How a New DWR Coating On Your Waterproof Jacket Will Help You Stay Dry During Rainy Hikes

Wet Out happens when the outer layer of your rain gear loses the ability to beat up and shed water quickly. Here's how to fix it.

Is your rainwear no longer protecting you from the elements like it once did? Don’t worry—it’s likely that you won’t need a replacement jacket.

No matter what kind of rain gear you have, you will eventually experience what is known as “wet out”.

If you have ever pulled your rain jacket off to find your arm or your mid layers are completely covered in water, you’ve experienced wet out.

Wet out happens when the outer layer of your rain gear loses the ability to beat up and shed water quickly, becoming completely saturated.

Most rain gear receives a durable water repellent (DWR) coating at the factory. The DWR finish allows water to bead up on the surface and roll off the jacket instead of soaking into it. But over time, that DWR finish can wear off, allowing rain to soak in and saturate the outer layer.

As DWR finishes have evolved, they’ve also improved the chemistry from an environmental standpoint. However, environmentally friendly DWRs are also less durable. This means regularly washing and refreshing the DWR on a recently purchased jacket is even more critical to maintaining your rainwear’s performance.

Affected gear can be treated with a ‘spray-on’ or ‘wash-in’ treatment to improve water-repellency. In some cases heat treatment can reactivate the factory applied repellent finish and aid in the repelling of water, and other liquids such as oils.

Test your rainwear by sprinkling or spraying some drops of water on it. Does it bead up and roll off with a single strong shake? Then your DRW is still in good shape.

If, however, the water soaks in and wets the fabric. It’s time to refresh your DWR.

And don’t worry: Adding a DWR coating does not impact the waterproof/breathable membrane of your jacket.

All you need is some type of DWR coating, like Nikwax TX direct spray and an old rag. Just put a nice even spray (from about six inches away) and evenly coat all sides of the jackets.

How to add DWR coating to improve water repellent material:

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of DWR replenishment product you choose. Reviving DWR with heat often also restores the performance in areas where the jacket’s original DWR finish is still in place.


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