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How to waterproof clothing and gear

25 April 2023

When spending time in the great outdoors, you need to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Adding waterproofing to your clothes and gear can help them repel both water and dirt, thus making them perform better and last longer.

Despite calling it waterproofing, it is more a matter of upping the water-repellency of your clothing and gear. The actual waterproofness comes from the materials used in the products, most often a waterproof membrane. In our waterproof guide you can read more about the difference between waterproof, water-repellent and water-resistant. 

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Using a DWR spray 

Durable Water Repellant, DWR, is a liquid treatment that can be sprayed on or washed into the material. A lot of outdoor clothing and gear are made from materials that have been treated with DWR during the manufacturing process. But over time and with use this treatment wears off and needs to be reapplied.  

We recommend you reapply the DWR about every 3-6 months, after heavy use or when water stops beading up on the surface of the material.

Here is how you do it: 

  1. Make sure the garment, shoes or bag is clean and dry. If you are going to reapply DWR to waterproof clothing, we recommend you read through our guide to washing waterproof clothing beforehand.  

  2. Spray an even layer of DWR spray over the garment or gear. Spray from a distance of about 20cm. 

  3. Let it air dry for a couple of minutes and then wipe away the excess liquid. You may need to apply a second coat to areas that get a lot of wear, like elbows, shoulders, and knees.  

  4. Let the garment or gear air dry completely and wait about 24 hours before using. 

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Activate the DWR treatment with heat 

Some DWR treatments need to be activated with heat. Our DWR spray does not have to be heat activated, but it will quicken the process and improve the efficiency some. 

With a dryer. You can heat activate the DWR on clothes by putting them in the dryer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes. 

With an iron. You can also heat activate the DWR with an iron. Put the iron on a warm setting, not hot, and without steam. Carefully iron the clothes with a thin towel between the iron and the clothing. Do not iron on the fabric directly if it does not say it’s okay on the wash label.  

With a hairdryer. Gear like shoes and bags that cannot be ironed or tumble-dried can be heated with a hairdryer. Blow dry your gear from a distance of about 20cm on a warm, but not to hot setting, so you don’t accidentally melt or burn anything.  

What can you use it on? 

You can apply DWR spray to most outdoor clothing and gear. 

JacketsPantsGear
Cyclone Rescue JacketsRVRC GP CollectionRaincover
Typhoon JacketsNordwand CollectionExplor Seat Pad
Aphex Pro JacketsSilence Proshell TrousersTrailknit Waterproof Hiking Sneakers
Whisper JacketsCyclone Rescue TrousersPhantom Trail Low Hiking Shoes
Monsoon JacketsAphex Pro TrousersPhantom Trail Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
Outdoor AnorakWhisper TrousersExplor Backpack
Wander Pro JacketWander Pro Trousers
Silence Proshell JacketsTyphoon Trousers
Helium Down JacketSilence T-zip Pants
Flex Down JacketSilence Trousers
Hybrid Jacket 3.0Trail Trousers
Trail JacketsHiball Trosuers
Hiball JacketsAdrenaline Outdoor Jeans
Bouncer Highwaist Jeans
Daybreak Trousers
Explorer Outdoor Jeans
Suspect Outdoor Trousers

Using heat wax 

Before technical materials and waterproof membranes existed, people used wax or grease to add water-repellency to their clothes. And it’s still a good way to add some extra protection to clothes today.  

Just like with DWR, the wax will wear off when you use and wash your clothes. We, therefore, recommend you reapply it at least once every year. You might need to reapply more often with heavy use and several washes.  

Here is how you do it: 

  1. Clean the clothes you wish to wax and make sure they are completely dry. 

  2. Rub a layer of wax onto the fabric. You should be able to see clearly where you have applied it.  

  3. Heat the wax carefully with a hairdryer or heat gun so it melts into the fabric. Keep the hairdryer or heat gun a bit away from the fabric so you don’t overheat it. 

  4. Check the seams extra carefully, you might need to reapply more wax here and heat it again. 

  5. Look over the clothes and see if you missed any spots. You can build up the wax until you are sure you have everything covered. Just don’t forget to melt it into the fabric with gentle heat. 

  6. Allow the clothing to dry completely and let them sit for 24 hours before using.  

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What can you use it on? 

Heat wax can only be used on woven materials like our polyester and cotton blend. Do not use it on stretchy fabrics, softshell or waterproof fabrics. For these, we instead recommend the DWR spray. 

JacketsPantsGear
Outdoor AnorakNordwand CollectionExplor Seat Pad
Outdoor ParkaRVRC GP Collection
Wander Pro JacketWander Pro Trousers
Wander Pro Shorts
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