Is It Time to Rewaterproof Your Rain Jacket?

People don’t always realize that a waterproof rain jacket, no matter how nice it is, needs some TLC every now and then. There’s an undeniable sense of satisfaction that comes with watching rain drops beading up on a brand new rain jacket. Of course, there’s also an immense sense of despair when that once impervious rain jacket starts getting waterlogged. Even if you spend big bucks on a name brand jacket with premium waterproof textiles – such as GORE-TEX® – you will have to rewaterproof your rain jacket from time to time.

How can you tell if it’s time to rewaterproof a rain jacket?

It really depends on the quality of the jacket, how long you’ve owned it, and how often you use it. Some can get by without rewaterproofing rain gear for a couple of years, while others will have to rewaterproof every couple of seasons.

Beading – or rather a lack of beading – is a good indicator that it’s probably time to rewaterproof your rain jacket.

Most waterproof rain jackets are treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. It’s this DWR finish that causes water to bead and roll off the jacket rather than soak into the material.

A rain jacket that no longer repels water can still keep the water out, but performance really suffers when the DWR finish wears off. Your jacket will start to saturate with water, which creates that suffocating clammy feeling we all hate.

How do you you rewaterproof a rain jacket?

Most of the time rewaterproofing is simple matter of restoring water repellancy to the outer shell. A good and thorough washing followed by a DWR treatment is all you need to bring waterproof protection back to your jacket. Of course, sometimes you may have to repair rips, tears, leaks, or reapply seam taping.

Here’s how GORE-TEX® recommends restoring water repellency.

Nikwax has some good advice for rewaterproofing rain jackets.

Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters carries a wide selection of waterproof rain gear including hard shell rain jackets, ponchos, waterproof pants, and more. We also carry everything you need to rewaterproof your rain jacket or any other rain gear. Stop by and visit us the next time you’re in Northwest Arkansas!

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