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5 Reasons Why a Wetsuit Should be Your Next Gear Purchase

Don't let the water's edge stop you from exploring the unexplored.

By: Austin Jackson + Save to a List

Yes, you read that right. Pull out that money you were saving for that new camera, drone, tent, sleeping bag, lens, you name it. For me, my wetsuit is an essential piece of gear I use quite often. I use my wetsuit in the Pacific Northwest, where the water temperature can drop down to as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit (about 0.5 degrees Celsius) in the winter and during snow melt. Lucky for you, wetsuits are made of all different thicknesses, making them great for nearly any climate.

So, why is a wetsuit so great? Let's explore my reasoning behind my belief.

1. Easier to Reach New Spots

Think of your favorite local waterfall or river. If you're like me, you've seen the same photograph from a particular spot so many times. For those of us photographers, this should be enough reason to get a wetsuit. Allowing yourself to get in the water and having the ability to go deeper will let you get some of the most unique shots that have never been seen before. For those of you who aren't photographers, a wetsuit can get you so many more places. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many places that are so lightly trekked because you have to get in the water to find them. Go out and get off of the beaten trail to really experience mother nature's finest.

2. Stay Warmer!

It's time to throw away the sandals and swim shorts and upgrade to a wetsuit. If you're like me, you've cut adventures in the water short because you are too cold. With a wetsuit, it will take much longer before you really start to feel the cold. Having a wetsuit will allow you to adventure harder, longer, and further. Neoprene socks are a great addition to a wetsuit and can help keep your feet warm while the wetsuit does the work on the rest of your body!

3. Multipurpose

A wetsuit has multiple purposes. Maybe after buying a wetsuit, you'll decide to finally take your buddy up on that offer to go surfing. Want to keep those feet extra warm in the winter? Grab the neoprene socks. Unlike a lot of gear, which has one sole purpose, a wetsuit can be used for nearly anything involving water.

4. Increased Buoyancy and Speed

Wetsuits are made of neoprene rubber, which is a material that has air cells inside of it. The thicker the wetsuit, the more air cells you'll have, meaning the more buoyant you'll be. Because of this, a wetsuit helps increase your buoyancy in the water and allows you to walk/swim around much easier than swim shorts or anything else you may choose to wear in the water. Not only this, but most wetsuits are coated with a material that acts like the coating of a cooking pan. This material helps you glide through the water for your walking or swimming benefit!

5. Better Than Waders

Waders put a restriction on the places you go. Unlike a wetsuit, if you slip on a rock and fall in waders, be prepared to embrace the water and have a cold walk back. Not only that, but you can't swim in waders, so if you get to a deep spot, you are stuck. And personally, I think a wetsuit is so much more fashionable than waders anyways!

All in all, I think my wetsuit is one of my favorite pieces of gear that I use. Obviously, walking in the river in a wetsuit is not for everyone, but I do think it serves as an awesome extension to the adventures of those wanting to go the extra yard. Choosing a wetsuit is a whole new story. Make sure to do your research before you purchase a wetsuit, and know that there are many different styles and thicknesses. 

Finally, remember to always be smart. Water is an incredible powerful force and is not something to be taken lightly. Any time you enter the water, be prepared for mother nature to take over. Never do anything you aren't comfortable with, and be sure to always leave no trace! 

*All images in this article were taken on a "wetsuit adventure". The white jacket is on over my wetsuit and serves as pockets, but I do use a full body wetsuit. Cover image credit to Ray Shirley.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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