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I have two winter jackets, for different lowest temperatures (i.e. one thicker and one thinner). For a while they were both fine, until I had the experiences to go through rain or through stronger wind (not both at the same time, yet). Regardless of the advertisement and labels, they are not at all proof.

Because I would not continue the business buying jackets, hoping that one day I will find one suitable, I want to "fix" the current ones.

My plan would be the following:

  1. thoroughly clean the jackets;
  2. properly dry the jackets, avoiding accumulation of dust or some other debris;
  3. apply a good layer of liquid "solidifiable" something; good soaking / impregnation of the outer layer of fabric is mandatory, I assume;
  4. wait for the "something" to properly cure;
  5. be happy wearing the jackets.

From my point of view, the "something" to be applied on the jackets must have the following properties:

  • must stick to the material of the jackets (I have no idea what they are made of);
  • must remain flexible at very low temperatures; I already encountered temperatures of -25C, so flexibility at -30C or lower is desired;
  • must not become sticky / fluid at higher temperatures; even if I do not wear them in the summer, the temperature in the wardrobe may go well about 25, not to speak about transportation, in case of a relocation, when temperatures in the trunk of the car (or wherever) may go in excess of 40C;
  • must not crack over time; i.e. must keep the proofing capabilities;
  • must not peel as a result of using, or as a result of machine washing;
  • ideally, if it cracks it can be repaired;
  • others; which?!

I have in mind the following solutions:

  • some specialized spray; however, I think that they are not a long term solution, but more of a hack while in the middle of the trip;
  • diluted silicone;

However, with diluted silicone I worry about:

  • will it meet the criteria above? including the flexibility;
  • which variety of silicone it better suited?
  • fresh silicone does not (usually) stick to cured silicone;

So the bottom line questions would be:

  1. Which substance should I use?
  2. Is my planned technique good enough?
  3. Is there anything better than I planned?

Note:

I had several jackets in the past claiming that they will keep me dry in case of sweating. I always sweated inside those jackets and soaked in my own water a lot, the entire technology seeming to be mostly snake oil - so I do not care about claims of destroying non-working technologies.

  • Do you have to work outside or can you control your exposure time and place? In your locale, does the weather remain relatively consistent during your time outside? – Stan Sep 30 at 18:00
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NIKWAX® Waterproofing materials

There's a pair of products from England matched for (re-)treating and wash-in reproofing of breathable waterproof fabrics. For treating garments, Nikwax® TX Direct™ is recommended periodically, once a season. For care, wash with Nikwax® LOFT™ to preserve the treatment.

It's approved for Gortex™, Simpatex™, and Nikwax® "analogy." Read the reviews online.

MACHINE Wash: Add a few caps-full to machine wash (max 2 articles/load) in "Synthetics" cycle - low temperature, slow spin tumble dry (if possible). Freshly washed garments need not be dry for treatment. Drip dry or tumble dry without heat. My nylon golf jacket and pants have been treated.

HAND Wash: WEAR GLOVES! Add a few caps full to container (bowl or sink) of "Hand-hot" water, immerse completely, and soak for five minutes, agitate again to soak thoroughly, and rinse until water is clear. Drip dry or tumble dry without heat.

For taped seams that may have become loose, BOSTIK™ is recommended by NIKWAX® manufacturers to glue the tape securely prior to NIKWAX® treatment.

Read the available literature online to ensure this may work for you.

Professional cleaners may have special products available to them which are not available to the general public that may work better than a do-it-yourself product such as above.

Since you have a solution for low temperatures, your light jacket is probably ideal for general foul weather if you wear light rain gear over it. If it's raining, it's above freezing. You need to keep dry so a waterproof layer may be all you need to repel even a driving downpour.

If you feel chilly and the relative humidity is high, there's nothing that keeps you warmer than Merano™ wool. It's way too expensive to get 100% but blends are still very effective.

This advice comes to you from the water's edge in Canada where it occasionally snows, too.

Good luck.

  • 2
    for the record NIKWAX is a brand, other brands might work as well (or not) and be cheaper (or more expensive) – Rsf Nov 4 at 14:32
  • @Rsf Thanks for the comment. I've added branding indications for products and trademarks. – Stan Nov 4 at 15:35

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