Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

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Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby cavercrane97 » Jan 12, 2013 11:48 pm

Hey guys. The headache of finding a wetsuit has finally made its way around to me, and I am stuck wondering what to do. For one, I am a 6'2", 125 pound guy with a 29" waist. Where in the world can I even remotely find a wetsuit that will fit me comfortably? Also, for you TAG cavers, what is the ideal wetsuit thickness for the wet caves and pits in our region, summer or winter? Help will be greatly appreciated. :bat sticker:
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby Caving Guru » Jan 13, 2013 3:41 am

Well it seems like your build is pretty similar to mine (I'm 6'0'' and 135 lbs). I happened to be wondering what would be the right size and thickness for a wetsuit for myself when I was searching for a wetsuit for caving last week and ended up getting one. I went to this SCUBA diving shop and the sales person suggested a small tall wetsuit which I would suggest for you too. According to scuba.com, for water 75-85ºF a 2-3mm wetsuit is advised and for water 45-60ºF a 5-7mm wetsuit is suggested. So for the TAG region the 5-7mm wetsuit should be good for the winter and the 2-3mm wetsuit should be good for the summer. You might try looking for a wetsuit at Rockwater Gulf Coast Llc in Ripley, MS (662-837-8880). In my opinion, it's a good idea to try the wetsuit on before you buy it. But if the dive shop doesn't seem to have the right wetsuit for you in stock at the moment you can try looking for a wetsuit on the internet like at scuba.com. This online store has a large selection of wetsuits including several small tall wetsuit choices. I found that since it is the winter most dive shop outlets are low on supplies so you might want to stop back at your local dive shop in the summer when there are more choices available.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby trogman » Jan 13, 2013 9:37 am

Greg Jones wrote:Well it seems like your build is pretty similar to mine (I'm 6'0'' and 135 lbs). I happened to be wondering what would be the right size and thickness for a wetsuit for myself when I was searching for a wetsuit for caving last week and ended up getting one. I went to this SCUBA diving shop and the sales person suggested a small tall wetsuit which I would suggest for you too. According to scuba.com, for water 75-85ºF a 2-3mm wetsuit is advised and for water 45-60ºF a 5-7mm wetsuit is suggested. So for the TAG region the 5-7mm wetsuit should be good for the winter and the 2-3mm wetsuit should be good for the summer. You might try looking for a wetsuit at Rockwater Gulf Coast Llc in Ripley, MS (662-837-8880). In my opinion, it's a good idea to try the wetsuit on before you buy it. But if the dive shop doesn't seem to have the right wetsuit for you in stock at the moment you can try looking for a wetsuit on the internet like at scuba.com. This online store has a large selection of wetsuits including several small tall wetsuit choices. I found that since it is the winter most dive shop outlets are low on supplies so you might want to stop back at your local dive shop in the summer when there are more choices available.


Very often you can pick up wetsuits really cheap at thrift stores or even yard sales. Or, next time you are over around Scottsboro, AL, check at the Unclaimed Baggage store. Then of course you have to get lucky and find one in your size. As far as thickness goes, most of the time caves and cave water are both going to be around 58 degrees here in TAG- unless the water is flowing in from above-ground nearby, in which case it can vary quite a bit according to season. I would err on the side of warmer, but that's just me.

Here is another option. I got this from a fellow grotto member a few days ago:


"Our family runs a whitewater rafting company and sells used wetsuits to cavers in our off-season. We have contacted NSS members for over ten years and made lots of folks happy with good wetsuits at a reasonable cost ... much better than buying new and expensive suits just to beat up in the caves! We have an array of wetsuit sizes from Youth Sizes to 4XL. Suits are priced according to wear and tear - however, none of the suits are in rough shape. No holes, bad zippers, etc - we turn our entire stock of over 400 wetsuits over every few seasons with sales like this. Manufacturers of our suits include Northwest River Supplies, Atlan Productions and Henderson. We can meet individual and group orders. To determine sizing, we ask for height and weight and we are good at working it out to get the right size to the cavers. Prices generally range from $25-45 per piece.

If interested, please forward this message to members of your grotto. We have sold hundreds of suits to cavers by using the NSS website.

Frank and Jennifer Mooney
Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting
http://www.crabapplewhitewater.com
413-625-2288"



The only issue with buying from them is that they are in the northeast, so you would have to buy w/o trying on, which would obviously not be ideal.

Trogman :helmet:
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby cavercrane97 » Jan 13, 2013 8:52 pm

:waving: Thank you both very much! Your information is extremely helpful. Safe caving!! :grin:
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby PaulSiegel86 » Jan 14, 2013 3:21 pm

I'd recommend a Farmer John and Jacket combo rather than a full on wetsuit. Gives you more options to put stuff together. It's what I wore into Snail Shell, arguable the wettest cave I've been in TAG. I've worn the upper under a cave suit into very wet caves and been fine.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby Caving Guru » Jan 24, 2013 12:42 am

So a 3 mm thickness wetsuit will probably do the trick for most wetsuit caves in TAG. I tried out my new 3 mm wetsuit that I mentioned in an earlier post on this topic in -20ºF Quebec last weekend in this ice cave where the ice eventually got thin enough that you broke through. My body that was covered in my wetsuit was fine but if I am going to do a wetsuit cave that cold in the future I should get wetsuit socks and gloves. 3 mm thickness wetsuits are also the most common thickness for wetsuit caving I believe.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Jan 24, 2013 2:41 pm

Definitely a 3mm Farmer John for TAG wet multidrop caving or wet survey. I like the NRS model with the front zip and the extra "convenience" zipper pull at the bottom. I wear mine under my coveralls to protect it, though some don't. With water in the 57-58 degree range, the only time you really need a "full" wetsuit is if there are prolonged swims or if you're surveying in super wet passage, and for that I use a matching NRS wetsuit jacket -- but for most situations and most people this is unnecessary.

Edit: this is the one I use. They go for about $130.
http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=22151
Last edited by Jeff Bartlett on Jan 24, 2013 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby BrianC » Jan 24, 2013 3:08 pm

I bought a used suit from a dive shop for around a hundred bucks http://shopping.yahoo.com/components/large_image;_ylt=A2KLOwrPkwFRcSYAVw9StL4F?id=800488445 This is similar. 5,4,3,mm I found that this works well in many TAG wet caves, especially long wet pull downs and swims. I can carry it in my pack until needed as in trips where dry passages would burn you up.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby Caving Guru » Jan 25, 2013 7:34 pm

Yeah Jeff I meant a Farmer John. I was thinking that Farmer Johns were a subcategory of wetsuits.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby Oddball » Mar 21, 2013 5:09 pm

I got my wet suit from a company in Auburn, Al. I was going to school there and Auburn has a scuba class and this company had a deal with Auburn. Walked in. Told him I was looking for a used wet suit for cheap, and he just asked my weight and height. Brought out one, and the only defect was some stitching had failed at the waist but the rest looked like new. It was only an inch, I gave 25 for it. Rated for 32 F, do not know what mil that is, But the staff was great. PM me if you want info for the place.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby Batgirl » Mar 21, 2013 11:03 pm

I think you will find 3mm is too much for tag caving. The thicker mm will restrict your movement and are heavy when wet. You'll tire out faster, especially if your wearing your gear through the cave. I have a 2mm NRS farmer John and a 2mm NRS jacket for super wet caves like snail shell. That provides 4mm coverage for the core. But for wet multi-drops, I typically wear polypropylene under a 2mm shorty with a PVC suit and I am pretty comfortable.
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Re: Wetsuits for TAG Cavers

Postby SipseyRiverBrewing » Apr 26, 2013 11:44 am

2mm Shorty, with the sleeves cut off, with Patagonia Capilene 3 long underwear beneath it. Good freedom of motion, and very warm. I used this when getting completely submerged in the Illiad. I carried another Capilene top and a light fleece that went on later, after total soakage. Wetsuits with sleeves are very restrictive, so I would go with either this set up or a farmer john.

Thrift stores and Unclaimed Baggage. Your wetsuit will eventually get trashed, and you can feel better about modifying it when you didn't pay $150.
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