Whether you're packing it away for a week, or a season or you're packing a wetsuit to travel or ship to someone knowing how to pack it properly so it doesn't crease is very important.
Good wetsuits are expensive and can cost a significant amount, the better you take care of it the longer it'll last. If you store it poorly, wetsuits get stiff creases that can be difficult to smoothen out.
While most people prefer to hang their wetsuits, you may need to fold it when you’re packing or moving house. In this article, I’ll provide tips on how to fold a wetsuit easily and properly.
Here’s how to fold a wetsuit:
1. Lay The Wetsuit Face-Down On A Flat Surface
To start with, ensure your wetsuit is straightened out by placing it on a flat surface. This way, you won’t have to worry about creases as you fold.
You want to place your wetsuit face-down before you begin, and leave the chest zip undone (if there is one).
However, if there’s a zip at the back, seal it up before you proceed.
You want to have the chest of your wetsuit facing down and the back of your wetsuit facing up. This is so we can fold the wetsuit as effectively as possible.
2. Fold The Portion Below The Knees
The knees are a natural bending point for the wetsuit and is the best place to make the first fold as you won’t create unnecessary creases.
Fold back the lower portion of the legs and ensure that you initiate this fold at the point where your knees begin.
You can tell by seeing where the legs of the wetsuit naturally begin to fold inward. Avoid folding your wetsuit lengthwise down the middle as this will leave a long crease down the middle and isn't the right way to store your wetsuit.
If you have a springsuit or suit without long legs then this step can be skipped.
3. Fold The Arms
The next step is pretty straightforward – fold the arms across the back of the suit, one after the other. You can fold them in one of two ways:
- Vertically, so the arms are resting parallel to each other
- Diagonally, so the arms cross over
Go with the natural bend of the shoulders and do what feels most natural for the suit.
If you have a spring suit or short sleeve suit you can fold the sleeves backwards or forwards. Again go with what feels natural for your suit.
For my spring suit the sleeves naturally folded inwards towards the chest with little to no effort.
Rather than forcing it backwards I just flipped my spring suit around and folded it using the same techniques but did it facing up instead of down.
Don't be religious about it, listen to your suit and fold it in the way that puts the least stress on the neoprene.
4. Fold In Half Backwards From The Waist
Now that you’ve taken care of the legs and hands, you can fold the rest of the suit in half. For the wetsuit at the waist, whether the knees end up on top of the chest ends up on top is just personal preference.
The legs and arms should be tucked on the inside of the suit. If they are flapping around on the outside then you've folded it the wrong way.
5. Leave As Is, Or Fold Again For A Smaller Footprint
You can stop at step 4 and leave the wetsuit as is. This is a nice flat form factor to now store your wetsuit for the long term without it heavily creasing.
It's also a good size to fit into a plastic bag to protect it or to fit it into a shipping bag.
However if you want your wetsuit to be even smaller then go ahead and fold it in half again.
Instead Of Folding Your Wetsuit Consider Rolling It
Rather than folding your wetsuit, which can cause creasing, another option is to roll your wetsuit up.
You can roll it longways from the ankles to the neck or you can go ahead and do step 1 and step 2 where you fold in the knees and the arms and then roll it up.
This is a tidy way to store your wetsuit and can be helpful to avoid creasing in some wetsuits, especially if you're planning to keep it in storage for a long period of time or if you're traveling and it's going to be tightly packed.
What Is The Best Way To Fold a Wetsuit for Storage?
Most wetsuits are made of neoprene, a fabric prone to tears and creases, and how you store them will determine the shape it’s in when you decide to wear it. Wetsuits are designed to fit snugly and creases will cause you wetsuit to shrink as the neoprene can get stiff. As such, you risk tearing your wetsuit if you decide to put it on by stretching it forcefully.
The best way to fold a wetsuit for storage is to fold the sleeves and legs before rolling up the suit. By folding this way, you minimize the chance of creases developing on the fabric and you can pack the wetsuit easily when you decide to travel.
When packing a wetsuit, you should put it in the middle of the suitcase. If possible, put the wetsuit in a separate box or bag first to protect it from the pressure of other items in the suitcase. Avoid putting any hard or pointy items on top of the wetsuit as they could cause it to wrinkle or tear.
This YouTube video shows the best way to fold a wetsuit to avoid creases:
Folding a Wetsuit For a Surf Trip
If you’re planning a surf trip, you’ll have to consider two fragile items while packing – your wetsuit and the surfboard. You can use the wetsuit and your clothes as padding to protect the surfboard. However, you’ll need to carefully fold the wetsuit to avoid creases.
Ideally, you want to fold the wetsuit the same way you would for any other trip. The only difference here is that you place the wetsuit on top of your surfboard and cover it with other clothes for extra padding.
Or you may want to completely lay out your wetsuit over your board to provide maximum padding.
However, just avoid putting your wetsuit over the nose or tail of your surfboard. While this will be great for protecting your surfboard from dings the sharp edges could potentially damage your wetsuit.
It's best to use towels or other clothes for the sharper pointier sections of your board.
It’s best to figure out the correct size for a surfboard bag before packing your wetsuit. The bag has to be large enough to accommodate a surfboard with just enough space for the extra padding. You don’t want a bag that’s too big or your surfboard will move around, increasing the likelihood of damage to both your board and wetsuit.
The Dorsal Surfboard Cover (available on Amazon) is slightly padded and makes it perfect for travel. It protects your board from damage when you’re on the road. The cover even has a small storage space for wax, snacks, and other items you may need.
This video shows how to pack your surfboard bag when traveling:
How To Remove Creases on a Wetsuit
One of the primary reasons for folding and hanging a wetsuit carefully is to avoid creases. As mentioned earlier, the material neoprene creases easily if your suit isn’t folded properly.
If the suit has creases, you can attempt to reduce them as much as possible. To get rid of creases, lay the wetsuit out on a flat surface and gently stretch the fabric. Leave it this way for at least twenty-four hours to allow the fabric to breathe and reduce the creases.
Note: Do not iron your wetsuit as the heat could cause it to melt.
The care with which you fold your wetsuit will determine how long it lasts. If you can avoid creases, you can improve its longevity and continue using it for years.
Whenever possible, store your wetsuit separately from your other clothes. It’s best to hang it in an airy space, like the lawn or garage so it stays smooth and free from creases.