Hanging a wetsuit in a warm, well-ventilated area will usually dry it in around 6 hours to 12 hours, or maybe less on a warm summers day — but sometimes that’s not quick enough or sometimes the weather just isn't working in your favor and you need another solution.
Luckily, there are tricks to help a wetsuit dry a lot faster.
To dry a wetsuit fast, towel dry it as much as possible before hanging it on a wetsuit hanger that allows for good ventilation. Hang it in the wind or near a fan to really speed up the process or for a super quick dry buy a wetsuit dryer that will pump air through your wetsuit drying it in as little as 20 minutes.
I’ve had to put on a cold, damp wetsuit a few too many times in my life. It’s never been fun, especially on those early mornings in the middle of winter.
But it did motivate me to learn how to dry a wetsuit quickly. Below are my 15 favorite ways to dry a wetsuit super fast.
You can use just one of these techniques or you can combine multiple in order to get an even better drying experience.
1. Roll Your Wetsuit In A Towel Before Hanging
Removing as much water as possible from your wetsuit before hanging can cut hours off the total dry time.
My favorite method is to wrap the wetsuit in a large beach towel and then roll it up and squeeze. Just lay the towel spread out on the floor, place the wetsuit flat on top, and roll tightly — like a wetsuit burrito.
Press down firmly, massage, and do whatever you need to do to force water out of the wetsuit. I like to ask a friend to help me and we compete to see who can twist the tightest.
So bonus points if you have a second set of hands. Each person can grab one end of the towel and twist or pull in opposite directions.
If you have a few smaller towels laying around and need to dry your wetsuit as quickly as possible, roll them inside the arms, legs, and body of the wetsuit before making your burrito. You’ll have more surface area to absorb water and water can be absorbed from the inside of the wetsuit as well.
If the towel gets completely soaked, repeat the process with a fresh towel before hanging.
By getting as much water out of the wetsuit as physically possible it'll speed up the drying process by HOURS and is well worth the investment of time and effort needed to make it happen.
2. Squeeze Out Water As It Dries
Similar to the method above, the concept here is to hasten drying by removing excess water.
When you hang a wetsuit, water runs down and collects in the arms and legs. These soaked areas take longer to dry on their own.
Rinse and hang your wetsuit as normal. After 30 minutes or so, squeeze out any water that has pooled in the wrists and ankles.
Start at the shoulder or thigh and squeeze firmly toward the wrist or ankle, removing as much water as possible.
Kind of like how you push toothpaste from the bottom of the tube to the top to get those last remaining scraps (unless you're one of those weird humans who throw out their toothpaste without fighting tooth and nail to get the last little bit out!)
Repeat every half hour until water stops collecting.
3. Turn Your Wetsuit Inside Out Every Couple Of Hours
If you’ve ever hung a wetsuit to dry, you’ve probably noticed that the outside of the suit dries out first while the inside stays damp. This is because the outside is exposed to the air while air struggles to circulate through the inside.
To combat this, turn the wetsuit inside out every couple of hours as it hangs. Your wetsuit will dry more evenly — and faster as a result.
If you won’t be around to flip your wetsuit, hang it inside out. You want the inside to be the driest part anyway.
4. Hang It In The Wind
Wind accelerates the evaporation process by carrying water particles in the air away from your wetsuit, allowing the surrounding air to absorb more water vapor.
The more wind, the faster it will dry.
Just be careful not to leave your wetsuit out in direct sunlight, the sun’s UV rays can damage neoprene.
5. Use Fans To Dry Your Wetsuit Faster
No breeze? No problem.
Use fans to create your own.
Wet, humid, windless days aren’t ideal conditions to dry a wetsuit quickly, but you can still dry a wetsuit overnight in any conditions with the right approach.
If mother nature isn’t cooperating, give her a little help.
Hang your wetsuit inside in a well-ventilated room with a fan or two blowing on either side. Evaporation will be accelerated, similar to being out in the wind.
6. Hang It Inside Out On A Wetsuit Hanger
Regular hangers aren’t very effective for hang-drying a wetsuit.
For starters, they can stretch out the shoulders of your wetsuit causing unnecessary damage and they also don’t provide any separation between the front and back of a wetsuit as it hangs. The resulting lack of airflow can increase drying time significantly.
Wetsuit hangers have bulky, rounded corners that protect the wetsuit from shoulder damage and separate the front from the back, allowing airflow and speeding up the drying process significantly.
But all wetsuit hangers aren’t created equal. Check out some of my favorite wetsuit hangers for my full list of recommendations or grab yourself a Ho Stevie! Wetsuit Hanger which is one of my favorites.
It has broad shoulders for maximum airflow, it affordable and extremely highly rated by customers and if it breaks you can contact Ho Stevie! for a refund or replacement. I also love that this one is foldable making it the perfect traveling companion.
With increased airflow from vented shoulders helps your wetsuit dry much faster than other hangers. Wide shoulders support the heavy wetsuit without damaging it and it folds with the push of a button making it perfect for travel. Plus if you hanger breaks you can contact Ho Stevie! for a refund or replacement.
7. Use A Wetsuit Dryer
A wetsuit dryer is essentially a wetsuit hanger with a built-in fan that circulates air in and through a hanging wetsuit.
Some models even include a mild heating element to speed up the drying process further.
Wetsuit dryers can fully dry a wetsuit in as little as an hour or two — in perfect conditions, sometimes as quick as 20 minutes.
You can see my full list of the best wetsuit dryers on the market as there are a few good options out there. However, some of them are quite expensive (especially the ones with heating elements in them.
The Blawesome Wetsuit Dryer is a top of the line wetsuit dryer with heating element and is great for thick wetsuits in very cold conditions. But if you're in a fairly warm climate with a thinner suit you can save yourself some money and go with the Underwater Kinetics HangAir Wetsuit Dryer.
It doesn't have a heating element (just a fan) but it'll still dry your wetsuit in just a couple of hours. It's also completely water proof and can run off mains power in your house or even run off the 12V power from your car.
This waterproof wetsuit hanger runs a fan that will blow air through your wetsuits and dry suits - drying them in hours not days. Stop bad odors and dry suits quickly.
This wetsuit dryer can run off mains power or the 12V power from your car for on the road drying.
8. Use A Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier works by removing moisture from the air. Like with wind, dry air around your wetsuit can speed up the drying process substantially.
Hang the wetsuit in a small room, fire up the dehumidifier, and let it do its thing. Add in a fan for extra drying speed.
This large dehumidifier can remove 600-650mL (20-22oz) of water from the air and is suitable in rooms up to 550 square feet. Ability to run at high-speed day mode or a quieter sleep mode it features automatic shut off as 7 LED light colors.
9. Repurpose A Boot Dryer
If you happen to have a boot dryer, it’s easy to rig it up as a makeshift wetsuit dryer.
Just hang the wetsuit over the boot dryer so the fans blow air through each leg. The increased airflow will dry the wetsuit in a couple of hours.
You’ll need the wetsuit to hang pretty close to the boot dryer for this to work, so either hang the wetsuit hanger from a string or place the boot dryer on a chair to get the height just right.
One word of caution, excessive heat can damage a wetsuit. Make sure to use your boot dryer’s no-heat setting.
I like the DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot and Garment Dryer (at Amazon) as it has 4 drying posts so you can dry 2 wetsuits at the same time and it has a fan only setting so you don't have to worry about heat ruining your wetsuit.
10. Use A Hair Dryer
This method takes quite a bit of effort but may come in handy in a pinch.
Make sure to use the no-heat setting on the blow dryer— remember, heat can damage a wetsuit. And don’t let the blow dryer come in direct contact with the wetsuit, blow dryers aren’t meant to get wet.
Towel dry your wetsuit as much as possible. Then, while the wetsuit hangs, blow the hair dryer across it.
Don’t forget to turn the wetsuit inside out and dry the inside as well.
It takes a while but has worked for me when I was stuck inside a hotel room with no other options.
11. Use An Iron, Very Carefully
With great power comes great responsibility.
Using an iron to dry a wetsuit is really effective, but also extremely risky. Only try this if you’re truly desperate and can afford to replace your wetsuit if things go wrong.
A few precautions:
- Use the lowest heat setting possible on the iron.
- Always have a thick fabric between the wetsuit and iron, like a towel or tea towel.
- Keep the iron moving at all times. Letting it rest on one spot could melt a hole in your wetsuit.
- The drier your wetsuit gets, the more likely it is to be damaged by heat. Ease off on the ironing as the wetsuit is nearly dry, finishing things off with a quick hang.
If things do go wrong, and you’re unable to replace your damaged wetsuit before you need it, one of my favorite wetsuit hacks is to repair holes with duct tape.
You won’t win any awards for fashion, but you’ll be able to hit the surf regardless.
12. Dry Your Wetsuit Near A Heater
Water molecules evaporate more easily in the heat. Take advantage by hanging or laying your wetsuit near a heater as it dries, just not too close.
Make sure to check on your wetsuit frequently — as it dries out it’s more likely to be damaged by heat.
When your wetsuit is nearly dry, move it away from the heater to finish hang-drying naturally.
13. Tumble Dry Your Wetsuit
You can safely tumble dry a wetsuit on a low-heat or no-heat setting. It’s not something I’d recommend doing often but can come in handy when desperate.
Just don’t overdo it.
Check the wetsuit regularly and remove it from the dryer before it’s fully dry. Finish by hanging.
14. Spin Dry Before Hanging
A wetsuit shouldn’t be washed in a washing machine, but it’s okay to run it through a spin cycle IF (and it's a big if!) you don't have a center piece in your washing machine like I do in the photo above.
You wetsuit can potentially get caught on this and ripped to shreds. It's unlikely to happen but it's possible.
But if you don't have the centerpiece or you have a front loader washing machine you should be good to go.
The wonders of centrifugal force will remove a lot of excess water, similar to the towel-drying method above.
A spin cycle won’t completely dry a wetsuit, but will greatly reduce the time it takes to hang dry.
15. Get Creative
I’ve seen some pretty neat DIY setups for drying wetsuits fast — from a waterproof fan attached to a coat hanger to flex tubing with holes drilled in the sides connected to a fan.
Anything that increases air circulation on, around, or through your wetsuit will help it dry faster.
Just be careful when adding heat.
And remember, a dripping wet wetsuit and electricity do not mix.
See some of the cooler contraptions in the videos below:
In reality, the best way to dry a wetsuit super fast is some combination of the above methods.
Towel drying a wetsuit before hanging it with a wetsuit hanger does wonders. Increasing airflow through a wetsuit can cut hours off its dry time, especially if you squeeze out pooled water as it dries.
Use whatever methods and equipment are available and convenient to you. Your wetsuit will be dry in no time.