Nov 5, 2012 at 12:51 am #1295797
I own an arcteryx Alpha SL paclite jacket. I bought it in 2005 but it has seen relatively little use an is iin good shape (at least visually)
last hike in the spanish sierra nevada I used the jacket and a pair of Montane eVent
pants to hike 2 days in constant rain (temps prob 45~55F)
What I noticed is that the jacket wets out VERY quickly. Obviously it
doesn't leak but the dwr doesn't hold up for more than five minutes.
This is true for the entire jacket – that is not just abrasion areas.
The pants, on the other hand, kept shedding water all day with no
apparent wetting out (of course I was cold, wet and miserable all over-
but that is to be expected:)
This really concerned me…and while still on the trail I vowed to buy a new eVent jkt….BUT i still want to understand this:
1) is this reasonable for the Paclite? at home when dry the dwr seems to work – when I pour water on the jacket it seems to bead well… How would you gauge DWR performace?
3) anyway to fix it (I did use revivx or similar a while ago and
tumbled on low dry…)
4) does the glaring difference compared to the pants just have to do
with the 3 layer eVent being much better than he 2.5 layer Paclite?
MikeNov 5, 2012 at 3:46 am #1926418
The fluorocarbon spikes need about 140 F to stand erect, and minimize the surface energy. Buy or rent an IR thermometer and place a large piece of paper masking tape on your dryer watll. Test the temperature of your empty dryer wall tape after running ~15 minutes at each temperature setting. Note your dryer setting that results in the closest tape temp to 140F. Re-process your jacket for ~15 minutes at this 140F setting.
The above process will salvage your jacket assuming it was double rinsed to remove any soap or detergent and the DWR is not worn off.
My home dryer has to be set on High to achieve a 140F tape temp. I have never seen the spikes erect themselves on ANY dryer set on Low.
The masking tape insures the drum emmisivity matches the default setting for most IR thermometers.Nov 5, 2012 at 5:00 am #1926421
10x….now i just need to figure out where i rent one (maybe "borrow" a thermal cam from my reserve duty unit….
MikeNov 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm #1926492
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Not rinsing all the soap out and not heating enough while drying probably explain 98% of the "my jacket doesn't work anymore" claims. Manufacturers should be more emphatic about this.
If your dryer doesn't get hot enough, an iron will serve the same purpose. Just don't melt the jacket.Nov 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm #1926497
Yes, it does take a high heat setting on many electric home dryers. Gas dryers may run a lot higher, though. Be carefull…
140F is about the temps that many plastics will get very flexible and can take a set. I don't recommend using an iron for that reason. It can actually leave creases in a PET(fleece), or, nylon shell if you get it any higher. However you do need the heat to set the "dryer set" coatings like ReviveX. I tried ironing a fleece a few years ago and it flattened the fuzz, virtually ruining it. I believe the heat was a bit too high, my mistake.Nov 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm #1926504
yeah – my concern with the "high" setting on my dryer (its a 'normal" home one) was that mfg say "dont dry too hot….go figure.
Has anyone REALLY ruined their GTX JKT in a home dryer?Nov 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm #1926506
Check the detergent you are using. Some contrain fabric softeners and other addatives that don't rinse out easily. Those additives may be bad for the DWR finish. If you arn't sure buy a detergent that is specifically for waterproof breathable fabrics.Nov 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm #1926516
Every GoreTex fabric has a good DWR ex factory.
Any DWR can be wrecked by 'contamination'.
Any common laundry detergent WILL wreck a DWR by contamination.
Other grease, sweat and dirt will also provide lots of contaminants.
Buy some proper Sports Wash – Atsko, Nikwax, Granger. Stuff designed by outdoors companies for washing DWR fabric. Do NOT use any 'laundry detergent'.
Wash and thoroughly rinse your DWR clothing twice in the Sports Wash, tumble dry quite warm. (Twice, to get rid of all the contaminants.)
Iron the jacket all over on a Nylon setting.
Test with a garden hose.
CheersNov 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm #1926549
Like you, I always wash my WPB gear in non-detergent soap to insure no residue is left to interfere with the DWR but, for the OP, the care instructions for Gore-Tex outerwear explicitly recommends using detergent.
This information can be found at: http://www.gore-tex.com/remote/Satellite/content/care-center/washing-instructions
Also the care instruction tag for the US Special Forces PCU Epic garments also state that detergent should be used but, in combination with a double rinse: The care tags say, "Machine wash with warm water. Double rinse to insure that no soap residue is left. USE POWDERED DETERGENT ONLY. NO LIQUID DETERGENT. NO CHLORINE BLEACH. Promptly tumble dry on warm. No dryer sheets. Do not dry clean or press with a hot iron.”
I have not surveyed what the other manufacturers recommend nor have I done any related testing.Nov 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm #1926557
OK, to be more explicit:
If the washing powder or liquid has any whiteners, brighteners, bleachs, enzymes, 'fresh smells' or fabric softeners, it is very likely to leave a residue on the fabric. These will all sabotage the DWR by hacking the surface tension of the DWR coating.
I note Richard's comment about the Gore instructions. Frankly, I would contradict Gore myself. In my experience, most powdered washing stuff has some of the above nasties, and you can check this by reading the packet. On the other hand, the Sports Washes from good outdoor companies are all liquids and they do not have the nasties – by careful design.
Personally, I use the Atsko stuff, because they have lab testing to support it. I do not know about the others.
That said, the 'double rinse' instruction is good. Make d@mn sure you rinse every last bubble off the fabric. That also goes for any down gear.
Now, rather than trust me, try:
You might also like to know that so-called flammability treatments (eg for tents and clothing) are both toxic and ineffective. The whole flammability thing is a scam run by the companies who make the chemicals. The results from the only research ever done have been seriously misused by chemical marketing and disavowed by the researcher involved.
CheersNov 6, 2012 at 2:07 am #1926627
My hiking gear is sacred….!
NO ONE (wife/kids/maid) even breathes in their direction let alone wash them.
When i was the stuff i use Nikwax techwash. prior to washing i clean out the machine -rinse the detergent compartment to get rid of residue, and run 2 HOT cycles with no detergent and just some rag inside…..
so i dont think it has to do with detergent residue.
I guess i will try to just put it on HIGH cycle in the dryer…I never did that cause i was worried that it would melt….
Roger – you talk about using an iron…how can i make sure (I mean damn sure) my 350USD arcteryx doesnt melt?? sounds like scary process
MikeNov 6, 2012 at 10:16 am #1926667
Option B – Call your dryer manufacturer's Customer Service group and ask the specified temperature for each dryer setting.Nov 6, 2012 at 10:18 am #1926668
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
I've been intimidated to use the iron method as well – but have an older dryer so perhaps using higher heat as my attempts to revive have proven a bit unsatisfactory.
But I am also worried about the ironing method and making things worse.Nov 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm #1926683
Ironing temps varry, of course. Check the manufacturers spec. Nylons vary quite a bit, for example. 150F – 180F is used, but 180 can cause some damage to low temp nylons and spandex. Even PET has problems with higher than 160F, depending on the exact varient.
It is difficult to tell which is which or a combination in fabrics. Generally, most will withstand 160F with no problems. Steam heat can cause actual chemical breakdowns, though. Because 140F is close to the border line between activly increasing stretch(plasticising the fiber) and doing nothing, all I can say is CHECK a small piece somewhere. I usually figure 130F is safe enough for drying sleeping bags, not hot enough to activate heated DWRs.
I suspect that SilNylon is fairly safe, since it is usually dyed. But saying it IS safe for other blends is probably not a safe assumption. Too many different types.
The Iron itself usually doesn't have a temp setting, since that can vary too. Try a silk selection, close to 135-140F. You might need to turn it up a hair.Nov 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm #1926685
> how can i make sure (I mean damn sure) my 350USD arcteryx doesnt melt??
Any modern iron has a temperature dial, with settings for synthetics, silk, cotton and wool (for instance). If yours doesn't, best get one that does.
* The surface fabrics of most jacket are nylon, although there may be some polyester ones out there. The membrane is very thin PU over PTFE. The inside protection layer is usually nylon knit.
* Since nylon melts around 265 C (509 F), you do get a fair bit of leeway. Polyester has an even higher melting point. The PTFE layer which is part of the membrane melts at 327 C (621 F). The PU layer which actually does the waterproofing bit – well, that's complex. Don't worry about it. The DWR coating usually requires (from memory) about 140 C (284 F) to reflow, which is much lower.
* Set iron to muid-range nylon and turn on. Leave for 10 minutes to stabilise – this is actually fairly important as the start temperature can be a bit higher.
* Test iron on some other bit of nylon fabric: make sure it leaves no significant mark. It will leave the normal 'ironed fabric' look of course: that's OK.
* Iron jacket.
It's that simple.
CheersNov 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm #1926743
The best way to address your concerns about an iron or dryer is to address the problem in stages:
1. Clean the jacket with the appropriate detergent with an extra rinse. and air dry. Then test the jacket.
2. if it still wets out clean it again and air dry. Then test it.
3. If it still wets out put it in the dryer on low. Then test it.
4. Put it in the dryer on medium. Then test it.
5. Put it in the dryer on high. Then test it.
6. If none of that works wash it again then iron at the lowest setting. Then test it at progressively higher temperatures. If desired you can use a thermocouple or food thermometer to measure the iron temperature before you use it on the fabric.
In my experience with a lightly used Gortex jacket with proper cleaning I didn't have any issues with DWR until it was about 10 years old. Then I had to reapply the DWR every couple of years. After about 15 years I retired it. I always used the dryer on low. I didn't know that higher dryer settings might restore it until recently. Also before you put it in the dryer or use an iron you can try a Nikwax wash in or spray on DWR.Nov 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm #1926764
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
If it's come down to the iron or the dryer, you got snookered.Nov 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm #1926780
Good Plan, Steven!Nov 9, 2012 at 10:16 am #1927316
So i tried the dryer but the temp wasnt even NEAR 140F…
In the directions they say dry for 40min…so if I go the ironing route – do I also need to do it for a longish time? or will just normal ironing will do?
MikeNov 9, 2012 at 11:52 am #1927336
What was the temp for each setting?Nov 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm #1927345
@richard – i assume you are asking about the dryer…well i didnt measure it (as i have yet to get my hands on a relevant thermometer) but even on high the garment was not even hot to the touch – and i know hot to touch is around 50+ deg C…..
My fried (who is an industrial engineer, amateur hiker and general Feinschmecker was with me and he commented that on his high end dryer (mine is like a cheap one) the garments are HOT to the touch when you take them out. He will also get me a thermo couple to help measure the iron…Nov 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm #1927359
Just normal ironing is fine.
Hey – try it with the iron then with the hose.
CheersNov 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm #1927382
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
1. I use Nik Wax wash for WPB garments
2. I rinse THREE times
3. I dry at Medium temp (about 150 F.)
4. I spray garments thoroughly with REVIVEX
This process alwayd gies me great DWR.
Sometimes I just put the garment in for a double rinse (warm water) & dry at 150 F. This is good for between actual washes.
DO try to stay out of wood smoke as this ruins the WPB membrane's ability to resist exterior water.Nov 10, 2012 at 6:54 am #1927472
how do you know the medium setting on your machine is 150F (btw that seems quite high for a dryer…it would mean the high is too warm to touch…)
I do the same thing (washed with techwash and rinsed with dubious amounts of water) but the prob is the heat in dryer isnt enough
MikeNov 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm #1927950
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