Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Proper Care For Your Waterproof Clothing
During my years of hunting I have had many gear discussions with my fellow hunters and one topic has come up more often than I would have thought. Waterproof clothing. More and more people are buying lightweight, waterproof gear these days and for good reason. It packs well, it breathes and it's a must for the backcountry hunter. Many people, including myself have had issues with our gear losing their waterproofing ability and I wanted to find out why. I exchanged a few emails with Ajay over at GameHide last week to see if he could help. I had a feeling I knew the answer, but I wanted a more expert opinion. Turns out he was definitely the guy to talk to.
SoCal Bowhunter: I wanted to ask you, do you have a generic care guide for your waterproof items? I have had a few people mention to me that that they have waterproof items that once they wash it in [regular laundry] detergent they lose their protection. Have you ever heard that before?

Ajay: We generally say to wash in cold water and dry on low heat. But after years of doing this, I have found that commercial detergents are not friendly to laminated fabrics over time. A hunting sport wash is now what I try and recommend. Another nasty culprit is an older dryer. Some still get too hot and cause the taping to peel and sometimes the lamination will "spread." Hang drying is best, but in the day of instant gratification, people just can't wait!

SoCal Bowhunter: I had heard many years ago about [regular] detergents and have not used them on my gear. I hear they eat it away and leave a nice bright UV stain. I use the hunters detergents and always air dry. I cringe at the thought of my gear going in the dryer! Funny, but true.

I figured that Ajay might tell me about regular detergent and how it could be abrasive to the fabric, but I didn't consider an old dryer. I remember using an older dryer when I was younger and it never crossed my mind that the extra heat could damage it. Call it being young and apathetic, but now I certainly take better care of my gear.

What I want to know is do you guys have any additional insight into the waterproof clothing issue or is yours working perfectly? I'd love to know what gear you guys use and what improvements you'd like to see made. I have my own ideas, but before I mention them I would really like to hear what you have to say. 

On a side note: The customer service over at GameHide is great! It's not very often that a company will deal with you in a personal manner, but also taking the time to give insight into caring for your gear.

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