Stay Fit for Outdoor Activities: Waterproof Your Sportswear
As the winter fades into spring there is little that can keep outdoor fans cooped up indoors any longer. Nature is calling, and cool temperatures and unexpected spring showers are par for the course. As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.
But what exactly is appropriate outdoor clothing? For one, it needs to shield against cold, rain and wind, and yet it still needs to be breathable. No wonder practical functional clothing has become the standard in nearly all outdoor sporting activities.
Membranes and DWR Coating: How They Work
Functional hydrophobic textiles feature an internal semipermeable membrane that allows excess body heat to escape and sweat to evaporate whilst blocking external moisture from entering. Closed cell membranes like Sympatex®, for instance, function via osmosis, whereas microporous hydrophobic membranes like Gore-Tex® only allow small water vapour molecules to pass.
However, these membranes aren’t the sole contributors to outdoor clothing’s waterproofness. Most functional clothing is coated with a thin outer layer of polyurethane. This so-called durable water repellent (DWR) prevents sportswear from getting soaked through by external moisture which prevents heat exchange from taking place.
Regular wear and laundering gradually breaks down even the most robust water-repellent coating. If you’re regularly freezing because your outer layer is soaking through and pulling all the heat away from your body, or condensation is starting to build up inside your outdoor wear, it’s time to make some changes.
Refresh Your Hydrophobic Coating: Heat or Water-Repellent Sprays
Your well-worn sportswear may be far from water-repellent now, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to throw it in the bin. The first step in refreshing your clothes’ hydrophobic coating is to pop them in the dryer or iron them on a low heat setting. Make sure to place a towel over the clothing for protection before ironing.
If these measures don’t seem to impact the water-resistance, try applying the UNIVERSAL PROTECTOR spray or OUTDOOR SPORT PROOF for a refreshed layer of protection. Follow this rule of thumb: Less is more. Applying a series of thin layers is more effective than drenching your sportswear with the spray.
Easier Still with Water Repellent Detergent
Another option is using detergent-based hydrophobic coating. Select a delicate laundry cycle without spinning and add OUTDOOR WASH IN PROTECTOR to the fabric softener compartment. Make sure you avoid using any traditional fabric softener as it tends to clog membrane fibres and hinder fabric breathability.
You should likewise stay away from normal laundry detergents, particularly powdered detergents, as they weaken the surface-active agents of the wash-in water-repellent detergent. Powdered soaps clog microporous membranes and roughen the material’s surface. Instead, try using OUTDOOR TEXTILE WASH for a gentle clean that maintains both the breathability and functionality of semipermeable membranes.
Regular treatment and laundering will help prevent buildup of sweat and dirt from negatively impacting your outdoor clothing. As long as your sportswear is well coated, the occasional shower won’t rain on your sport parade.
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