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Old 07-24-12, 11:54 PM   #1
BassNotBass
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Rain repellent clothing

Since I ride year round in all manner of weather I need apparel that is both water repellent and breathable. I've converted several articles of cotton clothing to waxed cotton (ie tin cloth, oil skin) using a recipe of linseed oil and paraffin wax (sometimes beeswax when I have it), however these articles of clothing can be cumbersome to pack when traveling and be very stiff in colder climates. I do have Gore-Tex jacket and pant skins when I desire water repellency AND breathability but even GT can wear out after a few years and lose it's desirable characteristics... and let's face it, the stuff is seriously expensive. So I decided to try a product that supposedly will rejuvenate GT materials and even make man-made as well as natural fabrics water repellent. The product is called Nikwax.

So far I've treated my tour-tried and true Cabela's nylon rain/barn coat, a pair of $1.75 cheap cotton double-lined gloves, a pair of cotton plimsoles and an old cotton t-shirt to wear in the summer during my commute to work in rainy weather (an alternative to baring my 49 year old pasty out of shape torso vs arriving at work with a drenched t-shirt). I have to admit that I'm very impressed so far. I never thought that anything could work as well as good old fashioned waxed cotton as far as water repellency goes but so far this Nikwax has proven to bead up water like a duck's back yet leave the clothing as dry as when it last came out of my dryer (yes, my dryer does function properly). I have yet to experience it's longevity as compared to waxed cotton but the fact that it repels water so well yet leaves the article of clothing as pliable as intended really impressed me.

You may want to check this stuff out... IMHO it beats the functionality (and hot box characteristics) of PVC rain gear and the high price of Gore-Tex.
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Old 07-25-12, 03:13 PM   #2
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Is this nikwax durable? How often do you have to treat your stuff with it?
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Old 08-10-12, 08:13 AM   #3
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I've only just started using Nikwax and so far the stuff I treated has gone through 2 extended downpours and still beads up water like my GoreTex shells. I'll keep updating as time passes.
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Old 08-10-12, 09:25 AM   #4
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I pull out my cycle rain cape and change my hat, when It starts raining.

bike capes are like cones, and open at he bottom.. ocean squalls come ashore here.
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Old 08-10-12, 09:55 AM   #5
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Did you use the 2 container system? Cleaning and waterproofing. There's a set available on Amazon.

I've got a set of J&G Clothing waterproof/breathable raingear. Jacket, pants and helmet cover. The jacket seems to be losing it's repellant properties and the pants never seemed to be fully waterproof. And as I sweat alot I get wet from the inside out. Then I discovered the 'pit zips' and it's been better, but I'd still like the clothing to have water roll off.
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Old 08-10-12, 07:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I pull out my cycle rain cape and change my hat, when It starts raining.

bike capes are like cones, and open at he bottom.. ocean squalls come ashore here.
I have a nylon cape that works great but doesn't work if I decide to wear a backpack and is a sweat factory when temperatures exceed the mid 70s... that pretty much accounts for almost half the year where I live. That's why I treated a t-shirt to complement my tin cloth shorts on my summer rides. I wore the gloves and barn coat in downpours while tending my garden just to test them (looking like a dork and worrying the neighbors in +90 degree summer heat ),.. not while riding.

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Did you use the 2 container system? Cleaning and waterproofing. There's a set available on Amazon.

I've got a set of J&G Clothing waterproof/breathable raingear. Jacket, pants and helmet cover. The jacket seems to be losing it's repellant properties and the pants never seemed to be fully waterproof. And as I sweat alot I get wet from the inside out. Then I discovered the 'pit zips' and it's been better, but I'd still like the clothing to have water roll off.
Actually I used the Fabric and Leather Proof (for the sole reason that I got two bottles at a remarkably discounted price) and just ran my stuff through the washer prior to treating. I also wanted to test my theory that the various 'formulations' were mostly a marketing ploy... if this didn't work well then I would try the material specific product. The FaLP came in a spray bottle but I emptied the contents into a 5 gal bucket (with about 2 gallons of water) and essentially used it like the Nikwax wash-in products... again I assumed that it would work just as well since, according to the instructions, the articles being treated needed to be wet anyway. I treated cotton, polyester and nylon articles and they all bead up water similarly.

I don't think I'll ever abandon my waxed cotton (tin-cloth) clothing but IMHO the Nikwax is a good alternative because it doesn't add weight or make the fabric stiffer like wax treating does which is great when I have to pack light for an extended or overseas trip.
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Old 08-11-12, 01:59 AM   #7
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Nikwax treatments last about 3 months but the beading gradually reduces.
The clothing you are looking for is Paramo, their jackets are a bit warm but good for riding at moderate pace in temperate weather and higher pace in cool/cold conditions. I use mine from Nov-May. You really cant compare the breathability of Gortex to Paramo. I took my jacket on a big Northern Europe tour and ended up wearing it all through Norway in days of torrential rain. It dried inside the tent within 15 mins.
I wash my jacket every 3 months, retreat it once or twice a year and fix worn out zips/velcro every couple of years. After 10 years, it is still in good shape.
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Old 08-11-12, 05:43 AM   #8
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Nikwax treatments last about 3 months but the beading gradually reduces.
The clothing you are looking for is Paramo, their jackets are a bit warm but good for riding at moderate pace in temperate weather and higher pace in cool/cold conditions. I use mine from Nov-May. You really cant compare the breathability of Gortex to Paramo. I took my jacket on a big Northern Europe tour and ended up wearing it all through Norway in days of torrential rain. It dried inside the tent within 15 mins.
I wash my jacket every 3 months, retreat it once or twice a year and fix worn out zips/velcro every couple of years. After 10 years, it is still in good shape.
I checked the Páramo site and came up with this interesting info:
Quote:
Páramo Directional Clothing Systems was set up by the founder and owner of Nikwax, Nick Brown.
He is still very much part of the day-to-day running of Páramo, continuing to contribute to new fabric developments in particulr.
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Old 08-11-12, 05:46 AM   #9
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I've never heard of Paramo but after checking out their site it appears that there aren't any retailers here in the US. I'll have to look into their lineup next year during my bike tour through parts of Scotland.
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Old 08-11-12, 05:51 AM   #10
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Interesting find, Burton. I went back to the site and looked into their waterproof clothing care suggestions. They suggest Nikwax for reproofing.
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Old 08-11-12, 06:52 AM   #11
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I've used Nikwax on hiking boots. Seems to work. Just be sure the surface where you will apply it is clean.
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Old 08-11-12, 06:58 AM   #12
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So BassNotBass, how do you concoct your stuff to treat your clothing? I have a Carradice saddle bag that I probably should treat before the fall and winter arrives. I think I remember that they recommend paraffin to restore the water resistance. Can you share the recipe?
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Old 08-11-12, 08:45 AM   #13
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So BassNotBass, how do you concoct your stuff to treat your clothing? I have a Carradice saddle bag that I probably should treat before the fall and winter arrives. I think I remember that they recommend paraffin to restore the water resistance. Can you share the recipe?
I've applied just melted paraffin wax which really beads up water well but it's downside is that the treated fabric becomes pretty darn stiff at first and takes awhile to wear in. Depending on how heavy the treatment, the paraffin can also flake for awhile. The method I've used to apply just the wax is to rub the wax onto the fabric and then heat it with a hair dryer (like this).

To soften the paraffin and make it more pliable I add boiled linseed oil (boiled dries quicker than raw) about 4 floz to 1lb wax. The downsides to the addition of linseed oil is that it can lend a yellowish tint to the item being treated, but waxing fabric also darkens it substantially anyway, and the smell of linseed oil takes a few weeks to go away.

To apply I heat the wax/linseed on a candle warmer ($5 at a thrift store) and use a little cloth pad to work it onto the fabric under a heat lamp which keeps the wax molten allowing me to really work the wax in. Retreating can be time consuming but initial treatment is a serious commitment. A couple of months ago I bought a mid-length Czech military coat and it took me a total of about 9 hours to do the initial waxing. Retreating is a once a year task and it's best to do it during the summer so that you hang the treated items outdoors in the heat/sun where the treatment has a lot of time to soak in and also allow the linseed oil to dry relatively quickly.

There's quite a bit of info on the web as well as instructional videos on YouTube... good keywords are "waxed cotton", "tin cloth", "oil skin", "DIY", "reproof", "Barbour", "Filson".
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Old 08-11-12, 08:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I pull out my cycle rain cape and change my hat, when It starts raining.

bike capes are like cones, and open at he bottom.. ocean squalls come ashore here.
Sort of like wearing a kilt, I suspect. I find the cape a pretty good tactic to keep as much rain off as possible without sweating to death.
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