Reviewed & updated: March 28, 2023 by Jamie Wilson BA
One of the most commonly asked questions of divers is probably if they wear anything under their wetsuits.
Is it acceptable that divers wear nothing underneath? How comfortable is it to dive with several layers underneath a suit?
There are many divers with varying opinions on what should be worn under a wetsuit, and there are quite a few options to consider. Some men choose to go the commando route and wear nothing underneath, while others prefer to wear a bathing suit. This is a personal preference that every man must make, but if you are new to scuba diving and snorkeling or are considering what else is out there, Outsons has laid out what’s available that you can add to your wetsuit in the future that may provide more insulation.
What Is a Wet Suit?
A wetsuit provides thermal insulation by trapping a thin layer of water within your body and the suit. Made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber, the suit protects from UV exposure, abrasion, as well as bites from any aquatic organisms. That thin layer of water that enters your wetsuit keeps you warm, and your wetsuit should fit snugly but not so tight that it cuts off circulation.
Why Wear Undergarments Under a Wetsuit?
The Insulation Factor
The main reason to wear undergarments under a wetsuit is that extra layers equate to warmer bodies in cold temperatures – both above and underwater. Water enthusiasts know that the way to go is to wear a thinner layer underneath that serves as additional insulation for your body. Divers have to contend with varying temperatures during dives, so selecting the right material and undergarments are important to maintaining a comfortable body temperature throughout a dive. There are also some undergarments that provide protection against UV light and also prevent against stings, and cuts on your skin.
There are many divers that wear nothing under their wetsuits, but this is sometimes painful because of the rubbing of the rubber against the skin that can lead to chafing and an overall sore feeling after hours of wear. Wearing undergarments can provide extra warmth and be that extra layer that your body may need.
Many scuba divers do not own their wetsuits and often rent them. For men that rent one, know that your skin – and all of its sensitive areas – will be rubbing up against places where strangers have rubbed. This is not hygienic by any stretch of the imagination, especially if the person went nude underneath the wetsuit. Also, bear in mind that many people urinate in their wetsuits, which is one more reason to wear undergarments! For renters, you definitely should consider a swimsuit or trunks for your delicate parts.
Most diving is often done on a boat or beaches where there are lots of people nearby or in close proximity. Wetsuits tend to get extremely warm in tropical weather, and if you want to take it off, you will probably need to have something on underneath as it is quite time consuming to take off a wetsuit, making discretion necessary.
Should You Go Commando?
Going naked or wearing nothing underneath your wetsuit is considered by many the best option as it lessens the volume of water that can get in between you and the wetsuit. With nothing in between you and the wetsuit, your body is able to quickly warm up this thinner layer of water. The conundrum of wearing nothing underneath the wetsuit, however, is that eventually you have to get out of the wetsuit, which could pose quite the challenge if you are out in a public setting. Those that have ever tried to get out of a wetsuit understand how intricate the process can be, so if going nude underneath your wetsuit is not in the cards for you, Outsons has other options that you can wear under a wetsuit that act as a comfortable choice.
Men’s Diving Shorts
Constructed with neoprene, diving shorts are extremely useful under wetsuits as they are light and act as an insulation for your body. Also, when you are wearing diving shorts, it is much easier to remove your wetsuit compared to going commando. You don’t want to just wear anything underneath, and for colder water temperatures, another option is to wear a diving short made of Lycra to provide more insulation and keep you warm.
A swimming brief to wear under your wetsuit is another option that adds warmth and protection for water diving in warmer temperatures. Since swimwear briefs are made of lighter material, the best options to consider should ideally be made from spandex so that they are more form fitting. Speedos are minimalist and won’t affect how a wetsuit fits over them, and so are a great choice when out in the water.
What is a Rash Guard?
A rash guard is an undershirt worn underneath a wetsuit that keeps your upper body warm above and below water. Rash guards are a perfect choice for colder waters as the first layer of protection, plus they prevent chafing from the wetsuit. Depending on the water temperature, there are both short sleeve and long sleeve rash guard options available that are made with polyester and spandex that dries quickly and offer more full body protection.
What To Wear Under A Wetsuit Decoded
Wetsuits may be ideal for those into scuba diving, but they are not easy to slip on and off, particularly if there are no undergarments underneath. Your wetsuit ideally should be snug but not too tight so that you have flexibility while diving. Before selecting what you wear underneath a wetsuit, take into account the water of the water you are diving in, how sensitive your body is to the suit, and other factors that dictate your comfort levels.