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Taking Care of the Goods

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Are you able to wring a small puddle’s worth of water from your favorite rain jacket? Does your down jacket smell like a big, furry, smelly dirty dog? Is your tent growing mold? Maybe it’s time to give your gear a good washing.

There is nothing worse than a jacket that soaks through leaving you cold and clammy feeling. When water droplets fail to bead up on the outer surface of your favorite waterproof jacket or pants, it’s time to revive the garment. Regularly using a tech wash is the best way to keep outerwear and outdoor gear in top shape and will add life to your prized possessions.

Grangers and Nik Wax are two popular brands you can buy to treat your gear. Some folks prefer to use a powder non-detergent type product to wash their outerwear – and some companies agree with this. But for reviving the DWR (durable water repellent) coating, a tech wash is the way to go as they are made specifically to enhance waterproofness without compromising breathability. (You can also use a spray treatment as opposed to a wash in product.)

Currently there is a movement in the outdoor industry to find a suitable eco-friendly replacement for DWR’s. DWR’s known as C8 DWR contain fluorocarbons based materials that can be toxic to the environment. Because a DWR is highly effective and durable, it means it can take longer to break down in our environment and landfills.

SNEWS reported on this in February 2015.


If companies do meet the goal to eliminate the long chain DWR’s within the next year, then the new, short chain DWR will be less durable and will require more treating, say experts.

Either way it’s a good idea to make it a habit to wash and retreat your garments. Especially if the item is something you wear frequently. The general rule of thumb has been that for every 20 washes, your garment will retain about 80% of its waterproofness. It’s important to remember to treat leather goods as well, like winter boots and ski gloves and mitts. Products like SnoSeal are perfect for this. Just be sure the leather is at room temperature or slightly warm before treating so it will absorb the product effectively.

Next time you are at your favorite outdoor store, stock up on tech sprays, washes and creams. Your gear will thank you!