Image of the May 2013 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
May 2013 Issue
Home / Articles / Skills

Maintaining your wet weather gear

Wash your jacket, apply a DWR spray and tumble dry. Photo: File

Your expensive waterproof gear needs lots of TLC to ensure long life and use

It’s simple to get the most out of your expensive waterproof/breathable garment: just keep it clean.

Dirt, grime, sweat, body oils, sunscreen, insect repellent and smoke all affect the performance of your jacket.

If left unchecked and allowed to build up, these contaminants can have a harmful affect on the fabric, causing the glue that binds the seam seal to deteriorate or damage the bonds that hold the layers of fabric together leading to membrane damage and delamination.

Taking care of outerwear is easy: Machine wash in warm water using a powdered detergent and tumble dry on a medium heat.

As a rule of thumb, consider washing your waterproof breathable garment as often as you would your favourite pair of jeans.

Tip: A front loading washing machine gives a deeper, more gentle wash than top loaders do. Instead of using a powdered detergent, which can contain surfacents and perfumes, consider using a Nikwax Tech Wash or Grangers 30 degree cleaner which will not strip the DWR coating from the garment. Use an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent or soap is removed.

Durable water repellency

Most waterproof breathable garments come with a DWR treatment which causes water to bead up and roll off of the garment. When the DWR coating has worn off, it’s time to reproof your garment. Grangers and Nikwax both have a DWR product. To apply, wash and double rinse your garment, spray on your chosen treatment when it is wet – don’t be shy, give the jacket a good coating – and tumble dry until completely dry and then tumble dry for a little bit longer.

Support Wilderness

Since 1991, Wilderness has had one simple goal: to help Kiwis ‘See more, do more, live more’ of New Zealand.

If you value our mission, please consider subscribing. As a loyal supporter, you’ll receive these benefits:

  • New Zealand’s best outdoor journalism We’ve won multiple awards for our journalism and magazine production.
  • NZ’s best trips. Browse more than 610 trips with downloadable maps and route notes.
  • Trustworthy gear reviews. Each month we review gear we’ve been bashing and thrashing for months so you can determine if its worth your money.
  • Member benefits. Our WildCard provides discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.
  • Your support goes a long way. Your subscription will help us fund NZ’s best outdoor journalists and writers and ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis.

A subscription costs as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.