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Thread: Talkback: We Waterproofed Our Fleece...

  1. #1
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Have long used polar-proof on my Ultrafleece jacket, and it makes it a lot better in the clag. Also makes it a bit clammier in nicer conditions because sweat can't soak it so well (lucky it's one of the ones with pit zips), and makes it verging on useless as a make-shift towel.

    As DWRs get better and better more of us are starting to realise they're a two-edged weapon for general use on non-waterproofs.

    Pete.

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch Stephen's Avatar
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    This is great stuff for using on gloves in winter, but can see what Pete says about its breathability.

  3. #3
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    It's not strictly breathability: a treated fleece is just as air-permeable as it used to be and air (and water vapour in the air) can pass through just as easily as before.

    Perceived breathability may suffer because the fabric no longer soaks up liquid water, and people associate clamminess with poor breathability.

    Pete.

  4. #4
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    This also particularly applies to windshirts and soft shells, btw. If you have a DWR coated wind top it'll lose some of its ability to let condensed sweat soak in to the fabric and be evaporated by all that handy wind.

    For those days where you're in a cloud a DWR is really good, but for a fine day with a cold wind it's an own goal.

    Rohan's DMC ("dynamic moisture control") coating is the opposite of a DWR, helping liquid spread across the fabric for easier evaporation. Comparing their DWR coated Windshadow or Windrider tops with the DMC coated Essential or Goa smocks (all of which are thin, fine, unlined and fairly windproof nylons) there's a clear subjective difference to sweat build up underneath when you're working. I like having the option of both.

    Buffalo's spiel notes that liquid soaking in to the outer for evaporation is part of the working principle of their Double-P tops.

    Pete.

  5. #5
    Mini Goon Formosa man's Avatar
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    Couldn't you just use a spray to apply the DWR to the outside of the fleece only and so preserve the soaky-up ability (trademarked technical terminology) of the inside of the fleece?

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch Big Kev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Clinch View Post

    This also particularly applies to windshirts and soft shells, btw. If you have a DWR coated wind top it'll lose some of its ability to let condensed sweat soak in to the fabric and be evaporated by all that handy wind.

    For those days where you're in a cloud a DWR is really good, but for a fine day with a cold wind it's an own goal.
    I stopped proofing my windshirts some time ago and just let the fabric do its' thing. Only exception is a pair of Montane Featherlite troo's which I sometimes carry instead of full-on waterproofs.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    Couldn't you just use a spray to apply the DWR to the outside of the fleece only and so preserve the soaky-up ability (trademarked technical terminology) of the inside of the fleece?

    Up to a point, perhaps, but fleece isn't actually that thick and if you douse the outside enough to give it good coverage I imagine you'd have a pretty fair amount soaking through.

    Spray on formulation is good for a waterproof where you don't want a loner DWRd but the waterproof layer stops any of the goop soaking through.

    Pete.

  8. #8
    Mini Goon Formosa man's Avatar
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    Good point, Peter. Maybe it would work better on a hardfaced fleece (no doubt why the results where better for hardface fleece for Jon).

  9. #9
    ‹bermensch Jim Parkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Kev View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Clinch View Post

    This also particularly applies to windshirts and soft shells, btw. If you have a DWR coated wind top it'll lose some of its ability to let condensed sweat soak in to the fabric and be evaporated by all that handy wind.

    For those days where you're in a cloud a DWR is really good, but for a fine day with a cold wind it's an own goal.
    I stopped proofing my windshirts some time ago and just let the fabric do its' thing. Only exception is a pair of Montane Featherlite troo's which I sometimes carry instead of full-on waterproofs.
    I've seen other people (maybe you) post about actively removing the DWR by washing in detergent.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Jon Doran's Avatar
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    Quick update: since I treated the two fleeces above, temperatures have plummeted, got snowed on yesterday so no rain despite some serious-looking cloudage the other day. I wore the Rab fleece under a double weave soft shell yesterday and it worked exactly like a fleece worn under a near windproof soft shell.

    I wasn't going hard - more of a stroll in the hills with friends - so I can't tell you much about any perceived clamminess, but my hunch - as Peter says above - is that the DWR may inhibit the inner surface of the fleece from sucking up moisture and moving it in liquid form rather than as vapour.

    That's a little more than an educated guess btw. I wash-in proofed a VR Lite Alpine Jacket out of curiosity a few weeks back then wore it over a proto Polartec Alpha gilet. What I found was that after a couple of hard-ish hours, the face of the gilet was noticably damp with moisture that had reached the surface of the Alpha then, presumably been repelled by the newly-proofed inner surface of the VR LIte.

    Not a good move on my part. Just washing the garment in 'normal' detergent sorted it out though. Next time I'll simply spray proof the shell fabric.


  11. #11
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    I've seen other people (maybe you) post about actively removing the DWR by washing in detergent.

    Washing in detergent won't "actively remove" a DWR, but any traces of detergent will work in rather the opposite manner to the DWR which will reduce its effectiveness (detergent reduces surface tension helping droplets to break apart and penetrate the weave, DWR encourages beading in to droplets which have a harder time penetrating the weave). The DWR should still be there after a detergent wash (handy if you've just washed your hard shell in deteregent!) but it'll usually take a better-than-usual rinse to get rid of detergent traces.

    I've no regrets about the wash-in proofing I've done (or pre treated kit I've bought) because it's all on stuff that I wear in claggy conditions where I want to keep out the dreich as a higher priority. But I've no intention of proofing everything that might be an outer layer with it, especially my DMC coated Rohan wind smocks and mid layer fleeces.

    Pete.

  12. #12
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    detergent certainly removes nikwax proofing.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    Removes? Interesting. I seem to recall Paramo recommending a dry clean every now and then to remove the Nikwax residues completely, then start with a fresh re-reproof. If all it needed was a detergent wash, then there'd be no need for a dry clean.

    Maybe Nikwax is less well bound to the fabric than fluorocarbon-based original DWRs on 'conventional' waterproof fabrics, and detergents do damage the Nikwax to some extent.

    Maybe we need to ask the question of Nick Brown...

  14. #14
    Ultra King Parky Again's Avatar
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    Dry cleaning will completely strip the fabric,including any gunge you introduce, that detergent won't shift.
    Detergent and a 50c wash certainly has a major impact.

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