Without knowing exactly what you’re looking for, it’s pretty easy to spend too long looking for go-karting gear. I want to help you, with the otherwise momentous task of choosing a wet suit for kart racing! I’ll go over what you should look for and review the four best ones out there.
So, what is the best karting wet suit? The 4 best karting wet suits are:
But it wouldn’t be an ultimate buyer’s guide without… you know, in-depth reviews of different wet suits, right? Through my wealth of karting experience and first-hand knowledge, I’ll be reviewing kart wet suits and also offering advice as to what you should look for in each one, so keep reading!
How To Choose A Karting Wet Suit
The biggest thing to remember when picking out gear for karting is that the process will have a certain amount of personal relevance. There are a few things that I’d consider to be cardinal buying rules, but otherwise, it all depends on your personal budget and preferences.
I always hear new kart drivers and owners dismissing the importance of a wet suit and putting it on the back-burner to buy another day.
Now, if you live somewhere that rain falls heavily once in a blue moon, you can definitely take this stance on wet suits. However, if you live literally anywhere else where rain is always a possibility, the last thing you want to do is ignore buying one. They’re pretty vital pieces of kit!
Think about it; your go-kart is open to the elements at all times. Even if you get to the track and most of the rain has stopped, there’ll be puddles of standing water on the circuit itself to contend with. Let me tell you now that there’s nothing worse than racing without proper protection in the pouring rain or otherwise splashing through every puddle!
It’s a bit of kit that you’d rather have available than not. I always consider a wet suit to be like an umbrella; if you take it with you, chances are it’ll be great weather… and if you don’t, you can guarantee a downpour.
Not only is racing in the rain without a wet suit uncomfortable, it can be damaging to your expensive race suit! They’re made out of SFI-rated materials and flame-retardant fabrics, after all; not exactly designed to be soaking wet and left that way for long periods of time.
As with any go-karting safety equipment, I would also recommend that you spend ample time researching a variety of trusted brands. Because you’ll be buying on a budget (even if it’s a large one), the last thing you want to do is buy a wet suit which tears after one race! Reputable brands are a good quality assurance in life overall, and especially in karting.
A collection of brands that I always consider trusted and worth their salt are: Sparco, OMP and Alpinestars. They all offer a wide variety of karting products at various price points, making them good for absolute quality.
Even though my advice here is founded on years of go-karting experience, I will always recommend doing more research on the worldwide web before buying anything for go-karting.
If you haven’t done this already, make an account on Reddit and find the go-karting sub-forum where people share stories and recommendations about all things kart-related. You’ll find people who race near where you live, for example, and these individuals can be valuable sources of information as to where you can find good wet suits or anything else you might be curious about.
I’d also suggest not to get too hung-up on your budget as a solid, unshifting figure. Sometimes, an extra $30 or $40 can get you something way better in terms of quality and longevity, so it becomes worth that extra spend at the time.
What To Look For In A Good Karting Wet Suit
When buying any gear for karting as a motorsport, it’s important to have a semblance of budget in mind. You need a lot of stuff that’s in good shape, after all, for both safety and a racing edge! And the amount of choice that’s out there can be pretty daunting. How can you ever know what makes a wet suit objectively good?
While each bit of gear out there works better for different people, there are a few key things you absolutely need to have in your suit:
- Clear waterproof material
- Heat resistant
- High-quality plastic
First and foremost, you want to make sure that the wet suit is made of a clear, waterproof material. This allows your suit to be seen underneath and, during races, allows race officials to identify you properly.
Even if you aren’t racing, a clear PVC-type material will be far more lightweight than other waterproof materials simply due to how it’s made. In go-karting, you want to be as lightweight as humanly possible to seize every advantage!
Another important thing to look for is a necessary level of flame retardance or general resistance to heat within a wet suit. Think about it; you’re always very close to hot pieces of equipment such as the engine within your kart, and you run the risk of PVC melting and sticking to your body if it isn’t properly treated.
Resistance to heat is typically seen in how the suit is put together more than anything, and some have special features designed especially for the purpose of mitigating the heat of your kart’s component parts.
Always try to look for welded seams, as this points to the wet suit being melded together to maximize its protective qualities. If you look for this, plus extra heat mitigation features (such as a patch covering the right arm where the engine is located, as an example), you won’t have to worry about scorching plastic burning the life out of your arm!
When I say you should look for a well-fitted wet suit, you might think that sounds obvious. The last thing you want is something that doesn’t even fit, right? Well, some wet suits out there may fit you in terms of physical size, but they will also have excess plastic that hangs loose about your person.
This can’t be fixed by going a size smaller, either; it’s just how some suits are made. You want to avoid this at all costs because, funnily enough, excess plastic flapping around at high speeds is distracting and irritating in equal measure.
Generally speaking, most brands will make wet suits that are as slim-lined as possible. Just in case, always make sure that the website or store has a direct fitting guide that you can see; something which points to a more tailored fit.
You always want to get high-quality protection gear in go-karting as a rule of thumb, especially when the weather is working against you. Nobody wants to get soaked to the skin in a kart race!
A common problem seen in wet suits for karting is the lacking quality and longevity of the plastic materials used to make them. A few companies simply choose waterproof plastics and these aren’t necessarily the best when it comes to preventing tears. Even if you fold them the wrong way they can be beyond repair.
Make sure to do plenty of research and get your hands on a few wet suits in person to test the quality of the plastic before committing to purchasing one in particular. You also want to make sure that the plastic isn’t too thick/starchy, because that will be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The Best 4 Karting Wet Suits For Rain
1. Alpinestars Kart Rain Suit
Next up, we have another renowned karting brand in the shape of Alpinestars. Although they’re better known for their motorcycle safety gear and their very noticeable, unique designs, they’re also a solid bet for karting in no small part due to their wide range of products.
One such product, of course, is their Kart Rain Suit!
Straight away when you compare it to the other products on this list, it has a way more stylish, acceptable look about it. Unfortunately, wet suits just aren’t fashionable or cool; it’s a simple fact when you put one on to race in the rain. Alpinestars have managed to design one that is not only highly functional and high-quality, but also has a stylized look about it!
Material-wise, the wet suit is made from a mixture of waterproof materials such as PVC to name one in the mix, but the whole thing is also breathable. Normally, wet suits have a plastic bag-like feel and can trap heat a lot, so this is an appreciated extra.
More than any other manufacturer, Alpinestars have specifically tailored their wet suit so that there isn’t excess material flapping during races which can slow you down and generally be an annoyance to you on the track.
They have also included a fully waterproof zipper closure for the torso which negates the typical complaint that drivers have about zippers on wet suits. And at the neck, the closure is a Velcro strap which yet again cuts down on water seepage/ingress.
On the right arm, you’ll find a large black patch integrated onto the suit via heat-treating and seam welding. It is made of a tougher waterproofed material. This serves a specific purpose of providing better protection from the heat of your kart engine, always situated on the right side in the US.
As well as showcasing Alpinestars logos and such, the whole suit is see-through so that your sponsors can be seen with ease.
It employs every single feature that kart drivers need in a good wet suit, and all of the added extras only lengthen the lifespan of it. Not only is it a wet suit done well, but it’s something that’s revolutionized the overall lacking style of having to wear one to stay dry.
The Alpinestars suit is slim-lined and almost fashionable, making it the perfect choice at the peak of excellence in necessary rain protection for those rained-off races. It will cost a fair price, and will guarantee long life and high-level, high-quality protection from the elements.
- Toughened patch on the right arm to protect from heat discomfort during long races
- Far more tailor-made than any suit on this list, allows for maximum comfort and less excess plastic which can become irritating
- Elasticated wrist and ankles are thinner than average, can allow more water into these areas
2. Sparco T-1 Wetsuit
In terms of karting excellence, don’t look much further than Sparco! They’ve been designing and making award-winning safety and racing gear for years, resulting in a universal trust within the karting world for this brand.
After owning Sparco wet suits for years, their upgraded T-1 was an immediate choice to showcase as one of the best of the best! When I first started go-karting, everything had to be done on a budget as I learned the ropes, and Sparco stood out as a great quality brand without an insane price tag.
In terms of materials, the T-1 has seen some high-quality upgrades while keeping with the highly adaptable fit which a lot of drivers like.
It is made from see-through PVC which is the perfect thickness to stop premature tears while remaining lightweight enough for unobstructed racing. All of your race suit will be visible through the clear material, allowing sponsors to be shown and therefore escaping their ire, plus letting race officials identify you on a rainy track.
A further measure to strengthen the otherwise flimsy nature of a wet weather suit is the welded seams you’ll find securing it. The method of welding seams relates to heat plus pressure sealing those joins between material, so it’s a stronger manufacturing technique than the making of most wet suits you’ll find on the market.
This also gives the wet suit good protection from heat that will be pouring from your go-kart engine, since large portions of it were heat-treated to weld the seams together.
The wrist and ankle portions of this suit close with elasticated sections that will stop rain and standing water getting inside the suit, too, which makes very good in practical application on the track.
Overall, your torso and upper body will get the metaphorical beating with rain; especially around your neck and head area as go-karts in front of you kick up spray. To combat this, Sparco have included a Velcro fastening around the neck to close tightly and completely negate the opportunity for rain to sneak into this area.
When shopping on their website, you’ll also find a very extensive list of measurements and sizing for the T-1 Wetsuit. They include universal equivalents, such as comparisons to XS through XL, and also numerically valued measurements for if you do not fit within those parameters.
Overall, it’s a simple product executed very well with high-quality PVC and years of experience poured into making it worth the price. You can expect to not spend too much on this wet suit, depending on where you source it from, which is honestly a steal even if it wasn’t Sparco-branded!
- Welded seams give extra durability to the wet suit
- Large variety of sizes
- Velcro fastening would be preferable on wrists and ankles, too
- A lot of excess plastic no matter the size of wet suit purchased
3. OMP Rain K Kart Over-suit
Another one of the go-karting manufacturing giants, OMP have been making race gear that outfits high-level drivers for as long as I can remember. A lot of potential buyers are turned away by looking at their top levels of gear due to the expensive price tag, but fear not!
General protective gear that they sell is far more affordable, however, and you can find most things from OMP at a price that you can work with.
One such example is their well-made Rain K Kart Over-suit, something which won’t break your bank and will definitely keep you dry no matter how dire the weather is on track!
For starters, the suit is made from a clear, strong PVC compound that makes it more resistant to tears when compared to the average wet suit. It’s a little thicker overall, too, which adds an extra assurance that the suit won’t give up the ghost only a few races later.
It has a zip closure on the torso and has a PVC tab overtop of it, allowing for the secure fit of a zipper while also keeping water out of this area which can be susceptible to rain seepage over long races. A zipper isn’t entirely waterproof, after all, with the teeth actually having small gaps in-between.
This attention to detail from OMP continues in the application of an elasticated waist section of the wet suit which gives it a better, more comfortable fit. If you think about your race suit, this at least has some kind of fitted area in the waist, and OMP wanted to replicate that with its over-suit.
Similar to the Sparco wet suit, the Rain K comes with welded seams and the suit overall has been heat-treated to avoid PVC melting due to the close proximity of your kart engine.
The ankles and wrists of this suit have elasticated closures to allow for a flexible fit, and the ankle area specifically has been re-designed to allow for a better fit when pulled down over the top of karting boots.
There’s a full sizing guide available from OMP which details numerical measurements for this over-suit, allowing the buyer to get the perfect fit rather than guessing with universal sizes. It’s important to note as well that this suit will be going over the top of your race suit, so remember that when taking measurements!
This is a durable, reliable wet weather suit which comes with all of the features you should be looking for in a wet suit! And also for an affordable price, depending on where you’re sourcing it from, you’ll be getting a high-quality piece of protective gear that’ll last you a long time.
- Heat-treated PVC gives extra durability and protection
- Zip closure gives a better fit than most wet suits
- Elasticated wrists and ankles become loose over time, allowing water to get into the suit
- Thicker PVC feels restrictive over the period of long races
4. K1 Rain Suit
Last, but certainly not least, we have K1; a brand that prides itself on the ability to make competitive gear for a lower price. They have been dedicated to karting manufacturing since they emerged, and this makes them a fan favorite of a large portion of karting fans in beginner to intermediate levels of karting.
Their Rain Suit has benefitted from a large number of years’ progression and innovation in their products, making it a viable choice when looking to buy a wet suit.
In terms of material, the suit is made of an entirely waterproof plastic constructed entirely in one piece; something done for increased comfort and durability. Tears are less likely to happen if there aren’t weak points in the construction, such as the appearance of seams.
It is closed down the torso area with a zipper covered by the waterproof plastic, something which keeps rain water out of the picture, even during long races in the pouring rain.
The wrist and ankle closures are made of pull strings, something which is better elasticated than the standard material used on wet suits. This will keep the water out of these usual weak points far better!
An elasticated waist addition also gives the wearer a better fit when compared to other wet suits without this feature, giving you more comfort for longer.
It has all of the essential features you need in a wet weather suit; waterproof plastic that fits well over your race suit and ways to stop water sneaking into it to make you uncomfortable. Overall, it’s executed well and the suit being made of one sheet makes it one of the most durable suits on this list!
Its numerical position and rating putting it in last is due to it being at the higher end of the budget range. Unlike the Alpinestars wet weather suit which has unique features and an overall higher finish quality, the K1 wet weather suit is more comparable to the Sparco and OMP suits.
That consideration means that the K1 suit is definitely on the back foot when it comes to affordability and quality combined.
- Suit is made from one piece which increases its longevity
- High-quality elasticated cuffs
- One of the less affordable suits without notably better quality overall
- Plastic is thinner than on other suits in this list
So, there we have it! A collection of solid picks for high-performance, high-quality wet suits that’ll be great additions to your gear. And even if these suits aren’t for you, I hope that my insight into what makes one good / worth buying will help in your search going forward!