With modern waterproofing, you are now able to march up mountains in gear that is fairly breathable and waterproof. However, this waterproof-ability is a privilege, which must not be taken for granted. There can be situations when you’re walking out with one of your tried-and-true rain jackets and you suddenly notice that your shoulders get too cold and you feel something wet trickling down your back. At this moment, you realize that your jacket is no longer waterproof and within a short time, you’re going to be sopping wet.
The best way to prevent this occurrence is by using a spray for waterproofing. Therefore, let’s get you more acquainted with it by discussing how to re-waterproof your gear, why is it important to apply the waterproof spray to extend the longevity of your outdoor equipment, and to what gear you can apply it.
Why You Should Re-Waterproof Your Gear?
Durable water repellent spray is a chemical coating specially formulated to restore the water-repellent finish of all technical fabrics and to retain a fabric’s breathability. Use the spray for waterproofing to make raingear shed water like new again. It is usually applied to rainwear, but most times can be applied to other outdoor gear as well. In fact, this waterproofing spray works by increasing the surface tension of the fibres in your fabric, which in addition keeps water from soaking into your gear and “wetting out”. A good waterproof repellent coating causes water to bead up and roll off your fabric.
There’s no permanent waterproof repellent coating. Over time, it will degrade, thus reducing your fabric’s ability to repel water. You will notice that your waterproof jacket begins to fail at locations that see regular movement or contact, like a jacket’s shoulder and wrist cuffs. This is because the water repellent is easily destroyed by friction and abrasion. Therefore, re-waterproofing is required in order to extend the life of your water-repellent gear, unless you want to get sopping wet while wearing your rain jacket.
- There are a few basic steps that you should follow when re-proofing your gear.
- It’s always recommended to apply any waterproof treatment to clean gear
- Spray directly onto a freshly-cleaned, wet garment from roughly 10-15 cm away
- Remove any excess product with a clean cloth
- Allow drying naturally or follow your care label’s drying instructions
Let’s check these steps in more details.
Wash Your Gear and Test Waterproofing
Make sure that you follow the cleaning instructions as described on the care labels for your rain jackets, backpacks, tents and any other things that you want to re-waterproof. Always remember to clean each item properly and thoroughly. Frequently, a good wash is all your gear needs to repel water again. The process of removing unwanted dirt and evaporated body sweat is essential to keeping your gear in good shape, and it will keep you smelling good as well. You can improve your cleaning process by using a detergent that is specifically formulated for waterproof gear. Such a product can help you prolong the time in-between reapplications od durable water repellent.
After washing, it’s important to test your gear in wet weather (or using a hose) to see if its water repellency has enhanced before you continue to the next step. Once clean, you can decide whether to apply a fresh coat of durable water repellent to the whole item or if you can simply spot treat the fabric. It’s possible to notice only some areas of an item which has been degraded and needs a touch-up. For instance, if your tent seams and your jacket shoulders are the only spots that need attention, just spray onto those areas. On the other hand, if the entire item needs treatment, you need to set up a protected area big enough to spray the item completely. Another option is to use the wash-in waterproofing.
Apply the Spray to Most Gear
The waterproof spray is best for multi-layered garments in which you only want to waterproof the outer layer. This applies to items like your rainwear, backpack cover, camping gear like tents, and other items that consist of eVent or Gore-Tex.
Now that the gear is clean, you can lay it out flat and spray it down with durable water repellent spray. Make sure that you button or zip up your garment so that the spray won’t touch the inside of your jacket or pocket. Hold the spray bottle about 6 inches (15 cm) away from the fabric you want to waterproof and apply an even coating, making sure that you get hold of all the fabric’s flaps and folds. Allow the fabric to dry for some minutes, and then remove any puddles or drips using a damp cloth.
Footwear Leather and Fabric Waterproofing
You can also waterproof all those Gore-Tex waterproof boots and shoes, which also use durable water repellent similar to clothes, and you can probably imagine how much excess sweat, dirt, and scuffing they get on your clothes. So, a quick wash won’t be enough for a well-travelled pair of boots. In order to properly clean your footwear, you have to remove the laces and break out the scrubbing brush. Work out the grime from all fabric and leather surfaces, then wash those shoes clean again. Once they’re clean, treat the breathable fabric of your shoes in a similar way that you’ll apply to the synthetic materials of a jacket or backpack with waterproofing spray. Leather, however, requires some more special treatment. If left unclean or untreated, the leather of your boots may dry out and crack, which may lead to a leady condition. Use leather-specific cleaners and waterproofing waxes to keep your boots smooth.