A portable dryer is a lifesaver for anyone who loves to spend time outdoors hiking, camping, hunting, or fishing. It can dry wet gear, such as boots, shoes, gloves, hats, helmets, jackets, and more, in minutes.
Dryer manufacturers offer models that leverage different patented technologies, but the basics of how a portable dryer works never change. Here’s how most portable dryers work and the science behind the technology:
The Science Behind How Portable Dryers Work
Portable dryers rely on three primary elements: temperature, humidity, and air movement. High temperature breaks down the water molecules into water vapor, which moves around more freely than the liquid state.
Air movement blows the water vapor away from the wet gear. Low humidity prevents the released moisture from condensing back to water molecules. All three elements are critical in drying wet and moist items.
Drying boots, gloves, and helmets requires heat to increase the temperature and kinetic energy of water molecules and break them loose. When drying gear outdoors, the sun provides this energy. Portable dryers use an electric current that passes through a coil to produce heat. Because these models are for outdoor use, they feature standard 12V aux power outlets that users can plug into their car cigarette lighters and other low voltage outlets.
The heating element relies on the kinetic theory of matter. According to the theory, all matter (solid, liquid, and gas) consists of molecules in constant movement. The movement holds the kinetic energy. Solids are tightly packed, while liquid molecules are loose, allowing limited movement. Gas molecules can move freely in any direction. When heat is applied to matter, it increases the kinetic energy, causing the molecules to move faster.
The moving molecules are more likely to bump into each other and break free from the strong bonds that hold them together. Portable gear dryers use electric current and special coils to generate heat and increase the kinetic energy of water molecules attached to the wet gear. The high temperature immediately breaks down the bonds, converting the liquid water into water vapor (gaseous state).
Water vapor moves more freely because of the higher kinetic energy in gas molecules.
The heat produced by the coil is blown into the wet gear using a fan. Portable gear dryers use unique mini fans designed to work at high speed and circulate air within the wet gear. The fan triggers air movement, releasing the freed water vapor into the atmosphere. Air movement and continuous hot air supply also prevent the water vapor from condensing back on the gear.
For effective drying, the atmospheric humidity needs to be lower than that inside or around the wet gear. Otherwise, the released water vapor will quickly condense back on the surface.
Portable dryers can attach to various surfaces, including cup holders, allowing users to find the perfect setting for drying their gear. The fan blows air gently to ensure all the heat goes into freeing water molecules from the surface of the gear.
Water vapor released from the wet gear will stay near the surface unless blown away. Air movement triggered by the fan ensures moisture is blown further into the atmosphere, preventing condensation. The most efficient portable gear dryers feature powerful fans that can dry wet and moist gear within a few minutes.
Without proper air movement, the released moisture may settle back on the surface of the boot or glove, prolonging the drying duration.
Premium Portable Dryer for Outdoor Gear
Portable dryers come in many designs and models meant for different applications. Most units dry boots, shoes, gloves, socks, hats, helmets, and enclosed bags. Others are for coats, jackets, and clothes. Each dryer has a unique structural design optimized for its use, so a boot dryer may feature extensions to reach deeper into the gear.
When purchasing a portable dryer, stick to premium quality brands like Versa Dri. Such models offer convenient 12v power outlets, multiple drying modes for hot and cool air, and accessories for different environments. The best dryers also dry moist items within a few minutes. Soaking-wet boots should dry in less than an hour.