The 10 Best Wetsuit Hoods
This wiki has been updated 3 times since it was first published in July of 2020. If you frequently venture out into cold water, adding a dive hood to your wetsuit is a smart idea and can help to keep you warm. Our list includes options suitable for both underwater activities and surface sports, including diving and paddleboarding. Please note though, it's important that you are diligent when selecting a size, as something too small could potentially inhibit your breathing. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
July 29, 2020:
There is quite a variety of wetsuit hoods on the market and it's important you're critical of the intended purpose and temperature for which they're designed. While options for diving and surfing have some similar features, the required thickness between the two sports differs quite greatly.
For example, a 3-millimeter option, such as the O'Neill Psycho 3mm Hood, will provide adequate warmth for surfing in waters between 45 to 60 degrees F. Diving, on the other hand, requires much thicker materials, and a 3-millimeter model is generally suitable for temperate to warm-watering use. Much of this is dependent on the wetsuit you'll be wearing and your comfort level.
While a 3-millimeter diving hood is suitable for warm conditions, it can also be paired with a 5-millimeter fullsuit for use in temperate waters at 65 to 75 degrees F. Diving in temperatures ranging from 55 to 65 degrees F would require a 7-millimeter wetsuit and can be paired with a 5-millimeter hood, like the SEAC Tekno. Alternatively, some may find they need one that is 7-millimeters thick, such as the Fourth Element 7mm Hood, for temperatures below 60 degrees F. It all depends on your comfort level, the wetsuit you'll be wearing, and the exact temperature of the water.
Certain hoods also have features that aid with particular aspects of their respective sport. The Rip Curl Flash Bomb Hood, Xcel Drylock Double Neck Dam, and Hyperflex 5/3mm Bibbed are great for surfing because they all have visors that, in addition to blocking the sun, keep water from running into the wearer's eyes. Further, they have a wind-resistant layer that's very useful for staying warm in unfavorable conditions.
Many diving hoods, such as the SEAC Tekno, Henderson 3/2mm Bibbed, and Neo Sport Multi-Density include flow vents on the top of the head for releasing trapped air, the result of breathing through a regulator. These don't have a need for wind-proof neoprene and therefore usually opt for a nylon outer-layer that adds flexibility.
For both sports, some of the options include a bib to create an effective seal that helps prevent cold water from entering the wetsuit. Examples of these are the Neo Sport Multi-Density, Henderson 3/2mm Bibbed, and Hyperflex 5/3mm Bibbed. The colder the water you wish to enter, the more you may want to consider an option featuring this.
Xcel Thermoflex Hooded TDC Dive Vest 4/3mm DV20 While far more expensive than the items on the list, this option is worth mentioning due to its extreme warmth and high-quality. The Smart Fiber technology is designed to redistribute your core body heat for increased endurance and faster recovery. xcelwetsuits.com
Patagonia R3 Yulex Insertable Hood Patagonia products are known for their premium quality and long-lasting performance, and the R3 Yulex Insertable Hood continues that legacy. It utilizes fair-trade certified natural rubber and a thermal polyester lining to provide warmth in water between 48 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The 1.5-millimeter thick neck bib tucks into your fullsuit to minimize water entry, and the glued and taped seams help limit leakage. patagonia.com