We take it you’ve stumbled across our little slice of the internet because you’re passionate about water sports, enthusiastic about all things aqua and a lover of neoprene rather than Lycra. If that’s the case, then, of course, you are very welcome and no doubt in great company along with your fellow readers. We love to cover interesting and relevant topics related to your passion that will help you to get the most out of your chosen pastime, investment, equipment, or whatever it is that we’re tackling as our subject of the day.
Today that just so happens to be how to store a wetsuit properly so if that has already piqued your interest, then stick around as we dive into the details. If you love to surf, chances are you will own a wetsuit. Unless you are one of the fortunate people who live rather than holiday in paradise and do your surfing and other water sports in the tropics where the sea is always at least a balmy 65°, chances are you’ll need to wear a wetsuit.
Whether that’s full body, a shorty or a jacket, it will be made of some level thickness of neoprene, and it will require properly looking after if you want your investment to last. That, and careful and correct storage too. A wetsuit is pretty much mandatory, an essential part of an aqua enthusiasts’ armory and much the same as an athlete wears Lycra and trainers, you will be wearing neoprene.
Unlike a runner though, your performance-enhancing garment won’t be subjected to a bit of damp drizzle or the occasional splattering of mud, dirt, and dust. Oh no! Your chosen sporting attire is going to be doused in seawater. It’s also going to potentially get covered in sand, blasted by UV rays from the sun on those hot and sunny days by the beach, and all round take quite the weather beating. Don’t think for one minute that you can neglect a good maintenance and storage routine.
If you’ve invested in a halfway decent wetsuit it will have cost you a fair bit of cash so to keep it in tip-top condition for as long as possible, always carefully read your wetsuit’s individual care instructions first and make sure you have the right conditions in which to store your suit when it’s not in use. We know you are probably keen to rip those tags off, grab your board and go paddling off into the sunshine but before you do, take heed of our warning and make sure you know how to care for your wetsuit correctly. Look after your wetsuit and your wetsuit will look after you.
It’s true. While modern wetsuits barely resemble the versions that were around even just twenty years back, even with all the latest technological advancements, a wetsuit still needs to be correctly cared for and stored in the right conditions and environment. While wetsuits today are nowhere near as cumbersome as their old-school counterparts and come in much thinner and more flexible materials that dry faster than ever before, they do take a pounding, especially if you are surfing the ocean, so it pays to get into a good cleaning, maintenance, and storage routine post usage.
Rinse, Dry, Repeat!
It’s not rocket science, more common sense, but a few simple good practices will ensure that your wetsuit lasts longer and performs better. If you are regularly traveling to and from the beach and you have access to a vehicle, then you might want to consider the following routine. Get a large plastic box or a gardening tub and stand inside it to take off your wetsuit so that it doesn’t get damaged unnecessarily by sand, gravel, and dirt.
When you get home, you can then use the box as a water tank for cleaning your wetsuit rather than having to drag it into a shower or bathtub back home or wherever else you might be staying. You really do need to make sure that you thoroughly rinse your wetsuit clean before you think about storing it away. Don’t use hot water either as this will damage the neoprene. Where you can, you want cool fresh water to douse clean your wetsuit.
Over time, all that saltwater will damage things like the zippers and the glue and stitching that holds your wetsuit together, so be vigilant about thoroughly rinsing your suit after each and every time you’ve worn it. Alternatively, if you have access to a hosepipe, give it a really good hose down, turning it inside out and doing the same process thoroughly on both sides.
If it’s still smelling a little funky, you could try a bit of specialist neoprene detergent but be careful to thoroughly rinse any product off otherwise you will be slipping and a sliding all over the board next time you don that suit. Turn it inside out and drip dry before hanging to fully dry
Your wetsuit is heavy, especially when wet, so avoid hanging it conventionally on a small hanger, otherwise, you’re going to stretch the neoprene. Check your care labels, but generally, you will always want to avoid drying in direct sunlight. A shady but windy spot should do the trick but if that’s just not possible, keep an eye on it and make sure you bring it indoors before it starts to cook. You don’t want to dry it flat either, ideally, you want double it over say rail or a large hanger so that plenty of ventilation reaches in around and through your wetsuit.
How to Properly Store Your Wetsuit
Once it’s thoroughly dry, you need to think about storing it correctly and this very will be determined by when you plan on using it again. Here are some guidelines based on a couple of common scenarios.
Diving Within a Few Days
We recommend that you tuck the arms in a 45-degree angle or fold them across at a 90-degree angle, then carefully lay your wetsuit on top of your dive bag ready for the next day.
Diving Within the Month?
You probably are a reasonably frequent diver or surfer and want to have regular access to your wetsuit in which case, you should store it away in a cool and dark, shaded hanger, inside a long closet, back on its specially provided wetsuit hanger.
Diving Again Next Year
Shucks! Too bad. Looks like you need to put your wetsuit away. In which case, we recommend if you do have space yo keep it on an extra thick wetsuit hanger in your closet or lay it down flat, fold carefully across the middle and leave it in a damp-free space with nothing else on top of it. You don’t want your wetsuit to suffer the perils of damp, condensation or mildew from storing it in an uncontrolled environment.
Follow these simple instructions of properly rinsing, drying and storing, and your wetsuit should stand you in good stead for many years to come and smell almost as fresh as the day you bought it.