We’re all spending a bit more time at home right now, but Tim reckons it’s the perfect time to give your camping and hiking gear a little bit of extra care. Start by learning how to wash your rain jacket.
To keep your outdoor gear breathable, waterproof, warm and reliable it’s important to take care of it with regular maintenance. No one ever does it as much as they should, but it’s the perfect activity to pass the time when bad weather, injury or legally-enforced-quarantine strikes.
Let’s start with a pretty simple one, your rain jacket. Have you ever washed yours? Are you worried that you might have washed yours the wrong way? Here we go!
Caring for Your Rain Jacket
Rain jackets have come a long way. They’re now mostly waterproof and breathable, usually thanks to having heaps of tiny holes that let water out as a vapour, but not in as a liquid.
But if these ‘pores’ get clogged up with dirt, sweat or sunscreen the jacket will struggle to breathe. There’s also a coating called ‘durable water repellent’ (DWR) that helps water shed off the jacket. The contaminants stop DWR working effectively, and the jacket can ‘wet out’ (its holes get filled with water), which means it can’t breathe. You may as well be wearing a plastic bag!
I’m simplifying it a bit, but basically washing and drying your rain jacket really helps keep its waterproofing and breathability in top shape. Keeps it looking fresh too!
How to Wash Your Rain Jacket
1. Zip it up, close up any hook and loop (Velcro) fastenings, remove the scroggin crumbs and wipe off any big stains.
2. Check the washing instructions for your particular brand of rain jacket.
3. Rinse out the detergent compartment of your washing machine.
4. Add a specialised performance wash. Grangers and Nikwax are good options, but any washing additive designed for waterproof jackets should work. Check out your manufacturer’s recommendation if you’re unsure.
Heads up! Don’t use anything else like fabric softener and definitely don’t take it to the dry cleaner.
5. A gentle, cold wash is recommended. Chuck it in!
6. Hang your rain jacket out to dry thoroughly or, if the manufacturer recommends it, you can put it through a warm cycle in the dryer. Some DWR needs heat to ‘reactivate’.
7. Throw it back on and run around in the rain!
Restoring DWR: Was your jacket really wetting out or is it a bit old? You might need to restore the DWR. Some additives do this in the washing machine (2 in 1 clean and repel) while others need to be sprayed on afterwards.
Got more questions? Head over to Paddy Pallin’s site for their in-depth guide.