I know some guys who take too long to replace their wetsuits and are wearing them with holes, tears, and cuts. Their wetsuit is not really keeping them warm anymore and they try to be warmer by putting a shorty underneath or lycra. I think if you are doing this and repairing is not an option anymore, then it is definitely time to change your wetsuit.
When you need to replace your wetsuit, look for a lot of holes, cuts, and tears, or if the seams are broken or cracked, as well as if the neoprene is overly stretched / thinner, or cracked from dryness. In each of these instances, the wetsuit is not functioning properly and is not keeping you warm in the water.
How do you see if you have to replace your wetsuit?
There are many signs that a wetsuit has to be replaced. See the most common reasons here below.
- Stretched neoprene or thinning neoprene
Most of the time the neoprene is stretched or thinned around the shoulders. The most common reason why this is happening is because the wetsuit is not stored properly on a hanger. They put a hanger inside the wetsuit and hang all the weight around the shoulder instead of folding the wetsuit around the waist and hanging it through the hanger. Also the wetsuit will slightly thin faster around your but and elbows.
- Damaged / lose seams or cracked seams
The seams are mostly the weakest points from the wetsuit. After sometime they will crack or loosen up if used of course.
- Dryness and cracking neoprene
If the neoprene is getting dry or withered it is losing stretch and flexibility. It will be harder to put on and move in the wetsuit.
- Too much holes, cuts or tears
If there are too many holes and cuts in your wetsuit it is time to let your wetsuit go. Some holes and cuts can easily be repaired by yourself. If not you can bring it to a professional wetsuit repair shop.
- Wetsuit too big or too small
A well fitted wetsuit is key for staying warm in the water if your wetsuit fits perfectly before and after sometime it doesn’t. It got bigger (overstretched) or smaller (shrunk / hardened) than it is time to change your wetsuit.
- Stinking wetsuit
If your wetsuit is stinking and you cannot get the smell out of the wetsuit anymore. But this is more a personal reason, because the wetsuit can still be in fine condition.
Why should you replace your old wetsuit?
If your wetsuit is slightly underperforming you don’t have to replace your wetsuit right away. Wetsuits are expensive so better wait for the right moment.
- Not keeping you warm anymore
If your wetsuit isn’t keeping you warm and it was keeping you warm before in the same weather circumstances. Then the wetsuit is losing its function and effectiveness. So time to change or make it a summer wetsuit ;).
What can you do with your old wetsuit?
There are many things you can do with your old wetsuit. Here are a couple of things you can do with your wetsuit or you can bring them back to the store or another organization. If you want to know more check our blog about wetsuit recycling.
Donate your wetsuit to charity
If your wetsuit is not completely torn or destroyed.
Recycle your wetsuit
There are some companies who recycle the wetsuit and make new products with it.
Make something by yourself from your old wetsuit
What can you make yourself out of an old wetsuit?
- Make it a shorty and cut the legs and sleeves
- A laptop case
- A beer can koozie
- A mouse pad
- A dog bed/doormat
- Oven mitts
- Fin protector
- Bottle insulators
Where can you bring your old wetsuit?
I think a good wetsuit brand should make it easy for people to bring back their old wetsuits for recycling. Not all the brands
How long can you expect your wetsuit to last?
How long can you expect your wetsuit to last depends on 3 key factors:
- The quality of the wetsuit
Buying or having a good quality wetsuit will definitely make a difference and extend the expected life of a wetsuit.
- How you take care or treat the wetsuit
Taking good care of your wetsuit will also extend the life of your wetsuit. My two best tips for this will be rinse your wetsuit after every session with fresh water and dry and store it after on a hanger folded around the waist.
- How frequent you wear the wetsuit
If you go surfing every day or week it will shorten the life of your wetsuit, but you bought the wetsuit for use and not to let it stay in the closet. Not a lot of people know but not using a wetsuit is also bad for the wetsuit.
So it is hard to say with so many factors how long a wetsuit will last. But in general, some wetsuits can last just a couple of seasons, while other suits can last you years.
Extra note: The elasticity of a wetsuit will change after some time if the wetsuit is used often. But also if the wetsuit is never used it will harden and lose flexibility over time and it seems like it shrunk.