Replenish The Repellent
How To: Re-Waterproof Your Gear
When your gloves soak up water like a sponge, your jacket leaks like a sieve, or your boots feel like a swamp, it’s time to re-up the water repellency. Re-waterproofing gear is simple, cheaper, and more sustainable than buying new stuff, and it extends the longevity of whatever you’re waterproofing. Follow these three easy steps and you’ll be shedding water in no time.
The first step in revitalizing your gear is to wash it. Ketchup, coffee, grease, ash-they all clog the pores of your gear’s fabric, and no, this is not some acne treatment pitch. When a fabric’s pores are clogged, moisture cannot exit and you get soaked with your own sweat. Wash your garments on a normal, cold-water cycle with a powder detergent, or for best results, use a specific cleaning agent from Granger’s, ActiveX, or Nikwax, like Nikwax’s Tech Wash (or Nikwax Down Wash for insulated gear). For boots and gloves, try Granger Footwear Cleaning Gel or skip the second step all together with their One-Step Wash & Waterproofer.
There are a variety of different solutions depending on the type of garment you want to re-waterproof, too. For boots and gloves, try Nikwax Fabric And Leather Proof sponge-on or even some of the company’s rub-on waxes. For shell jackets and pants, wash the jacket on a normal cycle with ReviveX Wash-In Water Repellent or Nikwax TX Direct. For insulated or down outerwear, do the same, but use the brand’s down-specific formulas. You can even add a little waterproofing to seams, softshells, fleece, backpacks, sleeping bags, and more. Check out nikwax.com, grangers.co.uk, or mcnett-outdoor.com for more.
After you’ve revitalized your old gear, let it drip dry or toss it in the dryer on a low setting (throw a tennis ball in with your down items to keep them lofty). If you’ve waxed your boots or gloves, make sure to buff out the excess wax and give them a day to dry.
ILLUSTRATIONS: Shawn O'Keefe