There’s nothing worse than spending a day on the mountain in cold and soggy gear. Your wet boots squish with each movement. Your fingers are frozen stiff. Your cuffs let moisture soak straight through to your sleeves.
Unfortunately, ‘waterproof’ gear doesn’t last forever. With enough wear and tear, your favorite jacket’s ability to keep you dry and warm will fade. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to replace it. Here are some tips for how to waterproof your gear to give it a second life.
Step 1: Clean it up
It sounds too simple to be true, but washing your gear can have a big impact on its water-wicking power. Built-up dirt and grime can impact the fabric’s ability to repel moisture. So before you do anything else, give your gear a thorough cleaning. Toss jackets, snow pants, socks, and hats in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, in cold water, with some detergent designed for sportswear. Give boots, gloves, and liners a once-over with a cleaning agent.
Step 3: Use a waterproof spray
After you’ve cleaned your gear, it’s time to re-up on its waterproofing ability. You can purchase waterproofing sprays from your local ski shop or outdoor supply store. Apply it to your pants, jacket, gloves, etc. as instructed on the package. Be sure to put a heavier coat on areas where snow and moisture tend to collect, such as shoulders and the cuffs of your sleeves.
Step 3: Let it dry
Sit back and let your gear dry. It’s important to wait until the items you’ve treated are completely dry before using them in the rain or snow. Air dry your boot liners, outer shells, and gloves. Or, stick your jacket, hat, and insulating layers in the dryer on a low setting to get the job done sooner. However, it’s still recommended to allow a day for the waterproofing treatment to set.
Then, voilá – you have good-as-new waterproof gear! If after taking these measures, you decide that your gear has no life left and it’s time for a replacement, browse retailers across the U.S. offering special discounts on the purchase of anything you need, even more waterproof spray.