You’ve bought a $300+ jacket and a pair of pants that cost around the same price and you expect them to be waterproof…And maybe they are for the first 8-10 trips out.

But it’s becoming clear that the waterproofing is starting to wear off. You’re coming home wetter and wetter each trip.

Do you go out and buy another $300+ jacket?

Or do you buy a hydrophobic spray for around $10.00 and apply it to your jacket in a bid to replenish the water repellence?

I know what the smart option is and that’s why we’re taking a look at the various options available in the hydrophobic spray for hunting and outdoor clothing market.

There is a careful line that must be trodden, however, when it comes to waterproofing your own clothes. It should be remembered that many items of cold weather and wet weather clothing are designed not only to be water resistant but they are also created to be breathable.

If you completely waterproof the entire outer shell of your jacket you are also effectively ensuring that moisture cannot escape from the inside either. This could result in a very uncomfortable experience the first time you do any sweating when you exert yourself while moving over terrain.

However, if you have bought a winter jacket or pants that started out as being waterproof and is clearly losing its ability to repel the moisture, the use of a waterproofing spray is a great option. This is where you can prolong the effectiveness of your favorite hunting clothes for a mere fraction of their original cost.

The answer may be to spray the fabric in those spots that are most likely going to prove to be less than water resistant.

When you buy a hydrophobic spray you should be considering factors such as its waterproofing capability, smell, life-span after application, toxicity and long-term effects on the material.

What Is A Hydrophobic Spray?

In the olden days, when I was only a kid, the product that was used to protect clothes and furniture from spills was ScotchGuard. It was a type of hydrophobic spray that was very effective in keeping clothes, sofas and carpets protected against nasty little liquid accidents.

These days ScotchGuard is still available and has expanded its range somewhat. But it has now been joined by an extensive range of products that provides you with options that cover all types of outdoor clothes and equipment.

Also referred to as superhydrophobic coatings, these sprays apply a surface layer over objects that form a barrier that is impervious to moisture. They have a number of industrial uses where it might be necessary to maintain a dry surface, notably in the maritime industry or in the medical field where it is important to keep instruments or dressings dry.

How Long Will the Hydrophobic Spray Last?

There is a tendency for the effects of the spray to only last until it gets rubbed off the fabric. The spray forms a waterproof coating that prevents moisture from penetrating but if the fabric rubs together or continuously bumps outside objects, that waterproof layer will be removed and the fabric underneath can become water affected.

The majority of customer experiences with these types of sprays shows that you can expect your clothes or gear to exhibit water repellent properties through the entire season. It is likely that a reapplication will have to take place before the start of the next season.

The following are some examples of the more well known and popular brands of hydrophobic sprays and treatments available. To give a better understanding of what you might expect from each, we have included a few customer testimonials for each.

Kiwi Camp Dry

The Kiwi brand is well known and trusted, particularly for the protection and performance of footwear. This particular waterproofing agent is a silicone-based spray is designed to be used to restore the water repelling capabilities of outdoor gear.

According to the company the use of this spray will not affect the breathability of the fabric and is effective for use on materials such as Gore-Tex.

The type of items that you might want to use it for includes light colored boots, coats, jackets, fleeces, hats, gloves, ski pants, patio furniture, tents, tarps, boots, hunting apparel and outdoor gear.

The directions for its application recommend that you patch test the spray to ensure color fastness. When applying, you should hold the can at a distance of 7 to 10 inches from the surface of the fabric and spray a light even coating on the entire surface. It should be allowed to dry over a period of 1 hour and then a second coating should be applied to ensure complete coverage is achieved.

Customer Testimonials

According to customers of Walmart

I use this on clothes, shoes and on the underside of my RV slideouts (primary use) to keep them moisture proof. Works very well, even on mesh style sneakers which I don't expect to "waterproof" but they do stay dryer in wet grass.

***

According to customers of BassPro

Again this year I sprayed my hunting boots with Camp Dry prior to the season, and even though I had to hunt in the rain and walk in very wet tall grass, I experienced no leaks. I have confidence in Camp Dry to protect my feet. There is nothing like a product that works.

***

​​​​According to customers of Influenster.com

I like to use this stuff at the beginning of the spring season on all my rain gear and the repellent usually last the whole summer long. Depending on how much rain there is sometimes I'll give it an extra spray in summer.

***

We bought one after so many years of camping we never had a rainy day till last year I'm now taking this with us all the time you will never know when it might come handy we spray it on the tent, shoes, backpacks, now it's a must have just in case.

Scotchguard Heavy Duty Water Shield

Suitable for waterproofing...

Outerwear, rain gear, umbrellas, patio furniture, outdoor gear, backpacks, luggage, canvas tarps, boat covers

This is a waterproofing spray that comes in a 10.5 oz can and it has been designed to be used on fabrics such as polyester, nylon, polypropylene and cotton as well as easily damaged fabrics such as leather and suede. It can be applied at the start of each season and you can expect it to provide good protection over the term of a number of uses before having to be reapplied.

The coverage it provides will vary from one type of surface to another and the company website advises that you can get 60 sq. ft of water resistance when used on light nylon or 20 sq. ft. on heavier fabrics.

The application of this spray is very straightforward, as with other similar sprays. You simply spray in a sweeping motion from a distance of 6” to 8” from the surface, covering it without saturating the material. It should then be allowed to dry before using the item. The fabric will maintain its breathability and it will dry odorless.

Customer Testimonials

According to customers of Scotchgard

Three different clothing articles were treated with Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield. Two were dark and one light colored; there was no color change. The odor, while applying, was very low. My wife didn't even notice!

Cleveland recently experienced long and hard periods of rain due to Hurricane Sandy. All three garments got a real test and did splendidly, especially the jacket I wore while repairing my gutter in the middle of a downpour.
***
The protection was great, but only if you sprayed it on evenly. Sometimes it was difficult to tell where I had sprayed. I would suggest multiple applications, with different spraying patterns (ex: left to right, then top to bottom) This would have most likely provided 100% coverage and the best water proofing/protection.
***
I received this product free to try from 3M. I have tried the product on a couple of outdoor hiking boots. The spray definitely goes on wet and stays wet for quite a while. The smell from the spray is quite strong as well, and lasted quite a while. In fact, I wore the boots to my work day, and in periods of time where I was in a closed room, the smell was quite strong. The product seemed to work well, as the first day I sprayed my items, it rained, and the boots seemed to do a pretty good job of repelling water, as advertised.

Granger’s Performance Repel

Suitable for Waterproofing...

Down fabric, Soft Shell material, waterproofed clothing, windproofed clothing, down sleeping bags, rucksacks, synthetic sleeping bags.

This is a spray-on waterproofing treatment available in a 9.3oz bottle and is fluorocarbon-free which is significant for those who are conscious of caring for the environment. It is effective for restoring the water repellent finish to your clothes.

Over time, regular wear and tear along with washing will eventually cause your waterproof clothes to lose their ability to repel water. The purpose of this spray is to restore that waterproof finish back to its effectiveness when first bought.

Unlike some other products it is not necessary to apply heat to the fabric surface in order to activate the waterproofing.

Customer Testimonials

According to some customers of Amazon.com

Used this on my Arc'teryx Atom Lt and various other sensitive outdoor gear that previously had a DWR coating. I followed the directions on package- washing with Granger's Performance wash before application. Worked great! Rain drops just beaded up as if the jacket were new.
Yes, it is pricey; but, it works and gives you the ease of mind that it won't damage the performance of your gear.
***
Had a 5 year old Showers Pass biking jacket (worn quite a bit in Pacific NW) that was seeping from where my messenger bag strap would lay across my shoulder, and also my rain pants were starting to seep around the crotch 🙁 No discernable improvement after use, FWIW. My gear may have been too old, but one star as an FYI re: use on older gear.
***
Does not work. I've applied multiple coats - and it does not work. Water simply comes straight through the previously water resistant materials of my jacket. I've also had the same problems as other users, in that the applicator is garbage and does not work - and that the liquid has clumped up considerably in the container, and does not spray on effectively.
***
Great waterproofing product! I have extremely sensitive skin so I love how there is no scent and it's also eco-friendly. Sprayed most of my coats with this, easy application and are holding their waterproof throughout this cold and wet winter.

Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Water Repellent

Suitable for Use on...

GORE-TEX garments, GORE-TEX fabric waders, WINDSTOPPER garments, soft shells and quiet rainwear

This is another water repellent product that is designed to be an effective treatment to re-establish the water repellent qualities of a range of outdoor clothes and equipment. 

It’s a spray that comes in a 10.5 oz bottle and provides a spray treatment that will restore the original DWR treatment that had originally been applied. The spray will also be effective in water proofing fabric and garments that were not originally pre-treated with a DWR.

The product is made of an acrylic copolymer film to provide the waterproofing and is silicone and PFOA free. It will not stain your clothes if the spray is applied as per the instructions. It has an estimated shelf life of 2 to 4 years.

According to the company you can expect this spray to be effective on breathable garments such as eVent, NeoShell and GORE-TEX.

Customer Testimonials

According to customers of REI.com

I bought this for my hats and winter coats and this works much better than other box store brands I'd tried. It sprays an even fine mist (where as other box brands sometimes shoots out globs & blobs) and great coverage on garment. Gave it two coats to make sure complete coverage and all items repelled water perfectly in light to heavy rain. And this Revive version works much better without need to heat items in dryer or hair dryer; only takes a few hours to dry completely at room temp

***

I used this to treat the hood and shoulders of my Marmot Precip that had been wetting out. I followed the cleaning instructions to the tee and then applied the product liberally to my jacket. After drying overnight, I tested the effectiveness of the application under my bathroom faucet. Water beaded up nicely during that initial test the product seemed to perform as advertised. Then I took then jacket outside in a mist/very light rain and it wetted out after 10 minutes. I would never trust this product to waterproof any of my gear. It's not even suitable for DWR touchups. I'm going to stick to the tried and true wash-in and spray DWR products.

***

It is more difficult to apply (needs an hour in the drier) than Scotchguard but seems to have revived the waterproofness of jacket.

***

According to customers of Amazon.com

I had high hopes when I purchased this, but was disappointed to see zero improvement in garment water repellancy. I called Gear Aid, and found out that it's almost essential to use Gear Aid's detergent first. Even with double rinsing, common detergents (Tide!) will result in failure. They sent a small bottle of waterproofing + a small bottle of detergent, which I used and got moderately good results.

Bottom line:

1. Use Gear Aid's detergent

2. Spray waterproofing on damp, not dry, double rinsed gear

3. Contrary to the name, the coating makes gear water-repellent, not water-proof. Don't expect more.

***

I have been using this product for many years on Gore-tex coats and bibs. It usually lasts for about two seasons of pretty rigorous winter use. When water starts to spread and wet the fabric instead of beading up its time for a retreatment. Looking at some of the other reviews, I suspect some people are not washing the garment first, applying the Revivex immediately to the wet garment at the right consistency, and then drying it on medium heat for the correct amount of time. Done that way, I have always had great results, with water beading as efficiently as when brand new. The label says you can let it dry at room temperature but I always use medium heat.

Texsport Polyurethane Seam Sealer

Most commonly used for providing a great seal in tents, this is a spray that is also effective for use on backpacks and all of your outerwear including all synthetic fabrics.

It is non-toxic and when it dries after application it will be odorless. Make sure it is applied in a well-ventilated spot – not indoors - because it has a strong odor while it is wet.

It is available in a 14 oz can and works by creating a coating on the surface of the material when it is sprayed on. It is a polyurethane product as opposed to one that is silicone-based and is particularly ideal for sealing the seams where two pieces of material are joined.

Customer Testimonials

According to customers of Amazon.com

We just spent $200 on a new top for our gazebo because the old one leaked. Wouldn't you know it, first rain and the water was coming in through the seams. I was so happy to find this product on Amazon and based on the reviews, I purchased it. My husband sprayed it on all the seams from the underside (didn't want the hassle of removing it) the beginning of this week. We've had 2 rain storms since (not very heavy) and so far no leaks! I'm hoping that when we do get a downpour, it will continue to hold up. We didn't use the whole can, since we just sprayed the seams, so we are planning to doing a better coating when we remove the top for the winter. One word of caution, it drips if you aren't careful and it stained my trex deck (not a big deal, just a few drops). I am very pleased with the results so far.

***

This stuff does work. I used it on a rain fly for a MSR Hubba Hubba. This is a two person backpacking tent that isn't that large. I thought on several reviews that it might cover enough area for two rainflys but it ran out after a second coating on the second pass of sealing the rain fly. This should be done if you want it to be water resistant in a downpour. I then went through the process of resealing all the seams, both sides again. The process does take about 16 hours between drying and applying second coats and seals.

Clearly not a product that presents in spray form but still another hydrophobic option that will replenish the water repellent nature of your clothes, you might also want to consider the NikWax option.

NikWax TX.Direct Wash-In

The protection of parallel limb compound bows is the aim of this bow case and it is done particularly well. Custom foam inserts ensure secure positioning of the bow. The case is fitted with wheels to make moving it around simple. The case has trigger release latches that can be retrofitted with TSA accepted locking latches if you are planning air travel.

This is the ultimate bow storage case that offers a waterproof and dust proof design. The cushioned grip even makes carrying it a comfortable experience. This is the highest priced case in the list but it is also the case that received the highest rating.

Customer Testimonials

According to the customers of BackCountry.com

I am not the best about cleaning my outerwear. I usually wear it until the DWR starts to fade and starts to wet out. The only thing that brings those items back from the dead is a good cleaning with Tech Wash and TX.Direct treatment. I have tried using cleaners other than tech wash and the results did not last. Tech Wash is absolutely needed to prep your gear for other treatments. If you use the TechWash then the TX. Direct works well. You do need to use a dryer to set the water proofer.

***

Alright, so I have this awesome looking rain jacket that worked super well when I first got it and now several washes and a year later it doesn't repel water nearly as well as it did before.

I bought this wash to try and get it back to life and working again, the wash definitely did help make it more waterproof again but I still feel like my jackets doesn't repel as well as it used to. I was too lazy at the beginning to buy this and I think I'm paying for that.

So...if you want your gear to last longer get this and don't wait like I did!

***

According to the customers of REI.com

Pre-washed with tech wash, and then went for the wash-in treatment. Very much unimpressed with the overall results. While the gore tex is not wetting out as badly as before, water still starts absorbing into the surface of the material within 60 seconds. Ultimately, this will be my first and last experience with TX wash-in direct. In the future I'll be using the spray-on option or looking at a different brand.

Directions are exceedingly difficult to interpret and, there's no mention of how to handle High Efficiency washers on the packaging or their website. With the tech wash, the recommended dose of tech wash, I ended up having massive quantities of suds left on my shells after finishing a heavy duty cycle with an extra rinse.

***

Wash your waterproof / breathable shell garment according to Nikwax's instructions (surfactant-free powder detergent will do the trick as well as Nikwax tech-wash ), and use TX-Direct and your Durable Water Repellant (DWR) performance will be as good as new!I have successfully treated 1-2 garments in my top-loading washer by lowering the water level and using only 1/3 of a bottle of TX-Direct, as per the front-loading instructions and the treatment has held up as well as on garments washed with per top-loading instructions (which call for a full bottle and large load setting for up to 3 garments).This product only has 2 drawbacks:1) the cost: at [$] per wash, it's pricy, especially if you wash your gear a lot. Use the front-loading instructions, and [$] to treat 2 garments makes it much more cost effective.2) as mentioned by another reviewer, this product can leave a faint, hazy residue in creases and seams when you're done. This residue can be rubbed off with a wet towel, once the garment is dry.Note for those who claims TX-Direct permanently spotted their garments (something I've never seen over 20 years & hundreds of washes): you need to fill your washer with water first, and allow product to agitate BEFORE you throw your garments in. If you poured this DWR wash undiluted directly on top of a garment, then that's what caused your spots.

The way in which hydrophobic products work is to treat the material that is being waterproofed with some type of solution that essentially seals the natural pores of said fabric. In effect a sealing layer is placed across the surface of the material that does not allow moisture to penetrate.

This means that as long as the material is not subjected to rubbing or sharp contact with outside objects the sealing layer will remain in place. It is also why, over a period of time, the hydrophobic spray treatment will need to be replenished if you want your jacket, pants, shoes or other equipment to maintain its waterproofing.

There are a few little bonus side effects for using these types of sprays.

The first comes about due to that layer you have placed over the surface and that is, protection against dirt. Not only will there be a barrier against moisture but dirt and mud will not be able to easily affect the material.

The second is an increase in the fabric's durability. Some people notice this as a slight stiffening of the fabric and it could be cause for some alarm. But that stiffening also equates to an increase in the life of your clothes.

The bottom line about using a hydrophobic spray on your hunting gear is that it is a small outlay to have to pay in order to get back a far greater return. 

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