A quality wetsuit is an investment. Wetsuits can cost anywhere between a couple of hundred dollars to upwards of $600 depending on your needs. Properly drying and hanging your wetsuit after use can drastically prolong its life, meaning you probably won’t have to purchase another one for years.
Many surfers and other water sport enthusiasts don’t put much thought into the wetsuit drying and hanging processes. Here, we’ll help you understand why drying a wetsuit is so important, and which wetsuit hangers are the best on the market.
Why Use a Wetsuit?
Wetsuits are designed to keep your body warm in cold water, and they’re effective at doing so. They’re made of a material called neoprene that fits close to the body, trapping a small layer of water between the skin and the suit itself. Body heat warms that layer of water, keeping the person wearing the wetsuit warm.
A wetsuit is an essential piece of gear for anyone who wants to spend time in cold water without risking hypothermia and other harmful effects of a low body temperature. Wetsuits are now available in a variety of designs and sizes to suit varying water conditions. The thickness of a wetsuit will need to increase as water temperature decreases in order for you to stay warm.
A Brief History of Wetsuits
Jack O’Neill, founder of O’Neill wetsuits, has long been praised as the inventor of the wetsuit. In 1952, O’Neill began searching for a way to continue surfing in the brisk waters of California longer. He created numerous rubber suits before discovering that neoprene was more flexible and a superior insulator.
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O’Neill was solely making homemade wetsuits for himself and friends before his invention grew into a major business. The wetsuit industry is now worth multiple billions of dollars. Jack O’Neill died in 2017 at the age of 94, but his brand remains a leader in the wetsuit industry.
Why Dry a Wetsuit?
Properly caring for your wetsuit allows it to perform better and prolongs its life. That means you’ll have more time before you have to throw down another roughly $400 for a new one.
Thoroughly drying your wetsuit can prevent bacteria growth and unwanted odors. If you’ve ever tossed a wet wetsuit in the back of your vehicle and forgotten about it, you know this smell grows strong in a short amount of time.
Remembering to dry your wetsuit can prevent the bacteria growth that makes your wetsuit smell and can be uncomfortable for your skin.
Drying your wetsuit in the winter months can make it drastically more comfortable to use. It’s difficult to get motivated to squeeze into an ice-cold, wet wetsuit before jumping into cold water. Drying your wetsuit makes for a much more pleasant pre-surf experience.
Finally, drying your wetsuit can prevent neoprene stretching. Stretched neoprene will make the wetsuit larger and less effective because it won’t fit as closely to your skin. Simply put, drying your wetsuit will help you stay warmer longer.
How to Dry Your Wetsuit Correctly
Drying a wetsuit seems like a concept that is simple enough. However, there are multiple ways to dry your wetsuit that can cause harm. The following are four simple steps for drying your wetsuit without causing damage.
1. Rinse with Freshwater
Rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after every time you use it. Saltwater can rapidly destroy your suit, so it’s important to rinse it inside and out before taking any further steps. Hot water can also cause damage to wetsuits, so be sure to rinse with water that is cool or at room temperature.
2. Hang Your Wetsuit
Your wetsuit should be hung to dry. Never hang your wetsuit in the sun, and don’t drape it over a fence or balcony. Hang your wetsuit someplace in the shade or inside your garage to prevent damage from UV rays. Hanging your suit in a windy location will help it dry more quickly without causing sun damage.
3. Flip It Inside-Out
Flip your wetsuit inside-out every day. Lighter wetsuits, such as spring suits, will dry more quickly, so you can flip them inside-out mid-day. However, thicker wetsuits may take several days to completely dry, so flipping them inside-out each day will ensure the entire suit is free of moisture before you step back into it. This step is often forgotten, but it can prolong the life of your wetsuit for years.
4. Use Wetsuit Shampoo
Rinsing your wetsuit does wonders, but using occasional wetsuit shampoo is even better. Salt has a way of working into every corner of a wetsuit, and too much time there can cause it to erode the zipper and neoprene. Use a wetsuit cleaner and cool water to handwash your suit after several uses.
What Makes a Great Wetsuit Hanger
Regular plastic hangers don’t do the trick with wetsuits. They result in stretching of the shoulders and back causing unnecessary damage and limiting airflow. Purchase a heavy-duty, wetsuit-specific hanger to prolong the life of your suit.
You probably received a free hanger when you purchased your wetsuit. It’s probably thicker than your average hanger, but it is not designed to hang your wetsuit to dry. A proper wetsuit drying hanger will feature a special shape that supports the shoulders more thoroughly and allows air to flow through more freely.
Other wetsuit-specific hangers are designed for you to fold the wetsuit at the waist, eliminating strain on the neck and back of the suit.
The following are several qualities of an excellent wetsuit hanger:
- Wider shoulders to increase air circulation and prevent shoulder damage.
- Can be used for all shapes and sizes of wetsuits or dry suits.
- Made from heavy-duty material that will not break from the weight of a wet wetsuit.
- Easily transported for surf/water sport travel.
Our Top Wetsuit Hanger Picks
We’ve scoured the web and even tested many of the top wetsuit hangers on the market in person. The following are our top picks for hangers that help wetsuits dry faster without causing damage.
Underwater Kinetics HangAir Hanger
This is one of the most innovative wetsuit hangers we’ve seen. The Underwater Kinetics HangAir Hanger features a waterproof fan that can pump out 120 cubic feet of air each minute. This fan is situated in the center of the hanger, and when plugged in it blows air through your wetsuit.
The fan uses low-voltage power, supplied through a cord and adapter that connects to any standard outlet. The shoulders on the suit are extra wide allowing for more airflow and faster drying.
This wetsuit hanger is ideal for anyone who hits the water often and doesn’t have a few days to wait for traditional drying methods. Wetsuits dry in hours with the Underwater Kinetics HangAir Hanger.
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The Baker Hanger is an affordable yet effective wetsuit hanging option. This hanger is used fire and rescue personnel, the Coast Guard, Navy, police, and more to dry suits and coats as quickly as possible. Surfers and other water sports enthusiasts have found it ideal for wetsuits too.
The ergonomic design holds the suit open for more air circulation which helps dry items in half the time they would normally. The 5-inch wide shoulders prevent damage to the shoulders of your wetsuit, and durable construction means this hanger won’t break under pressure. The Baker Hanger is also compact and easy to transport wherever your travels take you.
Bully Wetsuit Washer and Dry Hanger
A quality wetsuit needs a quality hanger. This Bully Wetsuit Washer is the cream of the crop. It features a Smart Irrigation System that sprays water to clean your wetsuit internally and externally. It’s the absolute best way to eliminate salt and sand from all crevices of the suit.
The Bully attaches easily to any hose or shower head and washes your wetsuit in a total of 45 seconds. The extremely durable construction means it can hold the heaviest wetsuits day in and day out. After washing, leave your wetsuit on the Bully hanger, as its extremely wide shoulder construction allows your wetsuit to dry quickly and thoroughly.
Ho Stevie! Wetsuit Hanger
The Ho Stevie! wetsuit hanger is another affordable and transportable hanging option. The wide, vented shoulder pads help your wetsuit dry safely and drastically faster than a traditional hanger. Best of all, this hanger is foldable, so you can easily pack it in your board bag for any surf adventure.
Hang Pro Slide Wetsuit Hanger
The Hang Pro is one of our favorite wetsuit hangers for its affordability and unique design. This hanger eliminates hanger-caused shoulder wear, because it allows you to fold your wetsuit over the hanger at the waist are. This greatly reduces overall stress on the fabric and is ideal for long-term storage. The open-end construction makes sliding your wetsuit onto the hanger a breeze.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should my wetsuit take to dry?
The length of time your wetsuit will take to dry depends on its thickness and length. It also depends on the temperature of the air and if there is any wind. An average wetsuit will dry overnight in a well-ventilated space. You will need to turn the wetsuit inside-out to ensure drying on both sides.
Can I put my wetsuit in the dryer?
No, a wetsuit should never enter a clothing dryer. The amount of heat used in a dryer will quickly deteriorate the neoprene. Your warranty from the seller will also be voided.
We can’t stress the importance of rinsing and drying your wetsuit enough. Purchasing a quality wetsuit hanger can greatly speed up the drying process, protect your wetsuit from wear and tear, and prevent you from putting on a cold, smelly suit before each surf.