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Gear Care - Caring for your outer layers

Posted by Jeff Dusting on 24th Aug 2014

So, you invested in the best gear to keep you dry and warm, ever wondered how to care your new wet weather jacket or pants?  Or perhaps your gear 'feels like its leaking'?   Take a read at this short piece to learn more.

What is Wet Out?

I know when researching this piece that I have experienced what I now know is 'Wet Out' - its a condition where the outer layer of the fabric gets saturated with water while the inner layer isn't leaking.   The outer layer becomes heavy making you feel damp and cold.   It is direct consequence of the water repellant outer layer deteriorating.   

But don't despair, you can restore the water repellence quite easily - step one, throw it in the dryer for 20 minutes.   In most cases this works, otherwise you can apply a water repellant treatment that you include in the wash or apply afterwards.   We are testing a couple of these and will report back soon.

Wash, Dry and Restore

Before we start, let me say, this is guidance only, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions ─ typically found on the inside tag.


Yes, you can wash your wet weather gear without causing damage ... but you should only do this infrequently - not every time you wear it!.

Remember, the following key tips before washing:

  • ensure all of the zips are done up completely, and all flaps and straps are done up.
  • Macine wash on a warm cycle - not warmer than 40 degrees C.
  • Only use a liquid detergent, and sparingly. Don't use anything with fabric softeners, conditioners, stain removers or bleach as they do have a negative effect on the performance of your gear
  • Wash it alone ... other clothes in the same wash cause problems for your gear, or end up damaged themselves

Now this is the bit that surprised me, the recommendation is that you line dry your garment then tumble dry it.   The guys at Goretex say, tumble dry your garment for 20 minutes to reactivate the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the outer fabric.  They also say you can iron on warm to get the same effect ... but I don't trust myself with that!


This is not worth the hassle - you need to specify the solvent and then re-waterproof.


When the factory applied treatment can no longer be reactivated, apply a new water-repellent treatment available as a pump-spray or wash-in product to the garment's outer fabric.   We are currently testing a range of these and will update this post with our findings soon.