Waterproof-Jackets-Common-Questions - Great Outdoors Ireland

Water-Proof Jackets| Frequently Asked Questions

If you've ever wondered about waterproof jackets—from how they're made to how to wash them—you're in the right place. We're about to dive into some of the most common questions people have about these essential pieces of outdoor gear.  

Curious about why you might opt for a high-end waterproof jacket? Check out our article on "Why buy Gore-Tex Jackets" to get the lowdown on the benefits of this top-notch material. And if you already have a waterproof jacket and want to keep it in tip-top shape, don't miss our guide on "How to Keep Waterproof Gear Waterproof", where we share some handy tips for maintenance.

With these guides and the answers we’re about to explore, you’ll be all set with information to make the most of your waterproof gear. Let’s get into it!

Can you wash waterproof jackets?

In short - yes, they definitely can be washed. We advise not to wash waterproof jackets with regular detergents, softeners or soaps and instead opt to use a specific detergent from either Nikwax or Grangers, followed up with a re-waterproofing spray from them also.

Ever noticed how your waterproof jacket might start absorbing water during a downpour, rather than repelling it? This could be due to a phenomenon known as “wetting out,” which means your jacket isn't functioning at its best anymore. Thankfully, the fix is quite simple: give it a good clean.

For any outdoor enthusiast, a waterproof, breathable jacket is crucial. It keeps you comfy and dry, no matter the weather. But, substances like dirt, oil, and sunscreen can clog up the jacket’s outer layer over time, affecting its performance.

This is where a specialised cleaner from Nikwax or Grangers comes in. Regular detergents can leave a residue that actually draws water in, causing the wetting out effect. By using the right product, you can eliminate these residues and restore your jacket’s functionality.

If you’re hesitant about washing your high-tech gear, don’t be! Here are a couple of signs it’s time for a wash and how to go about it:

Signs You Need to Wash Your Jacket:

  • Wetting Out: If water spreads on the fabric, it means the water repellent treatment needs to be reapplied.
  • Visible Dirt and Stains: Life outdoors can get messy—cleaning your jacket can help remove dirt and stains effectively.

How to Clean Your Jacket:

  1. Prep Your Washer: Make sure to remove any residual detergent from the dispenser first.
  2. Washing: Check your jacket’s care label and the Nikwax package for proper dosage. Close all zippers and Velcro, then wash and rinse thoroughly.
  3. If your jacket is still getting wet after washing, you can try using a waterproof treatment. One option is Nikwax TX.Direct® Wash-In. This treatment can help re-waterproof your jacket.
  4. Drying: Follow the care instructions on your jacket. Nikwax doesn’t require heat activation, so air drying or using a low-heat dryer cycle is fine.

Are Waterproof jackets also Windproof?

Are waterproof jackets windproof? Generally speaking, yes, but it's not a guarantee.

Designers make waterproof jackets using materials like Gore-Tex to keep the rain out. These materials are typically good at blocking wind as well. Windproofing requires using tightly woven fabrics or special coatings to block the wind effectively.

While many waterproof jackets also block the wind, it's wise to check if windproofing is a key feature for you. If wind protection is your main concern and you're willing to compromise on waterproofing, consider looking at softshell jacket.

Have you got questions about how windproof a jacket is, or need a recommendation? Feel free to reach out to us!

Read Adventure Bagging's detailed guide to understand the distinctions between windproof and waterproof gear. The guide explains what qualities separate a jacket that excels in windproofing from one that excels in waterproofing. Learn about the features that make a jacket highly effective in each category by reading the guide.

What are Waterproof Jackets made of?

Wondering what magic keeps you dry in your trusty rain jacket? It all boils down to the materials and design techniques used to craft these essential pieces of outdoor gear. Let’s break down what waterproof jackets are really made of.

Rain jackets use coatings and laminates to keep water out while letting sweat escape. The key is a waterproof/breathable membrane made from materials like ePTFE, PU, or polyester. Laminates are like wallpaper glued to a wall, offering strong protection and breathability. Coatings are like paint on a wall, providing good waterproofing and breathability at a lower cost.

Most waterproof jackets have a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, which makes water bead up and roll off the surface. This helps keep you dry. However, DWR finishes wear off over time and need regular maintenance. Learn more in our guide on keeping your rainwear performing like new.

For further protection, the jacket’s membrane or coating is sandwiched between fabric layers:

  • 2-Layer Jackets: Ideal for everyday use with their quieter fabric, these consist of the membrane attached to the outer fabric with a loose liner inside.
  • 2.5-Layer Jackets: These are the lightest options, using a thin coating or laminate with a protective print inside the outer fabric.
  • 3-Layer Jackets: The most robust type, designed for harsh conditions, featuring a membrane tightly sandwiched between an outer fabric and a liner.

If you're curious about the specifics of these materials or have other questions about your jacket's waterproofing features, feel free to dive deeper into the technology or contact us for more detailed information.