When it comes to hooded wetsuits, the staff here at Cleanline Surf are experts. Most of the year a wetsuit with a hood is a necessity here in Oregon. Here we are, a few months into 2013 and we’ve had a lot of time to think about the Fall 2012 wetsuits. We’ve heard your praise, as well as criticism for the different wetsuits we carry and taken that into mind. Also, we’ve had personal experience with many of these suits while surfing in the cold waters here in the Northwest where it takes a top notch wetsuit to stand up to the coldest elements in mid winter. These are all high end wetsuits. I’m not covering the entry level wetsuits that come with detachable hoods. I’m not going to cover features like key pockets, and drain holes. This is strictly a brief rundown on the major features and benefits of these suits. With that said, here are the top six cold water hooded wetsuits for 2012/2013, in no particular order.
For the updates for 2014 Hooded Wetsuits, check out the post for the Top 6 Hooded Wetsuits of 2014.
Patagonia R4 Wetsuit
Warmest Wetsuit on Planet Earth
The Patagonia R4 is as Josh(Owner of Cleanline Surf) puts it, “The warmest wetsuit on planet earth”. The R4 is the warmest, but in this section I want to cover both the R4 and R3, as they are the same suit, just with different thicknesses, and the R3 holds it’s own in cold waters. Let me get straight to the point. This is the warmest, and most durable wetsuit out there. Hands down.
Patagonia’s Limestone Neoprene is incredibly wind resistant and warm. That paired with the patented(and super comfortable) merino wool lining through the entire suit makes for the warmest suit on the market. Chest Zip entry minimizes flushing, and glued and blind stitched seams that are also critically taped minimize leaks and make a wetsuit that will hold up twice as long as most other suits. Patagonia also has a great warranty and stands 100% behind their product. If there are any defects in workmanship Patagonia will repair the suit no charge.
UPDATE: The Patagonia R4 has been recently updated.
Check out the new Patagonia R4 Wetsuit Review
Rip Curl Flash Bomb Wetsuit
2x SIMA Award Winning Wetsuit
The Rip Curl Flash Bomb Wetsuit is the two time SIMA Award winner of wetsuit of the year. This fully featured hooded fullsuit is available in a 5/4 thickness as well as the 6/5/4 thickness for even harsher winter conditions. The interior of the suit is lined with Rip Curl’s exclusive Flash Dry Lining, which provides insulation and warmth, and is also extremely quick drying. Turn your suit inside out and it will be dry to the touch in 15 minutes.
Fully taped internally with E4+ Tape, and Aquaban seam welded externally, the Flash Bomb is built to take a beating, while maintaining a high degree of flexibility and warmth. Smooth skin in the chest and back panels add another degree of warmth and wind resistance. This suit has everything you need to brave the coldest of waters while staying warm and comfortable. Rip Curl will warranty the suit for up to three years on stitching defects, one year on materials, and after that will repair your suit for a small charge. This is a well rounded suit that stands a chance at taking the SIMA Wetsuit of the Year Award for the third year running, and is definitely a worthy winter wetsuit for any surfer.
Get the Flash Bomb Through Our Online Store!
O’Neill Pyrotech Wetsuit
Best Flexibility, Durability, Warmth, Weight Ratio
The O’neill Pyrotech Wetsuit is a replacement to the long running RG8 series, and is upgraded with the latest neoprene exclusive to the O’neill wetsuit line. TechnoButter Neoprene is 20% lighter, and has 30% less water absorption than previous neoprene material, making the Pyrotech the lightest hooded 5mm wetsuit on the market.
One thing that makes this suit stand out from the rest of the crowd is the lack of internal taping or seam weld. O’Neill takes a different approach with this suit by putting an exterior seam weld over a glued and blind stitched seam. This provides a lot of extra flexibility through the entire suit, and also reduces weight in an already light suit. I’m going to admit my personal bias towards this suit, as I have owned (and love) my RG8 which I have had for over a year and it’s still warm, and holding up great. This is pretty much the RG8, but much lighter, and quicker drying. O’Neill’s warranty is right on with Rip Curl and Patagonia, and they will cover manufacture defects for up to a year after purchase. If you’re looking for a winter wetsuit with a hood, that is comfortable, warm, light weight, and flexible, pick this one.
Get the O’Neill Pyrotech Wetsuit at our Online Store Now!
O’Neill Mutant Wetsuit
The O’Neill Mutant Wetsuit is currently our best selling wetsuit here at Cleanline Surf. All features aside, all bias aside, the numbers show this is the single most popular suit we carry. This is a great suit no doubt, but one reason it sells so well is because of its versatility. The detachable hood is a great option for those that are in climates where the water can go from the high 40’s to the high 50’s throughout the year. Made in both a 5/4 and a 4/3, it is one of the rare 4mm hooded wetsuits
The Mutant’s seam setup is similar to the Pyrotech, being that the seams are fluid seam welded on the exterior and glued and blind stitched on the interior. The suit is made with O’neill’s UltraFlex DS and Fluid Flex Neoprene, making it a very flexible suit, however it is lacking the light weight that the newer TechnoButter Neoprene could provide. Nevertheless this is a great choice if you are looking for a suit that is versatile, and not quite priced as high as some of the other suits on this list. Recommended for those of you who might find hooded wetsuits annoying and only want to wear one on the coldest of days.
Shop Now for the O’Neill Mutant Hooded Wetsuit!
O’Neill Heat Wetsuit
Maximum Warmth and Value
The O’Neill Heat Wetsuit offers extreme warmth at an affordable price for a hooded suit. Made with 100% UltraFlex DS Neoprene you get a flexible suit that will keep you warm in sub 50 degree waters with ease. You also get O’neill’s Firewall Insulation(poly-fleece lining), and a smooth skin chest and back panel for even more warmth.
The seams on the Heat are Fluid Seam Welded on the outside and blind stitched on the inside making for a good balance of durability, flexibility and weight. Filling a niche for affordable hooded wetsuits that are able to withstand frigid waters, the O’Neill Heat is a great choice for anyone on a budget that needs all the warmth they can get. Built with quality by the oldest wetsuit company in the business and backed by O’Neill’s excellent warranty, the Heat 6/5/4 is most definitely a contender among these high end suits.
Stay warm in the O’Neill Heat Hooded 6/5/4 Wetsuit Today!
Rip Curl E-Bomb Wetsuit
The Rip Curl E-Bomb is a step down from the Flash Bomb, and is not quite as warm, and not quite as durable, but it’s still a great choice for a winter wetsuit. What this suit does have going for it is maximum flexibility. The shoulders and arms are glued and blind stitched only, no internal tape, or Aquaban, meaning your arms have as much range of motion as possible.The entire suit is glued and blind stitched on the outside, while in the body and legs you’ll find the super stretchy E3+ Tape for extra durability.
The E-Bomb easily competes with these top hooded suits on all fronts, and outperforms most in the flexibility category. This is the suit to go for if flexibility is your number one priority. Rip Curl’s killer warranty will cover you for up to 3 years on seam defects, and 1 year on materials.
Enjoy Maximum Flexibility in a Rip Curl E-Bomb Hooded Wetsuit!
So there you have it. The Best Hooded Wetsuits for 2013.
Questions or Comments? Tell us your thoughts using the comments section below. What’s your favorite hooded wetsuit?