The Swell Shell

With a Little TLC, Your Coat Will Be a Lifelong Friend


2004 Buyer's Guide: Jacket Care

» WASH YOUR JACKET. You have to—dirt attracts water, which can defeat your coat's DWR finish. To do away with minor grime, machine-wash the piece in warm water without using detergent.
» If a jacket is really dirty, you can MACHINE-WASH it with mild powder detergent or nondetergent Nikwax Tech Wash. Fasten all tabs—loose Velcro in a washer can abrade your shell like sandpaper—and close all zippers. RINSE IT TWICE to eliminate all suds residue.
» NEVER USE BLEACH or fabric softeners, and NEVER DRY-CLEAN a waterproof shell. The solvents are cruel to water-resistant formulas.
» DRY YOUR JACKET on the "low" setting in a conventional dryer, or steam-iron it on "warm" or "synthetic." Either process will distribute the DWR treatment over the garment's entire surface.

» Constant washings and wearings will break down and rub off DWR finishes. Then it's time to APPLY AN AFTERMARKET DWR such as ReviveX (a spray-on from the makers of Gore-Tex), Tectron Fabric Protector spray-on, or Nikwax TX-Direct Spray.
» WASH-IN DWR APPLICATIONS work well, too, although they'll coat your jacket inside and out—and that in turn can inhibit the wicking capability of a storm shell's liner.
» Should you tear open your sleeve on a branch, DON'T TRY TO FIX IT YOURSELF. Many manufacturers will replace the whole panel, in a matter of weeks—and cheaply. (Marmot, for example, charges $20.)

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