1. What are stinger suits?
Stinger suits are full body suits designed to protect you from stingers such as blue bottles and Irukandji. A good stinger suit is typically made from a highly-stretchy material like Lycra and will or will not include a hood and gloves - the reason there are no socks component is that walking on lycra damages it quite easily. In the warmer waters we encounter here in Australia there are several different species of stinging jelly fish that can cause problems for swimmers, surfers and divers. These jellyfish can appear in large numbers during certain times of the year. Stinger suits were developed to protect people from stinging jellyfish so that they can still continue to enjoy the water throughout the season.
2. What is the difference between stinger suits and Lycra suits?
Stinger suits and Lycra suits both offer comfortable, highly flexible suits for swimming, free diving and other water sports. Stinger suits tend to be slightly thicker so that they can provide more protection from the sting of potentially deadly jelly fish such as the box jellyfish. Stinger suits are also full body suits which can include socks, mittens and hoods to provide the maximum protection. Lycra suits are available in shorter versions that provide less coverage.
3. Are stinger suits better than sunscreen?
Stinger suits are typically treated against UV light and can provide a very effective way to protect your skin against intense sunlight. Treated stinger suits are much more effective than sunscreens as they do not wear off during the day or have to be reapplied. Also some people are allergic to sunscreens so stinger suits can provide a good alternative protection from the sun. You can also get thinner stinger suit fabrics that are not treated so they keep the stingers away but still allow you to get a tan if you want.
4. Can you wear Lycra suits for dry activities?
Both Lycra and stingers suits are also amphibious which means they can also be worn comfortably on land as well as in the water. This means you can wear one throughout the day to provide protection from the sun without having to change to get in the water. Stinger suits will also provide protection against stinging insects on land which is ideal for fisherman, hikers and cyclists in areas with high densities of these insects.
5. What are stinger suits made from?
Most stinger suits are made from nylon or spandex. These fabrics can protect against stinging jellyfish and are also very flexible and comfortable. Nylon and spandex can be treated against UV light to provide protection against the sun and do not absorb water. This means they keep their shape and stay lightweight in the water. These fabrics also dry quickly and are chlorine resistant so they can be worn in a number of circumstances.
6. Should I choose a front or back zipper stinger suit?
Most stinger suits are front zippers as these are much easier to do up without any help. However if you are surfing you may find that a front zip will rub when you are getting on and offer your board and paddling out. A back zip can be a much more suitable option for surfing although you may need some help doing up the zip.
7. Will a stinger or Lycra suit make me feel hot in warm conditions?
Even though stinger and Lycra suits can be full body designs they are actually quite cooling. This is because as water dries quickly from the material it takes heat away from your skin to keep you feeling nice and cool. Avoid wearing anything underneath these suits as this layering affect can make you feel a lot warmer. Wearing nothing underneath your suit will also give you a greater feeling of freedom and ease of movement.
8. How do stinger suits protect me from the sun?
Stingers suits have a very tight weave fabric that helps to keep UV light from penetrating through to the skin. They are also pre-treated with UV inhibiting ingredients to increase their protection from the sun. Stinger and Lycra suits are designed with ventilated weaves and moisture wicking to help keep you warm and dry in hot conditions. They can also be crafted with antibacterial properties to help protect your from microorganisms present in open waters.
9. What sun protection factor do I need for my stinger suit?
Stinger and Lycra suits can come in a number of different UPF/SPF Ratings. This will tell you the length of time you can spend exposed to direct sunlight without getting sunburn. So for example a fabric with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating of 20 will allow 1/20th of UV radiation to pass through the weave. This means that your exposure to the sun would be reduced by 20 times when wearing a Lycra or stinger suit with a 20 UPF rating. You will need to judge your own resistance to the sun (how quickly you burn) and also the suns intensity to work out which factor you need. Tests have shown that a UPF of 50+ is not actually much more effective than a UPF of 50. This means that if you are going to be spending long periods of time in intense sunlight then a stinger or Lycra suit with a UPF of 50 should offer the best level of protection.
10. Can I wear stinger suits in a swimming pool?
You can wear stinger suits in swimming pools but remember to wash them out thoroughly once you have finished as the chlorine can attack the fabric over time. Don’t use harsh detergents on stinger suits and instead just rinse them well in cool fresh water and dry completely before putting them away.