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Thread: 3mm or 4mm Wetsuit?

  1. #1

    3mm or 4mm Wetsuit?

    Which wetsuit should I get for all around hikes in So. Utah. My favorite areas are Zion and Escalante (based upon hiking experience). For only 1mm difference there seems to be a big jump in thickness and stiffness.

    Thanks

    Jason

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  3. #2
    I'd say go with the 3mm.... if you become hardcore you will eventually own a 5mm or a drysuit. But 3mm is great for 90% of the CP canyons. YMMV

    I like the full 3mm wetsuits that sell for $50 at Sportsmens Warehouse.

  4. #3
    Both in one!
    4/3= 4mm on body 3mm on legs and arms.
    Most of the 4/3 suits you'll find are seam sealed, which is warmer than your basic cheap 3mm that are just stitch sealed because water doesn't move through the seams . I've worn 4/3 through choprock, heaps, October Black Hole, and and a lot of less cold and wet canyons as well. When it gets extra cold i add a 2mm jacket (usually found on Sierra Trading Post for around 40 bucks). Neosport makes a 4/3 that was coming in at 70 dollars last I checked. They're a little hard to find but are findable with google. For a really good 4/3 from ONeal or BOdy Glove you'll double that, but they sure are comfy and form fitting, and mine's lasted pretty well.

    What Shane says, 3mm is good for 90% of the CP canyons. Not a huge difference between 3mm and 4mm/3mm, but there is a difference, I've tried both. There is a very minimal difference in weight and bulk. I would say 4/3 would bring that percentage up to about 95% and with a 2mm jacket or a shortee under or over you MAY be able to comfortoably do all Utah canyons outside of winter if you have typical cold tolderance. I know Eric has used his 4/3 in notoriously cold places like Imlay, Heaps, and Kolob. Ram's been sporting one too and could probably provide some feedback.

    One thing I've tried that isn't nearly as good as a full suit is a farmer john and jacket combo. The water flows through it and its colder than a full suit, even with more mm's of neoprone. Shortee's aren't very useful, except to make a canyon you could do without a wetsuit more comfortable or to combine with a full suit to add some mm's.

    Disclaimer: What works for me may not work for you. Better to go overprepared than under until you know what your needs are. Typical recommendations for Heaps, Imlay, Kolob, full Left Fork, Choprock, a few Powell Canyons, and maybe some others I don't know about are for a minimum 5mm full body and 7mm full body recommended. In Utah, outside of these canyons, a 3mm will typically be fine. Winter canyoneering is a different story.

  5. #4
    Thank you both for the replies.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rock_ski_cowboy
    I know Eric has used his 4/3 in notoriously cold places like Imlay, Heaps, and Kolob.
    Well... kind of. In Imlay the outside temp was around 113 degrees, and Tom said it was unseasonably warm in there. I wore a 2 mm jacket over the top of my 3/4, but probably didn't need it. In Heaps I shivered a little after struggling out of one of the first potholes so I threw on Ben's shorty for extra protection, didn't shiver the rest of the trip. In Kolob I wore my 3/4 with a jacket over the top and I shivered like a wet dog most of the trip, but that was more because my group was extremely slow and I was sitting around waiting for them most of the time. My 3/4 was great in Choprock and Das Boot with sub 100 degree temps outside. Like Shane says, it works for 90% of the wet canyons I've done, but with either a shorty over the top or a jacket I've been fine even in the coldest canyons, as long as it's really hot outside.

    Eric.

  7. #6
    It depends on what you are doing and when.

    I did Imlay without a wetsuit one September. It was cold.

    I did Black Hole on January 1 with a 3/2 wetsuit. It was cold part of the time.

    In summer, you usually don't need one outside Zion, but if you do a lot of canyons in winter, you should probably get the thicker one.

    Usually and luckily, most of the canyons I've done in winter have been without swimming. Winter is dry in many parts of the CP, but wet in others (Zion and parts of Escalante).

    If you plan on doing a lot of wet canyons, a thick wetsuit might be good, but I haven't used a really thick one.

    Just be safe.
    Utah is a very special and unique place. There is no where else like it on earth. Please take care of it and keep the remaining wild areas in pristine condition. The world will be a better place if you do.

  8. #7
    Bottom line is if you eventually become a canyon whore you will want several different wetsuits so you can adjust to canyon conditions. A full 3/2 or 4/3 is a good stating point. Shorties pretty much blow.....

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe
    Bottom line is if you eventually become a canyon whore you will want several different wetsuits so you can adjust to canyon conditions. A full 3/2 or 4/3 is a good stating point. Shorties pretty much blow.....
    A shucks, I have like 7. Don't tell my mom I've become a whore. She'd be real disappointed.
    I use my 4/3 most. I've pretty much worn one out and have another to start on this year.
    I use my shortee sometimes cause I'm a wuss. (swell in June).
    Use the 2mm jacket on top of the 4/3 quite often.
    I have a couple farmer johns which I loan to friends but won't use myself cause they suck, and a 7mil which I've never used and probably never will. Too heavy!

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rock_ski_cowboy
    and a 7mil which I've never used and probably never will. Too heavy!
    Yea 7 mil's BLOW (at least the one I used), I rented one once before I bought a wetsuit, I could hardly bend my legs enough to climb out of potholes, and it weighed my pack down a ton.

  11. #10
    My 3/2 full is probably what I use the most. I have a dry top that I use instead of a shortie..... gives about the same amount of warmth at half the weight and bulk. I have a dry suit that I use in the Zion heavy hitters. A dry suit is pretty much worthless outside of Zion because they get beat up to bad in the skinny stuff.......

    The Zion canyons are big, fun, comfortable and easy....... you remember.... kinda like the ugly chick you slept with in High School....

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by shaggy125
    Quote Originally Posted by rock_ski_cowboy
    and a 7mil which I've never used and probably never will. Too heavy!
    Yea 7 mil's BLOW (at least the one I used), I rented one once before I bought a wetsuit, I could hardly bend my legs enough to climb out of potholes, and it weighed my pack down a ton.
    I second that, two friends of mine wore 7mm full wetsuits when we did Kolob. Which was fine until they had to pack them heavy bitches out MIA. I was happy that all I had to do was roll up my little drysuit and toss that into my bag. The drysuit in Kolob was one of the best ideas I ever had.

    James

  13. #12
    Thanks all. I now have an O'neill 4/3. I checked out the $50 3/2's at Sportsman's but they only had 1 in a medium. If I feel the need I may try to pick up a 3/2 on closeout somewhere. When I am ready to do the really cold wet stuff in Zions I will likely splurge on a drysuit. I hate the shiver shakes.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by hike2kolob
    Thanks all. I now have an O'neill 4/3. I checked out the $50 3/2's at Sportsman's but they only had 1 in a medium. If I feel the need I may try to pick up a 3/2 on closeout somewhere. When I am ready to do the really cold wet stuff in Zions I will likely splurge on a drysuit. I hate the shiver shakes.
    I have an O'neill 4/3, I'm guessing it's the same as the one you just bought. Nat Smale also has it. I'm no wet suit expert, but we both agree that it is warmer than we expected when we bought it. Maybe it's just because it fits me so well I don't know, but mine has been awesome. For the real cold ones I rented a top from the Mountain Shop in Cedar City and was good to go as long as I kept moving. I am a skinny wuss when it comes to cold water too. Everyone is different though.

    Eric.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hike2kolob
    Thanks all. I now have an O'neill 4/3.
    Where did you get it from?

    O'Neil makes quality stuff. I just feel bad tearing up quality gear in a skinny slot.


  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe
    Quote Originally Posted by hike2kolob
    Thanks all. I now have an O'neill 4/3.
    Where did you get it from?

    O'Neil makes quality stuff. I just feel bad tearing up quality gear in a skinny slot.

    I bought it at Marine Products (949 W. 1700 S.). They had Quicksilver and O'Neill. The Quicksilver were cut a little more slender than the O'Neil, so I went with the O'Neill. They also had a 3/2 there but I figured if I ever decide to get one, I will just get that of the internet (now that I have sized the thing). I fit right in the specs of a Large, but it feels tight...damn tight. I guess that's what makes it warm.

    I won't mind beating the hell out of this suit, because that will mean I am using it. I'd rather that than have it sit in my closet in pristine condition.

  17. #16
    Save your money and trash the rentals!

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrell
    Save your money and trash the rentals!
    I'd have to second that!!

    BTW, that's one helluva sexy avatar!
    !!!CORONAVIRUS PSA!!!

    • Toilet paper won't save you from Covid-19.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by rockgremlin
    BTW, that's one helluva sexy avatar!
    Yeah, I might have to go bear back mountain on ya.


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