The idea of waterproofing your hunting clothes seems like a huge schlep. You may think it would be much easier to go out and buy a whole new waterproof jacket when your old one loses its water-repelling qualities.
But in reality, waterproofing the outdoor clothing you already have shouldn’t take you longer than an hour.
There are loads of products on the market. These include spray-ons and special waterproofing detergents that are specially designed to keep you dry and comfortable while you hunt.
So, if you’re sick and tired of that wet and sticky feeling while hunting in wet weather, read on.
What Do I Need To Waterproof?
Even the best waterproof hunting gear will eventually lose its water-resistant outer layer over time. Rain gear, softshell jackets, hunting pants, gloves, boots, and anything else that used to be DWR (durable water repellant) will need waterproofing.
The aim is to have water roll right off your clothing the same way it rolls right off a duck’s back.
How to Make Your Hunting Gear Waterproof
There are two quick and easy ways to waterproof your hunting gear and rain gear. You can either use a water-repellent spray, or you can use a waterproofing laundry treatment.
To waterproof your hunting clohtes using a waterproofing spray, follow the steps below:
- Clean the clothes: Before applying the waterproof spray, make sure your clothes are clean and free of dirt, sweat, and other debris. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the clothes, and then let them dry completely.
- Prepare the area: Choose a well-ventilated area to apply the spray, such as a garage or backyard. Lay down a drop cloth or newspaper to protect the floor or ground from overspray.
- Apply the spray: Shake the can of waterproof spray well before using it. Hold the can about 6 inches away from the item of clothing and spray in a sweeping motion, making sure to cover the entire surface of your clothes.
- Allow to dry: Allow the clothes to dry completely before wearing or storing them. This may take a few hours, depending on the humidity and temperature.
- Repeat the process: Waterproofing sprays tend to lose effectiveness over time. It’s recommended to reapply the spray every few months to make sure your clothes stay water-resistant.
If you opt for the waterproofing spray option, I recommend using Cabela’s waterproofing aerosol. This product has a near 5-star review and is basically worshipped in the hunting community.
To waterproof your hunting clothes using a waterproofing laundry treatment, follow the steps below:
- Clean the clothes: Make sure your clothes are clean and free of dirt, sweat, and other debris. Use a mild laundry detergent and water to clean your clothes, allowing them dry completely.
- Fill the washing machine: Fill your washing machine with warm water. Then add the recommended amount of waterproof laundry detergent as per the instructions on the detergent.
- Add the clothes: Carefully place the clothes in the washing machine, making sure that it is fully submerged in the water.
- Run the cycle: Run the machine on a normal cycle. Make sure to check the care label on the clothes to follow the instructions in terms of the water temperature and the spin speed.
- Dry the clothes: Once the cycle is finished, take the clothes out of the washing machine and hang them to dry. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can damage the fabric and the waterproofing.
- Repeat the process: It’s recommended to use the detergent every few months or as needed to maintain water resistance.
If you choose to go the laundry route, look no further than Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In. This treatment can be used on almost any hunting gear and rain gear. It’s also eco-friendly and biodegradable, so you would be doing the environment a solid!
Waterproofing Spray vs. Waterproofing Detergent – Which Would I Go For?
Waterproofing sprays are best for treating specific areas of clothing or for adding an extra layer of protection to already waterproof clothing, while waterproofing detergents are best for treating entire garments that need to be fully waterproof.
So, it really depends on your waterproofing needs – what you’re waterproofing and how much you need to waterproof.
But if I had to choose, I would probably lean more toward the waterproofing laundry detergent. Just because it means you can waterproof a whole lot more at once in a single load of washing. It also means that no spot will be missed in the waterproofing process, something that may happen if you use the spray.
How to Make Your Boots Waterproof
Hunting in wet boots must be one of the worst things ever. Having water seep between your toes is a nightmare for anyone with tactile sensitivity, like myself. Not to mention the blisters.
Just as with your other outdoor gear mentioned above, you can use waterproofing spray to waterproof them. But some people prefer to use wax or oil when it comes to boots.
If you’re one of those people, I would recommend Kenetrek waterproofing boot wax. This wax is the best for hunters and other outdoorsy people. All you need to do is apply the wax to your boots, then wait for the magic to happen.
The wax will create a water-resistant barrier that blocks out any wetness from light rain, snow and mud. Once the wax is dry, you’re set to go!
Another method is to use a waterproofing membrane. This is an impermeable layer that can be stitched into your boots. Some boots already have this built-in, but if you don’t already have one, you can buy a waterproof membrane insert and stitch it in yourself.
DIY Candle Wax Waterproofing Method
If you’re a DIY-type person and are thinking to yourself: “Surely there’s a way I can do this using items I already have?” Then I have some good news for you.
You can use melted candle wax to create a water-resistant layer on your hunting gear. This is a more labor-intensive option, but if that’s what you’re into, then by all means, give this method a go.
If you’re looking to waterproof clothing using the candle wax method, here are the steps to follow:
- Melt the wax: Place a candle in a double boiler or in a heat-proof container that can be placed in a pot of boiling water. The wax will melt as the water boils.
- Apply the wax: Once the wax is melted, use a paintbrush or a piece of cloth to apply the wax to the clothing. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the fabric, paying special attention to seams and any areas that may be more susceptible to water penetration.
- Heat the fabric: Once the wax is applied, use a heat gun, a hair dryer, or an iron to heat the fabric. This will help the wax penetrate the fibers of the fabric and create a more effective barrier against water.
- Allow the fabric to cool: Once the fabric is heated, allow it to cool completely before wearing or storing the clothing.
Note, however, that there is a downside to this method.
While this method will work on natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen, it may not be effective on synthetic fabrics, including rain gear. Also, it will make the fabric on your hunting gear stiffer, and it may affect the breathability of the fabric.
Storing and Washing your Waterproof Gear
How you store your hunting clothing matters.
Bacteria doesn’t discriminate. It will grow on all types of clothing and rain gear, waterproof or not. So be sure to keep your hunting gear in a cool, dark and dry place, and stay away from damp basements or attics where moisture grows easily.
I would suggest hanging your clothes on hangers or folding them into a plastic container or sealed bag. Whichever you choose to do, just make sure your hunting clothes are kept separate from your normal clothes. You don’t want the scent on your hunting clothes seeping into the clothes you’ll wear to the office the next day.
Also, don’t be afraid to wash your waterproof clothes.
If you use the waterproof detergent with each wash, your clothes will remain waterproof even after the fabric has been cleaned. This is because the waterproof detergent attaches to the fibers in your clothing’s fabric, creating and reinforcing a waterproof barrier. It will never wash the waterproof-ness away.
Regular washing of your hunting gear will remove dirt, sweat, and body oils that can clog the breathable membrane in your clothing and reduce its effectiveness. So always make it a rule to wash your hunting gear after each use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we wear waterproof clothes?
Waterproof clothing stops wetness from seeping through. This is important during hunting because it helps with comfort, maintaining body temperature, and staying safe from weather-related issues, such as hypothermia.
Can I use regular laundry detergent to wash my waterproof hunting clothing?
No, it’s important to use a detergent specifically designed for waterproof and breathable fabrics. These detergents are formulated to clean the fabric without damaging the waterproof membrane.
Can I iron my waterproof hunting gear?
No, it’s important to avoid ironing waterproof hunting clothes as the heat can damage the waterproof membrane. It’s best to air dry them or use a low heat setting on your dryer.
How often should I reapply waterproofing treatment?
It’s important to reapply waterproofing treatment as often as needed to maintain the water resistance of your hunting clothes. This can vary depending on how often you use your gear and how much it’s exposed to the elements. A good rule of thumb is to reapply the treatment once or twice a year or as soon as you notice that the fabric is no longer shedding water.
Making your hunting clothes water-resistant is pretty easy if you have the right products. Water repellent spray, like Cabela’s aerosol, and waterproof laundry detergent, like Nikwax’s Tech Wash and Wash-In, should be your go-tos. These products are sure to keep you protected from all the wet elements – be it light rain, heavy rain, or even snow.