- Apr 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm #1316112
I'm fairly fed up with trying to maintain the waterproofing on my WPB coats. I have been using Nikwax Tech Wash, not detergent, to wash the items, then the spray on waterproofing. Despite my best care, there always seems to be portions that do not get covered, and persist in wetting out, or areas of heavy application with a white residue.
Are the McNett Gear Aid products better? Do I wait too long to wash my coat to begin with, and get the factory application too degraded? I wait until my coat is wetting out some, usually on the forearms or shoulders, because I don't want the original DWR coating to get degraded with too much washing.
Other thoughts?Apr 26, 2014 at 10:26 pm #2096731hwc 1954Member
I have used the NikWax Direct Wash-in product and it seems to work fine. I'm sure the comparable McNett product also works.
With the wash in stuff, everything comes out with a slick DWR finish — including your hands and the inside of the washing machine! it's even soaked in and water definitely beads up. It's hard to tell how long it lasts.Apr 26, 2014 at 11:21 pm #2096735Mitchell EbbottMember
I've had good results with the McNett spray-on stuff. As I understand it, McNett's DWR is fluorocarbon based, while NikWax is wax based, which doesn't last as long and isn't oleophobic. The McNett has lasted a good long time for me.Apr 27, 2014 at 4:26 am #2096751Woubeir (from Europe)Member
Define "a good long time" because one study showed that even the best after-market treatments lasted only 80 miles ?Apr 27, 2014 at 5:19 am #2096755Tim DrescherMember
@timdcyLocale: Gore Range
I've gone strictly to NikWax Wash and while it works OK, it seems to mostly depend on the garment that I wash. This basically determines how long the new DWR actually works.Apr 27, 2014 at 7:05 am #2096762Cameron HabibMember
Keep in mind that there's more to consider here than strictly the waterproofing product. All of these sprays / washes are going to be hydrophobic, likely to the same general amount; what's going to differ is how well they bind to the fabric, something that's heavily dependent on the fabric itself. While one product may work really well for one item, it may not work as well for another. I use the Grangers spray stuff (don't want to ruin my washer with the wash in and my inside pockets don't need to be coated) and have had pretty good success. Make sure to crank the dryer up the max the garment can handle and throw them in to set the polymers – it's a crucial part to the DWR process.Apr 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm #2096914
Problem is, you have not told us what waterproofing spray you have been using. That does matter. So does what fabric you are starting with.
CheersApr 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm #2096979
Sorry, Roger, I was imprecise in my frustration. I use both the Nikwax Tech-wash, and the Nikwax spray-on waterproofing. I'm applying to North Face Hyvent, Golite Tumalo, which is a polyurethane membrane with a nylon face, and eventually Outdoor Research Pertex Shield 2.5.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, WPB is part of my everyday wear, as well as my trail wear. I may not be cleaning and refreshing the DWR often enough.
edit to correct Tumalo fabric typeApr 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm #2097022Sam FarringtonMember
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
After the Backpacker magazine article of several years back, I stopped using wash-ins to refresh DWR (Durable Water Repellent – not a waterproofer). Never had any luck with them anyway. But based on many posts here, I used a wash-in to refresh the DWR on a Patagonia Specter, which had gone over ten years working well.
Now I'm a little worried that I messed up, because I can't imagine that the wash-in could be good for the INSIDE surface of the garment that supports the waterproof breathable membrane. I should have used a McNett product, like the ReviveX spray, just on the outside, after the washing with Sportwash to remove oils and the like.
I think if you wash with the Sportwash, apply the ReviveX and heatset it in the dryer per the instructions on the bottle, it might work for you (assuming your dryer has a medium heat setting; otherwise you might have to use a Laundromat dryer). If not, you might consider investing in a higher priced garment. As stated, the Patagonia went for years before the DWR began to fade. I think the higher price was well worth the ten year life of the garment. A bonus was that the garment was more breathable than any of the heavier Goretex products I'd used. I spent 6 hours today climbing and descending on very rocky trails in temps ranging between 40-50 degrees F., and used another Specter for over an hour when the rain got heavy. Never had the slightest feeling of clamminess, despite the vigorous exercise.Apr 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm #2097074
> Nikwax spray-on waterproofing.
Ah – could be a problem there. I suspect those fabrics are using factory-applied fluoropolymer DWR treatments. Very few American companies use Nikwax.
The problem is that Nikwax is wax-based, and does NOT bond to a fluorocarbon DWR surface. But then, fluorocarbon DWR treatments do not bond to a Nikwax-treated fabric. Mutual incompatibility. So putting Nikwax on your fluorocarbon-treated garments may have created an untreatable surface.
About all I can suggest is that you try to strip ALL the Nikwax off. You may need to dry-clean the gear to do this. Then treat with a good fluoropolymer DWR like Atsko Permanent Water Guard or Revivex, and tumble-dry hot.
CheersApr 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm #2097415
See, stuff like that is why I'm on this forum–where the heck else would I learn of that? REI isn't going to tell me that, and nothing in any of the literature of any of the jackets says anything like that. Maybe there's a useful article in that?
Based on past performance, the spray on Nikwax won't last long. I'll e-mail McNett's, and see what they think about switching products. If nothing else, this will give me an excuse to try yet another rain jacket I've had my eye on! Fortunately, it's my daily wear jacket that is messed up, not my backpacking jacket, so the results are annoying, but hardly life-threatening.
Yes, I haven't been purchasing high end rain gear. Based on past performance, I wasn't enamored of the idea of investing more in a product, unless I had a guarantee of superior performance. My current backpacking shell is an Outdoor Research product, so there's a good guarantee, and that one I haven't mucked up yet with the Nikwax, so now I have a heads-up to use the McNett product on it first. My only beef is that it is relatively heavy as these things go, but I do like the extra long pit-zips that can function like a poncho front–clip the hipbelt underneath the front of the jacket, and much better ventilation seems to ensue. If they'd put that feature in their really light shell, I'd go for that.Oct 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm #2142676
This is an older thread, but I wanted to comment on my experience with the Gear-aid spray on product. Much better! I washed my jacket with the Synthetic Fabric Cleaner, then used the Spray-on Water Repellent. Set it in the dryer according to directions. Worked even on the jacket I had treated with Nik-wax DWR, so fortunately I didn't have to go to extra effort to clean off the other product.
So no more Nik-wax for me! Now to see how long it lasts now that the rain is back in the PNW.Oct 19, 2014 at 6:42 am #2142728AnonymousInactive
Glad it worked out for you.
Btw, the most durable WPB coating so far that i know of, is silicone, ala Epic and the like.
I've experimented with doing my own silicone coatings, and so far so good. It's not necessarily the best coating because it doesn't seem to repel oils as well as some other WPB coatings, but this is remedied by rinsing more often and an occasional deep cleansing.
If you were doing a thru hike, Epic or some other silicone coating, would be the best choice provided you have occasional access to clean running water. Every other WPB coating in such a scenario would be gone fairly quickly with even occasional rain.
I've been curious why they don't use silicone coatings with WPB rain gear? You have Epic which is it's own single layer sort of WPB, but all the other WPB stuff that uses membranes, as far as i know, never uses silicone coatings.Oct 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm #2142823
> I've been curious why they don't use silicone coatings with WPB rain gear?
Silicone is incompatible with fluorocarbon DWR, and it is much softer as well. It abrades off and cannot be restored by heat, like DWR.
EPIC is good in the snow though, just not for rain.
CheersOct 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm #2143131AnonymousInactive
To clarify, Roger:
What i meant is this; why not use EPIC like silicone coatings and methods for the DWR's on WPB gear that use membranes etc? I've read a number of Richards posts on EPIC and from he had reported, it seems to be the longest lasting DWR like coating there is–that's probably just because it's a thicker and deeper coating than other DWR's though.
One problem i could see, is that for most, it would be a one time deal. Yeah, you could touch it up with silicone spray occasionally, but if you start to lose the basic inner coating, you're screwed unless you're willing to do some more serious application yourself. I'm guessing that this is one of the reasons why they don't use EPIC like silicone coatings for regular DWR's, because while it does last a long time and only needs to be rinsed to "refresh", (usually) once it starts to more fully abrade off, it's a real pain to reapply and companies know most of their customers aren't willing to do that.
Yes, i know that EPIC and EPIC like silicone coatings on single layer fabrics are not the best WPB gear for rain, as once the rain pressure gets high enough, it catastrophically leaks. Might be good in conjunction with a Paramo type "pumpliner" though.Nov 1, 2014 at 11:53 am #2146152Charley WhiteMember
@charleywhiteLocale: Petaluma, CA
Wanted to bump this for for en-route findings from my once every three year attack on the mystery of what, PRECISELY, is in "tech-wash" and DWR, other than adjectives, adverbs and other herding-words that fill most FAQ tech explanations.
I'm on the warpath for "fluoro" based DWR (durability) and been scouring MSDS. One thing I note is that my old Scotchguard used to have a component that was "isoparrafinic hydrocarbon." I make that as wax. The Scotchguard Fabric product I just bought has only "fluorochemical urethane." No wax, no silicone. They also have a water-based hand spray bottle "Restorative Water Repellant," with "hydrocarbon polymer," and "fluorochemical ester."
Another such product is Tectron Polymer Waterproofer (They also have a silicone product) citing more non-specifically, "fluoropolymer."
McNett's Revivex has a little more intriguing fluoro, being, "Poly(2-Perfluoroalkyl)ethyl methacrylate)"Nov 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm #2146171
Can't say I agree with you. From my reading of the literature, it seems that the consumer-grade silicone coatings are actually slightly soluble in water, and they are soft. They are not 'bonded' to the surface, and they don't last very long. Fluoro-polymers are tougher, are bonded to the substrate and stick better, and can be reflowed with heat.
CheersNov 3, 2014 at 3:13 pm #2146662AnonymousInactive
Ha Roger, well i can understand you not agreeing with me, but when i'm basing my information to a large extent on Richards research and explanations you'd might want to reconsider.
Some examples and note, i'm not referring to cheap silicone spray (only as an occasional after touch up), but to EPIC or EPIC type process:
Richard, "For my personal backpacking use, a layered Houdini (with Velcro added to fix the big wrist problem) gets my A rating. The material used is an EPIC process which keeps the DWR active for the life of the garment."
Richard, "I wear PCU EPIC L4 pants and a EPIC L5 windshirt when I will be bushwhacking in variable weather conditions. The fluorocarbon DWR on my eVENT garments wears off after about 60 miles of bush whacking. I can’t rejuvenate it when I am in the field. By contrast, my EPIC doesn’t loose its water repellency on long trips. All I need to do is field wash it and the water repellency is restored. For me, this is the type of application where EPIC is clearly superior to other alternatives."
There are other examples i could quote, but i have less time lately. I do remember reading a post by Richard which noted how many wear cycles (simulated by being washed in a washer i think?), and EPIC lasted the longest of any DWR type coatings.
As i said earlier this greater longevity of EPIC and EPIC like process of fiber encapsulation with silicone is probably simply because the coating is much thicker than with say fluorocarbon, wax, etc. Now quoting myself re: EPIC and similar silicone encapsulation processes, "it seems to be the longest lasting DWR like coating there is–that's probably just because it's a thicker coating than other DWR's though."
This doesn't mean that you're aren't correct about silicone and it's nature, but you're missing other variables that could contribute to longevity.Nov 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm #2146694
Well, the starter of this thread was asking about consumer-applied coatings, not factory ones:
> I'm fairly fed up with trying to maintain the waterproofing on my WPB coats.
So that's what I was addressing, not factory coatings.
EPIC – has its uses, but it is NOT perfect. I tried some EPIC-treated poly-cotton fabric as a windshirt some time ago, and it failed very quickly (in one day). The company techie agreed with my assessment that the stuff had abraded off the cotton fibres, and that it (EPIC/cotton) was just not suitable for any sort of scrub-bashing (which we do a lot of).
But as I have said (somewhere), I do like my EPIC/nylon windshirt/jacket for ski touring below freezing. It works well there.
CheersNov 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm #2146713AnonymousInactive
Yah, i know, but thought it was apparent that i was speaking more theoretically or hypothetically.
Ime, it's not that hard to replicate an EPIC like silicone coating. Basically it's similar to reproofing silnylon. I used pain thinner, the more expensive silicone adhesive stuff, took a hand held blender and blended it up very well.
Threw the garments and/or fabric i was treating in the dryer to warm them, and as i was applying the slurry to the fabric, tried to stretch out the fabric. Used a foam brush to initially apply, and then took a microfiber cloth to rub it in more deeply. This was all done on hot summer days, outside in the sun.
It's probably not as even or deep as factory made/applied EPIC coating, but it will be worlds better than cheap silicone spray, and probably better (longer lasting) than a factory fluorocarbon treatment. The Maxima ESD polyester fabric that i treated this way, is now quite water resistant. I now have a front chest panel of this on my otherwise non breathable poncho. It may leak a little sometimes, but i'll also have a houdini or the like underneath that i could zip up, so i'm not too worried about water ingress.
Anyways, if you look at Richard's quotes again, you'll note that supposedly some EPIC treatments for some fabrics last a rather long time. Hence, in my mind, it just makes sense to combine an EPIC like DWR with other WPB tech, like membranes. As i've said, the only problem with this, is that eventually it may wear off, and the average "consumer" isn't going to do the above process to recreate the DWR. This may be the main reason why EPIC and EPIC like processes aren't used as DWR's for WPB tech that involve membranes or the like, that and/or cost.Nov 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm #2146717Eric BlumensaadtMember
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Revivex is the Gore recommended DWR spray and I've found it to be the best – so far.
Do NOT try "Never Wet". It will leave your fabric "cloudy" looking.
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