General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water Rss Feed  
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2013-12-18 4:17 AM

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Subject: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water

Fellow BT'ers

I am a Texan local. I easily acclimate to warm weather . I can run in the 90s with a high heat index. I am some what having a hard time acclimating to the cold. I manage to adapt to running in the 50s and biking by using double layers. I still want to do open water swimming but swimming in the 50s just makes me like a cat thrown in a tub of ice. Is there a way to add another layer underneath a full wetsuit to adjust to cold water faster.

Let me know

Thanks in advance



2013-12-18 4:32 AM
in reply to: strykergt

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Everyone is different when it comes to tolerating cold water but IME in the 50's, what will make the biggest difference will be a neoprene cap and booties would make a much bigger difference than anything you wear under. While it will initially be cold, the water in the wetsuit should warm up pretty quickly.

Shane
2013-12-18 7:06 AM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
I'm thinking the same as above stryker. I plan on getting me some booties and a cap to somewhat help. It's just going to take a few minutes for the body to go numb, but after that it should be ok. Have you tried to get in cold water in the bathtub yet and to somewhat to help get acclimated. I know what you are saying about the cold. It seems to be a bit colder this winter.
2013-12-18 7:27 AM
in reply to: strykergt

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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Wetsuits work by trapping a layer of water between you and the wetsuit. The water starts out cold, but your body heat warms up the small amount of water quickly. Putting an underlayer between you and the wetsuit doesn't change any of that.

While a hassle, you could bring a thermos of warm water and pour it between you and the neoprene before you get into the cold water. I don't know it will provide a *significant* improvement.

Neoprene booties, gloves, and a neoprene cap (or double up with two regular swim caps) will help. You can also consider earplugs under the cap to keep cold water out of your ear canal. You may still experience the "ice cream headache" from the cold water on your face and forehead.
2013-12-18 12:38 PM
in reply to: McFuzz

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water

Completely agree with the neoprene gear (feet, gloves, cap) and have heard that earplugs help (I almost always have my iPod during swims now, so I guess it's similar), as well as "sandwiching" caps (neoprene and a regular cap over it - or vice versa… I can't recall - probably whichever will stay on your head! Haven't tried it myself, but see lots of folks early and late season here at the pond with that setup).

One other thing to consider is wetsuit fit.  If it's at all loose, as in it lets water in around the neck, it will do a far worse job of keeping you warm - not to mention creating drag you probably don't want.  As cold water gets in from above and flushes down and out, heat will continue to transfer from you to the water - brrrrr!

Not sure if this is the case, but something to look for.

Good luck!

Matt

2013-12-18 3:10 PM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

Completely agree with the neoprene gear (feet, gloves, cap) and have heard that earplugs help (I almost always have my iPod during swims now, so I guess it's similar), as well as "sandwiching" caps (neoprene and a regular cap over it - or vice versa… I can't recall - probably whichever will stay on your head! Haven't tried it myself, but see lots of folks early and late season here at the pond with that setup).

One other thing to consider is wetsuit fit.  If it's at all loose, as in it lets water in around the neck, it will do a far worse job of keeping you warm - not to mention creating drag you probably don't want.  As cold water gets in from above and flushes down and out, heat will continue to transfer from you to the water - brrrrr!

Not sure if this is the case, but something to look for.

Good luck!

Matt





I was going to post essentially the same thing about wetsuit fit. It should be tight.

In 2012 I swam IMAZ in a wetsuit that was just a tiny bit too big for me (I thought it fit great but in retrospect it was letting water in at the neckline). I was so cold when I got out of the water (61 degrees) that it almost ended my race.

In 2013 I got a new, slightly smaller wetsuit which I used for the IMTahoe swim. Water was pretty much the same temperature. I remember thinking at about the halfway point of the swim how nice it was to actually be warm while swimming in the cold water.

I am ambivalent about booties but some people really seem to like them. Haven't tried the neoprene swim cap yet but I have used two standard swim caps for cold water swims.


2013-12-18 8:43 PM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Drink a nice large cup of coffee before your swim, but 'hold it' till you get in to the water. So cold, then all nice and warm
2013-12-19 8:57 PM
in reply to: strykergt


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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Check out Dolphin club and SERC Swim Club in San Francisco. Most Alcatraz swimmers wear wet suits, these people dont and they swim year round in SF bay. Its 50's right now low 50's . They do wear a warm swim cap, from cheap bubble caps to more expensive neoprene Barracuda Hothead, P Bear caps, They do make a big difference in cold water. The usual advice is two swim caps, Thats Ok if its 65 F but in 50 degree water you need better then that. And yes you can swim in 50's F water with no wet suit after getting used to it.

Details Here: http://openwatercaps.blogspot.com/
2013-12-20 7:00 AM
in reply to: peggyswims

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Make sure your wetsuit is closed well around the neck. Water entering will disturb the warm water layer between the wetsuit and your skin.
2013-12-20 9:22 AM
in reply to: b2run


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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Wetsuits work by keeping the water next to the body warm, So to start on a cold swim bring a big thermos of warm water and pour it into your wet suit just before getting into the water for a warmer start of a swim.
2013-12-20 10:07 AM
in reply to: peggyswims


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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
I use lavacore for layering under my scuba wetsuit with good results. No experience using it with swimming wetsuits but I would imagine it would have similar effect. You might want to look at the lavacore vest to give a little more protection over the core.

http://www.lavacoreinternational.com/lavacore-vest-male/

If you have scuba shops around you could likely go there and look at it/try it on in person before deciding.

Ron


2013-12-20 10:15 AM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Originally posted by wannabefaster

In 2012 I swam IMAZ in a wetsuit that was just a tiny bit too big for me (I thought it fit great but in retrospect it was letting water in at the neckline). I was so cold when I got out of the water (61 degrees) that it almost ended my race.

In 2013 I got a new, slightly smaller wetsuit which I used for the IMTahoe swim. Water was pretty much the same temperature. I remember thinking at about the halfway point of the swim how nice it was to actually be warm while swimming in the cold water.



I used to chime in when people would ask about wetsuit fitting and say if it fits when you're dry, it's too big.

Enough people decided that was worthy of scoffing, piffling and otherwise degrading that I've quit. People will figure it out for themselves and it'll just cost twice as much when they go buy a smaller size after figuring out that truism, I guess.

2013-12-20 6:18 PM
in reply to: DanielG

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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Originally posted by DanielG

Originally posted by wannabefaster

In 2012 I swam IMAZ in a wetsuit that was just a tiny bit too big for me (I thought it fit great but in retrospect it was letting water in at the neckline). I was so cold when I got out of the water (61 degrees) that it almost ended my race.

In 2013 I got a new, slightly smaller wetsuit which I used for the IMTahoe swim. Water was pretty much the same temperature. I remember thinking at about the halfway point of the swim how nice it was to actually be warm while swimming in the cold water.



I used to chime in when people would ask about wetsuit fitting and say if it fits when you're dry, it's too big.

Enough people decided that was worthy of scoffing, piffling and otherwise degrading that I've quit. People will figure it out for themselves and it'll just cost twice as much when they go buy a smaller size after figuring out that truism, I guess.




It took me until wetsuit # 4 to get it perfect.

# 1 was giant but I didn't know it and swam in it for two seasons.
# 2 felt right and I got another 3+ seasons out of it--this was the one that almost did me in at AZ
# 3 I was in the perfect spot on the size chart but this suit was so tight that I could not physically get it on. this one has multiple small tears in it in spite of me being very careful. apparently TYR wetsuits fit small and are very fragile
# 4 just right

If anyone wants a cheap wetsuit, I have several that I need to get rid of. The smallest one would fit someone 5' 4" to 5' 8", 120 to135 lbs. The biggest one would fit someone 5' 5" to 5'10" and probably 165 to 185 lbs.
2013-12-21 11:03 AM
in reply to: DanielG


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Subject: RE: Underlayer for Wetsuit for Cold Open water
Tight wetsuits can cause trouble in open water swims as they can give a constricting feeling and have caused anxiety attacks with some swimmers.
Personally I dont like them, either too tight or too big and floppy, but they do add safety with the bouyancy they give and warmth so they are a necessery item for some swims.

The neoprene caps I am not a fan of either they make your head feel the size of a basketball and are hard to get a race cap over . The strap on the neoprene is way too wide and chafs , they feel like they have a lot of drag and bouy my head up too far. I like the lighter bubble cap with a inner cap or a race or logo cap over it .
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