..wetsuit fit- is it too tight..........

Hi all,

As per the sizing chart from NRS I need an extra large(XL).

So I buy a XL NRS 3mil farmer john today from my local shop (knowing I can return it) and try it on at home.

It is tight/form fitting - but not squeezing any precious cargo.

I sat around for 1/2hour and things were OK.

Did some deep knee bends- still OK.

However, here lies my questions.

  1. As tight as it is now, I don’t think I can layer anything underneath. Should I be able to layer (ie; Hydroskin)

  2. What if anything would I lose if I went up a size. Do I lose some insulating factor?

    So I guess, in a nutshell, how tight is too tight…(feel free to insert quips here…lol)


you find that you can fit much other than possiably a rash guard under it…then it’s too loose to work and not flush. sounds like you have a good fit. think paddling jacket. add over, not under

Best Wishes


I’ve got a dry top that I’ll wear over the wetsuit.



It will stretch a bit

– Last Updated: Mar-07-06 11:23 PM EST –

When it gets wet it will be a lot less snug. You probably have room for a rashguard under it. in fact wetsuits are easier to get on with a rashguard. Hydroskin is not the best for layers under a wetsuit if it fits pretty tight. It does work though. Longsleeve hydroskin top will work fine with a farmer John. My son is on the skinny side and uses hydroskin under his full suit no problem. Polypropylene layers and thin neoprene 1 or 2 mL layers work well for fulll suits. I've been using "reactor pants" from Oneil this winter, and a polyproplene top layer for insulation. I use a semi-dry top over the top. Good for water temps in mid 50s and air temps in the 40s for surfing when I am splashed a lot with waves but sitting up in the wind. Usually out for three or four hours and usually feel a bit too warm at first, but after a while you will start to cool off.

If it’s so tight it’s uncomfortable, you’ll be tempted not to bother wearing it–so it might be worth sacrificing a perfectly snug fit if one size up will ensure that you won’t be leaving it behind. A comfy wetsuit that you’re actually wearing keeps you warmer than a snug one left behind in the hall closet.

Zuma, NRS wetsuits, in my opinion, run
small. I find them very tight. I know that a looser wetsuit… and when I say looser, I am not saying limp, baggy, just “looseer” so that you dont crunch the 'nads, STILL is warm, and holds water against your bosy that is heatedfor an extra thermal layer.

And, if you have seen the past posts on here about neoprene, neoprene can shrink over time. I think your suit sounds fine, butif feels tight, will be even tighter after a few wet dry cycles.

By the way, I wear only polypro short sleeve shirt and underwear under mine.

Definately wear a layer
You need something to guard against rash if it’s a long day of paddling. Layers as suggested above are all good.

Stick with snug
It’s a good incentive to not get fat.

I’ll …
I’ll try again tomorrow before I yank the tags off.

Fit is NOT UNcomfortable- just snug…jimmy and the twins are happy…

I will try and put some poly laayers on and see…

Thanks all!!!


breathe in
My personal rule is that your lower body is snug but not queerly tight and shoulder straps not pulling on your shoulders and you can take a DEEP breath without it trying to restrict your chest,try with a rash guard/t shirt under it,if you feel serious relief breathing deep when you unzip it, its probably too snug.

Heresy, Scott
Saying anything on pnet about getting the next size up in neoprene wetsuits is like saying someone’s mother wears Army boots, but based on your decription, unless you;re perfectly comfortable in that wetsuit and ready for shrinkage after a few wet-dry cycles, you’d better switch up in size.

Duck, here come the tomatoes.


– Last Updated: Mar-08-06 5:31 AM EST –

neo stretches a bit over time rather than shrink. Rubber loses its elasticity eventually.


Comfortable Snug Is Good…
if you swim, it’s the infiltration or flush through of water that will rob you off heat. The less flush through the better.

Unfortunately, with farmer johns, without a good semi or dry top, flush through is major through the armpit and neck/chest area. Even with a drytop, you’ll have water infiltration coming through the zipper area that is exposed.

Farmer john combos are only good for moderate cold water temps, maybe 55 to 65, depending on your individual tolerance and skills in getting back into a boat.


Here’s a similar archive.

I know there was one about 6 months ago, sing, and the subject line said Neoprene Shrinkage – written by a paddler whose wetsuit shrinuk so he couldn’t fit it anymore-- and as I recall at least two respondants said that, as neoprene is a fabric, it can shrink. I cannot find that post though.

figured it was like 20 year old blue jeans. add a few years and they seem to have shrunk. hmmm…what else could uv changed? they don’t fit anymore…must be the jeans…hmmmm

best wishes


It’s been a while since we relied primarily on wetsuits, but we just washed our wetsuits out in a tub with Mirazyme or whatever and then hung them up somewhere out of the sun to dry. Didn’t have a problem with size changes, in fact I found the Expedition Jane stayed exactly the same. Is that the wash/dry process that those who had the problem used?

The Nylon Face
will shrink when dry but will again loosen up when wet. But neoprene (rubber core) is the elastic/insulating part. I have neo wear from when I first started. They still fit, albeit actually a little tighter and thus better because I have gained weight at about a pound a year.

Board surfers will say tell you that a neoprene suit will last several years at best with hard core usage. The neoprene wears down and flush through becomes increasingly a problem.


Neoprene is not a fabric…
…it’s a rubber foam filled with nitrogen bubbles. Over time, the nitrogen can bleed out partially, causing the bubbles to decrease in size and the material to shrink slightly. The fabric that’s typically laminated to neoprene is elastic, so it stretches and contracts with the neoprene.

Neoprene works best when it fits close
The less water that gets between the suit and your body, the warmer it will be. As long as it’s comfortable and doesn’t impede bloodflow anywhere, stick with the size you have.

Ok, here’s the science
Very similar to what Sing was saying. Wet suits should be snug. If there is an influx of water. yes, your body can heat it. The problem is that if you’re wearing neoprene that is too loose, as you move, the pockets can create a pumping (flushing as Sing calls it) action which will push the warmed water out and then will suck new cold water in. By the way, no matter what the old general consensus might be, its been proven that water is a lousy insulator. It transmits heat very well which is why its used as a coolant but this makes it a poor insulator. If the water comes in and stays, it will only rob you of the initial heat used to warm it up. The problem comes with the pumping or flushing action.

Cooldoctor, no one’s mother wears army boots. No hyperbole here, just logical science. Oh, and neoprene is rubber with a bunch of nitrogen bubbles in it. Rubber doesn’t shrink, generally it loosens. If a bunch of the bubbles collapsed, it might theoretically be able to shrink, but I’ve never heard of this happening.