We love that foul weather rain gear keeps us dry while allowing moisture to escape but because of these two key features, its unfortunately not built to last forever. If it was it would be as stiff as a board and wouldn’t breathe at all. Actually it would be a lot like foul weather gear 30 years ago. Fortunately waterproofing technology has come a long way since then and we have a few tricks to offer that will help your waterproof rain gear stay waterproof for years to come.
High quality garments can still last 5-10 years with good care. Besides properly storing your foul weather gear in the off season, Cleaning and Waterproofing your rain gear are two great ways to make sure you get the most out of your gear.
Since dirt and oils actually attract more moisture to the surface of your jacket, you will want to rinse out your marine weather gear with fresh water frequently, especially if you sail in salt water. At least once a year I also clean and waterproof my well-loved garments with McNett’s Gear Aid Synthetic Fabric Cleaner.
Most garments have waterproof material either built into the fabric or coating the inside of the fabric. Most all jackets will also have a DWR coating (durable water repellent) on the exterior fabric which augments the garment’s inherent waterproof-ness.
This DWR wears off after time, but you can re-apply a DWR coating with McNett’s Gear Air Durable Revivex Water Repellent. McNett makes a wash-in waterproofing but since waterproofing the inside of your foul weather gear isn’t all that useful, I prefer the spray on version for technical outerwear.
These two McNett products are specifically engineered for use on Gore-Tex or other similar 3-layer fabrics. You can use them on 2-layer fabrics such as your lightweight rain gear but it’s important to keep in mind the 2-layer fabrics are typically less durable and should never be put into a drying machine for any reason.