Today, wetsuit manufacturers have been endlessly experimenting with new materials in order to make their suits the warmest, most flexible, and/or fastest drying on the market. Whether it’s Patagonia switching over to Yulex, a more sustainable alternative to neoprene, Rip Curl adding a quick-drying “flash” lining or the exceptional elasticity of O’Neill’s Technobutter neoprene; it seems every brand has developed some unique trait to distinguish themselves from their competitors. However, with these technical advancements comes a steady increase in price. It’s to the point that if you’re looking at purchasing a company’s high-end 5/4mm wetsuit you should be prepared to shell out $450-$600.
We realize that not everyone is looking for these top tier wetsuits. In fact, more times than not, we are on a budget and looking for an inexpensive suit that will get the job done without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a flat-water SUP user, a novice surfer who is tired of renting/borrowing, or you’re just trying to save a little money; these are our picks for the best wetsuits you can buy for under $200.
Rip Curl’s Dawn Patrol has consistently been one of our top selling wetsuits over the last three years. The suit is available in both men’s and women’s sizes and for under 200 bucks you can grab any of the back zip models and the 3/2mm chest zip. Rip Curl has consistently improved the Dawn Patrol over the years and 2017 is no different. This year the suit comes standard with the 4th generation of Elastomax Superstretch Neoprene (E4). Apart from being more flexible, this material is also lighter and warmer than in years past. Along with the E4 neoprene, Rip Curl has added a lighter “flash-lining” to the chest which provides excellent warmth and comfort while minimizing dry time. The Dawn Patrol has a batwing system placed in the back to prevent water from entering through the zipper and flushing through the suit. We like this suit so much we have entrusted the Dawn Patrol as our go-to rental wetsuit for customers surfing in the cold waters of Northern Oregon. You will not be disappointed.
The O’Neill Epic is a killer entry level suit with many of the features of a high-end O’Neill wetsuit. Featuring 100% Ultraflex Neoprene, which is both lightweight and flexible, you’ll stay unrestricted even wearing the 5mm version. Another great feature is the double seal neck closure which is really comfortable and helps to prevent any unwanted water from entering the suit. The Epic comes equipped with lumbar seamless design as well as a re-engineered covert blackout zip to ensure maximum ease of entry as well as flexibility. This suit has been a staple for years when it comes to surfing cold water and has successfully stood the test of time. Available in both a women’s and men’s back zip model, if you are looking for a warm affordable wetsuit from a dependable company, this is your suit.
Quiksilver & Roxy Syncro Wetsuits
3/2mm Back Zip (Flatlock) – Men’s/Women’s: $119.95
3/2mm Back Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $144.95
4/3mm Back Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $154.95
4/3mm Chest Zip – Men’s: $184.95
5/4/3mm Back Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $174.95
5/4/3mm Hooded Chest Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $194.95
Quiksilver and Roxy’s Syncro wetsuit brings you amazing flexibility for less cash. Quiksilver introduced a hooded chest zip to the Syncro family back in 2015 and it still makes the cut for under $200. The Syncro series comes equipped with Quicksilver’s FN Lite neoprene which is 16% lighter than their previous rubber while improving warmth and flexibility. The inside of the suit is lined with a thermal jersey, which apart from being very comfortable, is also warm, light and fast drying. The Syncro is not only one of the warmest and most flexible wetsuits on the market; it is among the most affordable. The suit is available in both men’s (Quiksilver) and women’s (Roxy) sizes. All seams are glued and blindstitched ensuring you stay warm and dry. Why pay $500 for a wetsuit, when the new Syncro 5/4/3mm has all you need for a fraction of the cost. This suit is available in a variety of different thicknesses and styles including the 5/4/3 back-zip. The Syncro proves you don’t have to sacrifice your bank account for performance out of your wetsuit.
Billabong Foil (Mens) and Synergy (Women’s) Wetsuits
3/2mm Back Zip (Flatlock) – Women’s: $129.95
3/2mm Back Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $149.95
3/2mm Chest Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $179.95
4/3mm Back Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $159.95
4/3mm Chest Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $189.95
5/4mm Hooded Chest Zip – Men’s/Women’s: $199.95
Billabong is one of only two companies that offers a hooded fullsuit for under $200. Billabong makes both the men’s Absolute Comp as well as the women’s Synergy which are the same suit, just tailored differently depending on gender. What also makes the Absolute Comp/Synergy appealing is the variety of styles and thicknesses that they’re available in. Whether back zip, chest zip, 3/2mm, or 5/4mm; Billabong has an Absolute Comp or Synergy that is right for you. The chest zip full suits come equipped with a dislocating horizontal chest zip entry. This relieves pressure on the zipper’s teeth to not only make the suit more durable but also allows for a bigger opening for ease of entry. These suits are made with 100% AX2 Superflex neoprene which minimizes weight while increasing flexibility. Furthermore, the suit is furnished with the Furnace thermal lining made with recycled thermal hollow yarn jersey for maximum warmth. The Absolute Comp and Synergy come standard with a 3-year warranty on all stitching as well as a 1 year warranty on all materials, liquid welded seams, and workmanship.
There you have it: four excellent winter wetsuits for under $200! Now you have more money to buy a board, booties, or trunks and a plane ticket somewhere warm where you don’t need to even think about neoprene! Get in the water!