GEAR | O’Neill Reactor Women’s Full Wetsuit – Review

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This was a last minute purchase before a diving holiday that I wasn’t sure I strictly needed, but over the last year I’ve got so much use out of my O’Neill Reactor wetsuit that I thought now would be a great time to share my review of it. Read on to find out more!

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit Review

What is it?

O’Neill Reactor Women’s Full 3/2mm Wetsuit Blk/Graph/Berry
£79.95

Stockits

Features

  • Mesh Smooth Skin Fluid Foam in the chest and back panels for wind resistance core warmth
  • Double SuperSeal neck
  • Fluidflex lightweight Neoprene
  • Thickness: 3/2mm
  • Flatlock Seams
  • Rear Zip
  • Krypto Knee Padz
  • Hidden Key Pocket

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewRear shot of the wetsuit

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewMy O’Neill Reactor wetsuit drying after sea kayaking in Cornwall

As with so many of my decisions, buying a wetsuit was a decision made relatively quickly and at the last minute, though it was something I’d been considering for some time. Not that I didn’t put thought into my purchase, (I spent 3 hours prior to ordering reading everything I could about wetsuits), but I didn’t actually purchase until approximately 72 hours before my flight to the Maldives was due to leave. Thank goodness for next day delivery!

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewPlease excuse my manic look, I’d just snorkelled with a shark in the Indian Ocean!

I had a budget in mind, and had looked at some cheap wetsuits on Amazon including Osprey, Gull and Mountain Warehouse, but I decided I wanted to go with a brand I already knew and trusted. Roxy, Animal, Billabong and O’Neill all had Spring/Summer 3mm full wetsuits for under £100, and after reading various reviews on fit and performance, I decided I wanted a traditional rear zip and so chose to go with the O’Neill Women’s Reactor Wetsuit.

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewGoofing around in the Indian Ocean

The primary use was intended to be diving in the Indian Ocean, and my research had lead me to believe that a 3/2mm suit would be sufficient for my needs. Having previously done SUP in England in March in a 3mm shortie suit and not freezing to death, I was sure that it would be fine in the 30° Indian Ocean!

As well as diving in the suit, I was hoping to get use from it with another SUP trip planned for later in the year, and I decided that wearing it for kayaking might be a smart idea, as up until then I had always worn shorts or walking trousers; ending up with a cold, wet bum, so I figured a wetsuit would make more sense.

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewKayaking at Tittesworth Reservoir

Wetsuit Sizing & Fit

I actually chose a wetsuit a full size up to my normal dress size after reading reviews and using the sizing chart provided by O’Neill which I found really useful. As a snowboarder who has owned an O’Neill boarding jacket before, I was aware that their sizing could sometimes be on the small size (same deal with Roxy I find) so I was confident that going a size up in this case made sense.

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewKayaking on Loch Tay, Scotland

I paid extra for next day delivery, and crossed my fingers that DPD would confirm a morning delivery slot as we were due to leave around 3:30pm for our flight. DPD were as always excellent and my wetsuit arrived with enough time for me to try it on, and pack it into my suitcase before heading to the airport.

Wetsuit Performance

I’ve had my wetsuit a year now and I am very happy with it’s performance. In reflection going up a size up was probably not necessary, and after loosing over 1/2 a stone, I’m now very close to needing to buy something smaller. That said, I didn’t want to be struggling for 10 minutes to get a wetsuit on, and the speed at which I can get the O’Neill Reactor on is impressive.

Ladies O'Neill Reactor Wet Suit ReviewKayaking in Wales

Buying guides will tell you that a wetsuit should be snug and a bit of a struggle to get on, but I’ve had no issues with mine being a bit bigger than is strictly necessary and until the recent weight loss, I felt it was the perfect fit for me.

At 5.6″ the length is great, in both the body and the legs, though I think if you are under 5.6″ you might find the legs could be a little on the long side, for me though, I have found the length to be perfect. Despite it’s larger size, I’ve not had any issues with water getting inside and pooling which can sometimes be a problem with ill-fitting wetsuits.

Wetsuit Care

I know you are only meant to hand wash wetsuits, but I put mine in the washing machine on a short 15 minute rinse cycle with no detergent. It still looks absolutely brilliant after more than a year of use.

Verdict

I’ve dived in the Maldives, wild swum in the Lake District and kayaked all over the country in it, and I love it to bits. Given it was a last-minute buy, the amount of use i’ve got out of it has actually surprised me – I did question whether I actually needed one, but have found that I’ve made such a lot of use out of it that I’m delighted with my choice and am looking to buy the O’Neill Shorty Reactor a size down before my next holiday.