Keeping your Gear in Good Shape will keep you warmer and dryer on the water. Gortex is a multilayer fabric that is designed to be both waterproof and breathable.
Gortex can be 3 layer 4 layer or ultra-light. It is generally made up of at least 3 layers.
- Top layer: Abrasion resistant fabric coated with DWR coating for water proofing.
- Middle layer: Porous Membrane which is water resistant allows for sweat to be pushed through but water proof from exterior
- Inner layer: Often something that wicks the moisture into the pores of the mid layer
Durability of your top is a function of the type of exterior fabric:
- Ultra light gortex is comprised with a much lighter outer fabric, so that it is light, and packable.
- 4 layers Gortex often times uses an additional layer of fabric that can be as thick as a light cordura helping with abrasive surfaces protecting the inner fabrics. For example, the reinforced knees and seat of Gore-tex Kokatat drysuits.
Durable Water Repellent (DWR) prevents liquid from building up on your garment’s outer layer. When the face fabric become soaked due to absence of DWR there is no breathability which can make you feel damp and clammy due to sweat creating condensation inside the suit (“wetting out”). Regular wear and tear, exposure to dirt, detergents and other impurities causes DWR to wear off over time, but the good news is that it can be restored. The effective life of the DWR depends upon how the garment is cared for, and how rigorously it is used. The most effective way to maintain the garment’s water and stain repellency is to rinse it and let it drip dry (washing helps, and if it’s not a gasketed or a coated fabric, then it can be put in the dryer). DWR is not what makes a garment waterproof – it’s a treatment applied to the face fabric that keeps water beading on the outer surface rather than soaking into it. Eventually the DWR will wear out.
Thankfully, there are some great products we keep in stock at the shop that will help with DWR renewal, keeping your top water proof and breathable.
Revivex Pro Cleaner: This is designed to clean out the pores of your dry wear with out leaving any additional soap residue that will block them making the top non-breathable and thus sweaty. Safe to use on Gortex, and other multilayer waterproof breathable fabrics like Eclipse, H2No etc.
Most of the following products advise that you should wash your garment before applying any of them to ensure it is free of any dirt, oils, fragrences, and residues that hinder repelency.
Revivex Wash-In Water Repellent: This is designed to reinvigorate and add to the DWR coating on your drytop, helping the fabric bead & keeping the pores open for perspiration to move out of the top. Ideal for restoring or adding water repellency to outerwear and gloves with no insulation or lining, this is also a great option for treating multiple garments at one time. For best performence tumble dry with heat, this is not recommended for any gear with latex gaskets.
Revivex Durable Water Repellent: This spray on treatment restores DWR, resists abrasion and repels water, oil and stains. It requires the garment to be air dried for 48 hours (option for drysuits or drytops) or tumble dried on low (gear that can be put in a dryer). Designed for use on technical fabrics including eVent, NeoShell and GORE-TEX materials; formula is PFOA and PFOS free
Revivex Instant Water Repellent: A second spray on treament option. This repellent air dries within minutes so gear and synthetic insulated garments can be used immediately after treatment. Instant Water Repellent is a great on the go option when you don’t have time to wait. Safe for nylon, leather, suede and waterproof-breathable materials including eVent and GORE-TEX® fabrics.
Still having trouble with your Gortex/Breathable Drytop or Drysuit??
Some manufacturers offer repair & water testing for their tops and suits. This is awesome if you just took a rescue class and got stuck pulling a throwbag out of a blackberry bush or just had the out of boat experience that put you on a gnarly portage back to your boat through the brush.
Swing into the shop and we can give you pricing on sending your top back to be water tested and patched. Kokatat & IR(IR will service more than just their gear for a reasonable fee) both offer these services for their gear.
Some manufacturers offer a limited lifetime warranty on the fabric of their drywear. Kokatat is one of these, offering limited lifetime guarantee of workmanship and fabric, both on the Gortex and Hydrus fabrics that they use. When you send your top up for a water test they also check the fabric for delamination where the multiple layers come together. If found with delamination, Kokatat will replace the garment.