Does campfire smoke degrade the properties of DWR or breathable laminates?
Submitted by - Robert - Sterling, VA
Any type of dirt, grime or residue buildup will undoubtedly hinder your shell’s performance eventually. All DWRs (durable water repellents) need restoring at some point, and excessive exposure to campfire smoke will mean you need to do it sooner, rather than later. Smoke can also block the pores of a jacket’s waterproof/breathable membrane so it can’t breathe like it should. But fear not, it’s a temporary setback that’s easy to remedy.
Get yourself a bottle of Nikwax Tech Wash (nikwax.com, about $10) and follow the instructions. Tech Wash can be used to hand wash your stuff, but I prefer letting the washing machine do all the work, plus I can do multiple items at once.
After washing, it’s time for re-waterproofing, which is basically the exact same (washing machine) process using a different product, such as Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In (about $13). Then either drip dry or tumble dry on low. The waterproofing should last for up to 6 washes, but you’ll know it’s time to retreat when water stops beading up on the shell’s surface.