Waterproofing a coat

5:49 p.m. on September 13, 2010 (EDT)
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623 forum posts

Forgive me if this has already been posted, I did a brief search and found nothing.

I'm looking to re-waterproof my Columbia jacket - I think over the last 5 years of use and regular washing it has been depleted. At this point it will still act as a great water repelling jacket, the issue is that when it is sustainably wet, the water will sort of "seep" through, almost like condensation on the inside, soaking my arms underneath...not good when in the backcountry.

Is the NikWax stuff good? I've heard good things. Do you all recommend the spray or the wash in? Any tips for your recommended method?

Thanks in advance.

9:32 p.m. on September 13, 2010 (EDT)
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read this thread. Basically, you do NOT re-waterproof your jacket. You wash it when it starts to wet out with a purpose-made cleaner (NikWax and McNett are the easiest to obtain of quality products), then renew the DWR ("durable water repellent" coating). Follow the directions on the appropriate products.

11:00 a.m. on September 14, 2010 (EDT)
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2,162 forum posts

Hey iClimb,

There are others on here that have much more knowledge and experience with WPB (WaterProofBreathable) fabrics than myself, and Bill is at the top of that list. With his Old Grey Beard comes an affinity for accurate nomenclature, which I share. The affinity for accuracy, not the grey beard, that is ;)

WPB fabrics work by being permiable, which allows water vapor to escape, while repelling water droplets on the outside. If the chemical repellent coating wears out, then the fabric won't shed water and becomes water logged. When this happens some seep can occur, but the largest issue is that it no longer breaths, so all your sweat vapor builds up and condenses on the inside of the jacket.

So, it is true that by using DWR on your jacket you are not actually re-waterproofing it, but rather renewing the repellent coating which allows the waterproof-breathable barrier to work properly.

I just treated an old insulated Sierra Designs jacket with Nikwax and am very pleased. Though the shell isn't actually made from WPB fabric, just a tight nylon weave, after the treatment it sheds water remarkably well. I can stand in the rain, then walk inside and shake it off and the surface is completely dry!

11:39 p.m. on September 17, 2010 (EDT)
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623 forum posts

excellent thanks everyone. I will re-apply the DWR to the jacket then with the NikWax. The jacket does still have some repellant qualities, but only for brief stays in the rain, and when I'm hiking for hours at a time, it definitely doesn't cut it.

9:04 p.m. on September 19, 2010 (EDT)
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623 forum posts

it will be done with the spray on version rather than the wash-in version because it is a double layered coat with a zip in fleece. This advice came from the EMS worker - if the coat is single layered, then the wash in is used.

3:41 p.m. on September 27, 2010 (EDT)
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If your double-layer jacket indeed has a zip-out liner, then just zip out the liner and use a wash-in wpb renewal. You will probably wat to wash the fleece liner from time to time anyway, which can be done with your other fleece and synth garments.

Sounds like yet another half-informed new hire at EMS (and REI, and too many other chain outdoor stores - yeah they have some very experienced and knowledgable people, but you have to pick your sales clerks carefully).

3:52 p.m. on September 27, 2010 (EDT)
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he was actually the manager - maybe I just didn't explain things well enough, but I told him there was a zip out fleece...

He also said that some people prefer the spray on sometimes anyway, because the wash in stuff tends to bead up and be almost like little boogers on the jacket in places.

He said they would effectively do the same thing for water repellency, that it was just a matter of preference for application.

5:10 p.m. on October 22, 2010 (EDT)
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56 forum posts

Any dirt or residue (oil from touching etc.) on your coat with absorb water.  Any water that sits on the surface therefore can't repel...instead it tries to soak in.  If there is water collecting on the seams then you can certainly run into more serious issues down the road. 

I would turn your coat inside out and re-seal the seams (where needed)with Gore-tape or seam 'patch' kit first before washing it.  Then Clean it and RINSE it extremely well with NikWax TechWash. 

There are two competely different NikWak wash-in waterproofing solutions you can use, but it is particular to the kind of jacket you own.  Once it is clean, rinsed out well, wash it in either NikWax TX-Direct wash-in waterproofing (shells) or NikWax TX-Direct Spray on for jackets with liners!    

That is your best bet and if that doesn't work for you, then you need to send it back to Colombia.  ...regardless, they won't take it if it is not clean and won't repair it (at their cost) if the jacket appears as though it has not been taken care of.

Just out of curiousity it is Colombia or Colombia Titanium?

5:16 p.m. on October 22, 2010 (EDT)
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56 forum posts

one more thing iclimb

Has your 'regular washing' over the years included Waterproof-fabric-specific soap or re-proofing?

9:33 p.m. on October 22, 2010 (EDT)
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82 forum posts

Just a quick comment, I, for the first time, used NikWax treatment spray for my WPB coats and some Nylon water resistant pants the other day that I had picked up at a garage sale. The sale only got me one bottle of spray, so to make sure ALL surfaces were coated, I first sprayed the clothing, then put it all in the dryer, cool air only, for a good 5 minutes. Then I hung everything to dry in my bathroom with a small oil heater and a fan. I don't know that this is a correct way to do this, but, for me it has worked flawlessly! I have a renewed love for my WPB clothing and now even ny Nylon pants shed water easily.

Just wanted to throw that in there. Also, to anyone reading, if anything is misspelled or randomly out of context it because I am using my phone to type this. Somewhat difficult to proof read.

April 23, 2018
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