Anyone who uses wetsuits regularly will tell you that putting on a wet or damp wetsuit is no big deal. There may be a couple of swear words and some involuntary monkey hoots as you get in, but it’s over in a flash. The wetsuit will then get on with its job of insulating your body.
If anything, getting into a damp wetsuit is a positive thing as it means it’s getting used regularly, and you’re therefore probably in a good frame of mind.
So why do we need to worry about hanging our wetsuits at all? The answer is more about looking after the materials and components in between uses, than getting them dry.
Wetsuit fabrics on the whole are robust and durable. They have to be to survive getting them on and off, as well as the pounding they’ll get during their use. However, they are also pretty vulnerable and need looking after.
Firstly, sea water. This is a pretty harsh liquid and can be corrosive. Over time, if wetsuits aren’t rinsed with fresh water the fabrics can begin to harden, and therefore become less elastic and responsive to your body shape and your movements. And the components, like the zips and toggles can begin to stiffen or stick. So, flushing your wetsuit in between uses is essential for general maintenance.
However, it’s not just sea water that you need to worry about. There are billions of bacteria in the water, and rinsing your wetsuits will, at least, wash a lot of them away. Urine too. Not that anyone has ever urinated in their wetsuit, of course, however if they did, they’d want to rinse it out afterwards to minimise its acidity and nasty odour. A stale and smelly wetsuit isn’t just unpleasant, it’s a sure sign that your wetsuit’s materials are not in good condition.
Best practise is to rinse your wetsuits and let them drip-dry out of direct sunlight. When you come to use it again, it may not be dry, but who cares? It’ll be fresh and functional. Keeping your wetsuit fresh will prolong its ability to hold your shape and make it last longer.
Secondly, the wetsuit materials are generally delicate and can slice or snag easily. If you leave them on the floor or draped over a fence or balcony, they can get snagged or fall down, where they can get pushed around on the floor, trodden on, covered in sand or even attract attention from our K9 and feline friends. So, it’s best to hang your wetsuits up, out of the way.
And, thirdly, maintaining your suit’s shape. A good wetsuit, like a favourite pair of jeans, knows your body and learns to mould around your lumps and bumps (and guns), and in turn will keep you warmer for longer. Hanging it on traditional hangers, where all of the weight is supported by the shoulders, is a bad idea. Your box standard hangers are made for dry materials, to be used indoors, not for wet and heavy wetsuits. Using these will cause severe stretching of the fabric, for prolonged periods of time, and the material can only take so much before if starts to lose shape, begin to thin and even split. The hanger may also break, and then we’re back to being on the floor.
The best way to hang your wetsuit is at the waist, over something straight and smooth. This eliminates all material stretch and allows the suit to drip dry from both the arms and the legs. And, if you’re not lucky enough to use your wetsuit regularly, then you can leave it hanging like this indefinitely, safe in the knowledge that it’s not going to be out of shape when the next time comes.
The Dritek hanger was designed with looking after wetsuits in mind. It allows you to hang your wetsuit safely and securely, indoors or outdoors, and will never let you down. Check out our website for more information – www.dritekproducts.com/dritek-hanger/product-information/