Outdoor Quotes: (Travel)

When  preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then  take half the clothes and twice the money.

Susan Heller

How to Care for Outdoor Clothing

How to Care for Outdoor Clothing

Waterproof, breathable outdoor clothing has a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish applied to the outer surface. This makes the water bead up and roll off, rather than soaking into the fabric.

If the water is allowed to soak into the fabric it will impair the breathability. If the breathability is impaired, condensation will build up inside the garment, so although still waterproof, the wearer will get wet.

This DWR finish is not permanent. Over time, it will start to fail, and the garment will start to absorb the water. This is known as 'wetting out'.

Several factors will affect the DWR finish.

Dirt attracts water and will mask the DWR finish. (Detergent residue has the same effect.)

Washing the garment in detergent will actually remove the DWR finish. Liquid detergents and biological detergents tend to be the worst.

Flexing and abrasion will also cause misalignment and removal of the DWR finish.

It is therefore essential to look after your outdoor clothing, and maintain the DWR finish, to optimise performance. We always recommend the use of Nikwax water based products.

Cleaning Waterproof Outdoor Clothing

Dirt attracts water, so the garment must be kept clean. Only use a non-detergent soap. A detergent will not only tend to wash away the DWR finish, but they can leave a residue on the fabric, which attracts water. We recommend the use of Nikwax Tech Wash. It's a non-detergent, biodegradable liquid soap, and can be applied neat directly onto the fabric, for grease and stubborn stains.

If you find you have to use a detergent, because of really stubborn stains, then wash the fabric again afterwards with a non-detergent soap, to remove any detergent residue. Then reproof the garment.

If the care label for the garment allows it, then tumble-drying will help rejuvenate the DWR finish by realigning the molecules. Ironing will have the same effect, but remember to check the care label first.

Reproofing Outdoor Clothing

As long as you only use non-detergent soap to wash your garment, you should be able to wash it 6 to 8 times before you need to reproof it. This will be affected by the amount of abrasion and flexing the garment is subjected to.

We recommend the use of Nikwax water based reproofing products. For most garments, we recommend the use of Nikwax TX-Direct. It is available as a spray-on treatment, or as a wash-in treatment. Once applied, the garment can be washed several times without the need for further reproofing.

A spray-on treatment is best for garments with a wicking lining, pile pertex garments, and hydrophilic PU coated fabrics. For microfibre fabrics, microporous coatings and fabrics like Gore-tex and Sympatex, it is probably better to use a wash-in treatment.

Wash-in treatments can be applied by hand washing, but machine washing will give the better results. This is because the superior agitation will ensure a more thorough and even result.