I can’t remember from the top of my head how much heat does your body loose through the head but it’s a lot in comparison with the size of the head and the size of the rest of the body*. Unless if you have a really large head :). A wetsuit hood will act as insulation for your head and it will prevent your body from cooling down. Plus, in really cold water you can get ice cream headaches when your head is submerged (like when you wipeout, duckdive etc…) under the water. Wetsuit hood acts as protection against cold water and possible winds. It is made out of neoprene that covers your head and neck and leaves your face exposed.
How to buy a wetsuit hood?
- Get one that is made out of stretchy elastic neoprene – it will be much easier to put on and take off, it will fit your head better and less water will be able to flush in.
- Long neck – get one that has long neck in case you need to tuck it into your wetsuit or just to have your neck covered all the time while you are turning your head.
- Try it on and check the size – wetsuit hood can be tricky to choose, if it’s too big water will get in past your face and if your hood is tucked into the wetsuit it will be directed straight in. And if it’s too small it will put to much pressure on your chin and it will be difficult for you to breathe.
- Elastic cord for adjustments – hood should have some sort or adjustment system that allows you to tighten it around your face or let it be a bit looser.
Should you tuck your wetsuit hood into the wetsuit or not?
Good question. If you tuck it in it is definitely warmer. But by putting it under the wetsuit you risk directing any water that gets into the hood straight into your wetsuit. Since the “seal” between your hood and your face is often not that good this can happen. It also depends on the design of the wetsuit hood. So it’s a matter of choice, not something that is right or wrong. Most of the time if you put the wetsuit hood inside your wetsuit you will be just fine. If you see that you get flushed then take it out.
Personally I wear it outside, since I have never been so cold that I would want to tuck it in.
Do you have troubles breathing while wearing a wetsuit hood?
As long as you breathe through your nose you are fine, but as soon as you need more air and you want to breathe through your mouth wetsuit hood can cause you problems if it puts too much pressure on your chin. Depending on the design of the hood you can slide it lower (under your chin) and breathing will be easier.
*I checked: Between 7 percent and 55 percent of total body heat can be lost through the head