Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Penrose Outdoors' Guide to caring for your waterproof clothing.



Penrose Outdoors' Guide to caring for your waterproof clothing.

The last thing you want to be worrying about when you're outside is if you're going to get wet or dirty, you want to be enjoying yourself and making the most of the great outdoors, whatever the weather throws at you!

Here at Penrose Outdoors we sell a wide range of waterproof gear, from trousers to tents, hats, boots, rucksacks, jackets, socks, ski clothing and gloves. We have a huge selection of waterproof items to match all of your camping or outdoor adventure needs, whether it's a waterproof jacket for a family camping trip to rainy Cornwall, or you're off hiking through muddy wetland and need a pair of  tough walking boots to keep your feet dry.

Sprayway Eos GTX Jacket Womens £109.99

Berghaus GORE-TEX Paclite Shell Overtrousers Women's £99.99

Brasher Hillwalker II GTX Mens Hiking Boot £109.9
It is really important to know how to give your garments and gear the special care and attention they require to ensure they maintain their water repellent and breathable properties. Unfortunately, normal household detergents can affect the water repellency of your gear, which means your clothes will no longer be able to perform properly and your warmth and dryness will be affected.

As well as stocking a large range of waterproof gear, we also stock a variety of waterproofing and cleaning products, like Nikwax Tech Wash made specifically to clean breathable, waterproof garments and equipment without damaging the membranes or water-repellent treatments, and Nikwax Polarproof which adds Durable Water Repellency; reduces weight gain and maintains breathability and insulation of fleeces in wet weather. Here at Penrose Outdoors you can be sure to find a product that will maximise all waterproofing and cleaning needs.

Waterproofing has come a long way...

The origin of waterproofing goes back to at least the 13th century, when South American Natives covered their clothes with latex to make them waterproof. The first waterproof clothes were uncomfortably hard, heavy and due to the solvent used to spread the latex, they were very smelly. Europeans imported the idea, but didn't have immediate success.

The development of polymer chemistry allowed them to become lighter, more flexible and odourless. The modern, airy waterproof fabrics are made with two layers of polymers with different properties.

Layer one- a micro-porous polymer that is hydrophobic, i.e. repels water.
Layer two- polyurethane, turned inwards so it is closer to the skin, and it is hydrophilic, so it attracts water and absorbs the humidity that is released from the skin.

The difference in temperature between the inside and outside provides the necessary conditions for the water molecules absorbed by the polyurethane to be pushed to the outside.

So why is it important to waterproof your clothes and gear?

The purpose of waterproof clothes is to keep us comfortable and dry. In addition to keeping the rain out, the fabric needs to let your sweat escape too, or else you will overheat and get wet from condensation. It's important waterproof clothes can 'breathe', to let your sweat escape but keep the wind and rain out too. Breathable clothes are great when they are new but over time they need special care and attention to ensure you stay warm and dry.

A waterproofing membrane is a layer of material that prevents the passage of water into a garment. The membrane is positioned between two other layers, both protecting the waterproofing membrane and creating a physical part that separates the waterproof and non waterproof areas. When a waterproofing membrane is used in clothing, it is generally very light and fragile, with similar thickness and weight properties to a plastic bin bag. These layers are sandwiched between two layers of fabrics and are chemically bonded.

This multilayer material is then placed inside the clothing, usually along with additional layers of protective padding, and are commonly found in clothing and footwear.

The GORE-TEX®  membrane is found in a number of jackets, boots, shoes and trousers on sale here at Penrose Outdoors. The Gore-Tex® products offer durable weather protection, meaning that you will have a reliable product with a long, useful life, whilst remaining dry, warm and comfortable. The Gore-Tex® membrane has a micro-porous structure and contains over 1.4 billion microscopic pores per square cm. With pores 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet, water penetrating the membrane is not an option!

All Gore-Tex® products are durably waterproof, therefore reliable protection for the entire lifetime of a product is offered.

North Face All Terrain Jacket Mens £152.99
The North Face® Men’s All Terrain Jacket is a classic top, performing waterproof rain shell made in technical Gore-Tex® Performance Shell. The shell is waterproof, breathable and fully seam sealed.

The Merrell Azura Women's Walking Shoe features a waterproof nu-buck, suede and mesh upper and Gore-Tex® Performance Comfort footwear to lining protects feel and keeps them dry.

Merrell Azura GORE-TEX Women's Walking Shoe £109.99

The pores of the Gore-Tex® membrane are 700 times bigger than a water vapour molecule. This means perspiration and heat can escape from the inside, whilst the garment still remains waterproof from the outside. The Gore-Tex® membrane is also completely windproof, so cold air is prevented from penetrating the clothing and drawing valuable heat from the body.

Nylon is another material used in waterproof clothing and gear as it has a tough outer fabric, it is lightweight and waterproof. However, Nylon does not let water vapour pass through it so Nylon waterproof clothing will trap sweat and after time the inside of the clothing becomes wet and unpleasant to wear! Gore-Tex has the desirable properties of nylon, but is also breathable.

Durable Water Repellency (DWR)

Nylon has a DWR on the face of it which allows the water to bead off it. But what exactly is 'Durable Water Repellency' and what does it do?

Durable Water Repellency is a polymer that is applied to the outer fabric layer of an item. It penetrates the fibres and lowers the surface tension of the fabric which causes water to bead up and roll off the outer layer of fabric, as opposed to being absorbed. However, DWR is not permanent and regular wear + tear, exposure to dirt, detergents and insect repellent can shorten its lifespan. All Gore-Tex® shell fabrics are treated with this ultra thin treatment and the good news is that it is really easy to restore the water repellency of your Gore-Tex® shell!

You will know when your clothes stop being waterproof when the outer surface becomes saturated and you start to feel clammy and uncomfortable. Don't panic though! You can simply re-waterproof your garments to improve the performance of the materials, expand their lifespan and ultimately make them more comfortable for you. 

We know that over time leather can stiffen, but correct conditioning can restore its supple nature. So there is no need to spend out on a new pair of walking boots when you can use a conditioning treatment on them which will make them more comfortable to wear, as well as expanding their lifespan.

Similarly synthetic clothes, especially those that you wear close to the skin, can become smelly. Traditional cleaners and conditioners fail to remove the smell, and bodily odours build up. However, if you use the correct conditioning, you can remove and prevent those unwanted, unpleasant whiffs and pongs! 

Re-proofing your waterproofs to enhance performance and lifespan...

At Penrose Outdoors, we sell a range of different clothing care and waterproof products so you can give your waterproofs the best care and treatment, to ensure you get the most out of your product. We stock a wide range of Nikwax, Storm and Granger products, so you are guaranteed to find the product to suit any waterproofing/conditioning need!

How long after purchasing my product should I apply a waterproof treatment? 

This is dependent on how much you use the item. It is recommended to retreat your waterproof products every 3-6 months. Waterproof garments can be treated with a wash-in product in the washing machine, or a spray-on solution. Sprays are best suited for coatings, whereas wash-in treatments work best with membranes. For example, if you are wearing a waterproof jacket for a 10 minute walk to work each day, then yes it will need to be washed regularly but it may not need to be proofed as often as you would if you were wearing the jacket for a week long skiing trip and it is going to take some battering. 

Nikwax products are designed to maintain the water repellancy and breathability of your clothes, meaning you will stay drier and warmer for longer! 

Nikwax Tech Wash 300ml £4.75
'Green for wash, purple for proof'

Nikwax's Tech Wash comes in three different sizes. A mini twin pack with a TX.direct wash-in, a 300ml bottle and a 1 litre bottle. 

A wash-in cleaner for waterproof textiles, which cleans safely and revitalises breathability and water repellency. It is recommended for Gore-Tex® and eVENT® products. This easy to use soap-based cleaner can be used on clothing, tents, awnings, rucksacks, camera bags, panniers and marquees. The gentle action of Tech Wash lifts out dirt and revitalises all water-repellent finishes. 

Nikwax recommend using a sponge or soft nylon brush to treat stubborn stains before washing. Remove all non-washable parts. You can either machine wash your product in Tech Wash, or hand wash it (use gloves).

Machine Wash:
1. Remove all degergent build-up from the detergent dispenser.
2. Place item(s) in the washing machine. Max. 2 items.
3. Use 3 full caps (150ml) in medium/hard water areas and 2 full caps (100ml) is soft water areas for 1-2 items.
4. Wash according to care labels. 

Hand Wash:
(use gloves)
1. Place item(s) in hand-hot water in sink or bowl.
2. Use 3 full caps (150ml) in medium/hard water areas and 2 full caps (100ml) is soft water areas for 1-2 items.
3. Rinse 3 times in clean water.

Air dry or tumble dry on a low setting if care label allows.

Once you have cleaned your item, you can waterproof your breathable clothing using Nikwax TX.direct wash-in®, and for equipment use Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof®, for cottons, polycotton and canvas use Nikwax Cotton Proof®. You do not need to dry item(s) before waterproofing!

Nikwax TX10. Cotton Proof £7.25

Nikwax TX. Direct Wash-in £8.25

Voted the world's No.1 high performance waterproofing, that is easy, quick and safe to use. The Nikwax TX. Direct Wash-in adds long lasting water repellency whilst maintaining breathability. Its job is to restore waterproofing that may have been lost due to wear and tear and abrasion to ensure you stay warm and dry. Great for use on waterproof outdoor clothing. You can either hand wash, or machine wash your items in this product, and a spray-on alternative (fabrics with wicking/absorbent liners) is also available.

For best results, it is recommended to remove all non-washable items first with Nikwax's Tech Wash in a separate wash cycle. However, there is no need to dry items before waterproofing.

Machine wash:
1. Remove all detergent build-up from the detergent dispenser.
2.Place a max. of 2 clean garments in the washing machine.
3. Use 2 full caps (100ml) per garment.
4. Run 30 degrees Synthetic cycle and slow spin. Do not machine wash garments if taped seams have become dislodged (see below)

Faulty taped seams occasionally become detached on old or worn garments. They can be re-stuck using a propietary clear glue after waterproofing and drying.

Hand wash:
(use gloves)
1. Put 1 clean garment in 6 litres of hand-hot water in a bowl or sink.
2. Add 1 full cap (50ml) of TX.Direct.
3. Agitate to mix, leave to soak for 5-10 mins, then agitate thoroughly.
4. Rinse with cold water until runs clear.

Air dry or tumble dry on a low setting if care label allows.

Nikwax Down Wash/Proof is also available. The wash safely revitalises insulation and water repllency of down filled gear, and the proof adds water repellency, revives insulation and breathability in feather and down filled products.

Pick up a free cleaning cup in store for correct measuring!

Other waterproofing products on sale at Penrose Outdoors include:

Storm Twin Pack of Cleaner and Waterproofer
Storm- Twin Pack Air Cure 75ml £5.99
The cleaner cleans all waterproof garments and equipment, and is suitable for hard and soft water. The specially formulated cleaner in the Storm Wash-In Cleaner has produced a solution that is as effective in hard water areas as it is in soft water areas, whilst maintaining a neutral pH balance. This means that the cleaner is gentler on fabrics and does not leave a cloudy residue in the water which can cause an unsightly mark on the fabric surface and contains no optical brighteners. It is concentrated so it can be used on all fabrics in a washing machine, hand wash or industrially.

The air curing Storm Wash-In Waterproofer utilises Storms unique high performance technology requiring no heat. This waterproofer is best used in conjunction with Storm Wash In Cleaner. Once dried, the garment is ready for use, but performance can be sped up by either tumble drying or ironing.

Grangers Fabsil Aerosol 400ml

Grangers Fabsil Aerosol 400ml £5.99

By using the Grangers Fasil Aerosol, you can restore the waterproofing of tents and other equipment allowing them to perform like new. This highly effective, silicone-based water repellent treatment can be used for all kinds of tents, tarpaulins, clothing, footwear, canopies and awning fabrics. The spray application dries to an odourless and colourless finish.

What about footwear?

Over time, walking boots and shoes lose their water repellency, and just like your clothes and kit, they need to be cleaned and protected correctly to ensure they reach there lifespan. Although, many people forget to clean and care for their boots until it is too late, and the result is cold and wet feet. Definitely not ideal if you are in the middle of a hiking trip, or climbing adventure!

Nikwax have a range of products suitable for use on all waterproof outdoor and sports footwear, leather waterproof footwear, as well as nu-buck and suede waterproof footwear.

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel 125ml £3.75 

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel is a highly effective sponge-on cleaner specifically designed for waterproof footwear, which safely cleans your boots while revitalising their water repellency and breathability. This easy to use cleaner can be used on all waterproof outdoor and sports footwear, smooth leather, suede, nu-back and fabric. This product removes dirt and oils without damaging the shoe and prepares your boots for the application of Nikwax Waterproofing Treatment.

To use:
1. Rinse item with clean water to remove loose mud and to dampen surface.
2. Shake well before use. Press sponge applicator to break seal.
3. Apply generously over the area to be cleaned.
4. If very dirty, scrub with a stiff nylon brush (nail brush can be used).
5. Rinse well with clean water.
6. Apply Nikwax Waterproofing Treatment. or conditioner whilst footwear is damp.

Nikwax Waterproofing Treatment is a high performance cream for smooth leather. It waterproofs, maintains support and breathability in walking boots and outdoor footwear. It is immediately effective so there is no need to wait for the leather to dry. It is the safest waterproofing available as it has no harmful solvents or fluorocarbons.

It is easy to use, just shake well, rub the wax thoroughly into wet or dry, clean leather, using either the sponge applicator or your fingers, paying special attention to seams. Then simply  remove any excess with a cloth and buff to shine!
*waterproofing wax will convert nu-buck to a smooth waxy finish.

Nikwax Waterproof Wax 100ml £3.99

It isn't just your clothes and boots that need looking after, your equipment also needs some TLC and attention. Gloves, hats, ropes, maps....the list goes on. The equipment needed to make the most of the outdoors can be long and expensive, but with the correct care, you can significantly increase the life of your equipment meaning your money goes much further.

So why not pop into Penrose Outdoors and our friendly staff can offer advice, as well as answer any questions regarding waterproofing and conditioning, so you can make the most out of your waterproof products!

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