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Washing Gortex Rain Jacket and Pants

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Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
OK, I confess....
I have never washed them :eek:

They don’t really get dirty or sweaty, so I just hose them down, or rinse them in plain water to get mud off the trouser bottoms....

I’m afraid that proper ‘washing’ might destroy the water proofing or breathability of the fabric.
I love my rain pants and jacket. Totally waterproof, wind proof and breathable....

Any advice on washing them ‘safely’......
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
There are speciality detergents that supposed not to clock the pores. But mine said after washing you need to heat activate them again ironing. May be worth consulting the manufacturer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
Google ‘nikwax’ which is the spiritual home of outdoor gear care in the UK

I use their ‘Tx Direct’ product for proofing and their specialist cleaner beforehand.

There’s plenty of good advice there also.


Having said that, I have previously used pure soap (NEVER detergent) for cleaning and a long tumble-dry to freshen the fabric with good results.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Goretex relies on two separate 'technologies' to remain 'effective'.
1. The Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating of the top fabric on the outer shell.
2. The waterproof/breathable (WP/B) laminate film itself (goretex or whatever).

Washing with a regular detergent will not only strip the DWR coating, but will 'plug up' the WP/B membrane. Without an effective DWR, the outer shell of the garment will 'wet out' and the Goretex becomes useless. Let me reiterate: you must renew the DWR, not just clean it, as it does have a finite life. Dirt accelerates its wear and tear, but regular detergents and soaps will do the same.

As mentioned above, you want to use a specifically designed product that will both 'renew' the DWR coating, and remove oils and film from the interior WP/B membrane. Various manufacturers have released effective products that do a great job. NikWax is one brand.

Keep in mind that these products are varied in function, so you need to choose the right product to do the right job. It is vital to focus on the proper renewal of the DWR, as it is the most important component of the garment.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
@Robo , what @davebugg said! Exactly!

I have used the Nikwax products with great satisfaction.

Do NOT forget your footwear. A cleaning and re-waterproofing with different though of similar function products (again, my experience is with Nikwax) is of great benefit. I ignored this detail once and will never repeat the error.

B
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Goretex relies on two separate 'technologies' to remain 'effective'.
1. The Durable Water Resistant (DWR) coating of the top fabric on the outer shell.
2. The waterproof/breathable (WP/B) laminate film itself (goretex or whatever).

Washing with a regular detergent will not only strip the DWR coating, but will 'plug up' the WP/B membrane. Without an effective DWR, the outer shell of the garment will 'wet out' and the Goretex becomes useless. Let me reiterate: you must renew the DWR, not just clean it, as it does have a finite life. Dirt accelerates its wear and tear, but regular detergents and soaps will do the same.

As mentioned above, you want to use a specifically designed product that will both 'renew' the DWR coating, and remove oils and film from the interior WP/B membrane. Various manufacturers have released effective products that do a great job. NikWax is one brand.

Keep in mind that these products are varied in function, so you need to choose the right product to do the right job. It is vital to focus on the proper renewal of the DWR, as it is the most important component of the garment.
There are a couple of things here where I have a different take. The first is that losing the DWR will NOT make the waterproof membrane ineffective. My understanding is that if the DWR wears off, the membrane remains just as effective - it is a separate layer of the fabric. All that is going to happen is that the face fabric of the garment will now retain water, but that it will not pass through the membrane on the inside of the garment.

Second is that washing with detergent will NOT strip the DWR. I know using detergent is not recommended for Goretex, but more recent membranes do not have this limitation. I have a Macpac jacket that uses Event fabric, and it recommends regular washing with detergent. To restore the DWR effectiveness, you either tumble dry the jacket, or use a warm steam iron.

It seems to me that there are sufficient different membranes that tolerate care regimes that weren't acceptable for Goretex that the best advice is to follow the directions on the laundry care tag - unless you are one of those people who remove these to save a couple of grams! Certainly it is not necessary to follow the Goretex guidelines if your rainwear has a different membrane technology.

The only item that all my jackets say not to use is fabric softener. This is a real no-no on most outdoor gear in any case. Unless you can confirm your normal laundry detergent is free of fabric softener, there is a case for using a specialist product. Find one that has no bleach, phosphates, softener, brighteners or scent if you want to fully restore any of your outdoor gear - ideally it should leave no residue to interfere with the function of the fabric being washed.

And if your DWR is not restored by following the manufacturers instructions, it is time to find a good wash-in or spray-on product to restore its effectiveness.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I don't want to be contentious either but I agree with DougFitz's post. I have a hooded Goretex coat and when it gets dirty I just bung it in the washine machine during a normal laundry. (No fabric conditioner and I air-dry it, not tumble).
Comes out soft and clean, then I respray with Nikwax Goretex waterproofer and it is a good as new. Actually, better then new - soft and supple and with a marvellous silky repellent membrane feel to it.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
My understanding is that if the DWR wears off, the membrane remains just as effective - it is a separate layer of the fabric. All that is going to happen is that the face fabric of the garment will now retain water, but that it will not pass through the membrane on the inside of the garment.
I did specifically mention that DWR is a coating applied to the outer shell of the garment's fabric and that the laminate membrane is a separate component in the system. The Goretex laminate will not be harmed by the garment 'wetting out', but it will not be breathable until the DWR is restored. As it states on the REI website:
"When water soaks into and spreads across the surface of the fabric, it prevents the breathable layer from working. This is a sign that the durable water repellent (DWR) surface treatment has been compromised. This is when a good cleaning—and possibly re-waterproofing—can improve your experience." Not having breathability renders ineffective the purpose of the laminate.

Second is that washing with detergent will NOT strip the DWR.
True, and I misused the term. Detergent deposits a 'residue', which like dirt and oils, decreases the effectiveness of the DWR to keep the shell from wetting out. The DWR does break down, which is why periodic renewal is needed, but prior to that washing does remove the dirt and oils which interferes with its effectiveness.

It seems to me that there are sufficient different membranes that tolerate care regimes that weren't acceptable for Goretex that the best advice is to follow the directions on the laundry care tag - unless you are one of those people who remove these to save a couple of grams! Certainly it is not necessary to follow the Goretex guidelines if your rainwear has a different membrane technology.
This is an important distinction to note as there are around 6 other commonly used WP/B membrane products, and the majority perform better than Goretex. there are one or two that do not use a DWR component to remain both waterproof AND breathable. You mention eVent, which is my personal favorite among all of the current WP/B membranes.
 

wjohnk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese Coastal (2019)
I have found that the Nikwax instructions work! Their Spray On TX direct (sprayed on to a damp clean jacket) seems to be better than the TX Direct Wash In. Possibly this is due to the rinse cycle on my machine being too good.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
If you are going to machine wash GTX garments make sure the detergent drawer is really clean - powdered detergent residue will probably clog the pores.

The responsible adult in your household no doubt removes the drawer at intervals to clear away the accumulated gunk but check to make sure - it gets nasty in there. (Not sure how applicable that is to American Maytag style or European top loaders - been a while since I used either!)

Now that I use those liquid sachets you throw straight into the drum I don't have that problem anymore but used to flush the machine with a washing machine cleaning product when I used loose powder/tablets.

Rinse the garment twice.

1567156925454.png
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
@davebugg, I think it is misleading to present the issues in the absolute terms you have used, such as in these two quotes:

Goretex becomes useless
The Goretex laminate ... will not be breathable until the DWR is restored.
My reading is that membranes will continue to be both waterproof and breathable even when the front fabric wets out. Yes, the breathability will be reduced, but nothing I have read suggests that the garment is 'not breathable'. Certainly that reflects my practical experience with both Goretex and other membrane materials. .

When this happens, I think we both agree that washing the garment and, if necessary reapplying an after-market DWR replacement, is what is required to restore its original performance.

I also agree with @Jeff Crawley's advice about double rinsing. It is not so much the pure detergent, but all the additives that are designed to stay attached to the fabric - the bleach, phosphates, softener, brighteners and scent - that will clog things up. My experience with good outdoor wash products is that they are free of these additives, and I prefer to use these products for my rain gear over standard, softener free but otherwise additive rich, laundry detergent.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
My understanding has changed since I sold a new jacket that did not fit and that I then sold it on privately...
This buyer had a wife who travels the world wide and far as an expert to control textiles in production, on all sorts of parametres.
It appears that in the business, it is a well known fact that these fabrics, however good, will last a little more than 10 times if you use machine wash...the properties will then deteriorate.
I had an Endura bycycle jacket that was machine washed and as I then spayed it , it stunk even more like a sweating pig when the breatheability then failed. (ordinary silicone spray which was wrong wrong)
Seems like the abrasion when washed in machine is too rough....
His advice was to use dip and rinse with cloth or sponge and then drip dry...

I too use Nikwax but has yet to try on their spray, I will contact Endura with my new jacket before I do !!
 
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happymarkos

HappyMark
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean. 2014&16 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
OK, I confess....
I have never washed them :eek:

They don’t really get dirty or sweaty, so I just hose them down, or rinse them in plain water to get mud off the trouser bottoms....

I’m afraid that proper ‘washing’ might destroy the water proofing or breathability of the fabric.
I love my rain pants and jacket. Totally waterproof, wind proof and breathable....

Any advice on washing them ‘safely’......
Lots of good advice. I use the recommended products. However the inside sealing strips started to come off a gortex jacket I had for about 8 years. The manufacturer said it was caused by sweat as I had not washed it enough. Could not be repaired which was disappointing.
So for what’s its worth frequent washing is worth it to maintain its functionality.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
[
@davebugg, I think it is misleading to present the issues in the absolute terms you have used, such as in these two quotes:

My reading is that membranes will continue to be both waterproof and breathable even when the front fabric wets out. Yes, the breathability will be reduced, but nothing I have read suggests that the garment is 'not breathable'. Certainly that reflects my practical experience with both Goretex and other membrane materials. .

When this happens, I think we both agree that washing the garment and, if necessary reapplying an after-market DWR replacement, is what is required to restore its original performance.

I also agree with @Jeff Crawley's advice about double rinsing. It is not so much the pure detergent, but all the additives that are designed to stay attached to the fabric - the bleach, phosphates, softener, brighteners and scent - that will clog things up. My experience with good outdoor wash products is that they are free of these additives, and I prefer to use these products for my rain gear over standard, softener free but otherwise additive rich, laundry detergent.

Gawd, this is so utterly tiresome.

You are absolutely correct that a garment that has Wetted Out still allows minimal breathability. The manufacturers of the gear, and Goretex, and organizations like Outdoor GearLab either allude to or state outright, that with Wetting Out, Goretex laminate's capability to release water vapor to prevent condensation is compromised. But since that capability is not at ZERO, even though sweat-produced clamminess and condensation becomes problematic, you are right to trip me up on that point.

My statements are correct that "Goretex becomes useless" and "The Goretex laminate ... will not be breathable until the DWR is restored." Folks purchase Goretex products -- instead of standard waterproof rain gear - - BECAUSE of their claimed breathability. They want and expect a Gortex product to be breathable.

When that breathability is compromised, then half of the functioning of Goretex has failed to perform as designed. That failure describes the purpose of Goretex to be rendered useless. Gortex breathability when Wetted Out is not functional breathability.

I am not here as a paid professional gear adviser, using the carefully considered and precise language of a tech writer. I participate to be a part of a great community. If I can be of help to others, that is icing on the cake.

P.S. Due to the fact that the thread was specific to Goretex, my answer was specific to THAT product and not to the metaphysical inventory of other WP/B laminates.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
At the risk of making a simple thread even more contentious ;) I will throw a bit of "dogma" out there for any newbies who have happened onto the thread and wonder how something that should be so simple could turn out so complex....

1) Dogma #1: "Waterproof" and "breathable" in one product? Yes, that's what the marketing says but in practice all you need is four non-stop days or so of heavy rain during your walk and you are guaranteed to get wet one way or another:

a) The waterproofing gets over-run by the applied moisture and the pick-up of road soil.

b) The rain is accompanied by temps higher than your comfort zone. You either open the jacket to some extent to keep cool or you sweat.

I have seen no exceptions to this in multiple Caminos whether folks had new gear or old in "cared for" condition.

2) Dogma #2: At purchase, set aside the clothing laundering instructions in their own special place.

I am not a "gear guy" nor my wife a "gear gal". Before my first Camino, I happened to check the water repellency of the coat that I would take on the Way. Zip, nada, zilch. It turned out that my bride had in fact laundered it - conventionally. Bought in 2008, we did not have the mfg instructions handy so I took my problem to the local specialty outdoor shop. Their advice and commentary was exactly in line with replies 2-4 above. (It took me a few extra steps to get the coat completely cleaned of detergent but this post is already too long.)

From reading through this thread, it seems to me that perhaps new products have brought new instructions. In any event, the mfr instructions would be the best default for treatment, imho. Otherwise, the Nikwax products (or similar rated) washing and WP treatments do well.

One last thing, I only ever do the washing and WP treatments by hand in a washtub. With the washing, this allows me to actually SEE when the rinse water runs clear. For the WP wash-in, complete submergence of the clothing is going to give the most uniform dosing of the WP product to the fabric.

B
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Lots of good advice. I use the recommended products. However the inside sealing strips started to come off a gortex jacket I had for about 8 years. The manufacturer said it was caused by sweat as I had not washed it enough. Could not be repaired which was disappointing.
So for what’s its worth frequent washing is worth it to maintain its functionality.
The tapes may not be able to be reapplied, but you still may be able to use a liquid seam sealer that will help keep thing water tight. The downside is that it can be a lot less 'neat' looking when it dries, but with outdoor gear, that may not be an issue for you. Here's one review from REI that seems to mimic your situation

"
☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆5 out of 5 stars.
WES77
· a year ago
Definitely sticky enough
This stuff is basically super strong, super sticky rubber cement that leaves a permanent bond and a layer of flexible urethane. Worked to repair some seam tape that was coming unglued from a Gore Tex rain jacket. Also seems to be working (no pun intended) to repair some crumbling seam tape on the fly of a value-priced tent. I wouldn't recommend it for field repairs as the manufacturers recommend storing it in the freezer after opening, but it's great for repairs at home. Just be careful with it as it sticks permanently to everything. (Soaking it in strong rubbing alcohol will dissolve it in a pinch--be sure to soak the brushes after use if you ever want to use them again.)


 

Sixwheeler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
I will be very surprised if there's not a manufacturer's label inside the garments with their washing instructions, unless you cut them off to save weight. Follow them. I always rinse the washing machine through first to get rid of any detergent residue.
Ultreïa
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
@Sixwheeler -

The tags that I have seen (including mine) only address "routine" laundering. They do not address how to handle the garment's loss of water repellency or breathability over time.

I was just surveying goods in a regional REI a week back and found that some of the latest rain gear has additional instructions in the packaging, often with reccos of proprietary products, to address these specific issues.

Regarding rinsing of the washing machine... FWIW, we have a decent brand HE washer. I have to perform a regular cleanout to avoid detergent-induced rash. (I was sensitized with over-exposure about 50 years ago.) After 4 washes ( a month), it takes me three "normal" hot water wash/rinse cycles without detergent, and after cleanout of the detergent drawer, before I observe no leftover suds. Detergent of any kind is pretty persistent on surfaces.

YMMV....

B
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
I've had three Goretex jackets, now disposed of, and two more recent ones, of which more later.

None of the three were waterproof from new, even in light rain. Basically they're a polyester/nylon type outer over a Teflon membrane and another protective layer inside to safeguard the teflon. The initial instructions were to wash only in soap, not detergents. When the stuff first came out you could buy the fabric and sew a jacket up yourself, but the company subsequently introduced a "closed shop" policy limiting the sale to established manufacturers.

There are some non-sequiters. First it's the teflon which is supposed to provide the breathability/waterproofness. But obviously if the outer layer becomes wet both functions will be compromised. But if you spray or treat the outer layer with virtually anything, or for that matter iron it, it's also to some extent going to seal the outer up and compromise the product and there's no gainsaying this. It leaves you with something not much better than a waterproof nylon Mac or an oilskin and if you're working hard you'll get wetter from sweat than from the rain. And actually what I had been told was that washing was directed principally at removing the sweat from the insides this was compromising the breathability, rather than dirt from the outside. Another issue is that some of the lightweight ones have had no inner lining to protect the teflon which will disappear very quickly from abrasion eg packstraps. And yet another were delamination problems particularly early on. And again the seam sealing strips can come off very early on.

I think the stuff is massively overpriced rubbish, and while some people may swear by it I certainly swear at it. A slick marketing con designed to part the gullible from their money. Nevertheless I recently bought the Inoc Aldi version which claims exactly the same performance attributes as Goretex but at a fraction of the price and also a virtually brand new Mountain Designs jacket for $20 at St Vinnie's which I couldn't pass up at the price. I've used them at best once or twice each and the outer layers of both wet up very quickly even in a light shower, so I don't really have any high expectations. The cleaning recommendations on the Aldi product are " Cold gentle machine wash with like colours Do not soak Do not bleach Line dry in shade without delay Do not iron do not dry clean".

I wonder whether or not Ventile would be a better alternative. Something has to be.

De Colores

Bogong
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
@Bogong -

I have great sympathy for your experience!

Grab some Nikwax garment wash and follow the instructions for a manual wash.

Then use the Nikwax WP spray per instructions. From what you describe, the 'Wash in' version of their WP is likely going to be less than effective.

B
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
My advice is to contact Goretex for washing instrctions. Goretex comes with a lifetime guarantee and if you have any problems after following their instructions, including tape or any part of the jacket, Goretex will replace with a new garment. I and a cvouple of my friends have been successful in doing this.
Like Dougfitz, I now have a jacket using Event fabric which has kept me dry for 3 days continuous rain in New Zealand and 5 days continuous heavy rain in Galacia.
 

Bogong

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First, March 2014
@Bogong -

I have great sympathy for your experience!

Grab some Nikwax garment wash and follow the instructions for a manual wash.

Then use the Nikwax WP spray per instructions. From what you describe, the 'Wash in' version of their WP is likely going to be less than effective.

B
If the things didn't work when they were brand new I doubt whether they would work any better by introducing some aftermarket treatment from another supplier. Also this is the first time I've been told that Goretex gives a life time guarantee (by Camino David), certainly nothing of the sort was ever indicated or written when I bought the things. If I had known they would have been returned very quickly indeed. I remember years back now fronting up at Eddie Bauer in Washington DC and having the virtues of the stuff extolled. They scoffed when I said that mine leaked like a sieve. So next day I fronted up with it and asked for two glasses, one with water. I placed part of the jacket over the empty glass and dribbled water on it. I was wrong. It didn't leak like a sieve, the water just ran straight through, while a sieve would have provided at least some resistance . They were nonplussed.

De Colores

Bogong.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I've had three Goretex jackets, now disposed of, and two more recent ones, of which more later.

None of the three were waterproof from new, even in light rain. Basically they're a polyester/nylon type outer over a Teflon membrane and another protective layer inside to safeguard the teflon. The initial instructions were to wash only in soap, not detergents. When the stuff first came out you could buy the fabric and sew a jacket up yourself, but the company subsequently introduced a "closed shop" policy limiting the sale to established manufacturers.

There are some non-sequiters. First it's the teflon which is supposed to provide the breathability/waterproofness. But obviously if the outer layer becomes wet both functions will be compromised. But if you spray or treat the outer layer with virtually anything, or for that matter iron it, it's also to some extent going to seal the outer up and compromise the product and there's no gainsaying this. It leaves you with something not much better than a waterproof nylon Mac or an oilskin and if you're working hard you'll get wetter from sweat than from the rain. And actually what I had been told was that washing was directed principally at removing the sweat from the insides this was compromising the breathability, rather than dirt from the outside. Another issue is that some of the lightweight ones have had no inner lining to protect the teflon which will disappear very quickly from abrasion eg packstraps. And yet another were delamination problems particularly early on. And again the seam sealing strips can come off very early on.

I think the stuff is massively overpriced rubbish, and while some people may swear by it I certainly swear at it. A slick marketing con designed to part the gullible from their money. Nevertheless I recently bought the Inoc Aldi version which claims exactly the same performance attributes as Goretex but at a fraction of the price and also a virtually brand new Mountain Designs jacket for $20 at St Vinnie's which I couldn't pass up at the price. I've used them at best once or twice each and the outer layers of both wet up very quickly even in a light shower, so I don't really have any high expectations. The cleaning recommendations on the Aldi product are " Cold gentle machine wash with like colours Do not soak Do not bleach Line dry in shade without delay Do not iron do not dry clean".

I wonder whether or not Ventile would be a better alternative. Something has to be.

De Colores

Bogong
As an aside on Teflon - if you buy a Tefal frying pan (Teflon coated) in France (and elsewhere too perhaps) the instructions tell you not to use it to cook in a kitchen that has caged birds in it which raises two points - what is so toxic about Teflon that it can injure a bird and two, who cooks with a caged bird in their kitchen?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, Madrid (2019) Portuges (2020)
I've had three Goretex jackets, now disposed of, and two more recent ones, of which more later.

None of the three were waterproof from new, even in light rain. Basically they're a polyester/nylon type outer over a Teflon membrane and another protective layer inside to safeguard the teflon. The initial instructions were to wash only in soap, not detergents. When the stuff first came out you could buy the fabric and sew a jacket up yourself, but the company subsequently introduced a "closed shop" policy limiting the sale to established manufacturers.

There are some non-sequiters. First it's the teflon which is supposed to provide the breathability/waterproofness. But obviously if the outer layer becomes wet both functions will be compromised. But if you spray or treat the outer layer with virtually anything, or for that matter iron it, it's also to some extent going to seal the outer up and compromise the product and there's no gainsaying this. It leaves you with something not much better than a waterproof nylon Mac or an oilskin and if you're working hard you'll get wetter from sweat than from the rain. And actually what I had been told was that washing was directed principally at removing the sweat from the insides this was compromising the breathability, rather than dirt from the outside. Another issue is that some of the lightweight ones have had no inner lining to protect the teflon which will disappear very quickly from abrasion eg packstraps. And yet another were delamination problems particularly early on. And again the seam sealing strips can come off very early on.

I think the stuff is massively overpriced rubbish, and while some people may swear by it I certainly swear at it. A slick marketing con designed to part the gullible from their money. Nevertheless I recently bought the Inoc Aldi version which claims exactly the same performance attributes as Goretex but at a fraction of the price and also a virtually brand new Mountain Designs jacket for $20 at St Vinnie's which I couldn't pass up at the price. I've used them at best once or twice each and the outer layers of both wet up very quickly even in a light shower, so I don't really have any high expectations. The cleaning recommendations on the Aldi product are " Cold gentle machine wash with like colours Do not soak Do not bleach Line dry in shade without delay Do not iron do not dry clean".

I wonder whether or not Ventile would be a better alternative. Something has to be.

De Colores

Bogong
I had a ventile jacket by ‘snowsled’ In the UK, and it was a thing of beauty. Soft, comfortable highly breathable and very well made. Used on innumerable polar expeditions, although not by me!

It resisted light rain for a couple of hours. The principle is that the outer layer takes in moisture, the fibres then swell and become water-tight(ish).

There were two issues:

When wet it needed two strong men to lift it.

Once soaked it could take two days to dry out.

I persisted for years, sold it and regretted it ever since.

The gamekeepers where I live would traditionally go out in foul weather in woollen tweed. They stayed warm(ish) and dry(ish) but relied on drying their clothes overnight in front of the fire.

Purely by virtue of the massive sales volume, goretex probably works for most people, although I have a Goretex jacket by Sherpa which is about as breathable as a bin bag. (Plastic refuse sack), so there are exceptions.
 
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Marcus-UK

Old Git
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (2016) Camino Portuguese (2017) Considering Invierno 2019
One thing to note with Gortex style waterproofs is that the internal moisture permeable membrane wears out over time and you will eventually find that you will get damp in soggy humid atmosphere. I have used ventile cotton jackets and trousers for 50 plus years and these offer a balance of breathability waterproofing in most weather conditions. They are however heavier than modern ultralight waterproofs and their water resisting method does rely on an initial soaking of the fibres making them heavy.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
As an aside on Teflon - if you buy a Tefal frying pan (Teflon coated) in France (and elsewhere too perhaps) the instructions tell you not to use it to cook in a kitchen that has caged birds in it which raises two points - what is so toxic about Teflon that it can injure a bird and two, who cooks with a caged bird in their kitchen?
It's interesting, Jeff. . . I have raised Parrotlets (tiny parrots with big parrot personalities) and the teflon cookware thing has been a big point of discussion for a long time.

Birds don't have 'lungs' in the same way mammals have, and they become more susceptible to certain contaminants. The problem is not Teflon cookware, per se, when it is used for cooking at normal cooking temperatures. It is when the cookware is 'overheated' to temperatures above 530 F / 276 C. Apparently, it is at these temperatures at which Teflon coatings can begin to off-gas, which is toxic to birds.

So as long as you do not burn and inhale the fumes from your Goretex clothing, you should be OK :).

I wonder if there are any warning signs for the clothing burners of Finestere? 🤪
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
It's interesting, Jeff. . . I have raised Parrotlets (tiny parrots with big parrot personalities) and the teflon cookware thing has been a big point of discussion for a long time.

Birds don't have 'lungs' in the same way mammals have, and they become more susceptible to certain contaminants. The problem is not Teflon cookware, per se, when it is used for cooking at normal cooking temperatures. It is when the cookware is 'overheated' to temperatures above 530 F / 276 C. Apparently, it is at these temperatures at which Teflon coatings can begin to off-gas, which is toxic to birds.

So as long as you do not burn and inhale the fumes from your Goretex clothing, you should be OK :).

I wonder if there are any warning signs for the clothing burners of Finestere? 🤪
Pump action and a straight tobacco pipe and away you go 🥳

Oddly, if you buy Teflon pans in the UK - no warnings!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
P.S. Due to the fact that the thread was specific to Goretex, my answer was specific to THAT product and not to the metaphysical inventory of other WP/B laminates.
I apologize if I have confused the issue here. I thought this too when I scanned the headline, but when I saw your comment, here:
The waterproof/breathable (WP/B) laminate film itself (goretex or whatever).
(emphasis added)
I assumed that you were discussing the wider range of ePTFE membranes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
I apologize if I have confused the issue here. I thought this too when I scanned the headline, but when I saw your comment, here:
(emphasis added)
I assumed that you were discussing the wider range of ePTFE membranes.
What I really LOVE about this Forum is that, in the main, people of integrity, knowledge, and practical experience can disagree on a topic without the situation becoming toxic. Of course, sometimes the thread does go pear-shaped but "the exception proves the rule".

I am glad that this was not one of those threads that went awry!

What I have learned (or re-learned) is three-fold:

a) People of integrity default to civility when difficulties in communication come about.

b) There are about a zillion ways to think about fabric and care thereof.

c) I am ignorant of most of them and now know that I know very little...aside from what works on my 2008 era purchases.

I have been alerted to a lot of nuances on the topic in this thread and offer my thanks to all contributors.

Buen Camino!

B
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
Anyone who thinks we humans can get our techy waterproofs dirty should have seen my horses’ breathable, waterproof blankets after the first day’s wear in heavy rain. (Even thick grass becomes mud once a horse fancies a roll on it.)
Wear and tear meant they were frequently patched (same material, with sealed stitching).
I used either Rambo wash (made for their Rambo rugs) or the 1 litre bottles of “Loft” - (Nikwax, and far better value than the smaller bottles sold in outdoor gear shops).
And I used the 1 litre bottle of TX Direct Wash-in, or the spray, depending on what I had to hand.
I made those rugs last at least 2, if not 3, years (they were expensive!) and when I used to slide my hand underneath them, the horses were always dry and very cosy.

I’ve always treated my techy waterproofs in the same way ... I loved Ventile (with wool layers) but it weighs a ton when it’s working!
I have an ancient Rohan W/P (my all-time favourite) that is sadly ‘going home’, after at least 18 years of regular use - not just on the hill. The only difference in the way I treated it was to give it about 20 minutes in the tumble dryer, on very low heat, to restore the DWR. It’s the only temperature my tiny dryer provides. (The dryer itself is regularly on the list for the skip, whenever we think we need more room but so far it’s survived, despite very little regular use.)

Nikwax provides products that are safe for humans (and animals) and ‘earth-friendly’ - and they work!
 

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