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Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

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Re: Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

Postby TommyDuotone » Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:38 am

Was using back zip until I converted to front about 6 years ago. Front zip fits so much better for me since I don't have that empty space in the lower back. There is also a high stress area on the lower part of the zipper on the back zip. I'll never go back to back zip, especially with the newer stretchier material. Just roll it down half way, step into it, roll it back up(like a condom) and zip. It does take a little practice but becomes routine quite easily. Front zips just seem to fit so much better. To those of you trying front zip for the first time. It's much more difficult putting one on in a surf shop where you are usually perspiring to some degree.
A little off thing to watch out for when buying a suit for kiting....make sure there are no seams where your harness will rub. Doesn't take long for those seams to fray.

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Re: Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

Postby Kamikuza » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:28 am

alexeyga wrote:The problem with the front zip - is that unless you're a shoulder-less shnore, there's no way of getting out of one without somebody else's help. Nor they are particularly warmer. Not to mention that most decent back-zippers nowadays come with a membrane what covers the whole zipper. Be weary about the hood - if it's a built-in one - make sure it fits properly without popping your eyes out. Otherwise I'd go with a separate one that actually fits. Cheers!
I've got both front and back on various weights.

The back zip with the membrane or flap to go between your back and the zip is ok... I've one suit with a loop to go over the neck and keep the flap up (which is good) and one without the neck loop, which sucks as it is tough to get up by myself and sometimes rolls down, bunching up.

I've front zip 4/3 and hooded 6/5/4 for winter. Still get water down the neck, but there's no seepage in through the zipper in the back, the bottom of the zipper seam doesn't pull and tear, and there's no zipper strap flapping in the breeze. Or my eye.

My technique for getting out of the front zips is peeling off my left arm, then the other. I'm not flexible enough to do it properly... and too fat for the size, probably.

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Re: Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

Postby ronnie » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:51 am

I find the front zip a more difficult to get into and out of.

The rear with the membrane that you pull over your head to form a collar round your neck works well. I find pulling the membrane onto the top of my head and bending forward helps hitch the back of the suit up into place, before settling the collar into place. Also holding the bottom of the zip area with one hand while pulling up the zip with the other makes the zip run freely. It works well with a separate hood tucked in above the membrane.

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Re: Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

Postby windtzu » Tue Feb 02, 2016 5:43 pm

I can't comment on the front zip, but I've watched many of my friends struggle to get in an out of one. Like someone mentioned, what's more important is fit and quality. Make sure the seams are taped if it's your cold water suit.

I have an NP 5/4 Edge back zip. It's an average high quality suit, decent but nothing special. Without a built in hood, you do get more flushing which can be a "hello" moment in 45 degree water. Once you're accustomed to the conditions (been in the water for a time) and the neoprene is doing it's thing for warmth, this is no longer an issue.

Something that really helps slow down the flushing with the back zip is either wearing an impact vest over your suit or adding a neoprene jacket like the Hyperflex Playa 2mm jacket. It has a zipper opening for your harness hook - doesn't work with a sliding hook though. The Playa jacket not only adds warmth but being smoothskin, eliminates wind chill you get from any nylon covering on your suit. Ion and NP also make a neoprene jacket. I also use the Playa on those cooler overcast summer days. It's a great accessory adding range to any suit. It's also great worn dry apre's kiting.

A snug fitting impact vest also adds some warmth and slows down flushing.

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Re: Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

Postby t3rse » Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:29 pm

Kamikuza wrote: My technique for getting out of the front zips is peeling off my left arm, then the other. I'm not flexible enough to do it properly... and too fat for the size, probably.
Same here. I pull the left shoulder down, then shimmy a little, and then get the right shoulder over my shoulder, then shimmy some more using my shoulder blades, and then I can get the left arm off pretty easily, and from there it's cake. Mine has more meat on the right side, so the left shoulder is more flexible. The only time I have trouble getting it off is if I'm too hot and sweating in it and it gets sticky.

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Re: Wet-suits Front zip or back zip ?

Postby TomW » Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:57 pm

I've used backzip for ages. Last BZ is a Mystic with the neck seal that goes over your head. This last summer I bought a front zip Ripcurl 5-3 flashbomb.
I like the FZ better, easier to get into, a little harder to get out of, much less flush thru neck in falls.
Granted, the new stretchy neoprene and flashbomb liner are big upgrades from my 6-8 year old Mystic.

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