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Clean, Protect and Waterproof Your Gear

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Jan 23, 2017 03:55 PM |
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This is a tough time of year for your gear — mud and rain take their toll. Here are four products from Nikwax that will help your gear perform its best.

The rainy season is a tough time of year for your gear — mud and rain take their toll. Use the three steps to revive your rain gear. We also review four products from Nikwax that will help your gear perform its best.
A paid of waterproof boots standing in a shallow stream.
Testing the waters in a pair of leather waterproofed boots. Photo by Erika Haugen-Goodman.

3 steps to revive your rain gear

Waterproof and breathable gear is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) on the exterior layer. This layer is vital to performance on garments such as rain jackets and rain pants. Without it, the actual waterproof and breathable layer will become saturated and ineffective. Over time, the minuscule fibers of the DWR get bent and don't work as well. Putting them in the dryer can help revive them.

  1. Clean. Wash your gear, using appropriate product.
  2. Dry. Put your wet gear in the dryer until dry.
  3. Add time. On medium heat, dry the garment for an additional 20 minutes.

If this doesn't do the trick, it's time to use a spray-on or wash-in DWR product.

Footwear Cleaning Gel

If you do any hiking in the winter, your boots can almost certainly use some cleaning. This product is specifically designed to work on leather. It can also be used on gloves.

Our tester found that, for particularly stubborn stains, a stiff brush made it easier to work in the cleaner. If you want to re-waterproof  your boots, this gel is a good first step.

Fabric & Leather Waterproof

This product helps to waterproof leather boots or other gear. Be sure to start with clean leather. For best results, we found it was helpful to go over seams several times.

Our tester, who hadn't re-waterproofed her boots in four years, is happy to report that she can now jump in puddles again.

Tech Wash

If your waterproof and breathable gear isn't performing like it used to, it may be because it's dirty. This wash will remove dirt, oils and detergents that have built up on your gear.

Our testers found that the cleaner did its job effectively. It washed off the grime of trail work parties and also got rid of lingering funky smells. This wash can be paired up with Nikwax's TX.Direct Wash-In, which will help restore waterproofing and breathability.

Down Wash Direct

Down is a fabulous insulator, but keeping it in great shape requires a little bit of extra love. Regular detergent can be hard on down. This cleaner is specifically designed for both regular and water-resistant down.

Our tester found that this down wash did the trick for a particularly stinky down jacket that had enjoyed a busy summer of backpacking. It smelled fresh and was much fluffier after the wash.

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This article originally appeared in the Jan+Feb 2017 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.