A compact companion for when you’ve got too much stuff to hang, but not enough for a laundromat run.

We can’t thank Japanese gadget maker Thanko enough for its ingenious portable rice cooker that lets us cook rice for one on our office desk during the workday. But Thanko isn’t done making lives better one person at a time, and its latest creation is the Parasol Dry Hanger, or, in less flowery terms, a portable clothes dryer.

The idea is simple: a compact, lightweight clothes dryer that you can plug into a wall socket. It sounds like something that’d be incredibly handy for travelers or people who live in apartments too small for a dedicated clothes dryer (a demographic that a significant proportion of Japan’s population fits into), and at just 3,980 yen (US$37.50) through Thanko’s online store here, it won’t put much of a dent in your wallet while also not taking up much space.

Ours arrived packed in a box small and light enough that we could easily pick it up with one hand. Inside we found the main unit, a ring of drying hooks, and a connecting pole, all of which collectively weigh only about 500 grams (1.1 pound) and fit inside a carrier bag for when you’re traveling with the device.

Assembly is a snap, or, rather a pair of insertions. Just insert one end of the pole into the main unit’s base and stick the hook ring on top.

Depending on what exactly you’re drying, you can hang the items on the hooks, lay them flat across the top, or attach them to the ring with clothespins.

We employed all three techniques for our test of a hand towel, two pairs of socks, and a cloth face mask. Obviously, they’d have to be wet before we could see how well the Parasol Dry Hanger dries, so we hand-washed them all in the sink and gave them a light shake and wring, as the manual recommends you do before starting the drying process.

Once you’ve got everything on the ring, you lift up the soft sides of the main unit and close them off with a drawstring on top (but not too tightly, since you want to leave a little space for hot air to rise out of). Then turn the device on and watch as it swells up like a hot air balloon.

Even at this point, though, it’s still a compact 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) tall, as shown here next to a 500-mililiter (16.9-ounce) bottle of tea.

Only people with no concept of an indoor voice would call the Parasol Dry Hanger whisper quiet, but the noise isn’t too bad. It’s about what you’d hear from a hair dryer on “low.” For our test, we used its standard hot-air drying course, but you can also set it to use unheated air if you’re drying more delicate fabrics.

We let the dryer run for an hour before checking on it, at which point we found that…

the hand towel was completely dry!

The rest of the load was still a little damp, though, so we took the towel out and closed up the unit again. We checked back again at the two-hour mark, and now our socks were dry too.

The mask still felt ever so slightly moist, though, probably due to its multi-layer, many-seam construction. Another 30 minutes did the trick, though, at which point all of our stuff was perfectly dry.

Because of its small size, you can’t fit a shirt or pair of pants into the Parasol Dry Hanger, but for smaller items, it works great. It’s a nice alternative to having to hang stuff inside on a rainy day, which runs the risk of giving it a funky smell, and it’s also an option if you’ve got something you’d rather not have out on your clothesline for other people to see, like perhaps your “showdown underwear.”

So once again, Thanko gives us a much appreciated innovation, and between this and that pocket-sized washing machine we got a while back, we’re running out of excuses to wear anything other than fresh, clean clothes.

Top image: SoraNews24
Insert images: SoraNews24, Thanko
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