Frequently Asked Questions


  • “What the heck is DWR and why should it concern me?”
    DWR is the acronym for Durable Water Repellent. It is a treatment that fabric manufacturers apply to outer layer material of outdoor garments. DWR causes water to bead up and roll off the surface, allowing body moisture to pass through the breathable membranes of the fabric, and away from your body. This process makes the fabric drier and lighter. DWR is particularly important for high-tech waterproof, breathable fabrics used in drytops, drysuits and splash wear made by NRS, Kokatat and other quality manufacturers.

    Unfortunately, even the best DWR treatments aren’t permanent. Regular wear and tear, exposure to dirt, detergents, etc cause degradation of these finishes. What results is a “wetting out” of the garment: water doesn’t bead off, but rather soaks into the outer fabric. This water adds extra weight to the garment and draws heat away from your body when evaporating. While the garment is still waterproof, this evaporative cooling can cause condensation on the inside of the garment, affecting breathability and leading you to think there’s a leak.

  • “What do I need to do to protect the DWR finish on my boating apparel?”
    Dirt and detergent residues attract water and degrade the DWR finish on your garments. After each wearing, rinse the garments thoroughly with fresh water and air dry. If the apparel needs a more thorough cleaning, wash with a non-detergent cleaner like Revivex® Synthetic Fabric Cleaner. Either hand wash or use a front loading washer. The agitator in top loading washers can twist and damage the breathable coating/membrane in your garments. After washing, rinse thoroughly. Rule of thumb – “wash once, rinse twice.”.

  • “How do I renew the DWR on my gear?”
    Boating apparel, with its latex or neoprene neck, wrist, ankle and waist closures, present a special challenge for DWR replenishment. Many DWR renewal products require you to “set” the product with heat, in a clothes dryer or with an iron. Never put a garment with latex gaskets in a dryer, and we don’t recommend it for neoprene either.

    Instead, use a product like 303 Fabric Guard, that doesn’t require heat setting. It’s best to clean the garment first with a non-detergent cleaner and then dry thoroughly before spraying on Fabric Guard. Two light applications are better than one heavy one, and it works best to do this outdoors on a hot, sunny day.

    So, take care of the DWR finish on your paddling gear and it will breathe better, be more comfortable and last longer.

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