Proofing/Re-proofing gear!

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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 2, 2003
this is probably common knowledge to you but here is the info anyway!

anything made of a breathable material must be washed fairly regulary otherwise it won't work well!

for the sake of ease i shall refer to all breathable material as goretex.

think of goretex as skin.

it has millions of holes which allow sweat out but rain cannot pass through because the molecules are bigger.

if the goretex is dirty the holes will clog therefore making it less breathable!

if anyone has told you
"you must not wash goretex"
they are either lying or ignorant. you find this in fashion shops rather than outdoor shops.

often people find that their goretex leaks after a while. it isn't it's just a build up of sweat because it can't escape through the blocked holes!

if you have a genuine big hole take it back to the shop it may be a fault!

never put wax or silicone based products on goretex, it will permanently block the pores! and you can't get it off!

the correct way to use goretex.

1: wash it when dirty the most i would reccomend is once every 10 weeks though even that is extreme. if you've only worn it occasionally then every 20 weeks.

2: wash gore tex with either a reccomended wash like "pure soap" or soap flakes, anything stronger will strip off "ok" previous treatments!

3: when reproofing, dampen the item, and follow instructions on the bottle, spray seems less effective as you can miss bits.

4: try to tumble dry the garment, on a warm setting, you woun't dammage the garment it's what they do in the factory!

a warm setting helps the treatment "melt" or "set" onto the fabric it is worth going to the local launderette!

5: expect the garment to smell of "PVA" or "Wood" glue for a day or two.

6: do not fold your garmets the same way each time! creeses will form and the fabric will weaken, better still shove them in a stuff sack, this randomly creeses them.

7: goretex is still not as good as skin! you will still sweat in it if you are running about!

8: same goes for Goretex XCR, and any other branded breathable fabric!

9: the one exception is lowe alpine "ceramic" you don't need to proof it!
to "re-proof it just wash it and heat it up, it's all molecular and very clever!

if a salesman tries to sell you some proofing for lowe alpine ceramic, you have either just been conned or they don't know about it!

the same principal applies to:

bivy bags (especially ex army ones!!!)
and anything else made of a breathable material!

one more point:

what does water proof mean?

take a look at a very cheep pvc jacket. it will probably be stitched right through the fabric so you can clearly see the stitches either side and they are un covered. this is known as "water/rain/weather resistant"

take a look at an expensive jacket or tent, you will see all of the seems have been sealed, with a tape or glue substance this is really "water proof"!

always check this it makes a difference in bad weather!


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 2, 2003
put your garment on in the rain.

if the rain falls off "like water off a ducks back" you do not need to re-proof for a while.

if the rain "sticks", or appears to "soak in" this is the time to re-proof!

if the rain repells in some areas and sticks in others try washing the garment first ! it may just be dirty with patches of light grease or dust!

last but not least!

Re-proofing a garment
will not "water proof" it.
all the re-proofing does is repell water so the holes stay clear which in turn helps it breath!


New Member
Nov 1, 2003
Thanks for the detailed info. I personally like to have my jackets soak up a little water. Granted you get damp in really heavy rain, but I find that in fully waterproof jackets, water tends to run down the front and soaks your thighs.


Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
Just recently I thought that I needed to wash and reproof my jacket as one of my arms was getting soaked until I had a proper look at it.

Somehow I had managed to make three 1" cuts along the arm so now I've got to do some stitching and taping.
I might try just stitching then putting some superglue over the top.

Does anyone have any advice/experience of repairing tears?


Sep 11, 2003
cheltenham, glos
i had a two layer goretex get a couple of burn holes in it, it was nearly new, and i was furious! i cut a slot in the mesh lining, and applied some floor marking tape to the inside of the jacket. it worked a treat, was very discrete and lasted a couple of years. i'm sure gaffa tape would do nearly as well.

cheers, and.


Sep 1, 2003
I've known duct tape to create such a good repair that it becomes pretty much permanent. A small non-breathable area on a "breathable" fabric such as Gore-Tex probably won't cause any problems.

If you're making a temporary repair, though, you should be aware that professional repair services loathe duct tape: the adhesive makes it very difficult to properly repair the garment afterwards. So, keep your repaired area as small as you can.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 2, 2003
duck/duct tape is always a winner for these sort of problems, i know people that fixed a hole like this and it's still working years later.

if you are going to fix waterproof material permanently with out the propper goretex material, use a flexable glue like a "rubber" glue or ideally a "seam sealant" (found in most camping shops), other wise a glue like "superglue"/"apoxy resin" may crack and loosen the hole!

if in doubt take the offending item to a camping shop and ask, the shop i worked in often sent customers to a local sail makers for gear to be fixed!