Often when you surf or dive you either have the option of peeing in your wetsuit or pulling your wetsuit off almost entirely to go to the bathroom. Both of these can be unpleasant experiences and leave you either cold or stinky.
Wouldn't it make sense to have a wetsuit with a pee zipper so you can do your business without taking your wetsuit off? I know a lot of people would love to have a wee zipper in their wetsuit. So, do they exist and where can you buy one?
You cannot buy wetsuits with pee zippers at a store or even online, they aren't commonly made or sold. However, you can order wetsuits with pee zippers from custom wetsuit makers, get a wetsuit tailored and a pee zipper added or you can add one to your wetsuit yourself.
This may seem like such an obvious item to add to a wetsuit and you might be wondering why these wetsuits don't exist on the general market. But there are some good, solid reasons why pee zippers are not included with wetsuits.
Some come with other options, like a so-called “pissette,” but this can be inconvenient and difficult to use and are only really suitable for penis owners. Let’s look at the available alternatives, why you can’t just buy a wetsuit with a pee zipper yourself and what you can do if you really want a wetsuit with a pee zipper.
Can You Buy Wetsuits With Pee Zippers?
You cannot buy a wetsuit with a pee zipper off the shelf, they just isn't a big market for mass produced wetsuits with pee zippers so they don't exist.
I've done a lot of search online to try and find wetsuits with pee zippers only to discover they aren't sold by any wetsuit manufacturer you would have heard of.
You have to get them custom-made. This is still the case even though some scuba enthusiasts online have been crying out for pee zippers in their wetsuits for decades, often leading to very hot debates between those who want it and those who state that it simply doesn’t make sense.
Where To Buy Wetsuits With Pee Zippers
If you want to buy a wetsuit with a pee zipper or a pee valve/scupper it can be difficult to even know where to look. I've done some research and here are a few good options to get you started.
Custom wetsuit manufacturers can make a wetsuit with a pee zipper or add a pee zipper to an existing wetsuit. You can purchase custom wetsuits from companies and websites like Wetwear or Terrapin Wetsuits.
Wetwear manufactures the popular EZ-ON wetsuit, known as one of the easiest wetsuits to put on and take off.
When you order your wetsuit, you can request customizations as you see fit, so they will be willing to customize your wetsuit with a pee zipper if you request it.
They use YKK zippers that are durable and treated to avoid any corrosion from the salt in the water.
Terrapin manufactures hand-made custom wetsuits; it is their specialty.
They offer the option of a pee zipper on any wetsuit that you order from them, or they will even add a pee zipper to an existing wetsuit that you may have purchased elsewhere.
Terrapin offers a wide range of materials and add-ons to fit your needs perfectly.
The cost of adding a pee zipper to your wetsuit with Terrapin is $38 according to their alterations price list.
You can purchase just the scupper material, you can get the material and a glue for installing it yourself or you can get them to custom fit it to your wetsuit for you. They are located in New Zealand so this final option would likely only suit locals.
Alternatively you can order this online and then take it to your local wetsuit repairer to get it installed.
Your Local Wetsuit Repairer
What Is a Scupper on a Wetsuit?
If you're looking for a wetsuit you can wee in then you may have come across the term “scupper” before. What exactly is a scupper on a wetsuit?
A scupper is a manually added piece of wetsuit material that lets you urinate in your wetsuit. It is in the shape of a penis and tapered at the end to let water out but not it. It is usually hidden by a vest over your wetsuit. Zipper scuppers provide a zipper you can undo to urinate out of.
A traditional scupper is really only suitable for penis owners and doesn't work for people with vulvas, whereas a zipper scupper can be fitted to be suitable for people of all genders.
How Much Does It Cost To Add a Pee Zipper/Scupper To Your Wetsuit
Adding a pee zipper to your wetsuit is going to cost you a little bit extra as it's a custom alternation and needs a waterproof zipper or extra material for a scupper. So how much can you expect to pay?
You can expect to pay between $30-$60 for a wetsuit repairer to add a pee zipper or scupper to your wetsuit. Do it yourself kits cost around $30-$50 and Terrapin Wetsuits offers an 8″ Bladder Relief Zipper for $38 (plus postage).
It's not a super costly alteration and for some people it's definitely worth it to stop your wetsuit smelling funky.
Why Don’t Wetsuits With Pee Zippers Commonly Exist?
As mentioned, wetsuits with pee zippers exist, but only if you get them custom-made. This seems like a pretty common problem, so why don't wetsuits with pee zippers exist?
There are a few reasons why you can’t buy them off the shelf.
Tradition And Fashion – It’s Uncool To Have One
Let's be real here, pee zippers and scuppers in your wetsuit often look absolutely ridiculous. You need to hide it with a vest over your wetsuit otherwise you'll draw a lot of attention and stares and not in the good way.
The modern wetsuit dates back to 1951, and it works by trapping a thin layer of water between the body and the wetsuit. Despite what some people believe this water doesn't keep you warm.
In fact the more water in your wetsuit the colder you will become and newer wetsuits all focus on letting the least amount of water into your wetsuit as possible. It's the neoprene that insulates you, not the water.
Breaking tradition by adding a pee zipper to a classic design simply doesn’t make sense for most, especially if you learned and got used to merely peeing inside your wetsuit like everyone else. That’s how it’s been done since the birth of wetsuits.
Access Point For Water To Enter In
As soon as you unzip the wetsuit to urinate, you will open an access point for excessive water to enter through the opening.
This exposes you to cold water while your body is warm, defeating the purpose of the wetsuit.
This is fine in moderate temperature waters, but if you're ice diving or diving in extremely cold temperatures this could make you extremely cold.
Stress Point For Fabric And Seams
If you add a pee zipper, whether custom manufactured or done by yourself, you will add stress points to the wetsuit.
A lot of friction occurs in the crotch area of a wetsuit, so adding a pee zipper to the wetsuit can wear the wetsuit out faster at these extra seams that you added.
A Zipper Could Cause Chafing Or Soreness
Since a wetsuit fits so tightly against your body, adding a pee zipper to your wetsuit can cause unnecessary chafing, irritation, and soreness around the crotch area. This is an area you really don't want to experience chaffing with.
This is often a big reason why divers and surfers alike feel that it is not worth the effort to add a pee zipper to a wetsuit.
Also many divers will wear swimmers under their wetsuit which means their appendages can't fit in a scupper anyway unless they go full monty.
The Cost Of Adding Zippers
The alterations required to add a bladder relief zipper to your wetsuit will cost you approximately $38, including the labor involved.
This is the price indicated on Terrapin’s website. This is an expensive addition after already paying a small fortune for your wetsuit itself, and many people start finding the thought of peeing in their wetsuit less repulsive when faced with this added expense.
Not A Big Market For It
Although many people are crying out for pee zippers on wetsuits, most experienced surfers and scuba divers will argue that it’s simply not necessary.
The market for pee zippered wetsuits simply isn’t big enough to make it a standard feature in off-the-shelf wetsuits.
Mainly Suitable To Penis Owners Only
Wetsuit zippers seem more suitable to people with penises and less suitable to people who have vulvas. This narrows the market even more as you would need different zippers for different genders.
How To Install A Pee Zip/Scupper/Pee Valve On Your Wetsuit
If you know how to use a pair of scissors and some needles, you may be able to add your pee zipper yourself. Simply follow these steps:
- Find the middle of your crotch area using a measuring tape.
- Cut a hole that’s big enough for your custom pissette.
- Cut out two pieces to make your pissette.
- Glue and sew these two pieces together to get your pissette.
- Fit the pissette through the custom hole.
- Glue and sew it to your wetsuit’s crotch area.
See the process in action:
Is It Okay For You To Pee In Your Wetsuit?
You may be wondering whether or not it's ok to pee in your wetsuit or is it frowned upon?
It is generally considered acceptable to pee in your wetsuit and the urine will often get flushed out by water. It's not considered acceptable to pee in other people's wetsuits or hire wetsuits however it's extremely commonly done. Just make sure to wash your wetsuit well afterwards so no one knows.
Often friends or family will lend you their wetsuit and explicitly ask you not to wee in it. However, rarely if ever will anyone ask if you actually did wee in it and more often than not everyone will, especially if you're out in the water for a long time.
Can You Pee In A Semi-Dry Wetsuit
It is not advisable to pee in a semi-dry suit as not enough water will enter the suit to flush out your urine. The urine could lead to additional chafing or skin irritation and it will almost certainly create a stink in your wetsuit when you take it off.
You can get a pee valve that you can install on the inner thigh of your semi-dry suit and these are common enough amongst male and female divers alike. Another option is wearing adult diapers. While you may baulk at this idea it does work and some divers use them. Adult diapers can hold the liquid of two average bathroom trips.
How Can You Get Pee Out Of A Wetsuit?
Wetsuits are designed to trap water and to insulate divers from the elements. This also means that sweat, urine, and bacteria get trapped with you in your wetsuit. So how do you get rid of the urine and any unwanted smells once you've finished in the water?
It's very important you wash your wetsuit properly to remove urine smells but also to keep your wetsuit in the best condition possible.
Draining your wetsuit with fresh water is the number one rule for taking the best care of your wetsuit. Also, rinsing your wetsuit out from the inside to the outside is very important. I live in a unit so I usually do this in the shower using cold or lukewarm water, but a garden hose works too.
You can also completely submerge your wetsuit in a tub of fresh water and shake it underwater for a few minutes. Even if this is the only thing you do, at least it is better than nothing.
One thing that you should never do is rinse it out with seawater. The saltwater will destroy and weaken your wetsuit, which is definitely not something you want.
After rinsing, it is time to air your wetsuit out so that the water in your wetsuit won’t turn stagnant and start to smell, which is another thing that you do not want.
Hang your wetsuit inside out in a well-ventilated area, but keep it away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can destroy your wetsuit, even on a cloudy day, so keep it out of all sunlight.
To help get pee out of a wetsuit, you can occasionally use a wetsuit shampoo. Wetsuit shampoo doesn’t have any harmful chemicals in it that could destroy your wetsuit.
It will take care of the salt, chlorine, and any other unwanted chemicals and smells. After using a good wetsuit shampoo, you will notice that your wetsuit will feel like new.
Pee zippers in a wetsuit may seem like a good idea, but in most cases, it’s simply too impractical and expensive to justify.
Peeing in your wetsuit is how it’s always been done, and most people are used to it. You can get a pee zipper if you really want, but keep in mind that it’s not always a good idea.