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I recently bought an expensive GoreTex jacket and I want to be proactive in maximizing the life I get out of it.

One thing I have noticed on previous jackets is that the shoulder areas can degrade where it is in contact with rucksack straps and moisture can get in. I want to reduce the friction between my rucksack and my new coat.

Ideas that come to mind:

  • bag focus: wrapping my rucksack straps with a plastic bag or something equivalent
  • proactive coat focus: using adhesive tape to create a patch on the shoulders of my jacket, but bad for cleaning and the adhesive substance on the tape may cause damage.
  • reactive coat focus: allow the coat to degrade over time and patch it up with some kind of adhesive tape

Does anyone have any life hacks/tips to achieve this?

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No expensive Gore-Tex jacket will degrade at a material level to the point where it needs structural reinforcement during a reasonable lifetime of a jacket. You'd need to regularly use the jacket improperly. Simply using a rucksack just won't do it.

The "degradation" you are referring to is caused by the DWR (durable water repellent) coat rubbing off. This is a hydrophobic chemical coating applied to the fabric that complements the Gore-Tex membrane to improve waterproofing and breathability. To simplify, the DWR makes the water ball up and fall off the jacket rather than soak in. Over time the DWR wears off and the water can begin to soak in (a phenomena often called "wetting out") making the jacket seem less waterproof.

There is not a lot you can do to prevent the DWR from wearing off. Anything you do to protect the coat is likely to just make the performance of the coat worse. You could try to add something to the bag that is lower friction but I think the benefit will be minimal. The standard practice is a reactive measure. You simply just reapply a DWR coat to your jacket. There are a number of brands that make DWR products. I personally (not affiliated) have used Nikwax products for years on many jackets and have had great success. Nikwax (along with most other brands) has two styles, a spray-on and a wash-in. The wash-in versions are generally superior and last longer. If you are just seeing the DWR come off on the shoulders though then the spray-on may make more sense for you to touch up the shoulder areas. Whatever brand you go with will have specific instructions for reapplying their DWR, but they are all pretty straightforward.

In short, when you see your jackets waterproofing degrading just reapply a DWR coat using any of the wash-in or spray-in products available.

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  • I personally use Nikwax tech wash to clean and Nikwax Tx.Direct to reapply the DWR coating to the clean jacket. Cost is been about $7 per article of clothing.
    – noah
    Oct 12 at 16:57
  • Thanks for the reply Noah! So I asked this question because I've used those products in the past and have had mixed results: either very short term success or nothing at all. I would add however: a) those coats were used for commuting daily over the course of many months, b) they were cheaper coats (although not "cheap") and c) they were occasionally Gore-Tex equivalents (from Regatta, Tog24, Alpkit in the UK).
    – dev'd
    Oct 13 at 10:08
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    b) and c) are going to be a key difference. Gore-Tex jackets are designed very differently from cheaper alternatives. Gore-Tex is more than just a superior membrane (e-vent for example comes close or exceeds Gore-Tex in some ways). Gore has requirements for the types of face fabric used and the ways it is stitched together and sealed. I've used Nikwax on a wide variety of clothes. It works great on my nice Gore-Tex apparel and less well (borderline not at all) on my cheaper rain jacket. I don't think it is fair to extrapolate from cheaper jackets to a well made Gore-Tex jacket.
    – noah
    Oct 13 at 16:48

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