Thank you for buying a Rab waterproof and breathable jacket.
Currently, there are significant changes happening in the outdoor industry regarding waterproofing, specifically the shift towards fluorocarbon-free DWR in waterproof clothing.
The term DWR means durable water repellent finish.
This process involves using chemicals to impart water repellency to the fabric's outer layer. This treatment allows water to bead and run off the outer of your garment. This repellency helps your garment to breathe and does not impact the “waterproofness” of your garment.
It's important to note that not all chemicals are harmful, as water is a chemical and our bodies are composed of chemicals as well. However the type of chemical that has been used for water repellency in the outdoor industry for years is so repellent and so durable that it doesn't break down when it gets into the environment.
These along with other so-called forever chemicals just persist in nature. The entire characteristic that enables them to be used in water repellent applications is their ultimate environmental downfall. They're just too good at the job and will never go away.
What Are We Doing About It?
Companies like Rab are moving away from these types of longer chain chemicals and looking for other ways of maintaining water repellency, breathability, and durability from smaller chain chemicals that are less harmful to the environment.
We want to make sure that the garments we create have as little lasting impact on our planet as possible.
Removing forever chemical treatments from the outdoor industry is just one way we can do that. Another is to make sure they stay useful for as long as possible. So caring for your clothing is essential to make sure we aren't making more of an impact than we need to.
As we move away from the more harmful chemicals to our newer less harmful alternatives, the way we care for our gear is going to change.
We need to make that extra effort to keep them in proper working order:
We need to wash our gear more frequently and use a detergent that is designed for waterproof fabrics. We need to avoid using fabric softeners, as these can coat the fabric and make it less water-repellent.
Washing Tips For Your Waterproof:
Periodic washing is essential to maintain the performance of your waterproof clothing and without it, the item may go beyond restoration. Don’t miss the opportunity to extend the life of your kit!
After rigorous use, you may notice that your waterproof gear is not as effective as when you first bought it. Over time the DWR (durable water repellent) coating will wear off, causing the garment to soak up moisture, affecting weight and breathability. Sweat, dirt, and residue from cosmetics can also become impregnated into the fabrics.
Because of this we would advise washing your waterproof after every tenth use, or earlier if it gets visibly dirty.
If you have better things to do than hang around washing and drying your shells, why not utilise our shell wash service operated by the experts at our Service Centre?
If you would prefer to do it yourself, here’s how:
Rinse your washing machine out before use. This clears any leftover detergent and softeners that might damage the fabrics and coatings. Clean the detergent drawer and then run one or two rinse cycles.
Make sure the pockets are empty. Close all zips, pockets, and Velcro fastenings.
Use a non-biological liquid detergent, liquid pure soap, or a specifically formulated technical cleaner such as our newly formulated Rab Shell wash made in conjunction with local company Storm.
Place the wash solution in the detergent drawer and if you are reproofing at the same time (recommended) then add our Eco Proofer in the conditioner compartment.
Machine Wash on a gentle, cool setting. Check the white care label, but 30ºC or 40ºC is usually ideal both for your jacket and the environment. After spinning at a low speed (400) hang the garment on a line to dry naturally.
If the care label allows, tumble dry your garment for 20-30 minutes on a low heat setting which will activate the proofer. If a tumble dryer is not available, iron on a medium heat ensuring you use a clean tea towel (or similar) as a barrier between the iron and garment.
You can also hand wash your jacket if you don't have access to a washing machine. Keep the water cool, detergent as gentle as possible, rinse it well and give it plenty of time to dry, out of direct sunlight.
Reproofing Tips Your Waterproof
Your waterproof jacket or trousers has a Durable Water Repellent coating on its outer fabric. Known as a DWR. It's what makes the water droplets bead and roll off. This is your shell's first barrier to the weather, and also helps it breathe better. When you notice water's stopped beading and rolling off it's time to revitalise the DWR.
If your item is sparkling clean, but water is not beading on the outer surface you can tumble dry the garment for 20-30 minutes on a low heat setting which may re-activate the factory-applied DWR coating. If a tumble dryer is not available, iron on a medium heat ensuring you use a clean tea towel (or similar) as a barrier between the iron and garment.
As an all-in-one solution, you can wash and reproof at the same time using our Rab Shell wash and EcoProofer. Simply follow the washing instructions above.
If you are hand washing your garment you may find it easier to use a spray-on DWR re-proofer. Whilst the garment is still damp spray the outer fabric with the spray-on proofer, following the bottle's instructions.
For all processes, we would recommend finishing off by tumble drying on a low heat setting for 20-30 minutes if possible.
Helping you remain dry
For a waterproof and breathable shell to function it is essential you are delivering moisture (perspiration) to the inside of you shell by wearing layers that allow moisture transfer. Cotton and wool both absorb moisture and will be “wet” and you will feel damp before your shell can breathe.
Wear lightweight “wickable” layers next to your skin to wick moisture away and deliver it to the breathable membrane that lines your shell.