Appropriate rain wear should keep you dry all over irrespective of the weather conditions. This calls for clothing that is waterproof, and not just water repellent. There is significant difference between the two words.
A water repellent jacket is one that can successfully prevent light showers from soaking your body, but the material will certainly fail to hold when there is a heavy downpour. On the other hand, a waterproof jacket is one that keeps you dry all over.
Most people would prefer plastic rain gear, but plastic is vulnerable to tear. You can enhance the water repellency level of your jacket by using gore Tex spray.
Step 1: Know the Facts of Waterproof Rainwear
Understanding Water Repellency
According to research, water repellency with respect to clothing refers to a fabric that is resistant to water and air. Basically, waterproofing clothes come with a cost. Research suggests that the adhesive interactions of water particles should always be higher than cohesive interactions for the water to be absorbed.
Rainwear that is reinforced with waterproof spray tends to break the adhesive interactions, and as a result improving the water-resistant capability of the fabric. Most rainwear fabric has water-resistant construction. However, the ideal fabric must also be breathable apart from being waterproof.
Types of Waterproof Rain Wear Technology
There are so many water resistance clothing in the market. If you are an outdoorsman or outdoorswoman, then you know of the different jackets that manufacturers claim are exceptionally waterproof. This is usually the case until you wear your model under a heavy downpour, and just realize how wrong the manufacturers are.
Most rain clothes are designed to withstand light showers. How you choose and what you end up buying may be misguided by the advertised features. Make sure you read the phrases correctly on the section of water resistance. Remember water repellency and waterproof are two different things when it comes to rainwear.
This is the most renowned brand as far as waterproof rainwear is concerned. The success of this material depends on the construction, which incorporates a thin as well as a tightly woven membrane.
The fabric is made up of a tightly woven membrane along with a layer of proofing.
This is another amazing waterproof breathable tech that resembles the Gore Tex membrane. The products made from this particular technology are usually durable. As a result, you do not have to re-proof so as to enhance its performance.
The fabric is tightly woven, ensuring that all water is prevented from penetrating the membrane. This tech is one of the best because it allows sweat to escape, thus keeping you dry at all times.
This is a common technology that is implemented by Eastern Mountain Sports. Materials made from this technology offer a great value. It is very effective at repelling water and promoting sweat release.
This is a good waterproof breathable tech, but it can be pricey. The company that uses this technology
Materials made of PreCip technology are created by Marmot. The membrane is made up of polyurethane, and silicone dioxide for improved water repellency and breathability.
The fabric is lined in the interior for added comfort. Rainwear made of PreCip is known to be highly packable. This is since the rainwear can easily be folded for easy carry.
Other reliable fabrics are made from the following technologies: MemBrain, HyVent, H2No, and Conduit. How badly rainwear needs re-proofing depends mainly on the material. As a result, the effectiveness of the material depends on the waterproof breathable technology used.
The pricing may be an issue as far as the quality is concerned. Therefore, you can conveniently buy cheaper option, and then reinforce the fabric with waterproofing spray. A less expensive choice is a waterproof, breathable, and windproof hard-shell rainwear.
Step 2: Know Durable Water Repellent Facts before Reproofing
Durable water repellent usually abbreviated as DWR is a waterproof coating supplemented at the production stage. Apart from improving the water repellency of the fabric, this layer boosts breathability. Normally, a durable water repellent layer is added along with a weatherproof membrane so as to improve water resistance and breathability.
This is a manufacturer applied water resistant layer. Nevertheless, it wears out with time. This simply means that you will have to re-proof to maintain original breathability and water resistance capabilities.
In most cases, the waterproof layer of your rainwear is worn out due to excessive dirt and washing. If you have a habit of exposing your rain jacket to too much dirt, then you will need extreme washing. Consequently, the protective layer will grow weak and finally collapse. Also check out our piece on how to dry clothes fast for more information.
An outdoorsman in possession of a pore membrane rainwear will not face the same problems as one with durable water repellent membrane because these ones tend to wear fast, thus the need for re-proofing. On the bright side, rain wears made from durable water repellent treated fabrics are highly affordable.
When dealing with garments with durable water repellent finish, you have to know the lifespan. This way, you will be able to know when to re-proof the garment for long wear. The life expectancy of most fabrics with durable water repellent capabilities depends on how frequently they are washed and worn.
The fabric will finally wear off because of continued use and washing. In actual fact, environmental pollutants, such as oil play a significant role in the breakdown of the membrane. The garment can survive approximately a hundred washes.
Most people with rainwear coated with Gore Tex or any other waterproofing technology will start complaining about the performance of their wear after the hundredth wash. Some users would understand that they have excessively washed the garment. Therefore, it needs re-proofing to improve water repellency.
On the other hand, other users would simply blame the manufacturer for producing poor quality garment. Dirt, oil, or detergent particles usually close the pores rendering the fabric breathless. This may lead to condensation formed by the vapors that are trapped in the pores.
The condensation may cause some people to claim that their rain jackets are leaking. The reality is that the fabric is not breathable anymore. You should know by now that a waterproof spray is very much needed.
Do not be alarmed, re-proofing is quite an easy thing to do. You do not actually need special skills to do it, and it is more affordable to re-waterproof your jacket than buying a new one altogether.
Step 3: Know the Various Gore-Tex Waterproofing Sprays
You need to have a number of options as far as waterproofing sprays are concerned when dealing with gore Tex membrane. Check out our piece on what is gore-tex to know more about it.
The following are our best picks.
McNett ReviveX Spray-On
This spray is specifically designed for soft fabric. Its superior protection is attributed to the concentrated formula. It is a water-based spray, thus it is odor free. Its composition does not include optical brighteners. You can use this product along with a synthetic solution to reinstate water repellency capability of your old soft shell rain jacket.
The procedure is quite simple. The very first thing you have to do is hand wash your garment with the synthetic solution and warm water.
Do be shocked by the dirt from your garment, the spray will work. Then re-wash the jacket with clean warm water without solution, and then spin dry. Go ahead and spray the jacket with McNett ReviveX. Once you are done spraying, set the dryer to medium heat and place the jacket inside.
Let the jacket stay in the dryer for an hour. The newly McNett coated jacket will be as good as new. However, the durability depends on the garment. The coating may last a year or so, but it is still a better choice compared to buying a new jacket.
Grange’s Xtreme Repel Waterproofing Spray
This is one of the best gore-tex membrane sprays for the money. This is the ideal product to buy if you do not want your fabric to have any scent. It is designed to settle on the garment in the shortest time possible. It is highly recommended for improving water repellency gore-tex/ eVent fabrics and soft shell garments.
This particular spray does not leave any residues. Therefore, it maintains high breathability, meaning that the pores will not be clogged and there will be no condensation of moisture. You should not be hesitant to use this spray because you were disappointed by another model.
It will work; you just have to do it the right way. As with other sprays, the very first step is to wash your garment with warm water and a synthetic solution. This will remove any dirt or oil particles trapped in the pores. You can either machine or hand wash, but hand wash is highly recommended.
Make sure that your cloth is damp because the spray works best on humid conditions. Hang your jacket on a line, and spray it evenly to waterproof. Then place it in the dryer to finalize the re-proofing process.
Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Waterproofing Spraying
This is spray you need when you want to re-proof all your outdoor wear. It comes highly recommended for gore-tex fabric waders and garments. It is also a good choice for quiet rainwear, soft shells, and wind stopper garments. The spray is engineered to restore your fabric’s water resistant capability without compromising on breathability.
It is a pure solution free of any optical brighteners. You should be patient and wait for the results when using this spray. You can test its effectiveness by spraying a small piece of cloth, such as a hand towel. The results will amaze you.
You can even place water and try to push it through the towel the results will be the same (no leaking). You might have problems with the final results if you do not do the procedure correctly. Any mistakes and you may end up with a saturating garment.
The process is very simple – wash your jacket/rainwear with warm water and synthetic solution, then rinse with clean warm water, and spray; then place the jacket in the dryer under medium heat for half an hour or so. The newly coated jacket should be waterproof, but the durability depends on the coat and the fabric.
Gear Aid ReviveX Deluxe Waterproofing Revitalization Combo Kit
This is a fully equipped kit for improving the water repellency of your garment and revitalization. There is no specific outwear you can use it on any kind of garment, and the results will be remarkable. However, it comes highly recommended for gore-tex fabric waders and garments. There is no trace of optical brighteners in its composition.
In actual fact, it restores and revitalizes the water repellency of your garment without interfering with breathability. This product is effective when used with fabrics that are reinforced with durable water repellent, such as gore-tex.
It will do wonders to your rain suit. Just follow the usual process, which requires you to wash the garment with warm water and synthetic solution, then rinse, spray, and place in the dryer under medium heat for half an hour to one hour.
You can put your rain suit to test by staying in the rain or a while, the suit will not saturate. How long the coat will last depends entirely on the fabric and the hardships the garment will endure over time. it may last even a year, depending on how well you maintain the material.
Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In Waterproofing Spray
This is an award-winning spray that does more than just restoring water repellency. It is biodegradable; water-based, and free of VOCs or PFC. It is the ideal formula for all durable water-repellent garments, especially gore-tex, eVent, triple point, Entrant, and Ultrex. It is made to provide the best performance with just a single spray.
Unlike other cheap formulas; this one aims at restoring water resistant capability, and at the same time maintain the breathability of the garment.
The process is the same as with any other spray you just have to be careful with the actual spraying.
Step 4: How to Spray Your Garment
- The very first thing that you have to do is wash the garment with warm water and synthetic solution or detergent. All you have to do is prepare about ten liters of water or more depending on the size of the garment. The water should be about thirty degrees Celsius.
- Then add the solution, and stir to mix. Place your garment/ jacket, and wash by squeezing and releasing to remove any traces of dirt. Once you are satisfied that all the dirt has been removed, go ahead and rinse the garment or jacket in about twenty liters of water.
- Make sure that all the traces of the detergent or synthetic solution are removed. You can choose to use a machine that is wash and spin enabled.
- Carefully hang your jacket on a hanger. Then obtain your spray, and follow the spraying instructions. This is where it gets tricky, because if you do not do spray evenly; other parts of the garment may not be waterproof. If it is a jacket, you should start from the front and circle around.
- Go for the folded parts, such as the arms and back of the hood. The process should be fairly simple. Make sure the spray hits the jacket evenly at all corners. When you are done spraying, put the jacket or garment in the dryer, and set the heat to medium. Let it stay in the dryer for half an hour or more.
- Remove from the dryer and test the water repellency capability of the jacket. You can sprinkle some water on the arms to see if the garment will saturate. The results should be pretty obvious – no water going through.
Step 5: How to Maintain Your Re-Proofed Jacket
Reproofing your jacket is the easy part, but there is much to do in order to ensure the newly coated layer lasts. Exercise good wearing habits and cleaning. You should not expose your jacket to extreme environments that are full of dirt, oil, or mud, because this may require you to do extensive washing.
If you keep on washing the garment every now and then; the fabric will certainly lose its waterproofing capabilities, and you will be forced to reproof within a short time. Try as much as possible to avoid normal detergents, since they are known to be abrasive. Go with synthetic solutions and warm water, but do not add too much of the solution.
With that said you should not force yourself to buy expensive rainwear and attempt to squeeze your pockets too much. You can buy affordable durable water repellent garment or jacket. If the fabric water repellency wears out, just use waterproofing spray to reinstate the water resistance capability.
Choose a product that will work best for your fabric. Learn how to wash and rinse your garment prior to the actual spraying. This will help to avoid any mistakes that may lead to poor results and water repellency performance. To know more about gore-tex and hyvent, do read on our comparison between the two.