Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to Build a Wetsuit Hanger

In the off-season, there's not much use for the wetsuit. Here in Colorado temperatures have only gotten above freezing a couple of times during the last week. Much as I enjoy open-water swimming, the thought of having to bring along an ice pick to clear a path as I swim is...ahem...less than appealing.

Since I finished the TriRock back in September, my suit has been kept on a large plastic hanger, like so:

 Not terrible, but I was concerned about having big pointy things on the shoulders come next spring. Pretty much the full weight of the suit is resting on the upper part of the hanger. I thought it would be better if it rested on something rounder so that there would be less chance of a crease or other unsightly deformation of the suit.

For the instructions below, keep in mind that I'm no McGyver. Some reader out there may be able to do this far better than me. That said, this works and in the end, that's all that really matters.

Step by step instructions:

1 Cut a piece of PVC pipe. I measured about a foot for this one, just keep in mind that if you use a longer one, you'll need more chain later on. Also, white or black pipe does not matter. I used this since it was left over from a bathroom remodeling project.

2 Place the pipe on about the middle of your suit after it has been folded lengthwise and then fold the top down to the bottom.

Your local hardware store sells chain by the foot. It's generally inexpensive (61 cents a foot in my case) and rated to hold far more weight than you'll need. I bought three feet for my hanger.

Feed this chain through the pipe and pull the ends up into something looking like a triangle:

4 Choosing a hook was for me, the most difficult part of the process. It needs to be large enough to hang on the typical closet clothes bar but also able to securely hold the chain. I looked some of those climbing carabiners but they did not look large enough to meet the former requirement. Ultimately, I chose a large "U" bolt:

Apologies for the shotty photography. I think you get the idea, however.

For my closet, a width of 2.5 inches was more than enough.

5 I don't have a picture of the final step (not enough hands to do this and take a picture). However screwing on the nuts is not hard. You just want to make sure you have the chain placed above the plate that connects both sides of the bolt. Hold  it in place with one hand while you screw the nuts on with the other. It will look like this when you are done:

Of course, this means that the hangers don't come off all that easily, but presumably that won't be an issue for off-season storage.

After these steps, you have a new hanger for your suit that might leave it a little folded, but won't but an unsightly crease in it:

If you have any improvements on my design, please include them in the comments section.

Thanks for reading!

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