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Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

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Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby Qman » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:18 am

Does the material on more expensive wetsuits last longer?

I normally buy a $100 / €80 shorty wetsuit, which I use approximately 3 times a week for 6 months of the year. I rinse and dry the suit after every use.

After 1 or 2 years the neoprene on the shoulders always wears thins and turns into holes.

It is always with the new stretchy neoprene that develops holes.

If I got a top of the range, expensive wetsuit would I get more years use out of it, before the shoulders develop holes in the neoprene?

Is there a brand that uses neoprene that lasts longer?

Many thanks!

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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby vela99 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:09 am

In my experience no.

I use my 4/3 wetsuit about 100 times per year and after two years they all start to look quite worn regardless and start to open up on shoulders and upper legs. Usually I cannot use them anymore on very cold days in the third winter which is the reason I put a windbreaker on top to prevent a lot of water to make its way in.

I think the rough skin suits age a bit better than the black "rubber" skin suits.

If your main problem is the shoulders maybe you live in an area with lots of UV. If thus is the case you can wear a lycra shirt on top of your suit to protect it from sun light. Very effective.
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:39 am)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby andrzej351 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:47 am

That's a very good question.
I will buy thicker wetsuit in the fall and I would also like to know what choice will be better.

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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby dave1986 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:39 pm

My understanding is that more expensive wetsuits use more premium neoprene which is more supple and stretchy. This premium stretchy and warmer neoprene is achieved by having more microscopic air pockets within the material (less rubber, more air). As a result this type of neoprene is also less durable.
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:04 pm)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby TheJoe » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:00 pm

I buy Oniell because most wetsuits have gone to front entry and I have to have a back entry suit. My shoulders are too wide and they are hell to get in and out of. I hate the cold so I don't mind spending a little more one my suit. My 11yr old 3/2 Oneill is still going strong but it is a little worn down. I use it as a spring suit now since it is not as warm as my new one.

I all ways wear a shirt over my suit to make myself more visible in case I need to be rescued. I all ways dry my suits after each use. I think if you take care of them they last longer. I do live in Texas and don't have to use them as often as someone in colder climates. I all so use a dry suit for any day it's under 60deg again I really hate the cold.
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:04 pm)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby Onda » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:02 pm

3x per week is heavy use!
I use mine maybe 1.5x per 2 weeks...

My first XCEL suit (6 years ago?) lasted forever, after 4 seasons no demage at all, but quite "baggy". Hence I bought a new Revolt suit from xcel (their top model then) and it started to fall apart during its second season. Quality seems to have dropped, very disappointing... I always treat my suit like a jewel, no stepping on it, no dirt, carefully putting on/off, rinsing after each use, always drying as soon as possible not direct sun, not hanging it on a hanger for long periods etc..
Apart from longevity, expensive suits are much more comfortable to wear (stretchier, softer materials used). And they´re warmer due to the tighter fit due to the stretchier material (if size is chosen correctly).

Expensive suits often are lighter than cheap ones, which is important for me. And they - some models - dry much faster due to sophisticated lining texture, for example O´Neill´s TB4 or xcel´s latest outside material with little vertical "channels" in the fabric which supports water to run down the suit while hanging for drying. Sounds silly, but really works remarkably well.
I´m living in mid-Europe where autumn / winter are cold and fast drying in low temps is very important, particularly if you have to dry your suit outside while camping.

My next suit will be O´Neill. Had one long ago and it was excellent value for money. They´re still cheaper than xcel, on average (street price).
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:04 pm)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby Peter_Frank » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:43 pm

I am pretty sure, as stated, that more expensive wetsuits can of course last longer, but not necessarily.

They are a lot warmer though, no doubt at all.

We live in a climate surfing in shorts only in summer, and having thick winter wetsuits in the winter with snow and ice.

So having used all kinds of wetsuits, shorts, shorts+neotop, 1-2 mm shorty, 2 mm shorty, 3 mm shorty, shortarmed 3/2, full suit 3/2, full suit 5/3 or 5/4 or 6/4, and occasionally drysuits.

Riding over 300 sessions per year (a lot, I know)

Summer shorty suits does not need to be very warm, just comfortable and fast to get in/out of.

But for the full suits, in particular 5/3 or 5/4, they will only be warm for 2 years, and then begin to degrade - this goes for ALL types and price classes.
So on the 3rd year you can definitely feel it begins to get colder, and on the 4th year most around here buy a new one.

I have had a short armed summersuit for more than 10 years, used a lot when in capetown, and in the summer around here, on colder days.
Not much warmth left, but it did its toll, and has been replaced now.
Other suits might last one season only, if a thinner shorty not that costly.
Others can last forever, literally, if a 3 mm and good quality.

But it is not that easy to know which will last, as an expensive thin super flexible might not last long, even if sewings are top.
And a stiff 3 mm might last what feels forever.

I never clean or rinse my suits though, this might mean they last longer, as it will be hard on any suit, and a complete waste of time IMO, and now you have to dry the suit also?
But others do rinse, I know, and they still lose their warmth after the second year of use.

As you use a low cost shorty, you could just replace it when worn as you do now, but if you want it to last longer, I would go for some not made out of the flexible neoprene, but either less flexible, or with thicker lining (less flexible also).

8) Peter
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:04 pm)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby TomW » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:10 pm

If you buy a reputable brand, i bet theres no difference in longevity of the material itself.
I agree its probably UV exposure and youll get more life out of it using a rash shirt over it.
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:32 pm)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby plummet » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:17 pm

My experience is no. They don't last longer.

But you can get a warmer thinner less constricting wetsuit the more you spend. Plus you get more activity specific wet suits the more you spend.

I personally choose a medium/high value wet suit. One that's last years model on special. That way I get a good wetsuit for the average wetsuit price.
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Qman (Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:34 pm)
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Re: Do expensive wetsuits last longer?

Postby Faxie » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:44 pm

In my experience, yes they do last longer. Construction and neoprene quality is better, so seams last longer and you get less little tears when you hit a shell or something.

I always had lower/midrange suits, and had to replace them within 2 years, sometimes sooner. My last one is a medium/highend range suit, and it's going good for over 3 years now. I will get a new one for the winter, because some water is getting in and the isolation has declined a bit, but it's still plenty good for the summers.

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