Waterproofing and Maintenance of Gore-tex® and other Rain Jackets
Gore-tex® and Hydronaute jackets both enjoy great performance levels and comfort in wet conditions. Both Gore-tex® and Hydronaute jackets are provided with excellent care instructions. Both indicate that the outer layer (face cloth) of the garment has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish that needs to be maintained over time.
When does a garment need to be treated?
Just run a little water on the garment and see if the water beads and runs off. If it soaks into the fabric it is time to treat the garment.
Does this mean the garment is not waterproof?
No. The waterproofing is provided by the membrane beneath the outer fabric.
Why bother to treat the garment then?
The DWR finish stops water from soaking into the outer fabric. This means the garment dries more quickly when wet, stays lighter as it does not absorb water, and adds to the breathability as otherwise the layer of surface water inhibits breathing. Also, whilst not providing the primary waterproofing of the garment, shedding a large proportion of the rain on the outer layer puts less stress on the inner waterproof layer in doing its job.
We, at Bogong, have treated many garments in this way and here is our recommended method.
DWR Treatment for Rain Jackets
Most garments sold in recent years have a heat-activated gel in the fabric. So forget ironing your best shirt – iron your rain jacket instead! It is easy to tell if the method is working because afterwards water should bead off the fabric. Depending on usage levels this is effective for 2–3 irons.
For older garments, or after a few irons, move onto Method 2.
NB: This method requires some Storm Spray-on Heat Cure Waterproofer, ~$20, which can be purchased from Bogong or other good outdoor stores.
Wash the garment. We find it best to half fill your washing machine with warm water, add some Storm Wash-In Cleaner, throw the garment in and agitate it for about 10 minutes. Take it out before the spin cycle and rinse thoroughly in a trough. The rinsing is important.
Hang the garment on a clothesline. Let it drip for about 10 minutes. Empty the water out of the pockets and any other spots from where it cannot drain.
Spray the garment all over with Storm Spray-on Heat Cure Waterproofer. Do this while the garment is still wet. Pay particular attention to the shoulders, hood and upper arms. The DWR wears more rapidly on shoulders due to rubbing from rucksack straps.
Dry the wet garment in a tumble dryer set on medium heat for about one hour. Note that the garment will dry in well under this time but the heat sets the proofing into the fabric. This step is vital. If you do not have a dryer it is possible to iron the garment dry on a medium heat but this is tedious and not as effective. A much better idea is to find a friend with a dryer.
Take your garment, cool it for 15 minutes, and then sprinkle some water on it. Watch in wonder as the water beads and rolls off.
For more information about the various proofings and treatments available, have a look at our Proofings Info Page.
Care of Climbing Equipment
Care of outdoor equipment in general will increase its lifespan. Care of climbing equipment may increase your lifespan!
Obviously, these need protection from sharp edges, falling rocks, crampons and the like. Avoid standing on them while belaying or climbing. They should be visually and manually inspected before each use. Replace a rope after a severe fall or as soon as any deterioration appears. Use a rope bag to protect it from dirt and reduce twisting. Many rope bags have an integrated rope mat for flaking the rope on while belaying to keep it out of the dirt. Ropes may be washed in clean water but do not store a wet rope. Dry your rope away from direct heat.
The lifespan of a rope depends on the method and frequency of use. Lifespan may be restricted to one use! As a guide, intensive daily use will limit the lifespan to between 3 months and one year. Weekend use may give 2 to 3 years. With occasional use a rope’s life may be 4 to 5 years.
All climbing equipment, but particularly ropes and harnesses, should be stored in a dark place. Avoid heat, high humidity, damp and UV light. Keep all equipment away from chemicals, corrosive substances, petrol, oil etc.
These should also be checked before and after each use. Look for any frayed cord, webbing or wires, deformed nuts or damaged harness buckles. If gear is dirty, rinse in clean water using a mild detergent. Wipe off moisture and dry away from direct heat.
These should be cleaned at least once a year. Spray a paraffin-based lubricant on the axle, springs and between the cams. Take care to avoid getting any lubricants on webbing slings. Let the excess drain and then wipe off the surplus. Check to see if your cams operate smoothly throughout their range of movement. Ensure that if the triggers are released from any position that the cams instantly return to a fully expanded position.
Harnesses have a useful life of up to 5 years, depending on wear and tear. This may be limited to one use after a factor 1 fall. The lifespan of protection is given the conservative figure of 10 years for metal parts and 5 years for any cord or slings.
Note on Personal Equipment: As climbing equipment is personal safety equipment you should consider using it only if you are personally present. Also, if you ever have any doubts about any piece of this life-preserving equipment – replace it immediately!
Fitting of Walking Boots
Getting the right fit of walking boots is crucial. Here are some tips to help you get it right first time.
Always try boots on with similar socks to those intended to be used. With the footbeds and padding in modern boots most walkers prefer to wear one thick pair of socks. Ideally bring your socks for the try-on, but Bogong has socks in store for this purpose if needed. Remember quality socks in good condition make a huge difference to foot comfort so don’t get brand spanking new boots and then go walking in old socks.
Odd sized feet
Most people have one foot slightly larger than the other. You must buy for the larger foot.
Allow enough length in the boot. A good test is to slide your foot right to the front of the boot while unlaced and slip your fingers down the heel. There should be 1 to 1.5 finger widths clear at the heel. This space becomes available in front of the toes when the boot is laced. Seat your heel into the rear of the boot and lace firmly. Once laced, push forward in the boot and you should not be able to feel the toes in the front. Look for a good fit in the heel cup and across the toe box. Boots are made in different widths so you may need to change models or brands if the width does not suit.
Wear the boots inside for half a day or so to ensure that the fit is right. Bogong allows you to exchange the boots at this stage if they are not suitable. Then wear them for some short walks to ease them in before heading off on a big trip. If they feel a bit tight put on an extra pair of socks and go for a short walk, perhaps 30 minutes, around your neighbourhood. They will feel uncomfortable but this will usually be enough to stretch them a little into exactly your foot shape. Do not do this just before an actual walk; your feet may need a day or two to recover.