I'm sitting here looking at a lot of snow and dreaming about being on the Appalachian Trail instead! It does seem like a long time from now but it'll be here quickly. So, to satisfy that urge to backpack, this time of year is when I begin to take a look at my 'stuff' to see what needs repair, replacement, or maybe just some good old fashioned cleaning and rehabbing!
If you're like me, even though I clean everything after each trip I don't always rehab it. So, if you haven't throughly cleaned/rehabbed your clothing/equipment/boots lately --- especially your rain gear and down jackets/vests --- it may be a good idea to consider doing that. The accumulation of oils from our skin and dirt/dust (from everywhere) does decrease the ability of our garments to function well --- they don't keep us as warm or as dry as when they were new.
The best way to insure their continued efficiency is to throughly clean them occasionally --- how often really depends on how often you use them. Doing this will definitely increase the longevity and function of your clothing and your equipment. It is best to use products for cleaning that are recommended by the brand you own. If you don't know what your brand coat for example recommends you can find out either online or by calling their 800 number.
The other part of cleaning is the rehabbing -- waterproofing. Just so you know, you can apply an after market waterproofing product on any garment even if it didn't start life as a water resistant or proof garment. The after market product doesn't completely waterproof the item but it does give it more resistance to moisture which is sometimes all you need. I don't recommend using this after market product on the more intimate items of clothing such as under garments or socks though.
Here are a few websites that give both specific products and walk thru methods for cleaning/rehabbing. I especially liked the YouTube video 'speed up' of washing clothes --- wish my clothes washed that quickly!
- The brand I tend to use the most is Nikwax and I just came across a great website that gives a good visual of what products you need for your gear/equipment. You can see this at http://www.nikwaxna.com/gearrehab/#work
- Here's a great YouTube video about cleaning/waterproofing clothing this is highlighting McNett product: https://www.mcnett.com/gearaid/blog/how-to-waterproof-a-jacket
- This website uses a snowboarder to impart great wisdom :) -- also gives lots of brand names which is a good thing: http://snowboarding.transworld.net/how-to/how-to-re-waterproof-your-gear/#E8D7MyH7gE2Xuf0U.97
Dreaming of the Appalachian Trail!