My wife and I were on the hunt for wetsuits to use for a range of water sports in the varied British conditions. We eventually decided on some versatile wetsuits by Helly Hansen. Check out this review of Waterwear Salopette and Top to find out how we got along.
A couple of summers ago my wife and I tried paddle boarding. We both loved it and this summer invested in an SUP each. We live in Newhaven near Brighton with coast, river and a lake right on our doorstep.
You can check out my review of the Rainbow Goosehill SUP to find out how we got on paddle boarding. However without the versatile wetsuits by Helly Hansen we would not have had such a good year on, and in, the water.
Testing versatile wetsuits by Helly Hansen
But we haven’t only been paddle boarding during this review of Waterwear Salopette and Top. We have been sea kayaking, surfing and swimming in the wetsuits throughout spring, summer and autumn.
We each have 3mm thick Waterwear Salopettes and a 2mm thick tops which gave us plenty of flexibility. In cold weather and spring conditions wearing it all together kept us toasty warm.
In the height of the summer just the top on it’s own added some warmth in cold water and protected us from the sun and wind. Likewise the salopettes on their own kept me warm for summer surfing whilst freeing up the arms.
Review of Waterwear Salopette and Top
As the products are similar I have combined the mens and womens gear into one review for salopettes and another for the tops. Of course I have also highlighted the differences.
Waterwear Salopette review
I have worn wetsuits many times over the years but never owned one of my own. So my first impression of putting on brand new neoprene was it felt really nice and very clean.
Made from 3mm thick stretchy neoprene the Waterwear Salopettes are easy to put on and don’t inhibit your movement. At 172 cm (approx 5’7″) I am fairly short but with a 107cm (around 42″) chest I am pretty stocky.
I went for a medium and it fit quite well. It was a little tight at first, particularly over my thighs that are large from cycling. It was a bit too long – everything is on me – but the bottoms are easily rolled up. My wife went for small – she is generally a size 8 or 10 – and it was the perfect fit.
The wetsuit has strategically placed wind block areas on the chest which I found very useful when paddle boarding in a breeze. Also the reinforced knees and seat will certainly help with it’s longevity.
It seems well made with both the zip and velcro feeling robust. I never had any issues using either – except the velcro sticking to other things in my kit bag. Furthermore the seams are glued and blind stitched to help keep you warm by stopping cold water seepage.
But my favourite feature was the pee opening with waterlock construction. It’s very useful meaning you don’t have to take the whole thing off when you get caught short. The women’s version has a velcro opening for similar emergencies!
During this Waterwear Salopette review both my wife and I found it to be very comfortable. The warmth generated is excellent – as with all wetsuits – and meant we both stayed in the water a lot longer. Also it provides a little buoyancy which is always nice.
Waterwear top and jacket review
Due to my big chest I went for a large in the Waterwear top. It’s a good job I did as it was still rather tight. In fact a few times I needed help to take it off after a session – although I was able to undress myself most of the time…
Apart from the colours the main difference between the mens and womens is that the ladies has a zip down the front. This makes it much easier to put on and take it off. My wife went for small and it was the perfect fit.
The tops are just 2mm thick providing warmth and a little buoyancy. But in combination with the Waterwear Salopette they become versatile wetsuits by Helly Hansen.
We spent some time in Devon over the summer and despite it being nice weather the water was cold. The 2mm thick tops made a huge difference to how long we stayed in the water, particularly as it was fairly windy.
With the kids wearing short wetsuits we were able to play in the water for hours at a time. They also protected us from the sun and as with the salopettes there are wind block areas which help to reduce windchill. The tops also have flatlock seams for comfort.
I wore both the salopettes and top together for surfing. They worked well in combination. However I found the top kept rolling up, which didn’t happen when worn on it’s own.
Waterwear wetsuits review: Conclusion
From SUP to bodyboarding, surfing to swimming and kayaking to general beach wear we have found this Helly Hansen Waterwear gear to be excellent. It is comfy, does a good job and looks good too.
To conclude this review of Waterwear Salopette and Top I highly recommend them. I am sure these versatile wetsuits by Helly Hansen will be a part of our beach and water sport kit for many years to come.