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Nikwax Hardshell DuoPack

photo: Nikwax Hardshell DuoPack fabric cleaner/treatment

Specs

Price MSRP: $20.75
Current Retail: $20.75-$22.95
Historic Range: $13.99-$22.95
Reviewers Paid: $20.99

Reviews

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   0
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

The Nikwax Hardshell DUO-Pack is a great choice for bringing back both the waterproofness and breathability of your Goretex or other waterproof breathable membrane gear. This kit includes a bottle of Tech Wash cleaner and a bottle of TX. Direct, which is a waterproofing treatment that allows water to shed off your jacket.

Pros

  • Simple to use (especially when you don’t bother to read the instructions)
  • Seems to be effective at cleaning and at restoring the water repellency

Cons

  • The instructions are in an incredibly small font size and are dark text on a dark background, which make it a pain to read.

I have a couple of older jackets that have long ago started too wet out easily and were not nearly as waterproof as when they were new, so I thought I’d pick up the DUO-Pack from Nikwax and use it to clean and retreat my jackets.

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The kit comes with two bottles where one is the Tech Wash which is used to first clean your jackets and then the second bottle of TX.Direct is a wash-in waterproofing/water repellency treatment.

Breathable waterproof membrane-based materials really only work when the pores in the membrane are free of dirt, sweat, and other crud and when the outer material layer sheds water and doesn’t “wet-out” which effectively prevents water vapor from coming through the membrane.

The Tech Wash included in the kit is focused on getting your overall jacket clean, but more importantly it is a safe and effective way to make sure the pores of the membrane also get clean.  The TX.Direct refreshes the waterproofness of the outer material layer to help prevent or delay that layer from wetting out, which would inhibit the breathability of the material.

The jackets I was cleaning and treating were an old blue Patagonia Specter jacket which uses a H2No HB membrane material, a relatively new black Outdoor Research Helium rain jacket which uses Pertex as the breathable membrane, and an older yellow Outdoor Research Mentor Goretex Jacket.

Before I washed and treated the three jackets, I took them outside and hosed them down to try and show how well they shed water before being treated.

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The next three photos are closeups of each of the jackets, and while it may not be entirely clear from the photos, the Outdoor Research Helium was still shedding water and hadn’t yet wetted out, but both the Patagonia and the Outdoor Research Mentor were already wetting out and water was not beading up like it should.

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The first step of the process was to clean the jackets, which was pretty straightforward. I followed the instructions (for the most part...) and used the recommended washing machine settings on the bottle of Tech Wash and put in 5 ounces (half the bottle) of the Tech Wash, which was the recommended amount for three jackets, and let the washing machine do its thing.

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Mistake/Lesson Learned #1 - I didn’t throughly read everything on the label and just jumped to the instructions. At the top of the label it mentions that the Tech Wash is recommended for Goretex, Ultex, Entrant and eVent materials, so I don’t really know if it was ok to use it on the H2No HB and Pertex materials. 

Mistake/Lesson Learned #2 - Again, because I didn’t fully read everything on the label I missed the subtle statement “follow care label instructions” and if I did I would have noticed the the Outdoor Research Helium jacket recommends to wash in cold water where the Tech Wash instructions said to use a “Warm” setting on the washer.  Did it hurt the jacket? I don’t know, but what’s done is done.

After the washing step was completed, the next step was very straightforward and that was just to run the jackets again through the washing machine using the recommended settings and then add the TX.Direct treatment.

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Mistake/Lesson Learned #3 - Again, because I wasn’t very thorough when reading the instructions on the TX.Direct, I missed the part about shaking it before pouring it into the washing machine.  I’m counting on all the agitation during the wash cycle to hopefully take care of any mixing that needed to be accomplished.

After this step was completed, I did notice that it said the jackets could be air dried or put in the dryer, but that I should look at the care instructions on the jacket to make sure to use the correct heat if I use a dryer. This is the point where I after the fact noticed that the Outdoor Research Helium jacket recommended that it be washed in cold water.

While the instructions are complete, I’ll vent a little about the size of the text used, which was incredibly small (especially if you're in you 60’s like me) and the dark colored text on a dark background didn’t help to make it any easier to read.

Once the jackets were dry I took them outside and hit them with a spray of water from the hose to see if there was any improvement in how the water beaded up on the jackets and if the wetted out quickly.  All the jackets looked great and the water was beading up and running off and no real wetting had occurred as shown in the pictures below.

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So all in all I’m pretty happy with the initial results as the jackets look clean and water is beading up nicely.  It will take some time to evaluate if there is any change/improvement in the breathability of each of the jackets, but I suspect it will be better than it was since the two older jackets haven’t been cleaned in a number of years.

Price

I paid $20.99 plus tax for the Nikwax DUO-Pack which I think is a fair price considering I was able to clean and treat three jackets and I still have half a bottle left of the Tech Wash to be able to clean three jackets again at some point in the future.  

Summary and Recommendation

I wouldn’t hesitate recommending the Nikwax DUO-Pack to anyone who has membrane based waterproof jackets or other gear that they would like to maintain the breathability and waterproofness at close to the level when the jacket was new. I would recommend that you carefully read and follow all the instructions to make sure that this cleaner and treatment is acceptable for use on the materials/membranes your jacket/gear is made from.

Experience

This was my first time using this specific product, but I have used other Nikwax products in the past and always found them to be good products at what they were intended for.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $20.99 plus tax

About the Author

Mike Mineart is a retired mechanical engineer who enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Western Washington Cascades and down in California's Sierra where his recent focus has been doing section hikes along the John Muir Trail. Mike also enjoys fly fishing and is an active member of the Snohomish County (WA) Volunteer Search and Rescue and the Everett Mountain Rescue Unit.

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