Let's Chat: Getting Into a Front Zip Wetsuit w/ Tucker
Let's Chat: Tucker's Explanation on How to Get Into A Front Zip Wetsuit
Getting into front zip wetsuits is all about technique. I can get into my front zip 6mm just as quickly and easily as my 3mm back zip wetsuit (maybe faster since I can find the zipper easier). Even if it takes you a little longer until you get the hang of it, the benefits of front zip suit far outweigh the negatives. Back zips leach cold water in and warm water out, they also limit the stretch of the suit.
Now there are certainly people in this world that simply cannot get a front zip wetsuit on due to their shape, flexibility, ect.. but they are the 1% if the suit fits them correctly. In other words, if you can kiteboard you can probably get into a front zip if it fits right.
Here is the process for success:
- Step into the chest opening and pull them on like a tight pair of pants (basically the same as a back zip).
- Pull the suit up to your chest. Make sure your suit is all the way up to your groin before proceeding. Leaving a bunch of slack down there will make it harder.
- Put your arm in the side with the neck sleeve and hood on it first and pull it all the way on your shoulder. (For most suits this is the right-hand side)
- Put your arm in the left side and pull it all the way on.
- Pull the neck sleeve or hood over your head
- Zip up
- Tighten shoulder bungee if needed. Tighten hood draw if needed.
To get it off, simply do the steps backwards. The key again here is taking off the hood-less (left hand side) shoulder first. Grab the thin inside chest gaiter and pull it down and over your elbow. Then pull the rest of the bicep over your elbow and you are home free.
The back zip with hood combo works pretty well if you have to go that route but the interface between the hood and neck sleeve usually causes leaks or chokes your neck.