"Cheap" wetsuits

I know that this subject has probably come up before, but I couldn’t find it in the archives. Can someone give me some leads on fairly cheap ($20-$80)?

$20 Wetsuit? Not worth it.
If you are looking for a deal find a local surf shop in late winter and they usually have older models on sale for around $100, for a full 3/2 suit. NRS has new full suits for about $150 that are decent. You don’t want to skimp on a wet suit, a cheap suit won’t fit, will leak and will just be junk. If you are on the gulf coast a farmer john would probably work or farmer john hydroskin suit for ~ $80. How cold of water will you be in?

if not needed immediately wait for sales
If you don’t need one right away, keep checking sites like sierra trading post and rei outlet. Of course ordering things like that online is somewhat of a gamble; you need to be willing to send it back if it doesn’t fit. Sometimes some good clearance deals come up though, so its worth waiting and looking. I got a very good deal on a farmer jane a few years ago from rei-outlet and later got neoprene shorts and vest from sierra trading post.

Over on the fishing site, we explored
cold weather wear, especially from a gulf coast perspective. If you have a sit-in, one suggestion was to go with a spray skirt and a warm jacket, preferably gore-tex. Sounds like a winner.

Go to Outdoor play…
They have NRS farmer johns selling for $110 or so. If you’re a member of paddling perks (from this site) you can get a 15% discount plus free shipping.

A Wetsuit is protection
A Wet suit is to protect your body from DEATH by Hypothermia.

Spend on a wet suit, as much as you think your body is worth.

Hypothermia can set in, in water as warm as 70 degrees, if you are in it long enough.

Buy an expensive wet suit on sale if you must, but STAY SAFE!

Your profile…
Took a look at your profile; ocean & whitewater kayaking got my attention. Based on the places you say you’ll be paddling; it’s my personal opinion that you would be wise to invest in a high quality wetsuit. If you “need” to wear a wetsuit, pfd, or helmet; you probably “need” to purchase quality as opposed to cheap.

The poster stating you don’t need temps below 70 degrees to get hypothermia is correct.


Ebay, has lots of suits
but knowing what you’re looking for is important. I know to buy Body Glove 3/2’s. If you have worn suits before it’s easy . If not , the best way is to go to a shop and try them on. fit is very important, esp, paddling , arm movement would be paramount. price shouldn’t be your only deciding factor.

check out
overtons.com. It is where I get mine. I find them to be of reasonable cost and good quality. Just go to the Water Sports tab…

Used suits for adults are often junk
I think used suits are great for kids, if the suit has just been worn a few times and the kid grew out of it quickly, if the wetsuit is for an adult and has been worn a few seasons, it’s going to leak and you are going to be cold and uncomfortable, not something you want to be swimming with in an emergency.

You might look for a Play it Again
sporting goods store in your area. When I lived in SC, they often had off the wall stuff like wet suits. Unfortunately, the ones I know about here are too far away.

LA Divers’ Discount

– Last Updated: Nov-04-05 12:35 PM EST –

I don't really remember what I paid for my 3mm Farmer John, but it was not much, and the Mares suit has held up wayyy better than I ever expected.

I also use mine for boogie boarding, which is much harder on a suit than just sitting in a kayak

Try the clearance section at NRS.
That’s where I got mine a couple years ago for a very good discount. Mine has shrunk since I got married two years ago.

Not all suits designs are alike
I have a fleet of water ski wet suits. They are great for this specific water activity. They are lousy for kayaking, however, if you plan to have any significant paddling cadence. They pinch and bind the shoulders, and with your repetitive paddling motion you will soon be cursing the gods for not directing you to a sleeveless number like the John. IMHO, though, a dry suit is the only way to really avoid hypothermia in cold conditions. That conductive heat loss from water-on-skin is a huge factor, even with a wetsuit, unless it is 8000 mm thick, in which case you will be the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man Afloat. Trust me, I have learned all of this the hard way. Buy a good, kayak-specific wet suit or dry suit, and you’ll never look back.


I know of two

– Last Updated: Nov-04-05 2:59 PM EST –

One at 1960 and Steubner, and one by Almeda Mall. I bought a nice softball bat at the Almeda one and regripped it about 4 years ago, back when I was on a coed beer league to meet girls. It was about $6, but it became everyone else on the team's favorite bat.

However, I'd never buy a used wetsuit. For one, the seams and zippers would probably go soon after you bought it, and you can't stitch neoprene with a regular sewing machine, its too thick, and two, people pee in them.

Get a shorty

– Last Updated: Nov-04-05 3:04 PM EST –

I bought a shorty Oceanic back in college up in Dallas about 11 years ago for winter sailing. If you aren't going to be in the water a long time, like in sailing and paddling where the boat goes over, you right it, and are on your way, that is enough in Texas for much of the year, just to keep your core warm, and avoid the shock of sudden cold water. Shorties are usually cheaper. For paddling I always wear a rash guard underneath, but those are cheap. You can wear a shorty under your regular clothes.

I will be using the suit mostly for winter paddling in Texas, but I hope to do some stuff in the gulf not too long from now. As far as white water…there isn’t any that I can get too right now. So serious wear and tear are not a problem. Thanks for all your help!

paddle on


I"ve Been Using The Newer Generation
of surfing wetsuits for surfers. These are very flexible and have multipanels to ensure a better fit while allowing movement. Surfers have to paddle with the arms and have to be able to jump up on a board unrestricted. In my boardie wetsuits, I can waveski all day with and not feel restricted.

However, well constructed wetsuits, with multipanels, hyperstretch neo, liquid rubber filled seams, etc, are not “cheap.” You can, however, find closeouts at Sierratrading post. For example, the Body Glove suit is a pretty good one. They had a 2/3 Body Glove shortie early in the summer. Also, note that wetsuits from different companies fit in differently.

For the original poster, I would buy a FJ from the NRS great deal section and then add on a .5 - 1 mm neo top. There are some tops on sale at Sierratrading post.


REI Outlet
I just recently picked up a “Titanium” NRS farmer John at REI.com (outlet) for about $60. If they still have them in your size, I don’t think you’ll find a better deal.


NRS great deals section
The NRS website has a “great deals” section which is always worth checking out. You can get $137 wetsuits for $40, if you happen to be the right size. Each year they drop the price a little more. Last year’s models are about 30 to 40% off, which is still pretty good. http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product_list.asp?deptid=1147

The hydroskin and drysuits on the great deals section are also worth looking at. I’ve gotten all my wet suit and hydroskin stuff from this website, and it always comes without a problem. Their sizes run pretty small, though.