There are few things more annoying to most surfers than having to put on a soaking wet wetsuit. It’s one thing to dunk yourself suddenly into frigid water. It’s another to have to slowly sheath your body with neoprene still soaked from yesterday’s session. It’s like slow torture. And try as we might, there is just no effective way to quickly and effectively dry out a wetsuit within a decent amount of time. Warnings abound of leaving a wetsuit in direct sunlight which reduces its useful life substantially. Drying it indoors can take days. It’s a wonder no one has ever thought of putting a fan inside a wetsuit hanger to expedite the drying process – until now.
The HangAir Drying System
sold by Underwater Kinetics
(UK), known for its lights and accessories for harsh environments, is comprised of a powerful AC powered fan tucked inside an oversized hanger perfect for wetsuits. First revealed in the 2006 Action Sports Retailer expo, the HangAir was designed to dry out wetsuits, drysuits, and thick all-weather outer gear. It makes use of a 120 cubic-feet-per-minute (cfm) fan powered through a standard power outlet. The HangAir claims to dry out your gear in about eight hours as opposed to the 24-48 hours it might take under the conventional drip and dry method. The MSRP is $39.99 but, at the time of writing, prices hovered in the $30 to $50 range.Not Your Grandma’s Hanger
Your typical hanger, the HangAir is not. The first thing you’ll notice is its meaty bulk measuring in at about 22.7 inches in length, 15.1 inches in width, and 9 inches in depth. The fan itself boasts some pretty mean looking fins likely capable of serious static pressure (i.e., ability to move air from a stand still) which is probably more relevant to this sort of application than cfm alone. From a noise standpoint, the HangAir’s fan is no stealth fighter. It’s loud. I don’t have my noise-o-matic handy to measure decibels officially, but suffice to say, you won’t be sleeping next to your HangAir drying wetsuit for sure.CLICK HERE FOR A GUIDE ON REPLACING THE STOCK FAN.
The HangAir comes with a lengthy 15 foot power chord which comes in really handy in case you use it outside, in a storage area, or any location that may not have power outlets in the nearby vicinity. Generally, the combination of water and electrical currents is bad juju. However, a low voltage fan is used in the HangAir so the chance of being electrocuted while you’re half asleep gearing up for the dawn patrol is nil.For Reals
So how does this bad boy work for reals? Friggin great. For starters, the reason for the monster bulk of the HangAir becomes evidently clear as soon as you slip a wetsuit on it. The large elbows serve to spread out the arms of the suit allowing for maximum airflow everywhere. The fan’s direction blows air into the wetsuit and out through the wrist and ankle holes. Although it may be more optimal to exhaust condensing air out of the wetsuit, doing so may cause the wrists and ankles to close up constricting air instead.
Of course the million dollar question is how fast this thing can dry a wetsuit. Given all the variables that come into play – humidity, ambient temperatures, what constitutes “dry” – I can’t confirm precise timing with any degree of confidence. What I will say is that when leaving the HangAir operating overnight, what was a sufficiently wet O’Niell 3/2 neoprene wetsuit was dry to the pinch the next morning. Specifically, squeezing the wrists and ankles (where water tends to build up and condense last), showed no sign of remaining moisture. Whereas leaving the same suit to drip and dry over the same amount of time would always leave enough water in the wrists and ankles to literally drip off once squeezed. The thing works.
These “tests” generally jived with the published indications. UK claims that the HangAir can dry a wetsuit in approximately 8 hours depending on environmental factors. Their comparison to the 24 to 48 hours to fully dry a suit using conventional methods sounds about right. The math geek in me says that’s 67% of drying time on the low end and 83% if we’re feelin’ lucky. Based on my super scientific wrist and ankle pinch methods which I conducted through the course of testing, I’d say I ran it for about 12 hours to find it fully dry. Taking the midpoint of 24 to 48, that’s about 70% of the time which is nearly spot on to the published claim.On The Road
I have yet to try the HangAir on the road with the car lighter adapter (about $20) to power the fan. The concept is brilliant since drying a wetsuit while on the road is the utmost convenience. However, I wonder how this would work practically since you really need the wetsuit to be hanging for optimal airflow. So unless you’ve got a van or have some way to hang the wetsuit, I’m not sure how effective the HangAir would be with the wetsuit laying on its side.The Good ...
... The Bad
- Really dries up wetsuits completely in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise.
- Doesn’t need batteries and the power chord is long enough to reach far away outlets.
- Low voltage fan means I don’t electrocute myself and die.
- Bulky design means it will be moving air through every nook and cranny of your wetsuit.
- Can be used to dry all sorts of other random wet things that can hang on a hanger.
- Car lighter adapter means you can be drying wetsuits on the road.
- The fan is loud. Don’t even try setting this up in your bedroom bathroom.
- Kind of pricey for a hanger with a fan in it.
- While the bulk may be great for optimal airflow, you might have trouble fitting smaller wetsuits on it.
There are certain times, particularly on cold dreary and damp mornings, where the prospect of putting on a soaking wetsuit just to surf ankle slapping mush just really doesn’t do it for me. In those cases, I almost tempted to stay in bed. With the HangAir Drying System, you really no longer have any excuse. So long as you remember to get that guy plugged in and going, your wetsuit will be as dry as the day you bought it by the time you get up. If having a dry wetsuit is important to you, the HangAir is worth the price.DISCLOSURE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE WAS PROVIDED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FOR PURPOSES OF TESTING.