The open water swimming faffing and camaraderie begins with getting into your wetsuit. It really is a laugh when you first try squeezing into your neoprene. It's a done thing to ask other swimmers to zip you up, so please don't be shy to ask. You're more than likely will make a friend in the process. It takes time to get your kit on, so allow enough time before any swim event.
It may sound stupid but I have seen swimmers arrive at the lake with the wetsuit on the incorrect way. ZIP AT THE BACK.
Wetsuit fitted correctly?
A simple test to make sure the suit is fitted on correctly is to hold your arm out horizontally and check that the neoprene is right into your armpit. There should be no pockets and definitely no pockets in the crotch area.
The bag method can be used to help put the wetsuit on easily. Place your foot into a plastic bag and pull the wetsuit on. The plastic bag prevents the wetsuit getting stuck on the heal and around your hands
Don't forget to get a waterproof bag to take your wetsuit home afterwards. You really don't want your car to smell like lake. I bought this Tiki Dry Bag from www.surfsurfsurf.co.uk which is a family run business in North Devon.
Dry bag & changing mat.
If you do wild swimming this is a great bag to have. Cold feet and small stones can make getting changed and warm quickly hard, so the changing mat helps and an added bonus it turns into a waterproof bag to take your wetsuit home - no wet puddles in your car.
- Look after the gear that looks after you!
1. Rinse your wetsuit with a hosepipe after each swim. This will get rid of little stones, pieces of grass and mud.
2. Turn the wetsuit inside out to dry.
3. Hang the wetsuit away from heat and direct sunlight. I hang mine on the garden furniture.
4. Store on a coat hanger but don't hang it up at the shoulders. Fold the wetsuit in half over a fat hanger.
5. If you wetsuit starts smelling get a wetsuit cleaner. Piss off is recommended which I got from Amazon.
Friction between the skin and fabric can create chafing. Body glide (sport specific lubricant) can be used around the collar area where the wetsuit touches your skin to prevent a rash or even blisters. .
Great video from zone 3 demonstrating how to put your wetsuit on.