keeping the rain out

12:11 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
28 reviewer rep
113 forum posts

I could research all day, but thought I would just ask you all.  I need to retreat a few pieces of rain gear that are not all so waterproof anymore.  

What products do you recommend?

4:22 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
1,679 reviewer rep
712 forum posts

NIKWAX! There might be other products out there...but Nikwax is the one I have always used and love unconditionally:-) It is a cheap enough product as it is given how little I to make me unfaithful it would need to come with some serious cash savings.

Before you retreat:

Make sure your gear is clean...dirt and oil are probably two of the greatest culprits that lead to the failure of WPBs. This is a massive over-simplification...but the DWR molecules must "stand-up" to work properly...dirt+oil+use all diminish this "standing-up-ness"...and in doing so can actually lead to not only gear failure in terms of wetting-out...but can also lead to the WPB being less breathable overall. Nikwax also makes a non-detergent cleaner for rain-gear...if you want to be safe go with that...but I find it a little expensive for what it does...any non-detergent should do the trick without damaging WPB rain-gear...but I have never got around to experimenting...since WPBs are expensive variables to experiment with.

If after cleaning your rain-gear is still wetting-out (not beading well) do not necessarily need to retreat...Gortex and other manufacturers suggest that their DWR treatments can be "revitalized" as many as 15 times by just putting it into the dryer on a low-heat cycle (I do it for about 30 minutes). I am skeptical of the "15" I have never had a jacket "revitalize" 15 times...but my DWR treatments do "revitalize" between 6-10 re-treatment is something you do only AFTER you have cleaned and "revitalized" your gear.

I do not retreat my gear annually like a lot of folks...instead I clean and "revitalize" it as needed before each trip...using the "faucet test" (pouring water over the shoulder+chest+back) after each to see if further treatment is needed. If the water beads really nice after I have cleaned and "revitalized" my gear...then I do not retreat my DWR (saving a few ounces of DWR that I would have wasted)...if the water doesn't bead really nice after I have cleaned and "revitalized" my gear...then I reapply the it through the dryer...and test again to make sure it was successful (which it always is).

7:14 p.m. on January 28, 2014 (EST)
28 reviewer rep
113 forum posts

That was a huge help!  I'll look up the gear specific info and see how it goes.

10:07 a.m. on January 29, 2014 (EST)
2,170 reviewer rep
2,156 forum posts


Hey Jonathan,


I'll second the nikwax. I have a Mountain Hardware Typhoon (no longer made I believe) and it's Gortex paclite. This jacket starting wetting out after less than one year of use. Granted, I know I mistreated the garment with a lot of thick brush, hours and hours of pushing through briars and such on overgrown trails, but I was still a little disappointed given how much I spent.


I recovered some repellency by cleaning and heating to reactive the manufactures coating but didn't really gain what it had lost. I retreated with nikwax at the end of 2012 and it's held nicely for over a year now. So in my case the at-home treatment has been at least as effective as the factory treatment (well, I do try to take a little better care of it now, but in some of the wilderness areas I go you just can’t really avoid the bush.)

July 22, 2018
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