With winter and cold rainy weather coming it’s time to focus and make sure you know how to keep your waterproof jacket waterproof.
As the cold wet weather sets in across the country, it’s vital that you know the proper way to keep your waterproof clothes in top shape.
We’ve been lucky enough to talk with Heidi Allen, who is the marketing director at Nikwax North America and was the founder of the former Nikwax gear rehab program.
Allen mentioned a few of the best ways to make sure that your waterproof hard-shell outerwear jacket is kept in tip top shape. Keep in mind that all fabrics are slightly different and will react differently, but these steps will work for most all hard-shell outwear.
First (and most importantly), to keep your jackets waterproof you should simply make sure they are clean. As you wear your jacket and it gets dirty, it will lose its waterproof ability. Dirt, oil (from your skin or otherwise), and even things like campfire smoke will stick to your jacket and cause it to “wet out.”
“Wet out” is what it’s called when water collects on the gathered dirt particles and effectively clogs up the breath-ability of the jacket. Once this happens the jacket causes you to sweat and then gets you wet, not from the rain but from your own sweat.
To prevent this from happening, the first step is to wash your jacket; but not just by throwing it in the machine. You need to use a technical cleaner to make sure that the jacket gets clean without damaging the waterproofing.
Nikwax makes a Tech Wash for under $10 that does a great job. One of the wonderful things about Tech Wash is that it also gets out even the toughest blood stains, which can be very helpful after a long hunting or fishing trip.
To use the Tech Wash you simply check the label in your jacket to make sure you follow the manufacturers recommendations for washing, zip up all the zippers, and throw it in the wash.
In many cases this washing is all that is needed to restore your jacket to its former glory, but Allen recommends that around every five washes you also re-waterproof your jackets Durable Water Repellency (DWR). This can also be done in the comfort of your own home thanks to a couple of Nikwax products. Depending on your jacket type you can use the TX.Direct Spray-On or the TX.Direct Wash-In.
If your jacket has a moisture wicking liner, you will want to use the TX.Direct Spray-On as the Wash-In would actually waterproof the moisture wicking properties of your jacket. To use the Spray-On, you simply take your jacket out of the wash (still wet) and spray the product all over the outside of the jacket. Then you can let the jacket air dry or put it in the dryer. The new DWR will be just as effective either way.
For most jackets (without a moisture wicking liner) the TX.Direct Wash-In is the easier to use product. After cleaning you simply re-wash the jacket with the Wash-In product directly in the machine. This helps to ensure an even coating and that all parts of the jacket are covered.
All of these products by Nikwax have no added fragrance and have been tested by backcountry hunters and have proven to have no negative effect on hunting.
So instead of spending the rest of your season cold and wet, go grab yourself some Nikwax and get your jacket restored to prime condition so that you can actually focus on the hunt at hand.
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