O’Neill Heat Back Zip Wetsuit Review

O'Neill Heat Back Zip Wetsuit Review

The Heat is one of O’Neill’s longest-running wetsuits and has built a cult following over the years. Known for it’s simple, rugged design, the Heat is now updated for 2020 to be lighter and more flexible than ever before. With big changes this year to the materials, we’ve decided to take a closer look at the new and improved O’Neill Heat wetsuit with a full review.


First introduced back in the ’80s, the Heat has been going strong as one of O’Neill’s classic models and remained ever-popular with older surfers and surfers who prefer back zips.  Available as a 3/2mm or 4/3mm, the Heat’s design for years has stayed mostly the same, with minor tweaks every so often. However, for 2020, the Heat has been given a full overhaul with a lot of improvements.

NEW RUBBER FOR 2020

NEW RUBBER FOR 2020

Starting off with the biggest change for this year, the Heat is now entirely made of O’Neill’s top TechnoButter 3 Neoprene(TB3). This is the same stuff you’ll find on all of their best wetsuits and it’s just about the most flexible rubber on the market. Aside from its stretch properties, TB3 is also very lightweight and wears comfortably on your skin. If you have ever owned a Heat in the past, putting this version on will be night-and-day different in terms of weight and flexibility.

NEW LINER

NEW LINER

Another new feature taken from O’Neill’s top shelf is an internal linear that they call the TechnoButter Firewall. If you flip the Heat inside-out, this is the red material that runs through ¾ of the suit from the chest down. This is the same internal linear found on some of O’Neill’s most expensive suits like the Psycho Tech. Basically this liner dries quickly, is comfortable, and better retains heat in the core and legs of your body.

The arms and shoulders don’t have this liner in them, but that’s only to keep them free and as unrestricted as possible.

ENTRY SYSTEM

ENTRY SYSTEM

The O’Neill Heat definitely has a strong following to it, partially I think because of it’s accessible entry system. Nowadays, less and less, wetsuit companies are offering their best, most high-performance models as back zips. So for surfers who love back zips wetsuits, the vast majority of their choices are entry to mid-level suits.

The back zip entry on this wetsuit is super smooth, using the best zipper in the industry, the O’Neill Red Zone Zipper. The Red Zone Zipper is aptly coated in a red urethane material and is the most watertight and durable zipper that we know of. These zippers thread smooth and feel like they came off a piece of commercial fishing gear as opposed to the cheap, thin style zippers found on other suits.

FIT & DURABILITY

FIT & DURABILITY

We found this suit to be very comfortable. With a smooth back zip entry, it was easy to get in-and-out of and once on, fit well. These suits run true to size and if anything, they allow for a few extra lbs in case you’re just a couple of pounds outside the recommended weight. Like all O’Neill suits, the Heat fits surfers with wide shoulders or a big chest especially well.

Along with the O’Neill Mutant, the Heat is one of those suits that we never seem to have problems with and rarely see come back to the shop for warranty repairs. It helps that it’s a simple design, which doesn’t really leave a lot to go wrong, especially when all the materials used on it are solid.


Final Thoughts

Overall, this is probably the best high-end back zip out there. There are a few other back zips that are $100+ expensive and a whole lot more that are cheaper, but when you consider how good of an overall value the Heat is, it’s unbeatable. Our top pick for any surfer looking to get a back zip suit.

Hopefully, this review helped answer some questions you may have had about the Heat. If there’s anything we didn’t cover or if you have any other wetsuit questions in general, feel free to leave a comment, send an email to support@cleanlinesurf.com or call us toll-free at 1-888-546-6176.

Shop the O'Neill Heat Series of Wetsuits Now


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A part of the Cleanline Crew since 2015, Stefan can be found answering any questions you might have about surf gear on the phone, online or in the shop. Always stoked for the next stretch of good surf or shipment of boards, Stefan rides and uses the gear he writes about. When he's not at Cleanline, Stefan is out in the water, on a bike, or playing music.

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