Three things will get you in the sea more this winter: the right clothes to keep you warm dry and keen, the right wetsuit which should be a pleasure to pull on and the right accessories. Nothing can kill you enthusiasm faster than an ice cream headache or frozen feet. Tests have also show that (if you are in the right wetty – good fit, right thickness, no flush) the main reason you are going to get cold is because of heat seeping from your extremities.
A good pair of boots is essential. Some people in the southwest like 3mm, but to be honest we’d recommend 5mm just for pure comfort and pure warmth or 7mm for really cold water. If your old pair are a bit leaky, go get a new pair. We’ve tried hanging onto old boots till the death, but the pain just isn’t worth it.
Next come the dreaded gloves and hats. Yeah we hate them both, however changes in neoprene thickness, flexibility and design have made them very wearable. Skull caps and ultra thin hoods are cool if you can get away with them, but the full hood really stops flush and they are available in anything down to 1.5mm these days.
I don’t even want to talk about gloves, but guess we have to. The warmest are mitts, or crab claws. In Wales, Scotland and the east coast you’re going to need 5mm. If you really hate them and live in the south west and don’t want the pain, you can go for 1mm fingered gloves.