Everything to Know About Hiking Gear Waterproofing

How should my jacket fit? Can I wash it? We’ve run through some commonly asked questions about waterproof gear so you can purchase your set up in peace.

Decathlon

Everything To Know About Hiking Gear Waterproofing

Everything to Know About Hiking Gear Waterproofing

Decathlon

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Can I Wear Waterproof Jacket Designed for the Opposite Gender?

Most waterproof jackets are going to be unisex. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the labels and ask someone in store if you are unsure. Some jacket manufacturers will have specifically designed the jacket to fit the body shape of a man or woman. Sizing is important with waterproof jackets as it can affect the jacket’s performance in protecting you from the elements.
How Should My Waterproof Fit?

So, if the fit of the jacket can affect performance, what should you look for? Waterproof jackets should not be too loose so as to be unnecessarily heavy, or catch on branches or other things you pass along your route. On the other hand, the jacket should not be too tight so as to restrict your movement. Generally, it is best to ask in store if you are unsure if a jacket is too loose or too tight, so a member of staff can assess it for you and help you choose the right fit.
Does Waterproof Also Mean Windproof?

Usually your waterproof jacket will offer wind protection, most models from Quechua, Forclaz and Simond will have you covered in rain, wind and snow, without compromising the jackets breathability.
What is Breathability?

Breathability is your jackets micro-design which allows it to provide ventilation while keeping you warm and dry. This will be executed through the use of material that allows the free flow of moisture vapour coming from the inside (sweat from your body). Some jackets will have ventilation zips on the armpits or neck area to allow further airflow if you begin to get too hot.
Can You Wash Waterproof Gear?

Yes, washing waterproof gear is a must. Taking care to wash your gear effectively will make your jackets, tents or sleeping bags last longer and make sure they don’t start “wetting out” (when they start to soak up water like a rag). It will also stave off the eventual peeling and bubbling on the waterproof layers surface, which ultimately will mean its replacement time. Just don’t forget to use a waterproof-specific detergent and re-treat your gear with a DWR after washing (see our article on How to Wash and Reproof Your Hiking Jacket for more information).

# Washing Tips

  • Always check manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use a waterproofing-specific detergent such as the Nikwax range.
  • Machine dry on low-medium for no longer than 20 minutes – continue on a drying rack if necessary.
  • Always re-proof with a wash-in or spray on DWR.
  • If using a wash-in DWR, still wash your jacket first with waterproof-specific detergent, dry and then wash again with the product.
  • Allow the DWR to dry for 24 hours on a drying rack or follow the same machine dry instructions as above.
What is DWR?

DWR is ‘Durable Water Repellent Technology’, a specialist treatment which when applied to waterproof gear, strengthens and replaces its original waterproof finish. Its always important to wash and dry your waterproofs first, as this will unclog any dirt or oils that have contaminated its fabric. Without the wash and dry, the contaminants will stop the DWR from sticking to the outer layer.
Why Re-proof?

Re-proofing with a DWR will keep your jacket or tent from “wetting out” and ultimately will increase its wear, giving you more bang for your buck.
How Often Should You Re-Proof?

How often you re-proof depends on how much you use the jacket, but with frequent use every 3 months or so should be adequate. If you only wear your jacket now and again, then once every 6 months may be a better option. Always wash and re-proof your jacket if you begin to notice “wetting out”.

This guide will give you a go-to when looking to purchase new items or maintain older gear. Never be afraid to ask a member of staff when you are trying on or buying new items for aftercare, they’re there to help.
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