We asked ORM contributor Keith Allen to answer some FAQ about the best options for wetsuits for World’s Toughest Mudder. Keith completed 50 miles at the 2014 WTM, 55 miles at the 2015 WTM, and 60 in 2016. He was known as Pit-Daddy in 2017, where he supported several WTMers to help them reach their goals.
Greetings! If you are reading this you are most likely interested in being a participant at World’s Toughest Mudder. Congratulations! This is a big decision, but I’ve got some unfortunate news for you, if you thought the entry ticket was expensive, just wait until you realize how much gear you need to purchase to make it through the night.
The gear list for World’s Toughest Mudder is extensive even if you merely settle on the bare essentials. Rather than writing Moby Dick 2: World’s Toughest Mudder Edition, I’m going to answer a few frequently asked questions about the best options for wetsuits for World’s Toughest Mudder.
What Do Those Numbers Even Mean?
Should I Buy New Or Used Gear?
Fullsuit or “Shorty”?
What About Layering?
What Do Those Numbers Even Mean?
The first number represents the thickness of the neoprene of the wetsuit in the torso area. The second number represents the thickness in the arms and legs of the wetsuit.
The whole deal here is balancing this question: How warm do I want to be versus how much mobility do I want?
Bigger numbers mean thicker, but less flexibility. Smaller numbers mean less warmth, but more flexibility. Make sense? Good. Let’s Mo Vaughn with the next question you probably have.
New Versus Used?
One way to save some money on your gear list is to scour the internets for used wetsuits at places like eBay or craigslist. There is one positive to buying used: Saving money.
Really, that’s about it. One positive.
The negatives to buying used are as follows:
When buying used it is rare to know the exact type of neoprene that the suit is made of. The stretchier the neoprene the easier it will be to run in and the less it will tax your system. I’ve had a random medium O’Neill 3/2mm that I grabbed on eBay for $32 that I promptly relisted on eBay as it was very uncomfortable. I have no idea what model or year it was from, but I do know that it did not work for me. For comparison sake, my medium 3/2mm Hyperflex Cyclone 2 suit fit me perfectly and the 100% super stretch neoprene was extremely comfortable.
****Editor’s note*** Hyperflex replaced Cyclone with VYRL. Same idea (stretchy and value conscious.)
People pee in wetsuits. People also clean wetsuits, but that is not a given. If you want a suit that only you will pee in it is best to look at new options!
Should I go Full Suit or “Shorty”?
If you are going to bring one wetsuit to World’s Toughest Mudder then that wetsuit should be a full suit. The water isn’t extraordinarily cold (in Vegas), but there is no humidity in the desert and it gets chilly, especially if you aren’t moving quickly, which most people aren’t during night ops.
A shorty can be a good early evening option if you can maintain a fast enough pace that allows your body to generate heat to stay warm. You can layer over or under a shorty to make it warmer, but unless you are a really strong competitor you will most likely wish you had a full suit at some point.
In short, if you can afford multiple options then get multiple options, but if you can only afford one, go with a full suit. Here are some examples of reasonably priced comfortable suits that you can buy.
My Very Favorite And First Choice :
I fell in love with this wetsuit last year after a recommendation from Ryan Cray. I previously used a 5/3/1.5 Xterra Vortex TriSuit in 2014, but I felt too restricted and it took too much damage from the Vegas terrain for someone as OCD about equipment as me. This particular suit is made of 100% 4-way Stretch Quantum Foam construction, which translated into:
“Holy smokes this thing is comfortable. Is this really a 3/2? The 3/2 I bought on eBay was waaaaay more restrictive!?! This is really comfortable”
Additionally, it has knee pads which provided extra protection against the rocky Vegas terrain. I was ecstatic when the event ended last year and there were no holes in it. Last but not least, I felt like the sealed seams allowed me to stay warmed and get away with wearing a 3/2mm suit instead of going thicker, which many World’s Toughest Mudder participants recommend.
For those that feel more comfortable going thicker, here are the links for the 4/3mm and 5/4mm versions of the suit, along with women’s options.
The thicker suits have the same features as the 3/2, just with thicker neoprene, and they are not sealed.
My choice: 3/2mm
My choice: 3/2mm
Why/How Should I Layer?
Personally, I prefer using layering options to add warmth as opposed to buying a thicker suit. Using the 3/2mm as my base and adding one piece layers on top gives me more flexibility than if I was in a thicker suit.
Here are my favorite two pieces of layering gear:
This top is extremely versatile as you can layer it over a shorty or full suit while also using it by itself over a regular running top. The chest section is made of 1.5 mm neoprene and the arms are made of polyolefin. Polyolefin has the highest insulating capacity of any fiber, natural or man-made, which makes this top a good option for creating more warmth. The fit is tight in the arms and looser in the chest, as it does not fit like compression gear or a wetsuit would. I’ve used this top in both 2014 and 2015 World’s Toughest Mudder and plan on using it again this year.
Other stuff we recommend:
Possible shoe choices:
Use our discount code ORM15SAVE at checkout to save some dough!