Here’s the thing about the question ‘what to wear under a wetsuit?’; there’s no correct answer. Some people wear nothing under their wetsuit and enjoy themselves immeasurably. Others would be too cold, uncomfortable, prone to chafing, etc., and always wear something underneath their wetsuit. Both sides are right because, frankly, it’s up to the individual, their sport, and the water temperature.
For example, let’s say you’re a stand-up paddleboarder, it’s June, and the weather and water are warm. In that case, wearing something under your wetsuit probably isn’t necessary. You’ll likely be using a shorty wetsuit, also, because a full wetsuit would be too hot. If, however, you want extra sun protection, you could wear a long sleeve shirt under your shorty wetsuit. And, frankly, many people wear underwear with shorty wetsuits simply out of modesty.
Now let’s take a look at another scenario. In this one, you’re scuba diving in Alaska. The weather, and the water, are both cold. Not only would you use a full-length wetsuit, but you would probably wear an extra layer beneath it for warmth. Specialized skinsuits are made for this purpose and to help a diver get into and out of their gear. There are also rashguards that, as the name implies, protect your skin against rashes. These also have the added benefit of adding an extra layer of warmth. Some divers use one or both of these additional layers in place of thick wetsuits that restrict their movements. Other divers might forego both and use a thicker, and thus warmer, wetsuit by itself.
Why Wear Something Under Wetsuits for Scuba Diving?
As we’ve seen, you can wear wetsuits for various sports. However, they were invented for one sport in particular; scuba diving. Now, the thing about scuba diving is that, under the water, there’s very little heat. Even in, for example, the Caribbean Sea, once you get down far enough, the water gets frigid. Invented in the early 1950s, wetsuits add an extra layer of warmth. (Technically, they prevent your body’s heat from escaping, like a reverse Igloo cooler for your body.)
As we briefly mentioned earlier, the problem with some wetsuits for icy water is that they’re very thick. That improves their heat retention capabilities but, unfortunately, makes them movement restrictive. Yes, if you’re diving in the Arctic, that thick wetsuit is a must. But some experienced divers in other locales like to use a thinner wetsuit for increased mobility. For those divers, wearing an extra layer or two underneath is preferable. Below are several other reasons to wear something under your wetsuit, including:
- Comfort- As we said earlier, the neoprene and other materials in wetsuits can give some folks grief. They can cause nasty, stinging rashes that are no fun at all. That’s why some divers wear rash guards under their wetsuits.
- Personal Hygiene- If you’re renting a wetsuit, wearing a layer underneath might be a good choice. If anything, basic undergarments to protect your intimate areas would likely be a good call.
- Public Decency- If you’re diving around many others, wearing something underneath would probably be preferable to flashing them. (Remember, getting out of a wetsuit isn’t quick and easy.)
What Can You Wear Under a Wetsuit?
Here’s a list of some of the clothing and specialized gear you can wear under a wetsuit. Determining what’s best for you will likely take a little trial and error but is worth the effort. These extra layers of clothing include:
- Diving shorts. These are specially made for diving.
- Bicycle shorts. The same you wear when using your bike
- Basic Underwear, including Boxers and Briefs
- Rash Guards. Specialized garments to prevent rashes.
- Sleeveless Vest. Specialized vests made for under your wetsuit.
- A Full-Body Jumpsuit. Specialized jumpsuit for under a wetsuit. They can make it easier to put on your website, also.
- One-Piece Swimsuit (For women. Any type of fabric.)
Swimwear briefs are good if you want to dive in warm water. If you’re not in need of any additional clothing but still prefer extra cover down there, getting a swimwear brief is an option.
In buying swimwear briefs, it would be best to look for stretchable, chlorine-resistant, and durable material rather than the standard spandex since it would not droop or shift out of position when swimming or diving, providing adequate covering while giving complete ease and freedom of movement.
Putting on swimwear briefs underneath your wetsuit works effectively as a way of covering up your private areas. They are a good alternative if you don’t want to risk your clothing fitting snugly and causing discomfort when swimming.
Because you don’t have to worry about people seeing you nude when changing, having a pair of swimwear briefs makes putting your wetsuit on and off easier. There will also be no wrinkled garments when wearing or taking off the suit.
When worn under a wetsuit, fitted bicycle shorts or diving shorts are quite handy. It not only serves as an extra layer for diving in somewhat colder weather, but it also makes it easier to get into and out of your wetsuit.
For greatest results, choose a pair of diving shorts made of neoprene, which is buoyant and light but thick enough to give extra warmth. They are an excellent choice since they are composed of ultra-soft, comfy, and stretchable material that does not crease as you slide into your wetsuit.
Neoprene diving shorts give a light, warm, and comfortable experience. Aside from providing heat protection for your body, it can make wearing and removing your wetsuit easier. Hence, bicycle shorts are ideal for canoeing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and even surfing.
As they are placed tightly against your skin, you will not feel them even with your wetsuit on. And they will not restrict your movement.
If you want complete coverage, consider a full-body jumpsuit, which will keep you even warmer. High-quality jumpsuits are made out of thin neoprene, offering excellent insulation and breathability without adding too much thickness when layering.
It should also include a heavy-duty rear zipper closing with an accessible pull tether and a stylish cut to accentuate the masculine figure.
Rash guards keep your torso warm and comfy. They come in different styles, and they make a great additional layer when diving in cooler waters, offering an extra degree of insulation and protection in avoiding chaffed wetsuits.
In choosing rash guards, you can select one with longer sleeves according to the temperature above and below water. While those with short sleeves offer a more comfortable fit, long-sleeved rash guards can additionally protect your arms from rashes that usually appear around the throat, groin, and even the armpits.
Moreover, rash guards may also protect against cuts and scrapes. Though rash guards are not as effective as wetsuits in keeping you warm, they might cause you too much heat if worn in water temperatures at the upper limit of your wetsuit’s temperature range.
Additionally, you can wear rashguards on their own or pair them with diving shorts and rash guard pants when relaxing on the beach.
In essence, rash guards made of lightweight polyester and spandex decrease friction with wetsuits and deliver UV protection. They’re also fashionable and quick to dry, making them great for a variety of water sports.
A rash guard must be tight-fitting in order to fit underneath a wetsuit. Rash guards can also have a loose fit. However, because they are used as undergarments, having additional material will be unpleasant.
Some male divers would like to wear nothing underneath their wetsuits. This is a practice known as going commando. Because of the wetsuit’s tight fit, wearing anything under it can feel unpleasant at times.
Wearing nothing between your wetsuit and your skin reduces the quantity of water that can enter. You’ll be warmer if you decide to go nude beneath your wetsuit.
The only difficulty with going commando is that getting changed after coming out of the water might be a bit difficult because as you have nothing on beneath, you must be careful with your towel to prevent exposing yourself to others.