“What the heck is DWR and why should it concern me?”
is the acronym for Durable Water Repellent and is a treatment
fabric manufacturers apply to the material used in the outer layer
of outdoor garments. They cause water to bead up and roll off
the surface, making it easier for body moisture to pass through
the breathable coating/membrane and away from your body. This
drier fabric is lighter and warmer. DWR is particularly important
for high-tech waterproof, breathable fabrics used in drytops,
drysuits and splash wear made by NRS, Kokatat and other quality
even the best DWR treatments aren’t permanent. Regular wear and
tear, exposure to dirt, detergents, etc cause degradation of these finishes.
What results is a “wetting out” of the garment: water doesn’t
bead off, but rather soaks into the outer fabric. This water adds extra
weight to the garment and draws heat away from your body when evaporating.
While the garment is still waterproof, this evaporative cooling can cause
condensation on the inside of the garment, affecting breathability and
leading you to think there’s a leak.
do I need to do to protect the DWR finish on my boating apparel?”
and detergent residues attract water and degrade the DWR finish on your
garments. After each wearing, rinse the garments thoroughly with fresh
water and air dry. If the apparel needs a more thorough cleaning, wash
with a non-detergent cleaner like Revivex®
Synthetic Fabric Cleaner. Either hand wash or use a front loading
washer. The agitator in top loading washers can twist and damage the breathable
coating/membrane in your garments. After washing, rinse thoroughly. Rule
of thumb – “wash once, rinse twice.”
do I renew the DWR on my gear?”
apparel, with its latex gaskets and neoprene neck, wrist, ankle and waist
closures, presents a special challenge for DWR replenishment. Many DWR
renewal products require you to “set” the product with heat,
in a clothes dryer or with an iron. Never put a garment with latex gaskets
in a dryer, and we don’t recommend it for neoprene either.
use a product like 303
Fabric Guard, that doesn’t require heat setting. It’s
best to clean the garment first with a non-detergent cleaner and then
dry thoroughly before spraying on Fabric Guard. Two light applications
are better than one heavy one, and it works best to do this outdoors on
a hot, sunny day.
take care of the DWR finish on your paddling gear and it will breathe
better, be more comfortable and last longer.