With wetsuits getting warmer every year, surfers are looking to the lighter and more flexible 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits to replace their heavier 5/4’s. We now have the luxury to choose from a wide range of 4/3 wetsuits with hoods, so which one should you get? We spend a lot of time in the water testing wetsuits, and a good 4/3 with a hood can work well in the Northwest where water temps often hover around 50 degrees. That said, here’s our rundown on a few staff and customer favorites.
Billabong Furnace Carbon Comp – $329.95
Bang for the Buck Performance + Warmth
The Furnace Carbon Comp 4/3 Hooded is relatively new to the game, and we have been really impressed with the performance-to-value ratio this wetsuit provides. The most noticeable thing about this suit, upon first impression, is how lightweight and flexible it is. Billabong uses their top-of-the-line neoprene in this suit, and it stands up to other high-end neoprenes if it doesn’t completely beat them.
A few more thoughtful choices also went into to creating this wetsuit. One reason the Furnace Carbon Comp is extra lightweight is because it doesn’t have a heavy duty liner throughout the entire suit. Instead, it has a lightweight Furnace Carbon lining in the torso and thighs. Add to that, the taped seams do not double up anywhere, meaning, they don’t use tape on the inside combined with a fluid seam weld on the outside in the same places. This means stretch is maximized and your seams are 100% covered. All said and done, we’re stoked on this wetsuit and for the price it can’t be beat.
Highlights & Features
- Great value
- Furnace Carbon Lining
- Very Lightweight
- Superflex Neo Tape
- Minimal Seams
- Smart Foam: made from upcycled car tires
O’Neill Psychotech – $459.95
Quality + Performance
O’Neill has been in the wetsuit game for a long time, and in the opinion of many, they make the best hooded 4/3 wetsuit on the market. It comes with a price tag, but it’s worth it. First and foremost this wetsuit is exceptionally flexible and lightweight. O’Neill has perfected their TechnoButter neoprene (now TB3) and any suit that features this stuff is a great option.
But why shell out the extra money for this high-end suit? The devil is in the details. O’Neill has pretty much made a perfect wetsuit with the Psycho Tech. For one, the fit is the best in the industry. For a hooded suit, the hood fit, as well as the entry, are super important and they have nailed it. The zipper is super durable but not big or constricting, and the opening is watertight and easy to get into. It’s hard to say anything bad about this wetsuit, and if there was one thing to say (which comes with the stretch/flexible territory), it’s that it is not the most durable suit on the market– though it is what you would expect.
One thing O’Neill intentionally left out in this wetsuit is a heavy duty liner, and we think that’s a good thing because it keeps the weight down and makes the suit a lot more flexible. To help stay warm they added quite a bit of smooth skin in areas where it makes sense (chest, back, hood) and it makes a big difference blocking wind and absorbing heat from the sun. O’Neil truly hasn’t missed a thing on this one, but if you want to hear a bit more before deciding what suit to buy, check out the reviews on the 5/4 and 4/3 hooded version of this wetsuit.
Highlights & Features
- #1 Seller
- TB3 Neoprene
- Great fit (comfortable hood)
- 8mm Fluid Seam Weld
- FUZE Entry System
Rip Curl Flash Bomb – $459.95
Durability + Performance + Warmth
The Rip Curl Flash Bomb has been around for nearly 10 years and was the first suit to feature a quick dry lining. The Flash Dry lining is extremely comfortable and is found throughout the interior of the suit. Because of this, your suit will be as dry as possible and that makes a big difference on those cold mornings, keeping your initial core temp higher, thus keeping you warmer longer.
Another great thing about this wetsuit is the internal and external seams. Internally you have almost 100% E6 Flash Lined Tape (yes they also line the tape with the fuzzy comfortable stuff.) On the exterior, you have the Aquaban + seams which are very minimal but effective, and you’ll find it in the majority of the exterior as well. In the arms where you need the most flexibility, you will only find the internal E6 tape which is all you need. For neoprene, you’re getting the Rip Curl’s top of the line E6 Neoprene which is lightweight, stretchy, and durable. With all these features overall you’re close to the stretchiest suit out there, but because of the lining and the extra taping the Flash Bomb leans a touch towards durability over flexibility. This is not to say it doesn’t get the job done in the performance department by any means.
One other major thing to note about the overall construction and quality of this wetsuit is the factory where it’s made. Most wetsuits are made in the same factory, however, Rip Curl owns their own factory and thus they have greater control over the quality of their product. I think this stands out in Rip Curl’s suits and especially in the high-end Flash Bomb 4/3 Hooded. Definitely a great choice for any surfer looking for easily the warmest 4/3 hooded suit out there with great performance and durability.
Highlights & Features
- Super quick dry and comfortable liner
- E6 Neoprene
- Durable + backed by great repair center
- Extra tape inside and out for best durability
- Smooth skin back and chest panel
Vissla Seven Seas – $269.95
Vissla is a newer brand that has been picking up steam with offerings like the Seven Seas 4/3 Hooded for $269.95. This is the best price out there on a solid 4/3 hooded wetsuit. It’s fully taped internally (except in the arms where you want the extra stretch), and this suit will hold up to the rigors of daily use.
There are two different liners (one in the body, and one in the legs) which both help to keep you warm, dry(ish), and comfortable. Externally, you’ll see the standard GBS seams, no special seam weld or anything like that, but because of the internal tape, you don’t really need it. Considering this wetsuit is priced in between entry-level and mid-range, it has a lot of high-end features, and the neoprene is better than we would expect from similarly priced wetsuits. Still not top of the line like you’ll find in $400 wetsuits but definitely plenty stretchy.
Overall the build quality feels solid and the zipper is fairly heavy duty and does not dislocate so you don’t have to fumble around trying to start it with cold hands. A couple of other standard but nice features include reinforced knee pads and seals around the ankles and cuffs to help keep water out. All said and done, if you’re on a budget, it’s hard not to buy this suit.
Highlights & Features
- Best price
- Thermal Brain Fuzz lining
- Smoothy back panel
- Super Stretch Neo Tape 2.0
- Eco-Friendly Limestone-based neoprene
O’Neill Mutant – $379.95
The Mutant is probably the longest running wetsuit model on this list and over the years O’Neill has perfected this versatile offering. This is the wetsuit you want if you’re not 100% into wearing a hood all the time. The Mutant comes with two different zip in attachments. One a hood, and the other a regular neck piece(no hood). Because of the closure system having overlapping layers and a zipper attachment, you get a super watertight wetsuit whether you’re using the hood or the regular neck.
Besides this exclusive hood-optional feature, taking a look at the rest of the Mutant’s specs you’ll find it’s a solid high-end wetsuit. 100% fluid seam welded on the exterior, with wind blocking smooth skin on the front and back panels, as well as a technobutter air firewall liner in key areas, this is a watertight and super warm 4/3 wetsuit. The neoprene they use is not quite O’Neill’s highest end TB3, however, the Ultra Flex DS used is all you could ask for, especially when paired with the great fit O’Neill is known for.
All in all, this is a great wetsuit that is priced about $100 below the top of the line suits on the market, though the main selling point is the detachable hood system that allows you to have two wetsuits in one.
Highlights & Features
- Interchangeable Hood & Neck Piece
- Ultraflex DS Neoprene
- 8mm External Fluid Seam Weld
- Great water tight fit
These are our top picks for 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits this year, however, there are definitely more options out there so click the link below to view our full selection. If you have any questions or comments use the link below, or give us a call for expert sizing advice and general wetsuit information. Don’t forget to click through to our main website to read customer reviews as well.
Latest posts by Matt Gabriel (see all)
- 2019’s Best 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits - 8 February, 2019
- Gifts for Surfers: 30 Awesome and Affordable Gift Ideas - 13 November, 2018
- 2013 Traditions Surf Contest Recap - 6 August, 2013