If treated properly, your wetsuit can last a long time, but that’s a big “if.” While the sun might be the best place to dry a wetsuit, repeated sun exposure can damage the neoprene and lead your seams to eventual failure. And believe it or not, hanging your wetsuit from the shoulders on a normal clothes hanger can stretch out the suit and again, damage the all-important seams. Someday, someone will release a fully seamless wetsuit, but until then, proper wetsuit care can go a long way in keeping your suit watertight.
Perhaps the most critical step in proper wetsuit care (in addition to keeping your wettie out of the sun and giving it the occasional wetsuit wash) is how you hang your suit to dry. The most recommended method is folded at the waist over a wide, sturdy something, like a tree branch, your car’s side mirrors, or a wetsuit hanger. I’ll leave finding the first two up to you, but some options for the latter choice are below.
Editor’s Note: Interested in the best wetsuits for surfing? Click here, and learn more about women’s wetsuits here. Cold feet? Check out our guide to the best surf booties. And don’t forget to keep your suit fresh with one of the best wetsuit cleaners.
How should I dry my wetsuit?
As I said above, the best way to dry your suit is inside out, folded over at the waist, inside or in the shade. Here are some other do’s and don’ts.
1. A freshwater rinse is essential. Salt water is highly corrosive to just about anything, so getting the salt out of your suit before it dries is important.
2. Avoid Sunlight. Sun plus wetsuit equals bad. Hang it up inside if you can, if you can’t, keep it in the shade.
3. Wash your wetsuit with wetsuit shampoo/conditioner once a week, or every few times you go surfing, to beat the stink before it really sets in.
4. Use something like a grass pad or changing mat to keep sand, dirt, and whatever yucky crap is stuck to the parking lot asphalt out of your suit.
5. Take your suit off slowly. Frustration rips wetsuits, and big pulling motions will stretch out those seams.
6. Don’t put it in the dryer (seriously, people have done this).
Pro Tip: Once your wetsuit has hung for a bit you’ll notice water collecting at the wrists and ankles. You can squeeze the arms and legs (gently!) to help drain water and speed the drying process.
What Are The Best Wetsuit Hangers?
1. Best Wetsuit Hanger: HangPro Slide Wetsuit Hanger ($23.94)
2. The Classic: Heavy Duty Wetsuit/Drysuit Hanger ($9.98)
3. Best Car-Mounted Hanger: Malo’o Portable Drying Rack ($39.95)
3. Best Shoulder Support: Ho Stevie! Wetsuit Hanger
4. Bootie Bonus!: BlockSurf Wetsuit Bootie Hanger ($14.95)
5. High-Tech Washer: TOOLILA Wetsuit Washer ($99.00)
6. Even-Higher-Tech Dryer: HangAir Hanger with Fan ($69.90)
Simple, sturdy, and effective, the slide-style wetsuit hanger is my favorite on this list. Hanging your wetsuit folded at the waist is definitely the most highly recommended way to dry your suit to avoid damage, and the easy slide-on style hanger makes it simple to hammer in that habit.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Got something against the slide-style hanger or want a more traditional hanger? The Scuba Choice Heavy Duty Hanger should do the trick, and it’s a steal at only $10. With plenty of room on the crossbar to feed your suit through and dry it folded at the waist, it also can be used as a regular hanger should the need arise.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
This nifty little solution mounts on your car’s side mirrors, giving you ample rack space to dry two wetsuits, towels, or whatever else needs hanging. With rubber pads on the top handle and hinges there is no need to worry about scratching your car, and if you’re on a road trip, the inside of your precious wetsuit won’t be draped over all those dead bugs adorning the front of your car (ew!). For added versatility (and only $10 dollars more), check out the Boat/RV version of the wetsuit drying rack, which comes with a suction-cup mounting for attaching to the side of a boat, RV, window, or sliding-glass door.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Really want to hang your wetsuit up like a life-sized scarecrow? Ho Stevie’s wetsuit hanger is the way to go. The vented shoulder pieces will have your suit dry inside and out in no time, and are extra wide to prevent shoulder-stretching. At the push of a button the hanger collapses for easy storage, which also makes it super easy to insert into the wetsuit without stretching the neck.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Summer and early fall is the only time of year my booties are completely dry, and that’s because I’m not wearing them. It’s almost impossible to dry the inside of booties when they’re seeing regular use, but a bootie hanger can help alleviate some, if not all, of that clammy feeling by keeping the booties open and allowing air to flow through. Pro Tip: for extra drying power, find a floor-mounted heating vent in your home and, using the stand pieces included with the hanger, prop those booties up on top of the vent and they’ll be dry in no time – just make sure the vent isn’t too hot, or those booties could end up looking a little deformed after the heat treatment, to say the least.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Wanna really get fancy with your wetsuit hanging system? This one takes care of the washing and the drying for you, all you need to do is attach a hose, give it some water, and wait for it to dry. The wetsuit washing system has internal and external irrigation, washing your suit both inside and out, and the extra wide and supportive hanger will keep the shoulders of your wetsuit in good shape.CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Ok, you want the full-on, high-tech solution to everything? Then you’ve gotta check out this beast of a wetsuit hanger. The ultimate combination would be to first wash your wetsuit with the Bully Wetsuit Washer, above, and then hang it on this guy and get the fan running for ventilation. Your wetsuit could not be better cared for (as long as you keep it out of the sun!).CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON
Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.