, or swimming.

Thickness (mm) Temperature (°F) Temperature (°C) Conditions
2mm-3mm 62°F to 68°F 16°C to 20°C Summer surfing
4mm 55°F to 64°F 13°C to 18°C Spring or fall surfing
5mm 48°F to 58°F 9°C to 14°C Winter surfing
6mm 43°F to 52°F 6°C to 12°C Very cold waters (e.g. polar regions)

Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines, your personal tolerance to cold temperatures, and the wind and water conditions, can affect the thickness of the wetsuit you’ll need.

Pro tip: Always try on the wetsuit before buying it and make sure it fits snugly to prevent water from leaking in.

ultimate wetsuite guide surfing and gear

What is a Wetsuit?

A wetsuit is a piece of clothing worn by swimmers and divers to keep their bodies warm when they are in the water. It is designed to offer insulation and protect the wearer from cold water temperatures. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses and materials to suit different water temperatures.

In this article, we’ll discuss what factors to consider when picking a wetsuit, such as temperature and thickness.

Types of Wetsuits

A wetsuit is a garment designed to insulate the wearer’s body from cold water, wind, and waves while swimming, diving, or surfing. There are several types of wetsuits suitable for different water activities, temperatures, and personal preferences.

Here are the most common types of wetsuits:

Type Description
Fullsuit Covers the entire body, including arms and legs, and varies in thickness according to the water temperature.
Spring suit Covers the torso and offers short sleeves and legs. Suitable for warm water temperatures.
Shorty Similar to a spring suit, but with even shorter sleeves and legs. Ideal for warmer climates and high-intensity activities.
Two-piece Consists of separate long johns and jackets, providing flexibility to adjust according to changing weather conditions.
Drysuit Protects the wearer from water and wind without sealing direct contact with the skin, making it ideal for cold water temperatures.

Always refer to the wetsuit temperature guide to determine the right thickness and material for your wetsuit based on the water temperature of your chosen activity.

Wetsuit Features

A wetsuit is a garment worn by swimmers, divers, and other water sports enthusiasts to stay warm in chilly water. Here are some of the key features of a wetsuit:

Material Thickness Seams Zippers Fit Temperature Rating
Wetsuits are typically made of neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber that provides insulation and buoyancy in the water. Wetsuits come in different thicknesses, with thicker suits offering more warmth and buoyancy than thinner ones. Wetsuits feature glued, stitched, and taped seams to prevent water from seeping through the fabric. They may have a back, chest or no zipper at all. These are designed for easy wear and removal. It is important to get the right fit in a wetsuit for comfort and safety. Most wetsuits come with a temperature rating to help you choose the right thickness for the water temperature you will be in.

By considering these key features, you can choose the best wetsuit for your water sport that will keep you warm and comfortable.

Importance of a Properly Fitted Wetsuit

A wetsuit is a garment made of neoprene material, designed to provide thermal insulation and protect the wearer from hypothermia in cold water. A wetsuit that fits correctly is essential for comfort and safety while engaging in water activities.

Importance of a Properly Fitted Wetsuit:

  • A wetsuit that fits well provides better thermal insulation, making it easier to stay warm in cold water.
  • A properly fitted wetsuit moves with the body, providing freedom of movement without excess fabric rubbing against the skin or hindering mobility.
  • A tight-fitting wetsuit helps to prevent water from flushing through the suit and cooling the body.
  • Additionally, a properly fitted wetsuit can prevent injuries and reduce the risk of fatigue during water activities that require prolonged exposure.

Wetsuit Temp Guide:

Thickness Temperature Range
3mm 62°F-68°F
5mm 52°F-62°F
7mm Below 52°F

Factors Affecting Wetsuit Choice

When looking for a wetsuit, there are many factors to consider that will determine what the best choice for you is. This includes the water temperature, type of activity, type of fabric, and fit of the suit.

In this section, we’ll explore each of these factors and look at why they are important when choosing a wetsuit.

Water Temperature

Water temperature is one of the most significant factors affecting your wetsuit choice. Depending on the water temperature, you need to select a proper wetsuit that suits the conditions to ensure warmth and comfort while in the water.

Here’s a wetsuit temp guide to help you choose the perfect wetsuit to match various water temperatures:

75°F (24°C) and above: For warm water, choose wetsuits with thinner materials, such as short-leg or short-sleeve wetsuits or rash guards.
65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C): For mild water, pick a full-length wetsuit with a thickness of 3/2mm.
55°F to 65°F (13°C to 18°C): For cool water, choose a 4/3mm full-length wetsuit with sealed seams.
45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C): For cold water, select a 5/4/3mm full-length wetsuit with sealed seams and boots, gloves, and a hood.

The key to staying warm in the water is selecting a wetsuit suitable for that specific temperature range. A proper wetsuit can help you stay in the water for an extended period and enjoy your water activities.

Water Depth

Water depth is an important factor to consider when choosing a wetsuit. The deeper the water, the colder it gets, which means you need a thicker wetsuit to keep warm.

Here is a wetsuit temperature guide based on water temperature:

75-82°F A 1-2mm wetsuit is suitable for protection against sun, jellyfish, and rash.
63-75°F A 3-4mm wetsuit is suitable for tropical waters and moderate temperatures.
54-63°F A 5mm wetsuit with a hood is suitable for colder waters and prolonged immersion.
Below 54°F A 6-7mm wetsuit with a hood and booties is suitable for extremely cold waters and extended exposure.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and individual preferences and tolerances may vary. Always choose a wetsuit that fits comfortably and provides adequate warmth and protection for the activity and conditions.

Water Quality

Water quality is a crucial factor to consider when choosing the right wetsuit for your aquatic activities. Poor water quality can negatively impact your wetsuit’s effectiveness and longevity.

High levels of chlorine, saltwater, or other chemicals can cause the neoprene material to break down quickly, resulting in a shorter lifespan for your wetsuit.

In freshwater, the lower temperature can cause the wearer discomfort or potentially hypothermia if the wetsuit is not thick enough or well-insulating.

When selecting a wetsuit, make sure to take into account the water’s temperature, salinity level, and exposure to chlorine or other chemicals, as these are all factors that can affect your choice of wetsuit and its expected lifespan.

Choosing the Right Wetsuit for the Water Temperature

When diving or surfing in cold water, one of the most important pieces of equipment you will need is a wetsuit. It is important that you select the correct wetsuit for the water temperature. The amount of insulation of your wetsuit should be determined by the temperature of the water.

In this guide, we will discuss how to choose the right wetsuit for your needs.

Water Temperature Ranges

Water temperature is a crucial factor to consider when selecting the right wetsuit for your aquatic activities. Here is a guide to help you choose the appropriate wetsuit based on water temperature ranges:

Temperature Range Suitable Clothing
75°F and up A lycra or rashguard top or shorts
70°F-75°F A 2-3mm shorty wetsuit
65°F-70°F A 3-4mm full wetsuit
58°F-63°F A 4-5mm full wetsuit
52°F-58°F A 5-6mm full wetsuit and 3mm boots and gloves

Make sure to consult this temperature guide and choose the right wetsuit to ensure maximum comfort and safety during your aquatic activities.

Wetsuits for Cold Water Temperatures (below 60°F/15.5°C)

When it comes to cold water temperatures of below 60°F/15.5°C, using the right wetsuit can make all the difference in your comfort and safety while enjoying water sports.

Here’s a guide to choosing the right wetsuit based on water temperature:

Temperature Recommended Wetsuit
48°F and below A 6/5/4mm wetsuit with hood and gloves
48°F to 55°F A 5/4/3mm wetsuit with hood and gloves
52°F to 60°F A 4/3mm wetsuit with optional hood and gloves

Keep in mind that the thickness and coverage of wetsuits can vary by brand and personal preference. It’s crucial to consult the manufacturer’s size guide and try on different wetsuits before deciding on one that fits comfortably and provides adequate warmth for the water temperature.

Wetsuits for Cool Water Temperatures (60-70°F/15.5-21°C)

If you plan to surf, swim or scuba dive in cool water temperatures ranging from 60-70°F/15.5-21°C, you need a suitable wetsuit to stay warm and comfortable in the water for an extended period.

Here are some wetsuits for cool water temperatures that you should consider:

1. Full Wetsuit: A full wetsuit is designed to cover your entire body, providing ample insulation and comfort in cold water, and it can keep you comfortable in water temperatures ranging from 60-70°F/15.5-21°C.
2. Spring Suit: A spring suit is designed for milder water temperatures, and it covers your body from the waist down and the upper chest leaving your arms free. It’s ideal for water temperatures ranging from 63-70°F/17-21°C.
3. Shorty Wetsuit: A shorty wetsuit only covers your torso and upper legs, making it an ideal option for warm water temperatures hovering around 65-75°F/18-23°C.

Remember, choosing the right wetsuit for the water temperature is crucial to stay safe, and comfortable and enjoying your activities to the fullest.

Wetsuits for Mild Water Temperatures (70-85°F/21-29.4°C)

When it comes to choosing the right wetsuit for mild water temperatures between 70-85°F/21-29.4°C, there are a few things to consider before you make your purchase. Here are some of the best wetsuits for this temperature range:

Spring suits
Neoprene Tops

Spring suits: Also known as shorties, spring suits are typically made with 2mm or 3mm neoprene, which provides just enough insulation without making you feel too warm. They’re perfect for warmer water temperatures and offer increased mobility and flexibility for activities like surfing, kayaking or swimming.

Fullsuits: Fullsuits or steamers are the most common and versatile wetsuits available. They are made with thicker neoprene material ranging from 3/2mm (lightweight) to 4/3mm (heavyweight). If you’re planning to spend several hours in the water or you get cold quickly, a full suit might be the perfect option to keep you warm and comfortable.

Neoprene Tops: These wetsuits are best for activities like paddleboarding or kayaking, where you’re not spending all your time in the water. They offer extra protection against the sun with a UPF rating of around 50, and the breathable materials keep you cool and dry.

Ultimately, the best wetsuit for you will depend on your activities, how often you’ll be in the water, and how quickly you tend to get cold. Be sure to consult the temperature guide of the wetsuit before purchasing.

Pro Tip: Always rinse your wetsuit with freshwater after each use to prolong its lifespan.

Wetsuits for Warm Water Temperatures (above 85°F/29.4°C)

When the water temperature is above 85°F/29.4°C, you’ll need a thinner wetsuit that provides limited insulation, while still offering maximum flexibility and protection from the sun and water-based hazards.

Here are some options to consider:

Option Description
Rash Guards These lightweight, skin-tight tops offer minimal insulation but provide maximum sun and rash protection. Ideal for warmer climates and surface water sports like surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Spring suits Spring suits are short-sleeved or sleeveless wetsuits that provide extra coverage and insulation for the torso and thighs without restricting movement. Perfect for snorkelling, jet skiing, and other water sports in warmer climates.
Shorty Wetsuits These wetsuits cover the torso and upper arms and legs, leaving the lower arms and legs exposed. They’re suitable for water temperatures around 75-85°F and are ideal for surfing and other active sports.
Dive Skins Dive skins are snorkelling suits made of very thin material. They offer minimal insulation and are designed to protect against jellyfish stings, sunburn and abrasions during warm-water dives.

Pro Tip: Always refer to the wetsuit temperature guide before purchasing a wetsuit. It will help you choose the best wetsuit for the water temperature and climate you’ll be in.

Wetsuit Accessories

To get the most out of a wetsuit, there are a few accessories you should consider. Wetsuit accessories can help make your wetsuit more comfortable and easier to use. From wetsuit gloves to booties, there’s something to suit everyone’s needs.

In this guide, we’ll be discussing the different types of accessories you should consider and how they can help you stay warmer when you’re in the water.


A hood is a wetsuit accessory that is designed to keep your head warm and protect your ears and face from the cold water while you’re surfing, diving, or swimming.

When choosing a hood, consider the following factors:

Water Temperature Comfort and Fit Material Style and Design
Choose a hood thickness that is appropriate for the water temperature. For colder water, a thicker hood is necessary, while for warmer water, a thinner hood is sufficient. Look for a hood that fits snugly over your head and neck without being too tight or restrictive. A good hood should also be comfortable to wear for an extended period of time. Choose a hood made of high-quality neoprene material that is durable, flexible, and provides optimum insulation. Hoods come in different styles and designs, such as full-face or with a chin strap. Choose a hood that suits your needs and preferences.

Pro Tip: To prolong the life of your hood, rinse it with cold freshwater after each use, and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or heat.


Boots are an essential wetsuit accessory that provides protection, warmth, and comfort to the feet while surfing or diving. When selecting boots, it’s important to consider the water temperature, fit, thickness, and sole style to ensure maximum performance.

Here is a Wetsuit Temperature Guide to help you select the right boots for your water temperature:

Water Temperature Thickness
Warm Water (above 75°F) 0.5mm – 2mm
Mild Water (65°F – 75°F) 3mm with a low-cut style
Cool Water (58°F – 65°F) 4mm – 5mm with a round-toe style
Cold Water (48°F – 58°F) 5mm – 7mm with a round-toe style and good sole grip for traction

Pro tip: Always try on boots with your wetsuit to ensure a secure and comfortable fit.


Gloves are an essential wetsuit accessory that can keep your hands warm and protected from the cold water while you enjoy your water sports activities.

Here’s a quick temperature guide to help you choose the right wetsuit gloves for your next water adventure:

Water temperature Recommended gloves
Above 70°F (21°C) Gloves are optional.
60-70°F (15-21°C) 1-2mm neoprene gloves
50-60°F (10-15°C) 3mm neoprene gloves
40-50°F (4-10°C) 5mm neoprene gloves or dry gloves
Below 40°F (4°C) 7mm neoprene gloves or dry gloves

Don’t let the cold water keep you from enjoying your water sports activities. Invest in a good pair of wetsuit gloves and stay warm and comfortable all year round.

Rashguards and Thermal Tops

Rashguards and thermal tops are essential wetsuit accessories that protect against skin irritation and regulate body temperature. To choose the right rashguard or thermal top, you need to consider the water temperature and the type of activity you’ll be doing.

Rashguards: These are lightweight, quick-drying shirts designed to prevent skin irritation caused by rubbing against a wetsuit or a surfboard. They are ideal for warm water temperatures (above 75°F) and activities like surfing, paddle boarding, and snorkelling. Comfortable, lightweight, and easy to move around.

Thermal tops: These are thicker and more insulating than rashguards, designed to keep you warm in colder water temperatures. Ideally, they are worn under a wetsuit to provide an extra layer of insulation. Thermal tops are suitable for water temperatures between 60-75°F and activities like surfing, kayaking, and windsurfing. Provides necessary insulation in colder water conditions.

Pro tip: Choose a rashguard or thermal top with a UPF rating of at least 30 to protect against harmful UV rays.

Wetsuit Care and Maintenance

Caring for a wetsuit is important so that your wetsuit is always in great condition and performs well when you need it most. Keeping your wetsuit clean and protected from sun exposure, chemicals and extreme temperatures will ensure its longevity.

Here, we will cover all the tips and tricks for maintaining your wetsuit and keeping it in prime condition.

Wetsuit Cleaning

Wetsuit cleaning is an essential part of wetsuit care and maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your wetsuit clean and in top condition:

1. Rinse your wetsuit off with fresh water as soon as you’re done using it. This will help remove any salt, sand, or other debris that can damage the neoprene material.
2. Use a mild detergent or wetsuit shampoo to clean your wetsuit thoroughly. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid using hot water or bleach.
3. Hang your wetsuit up to dry in a shaded area, avoiding direct sunlight or high heat sources. Turn the wetsuit inside out to dry the inside and outside surfaces.
4. Store your wetsuit on a hanger or folded flat in a cool and dry place, away from any sharp objects that can puncture or damage the neoprene material.

Pro tip: Use a wetsuit temp guide to help you choose the right thickness and style of wetsuit for the water temperature you’ll be diving or surfing in. A wetsuit that fits properly and matches the water temperature will keep you warm and comfortable while you enjoy your outdoor activities.

Wetsuit Storage

Proper wetsuit storage is key to maintaining your investment and extending the life of your wetsuit. Here are some storage tips to follow:

Rinse your wetsuit thoroughly with fresh water after each use to remove any salt, sand, or dirt.
Hang your wetsuit upside down by the waist or on a wetsuit hanger in a dry and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
Avoid folding or creasing your wetsuit, as this can weaken the neoprene material over time.
Store your wetsuit in a cool and dry place, ideally between 12-20°C (54-68°F), as high temperatures can damage the neoprene and decrease the lifespan of your wetsuit.

Pro tip: Invest in a wetsuit bag to protect your wetsuit during transport and storage, and consider using a wetsuit conditioner to keep the neoprene supple and fresh.

Wetsuit Repair

Wetsuit repair is a crucial aspect of wetsuit care and maintenance to ensure that your wetsuit lasts longer and remains functional during your water activities.

The steps for repairing a wetsuit are as follows:

Step Instructions
1 Identify the damaged or torn area of the wetsuit.
2 Use a wetsuit repair kit, which includes neoprene cement and a neoprene patch or tape specifically designed for wetsuits.
3 Cut the neoprene patch or tape based on the size and shape of the damaged area.
4 Apply the neoprene cement around the damaged area, making sure to cover the edges of the tear.
5 Place the neoprene patch or tape over the damaged area and press it firmly.
6 Allow the cement to dry according to the instructions on the kit.

Wetsuit care and maintenance also involves proper cleaning and drying after use, storing the wetsuit in a cool dry place, and following the wetsuit temperature guide to ensure that you use the right wetsuit for the water temperature.


In conclusion, when it comes to selecting the right wetsuit for your water activities, understanding the water temperature and the corresponding wetsuit thickness is crucial.

Here’s a quick guide to help you select the right wetsuit thickness based on water temperature:

Water Temperature Wetsuit Thickness
75-85°F (24-29°C) 1mm-2mm wetsuit
70-80°F (21-27°C) 2mm-3mm wetsuit
60-70°F (16-21°C) 3mm-4mm wetsuit
50-60°F (10-16°C) 4mm-5mm wetsuit
Below 50°F (10°C) 5mm-6mm wetsuit

It’s important to note that wetsuit thickness is not the only factor to consider, as other features such as fit, material, and construction also affect the overall performance and comfort of the wetsuit.

Pro tip: Always try on different wetsuits and consult with experts before making a purchase to ensure the best fit and protection for your water activities.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Check Out the Best Surfing Holidays

Check out the best Surfing holiday packages on Booksurfcamps and have a unique experience.

woman riding a blue surfboard in a body of water