Re-waterproofing: how to reactivate waterproofing on your hiking jacket

Does your hiking jacket seem to have lost some of the waterproofing quality over time? Don't panic, here’s how to get it back to how it was!

How to restore your jacket's water-repellent properties?

If you are hiking in wet weather conditions, especially in autumn or winter, you must make sure you wear a good waterproof jacket.
So that you enjoy your hike, and stay dry too.With a new waterproof jacket, there is no risk of getting soaked as a treatment has been applied to the surface of your jacket. This is what prevents water from absorbing into the outer layer of your hiking jacket.
But wear and tear and repeated use will reduce the effectiveness of this water-repellent treatment.Don't worry! There are a few tricks you can use to give your jacket a new lease on life and keep you dry while hiking.Here’s how:

Waterproofing vs Water repellency

Before reading about some tips for re-waterproofing your hiking jacket, it is important to know that there is a difference between waterproofing and water-repellency.

A waterproof fabric refers to its capacity to prevent water penetration (rain, snow, dew or even humidity). To allow your jacket to protect you against rain during wet or rainy hikes, a treatment is applied to it.
Note that there are several levels of waterproofing, usually rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (the higher the rating, the more waterproof the jacket), achieved through different treatments.

a water repellent treatment is applied to the fabric, this causes water to run off its surface - without absorbing it.This prevents the fabric from soaking up water and keeps it lightweight and breathable. The fabric is made water-repellent by treating its outer surface. However, this property may deteriorate over time.
Only applied on the component.

Re-waterproofing: how to reactivate waterproofing on your hiking jacket
Re-waterproofing: how to reactivate waterproofing on your hiking jacket

Re-waterproofing your hiking jacket: how does it work?

Re-waterproofing your hiking jacket is also a small action for the environment. By choosing a durable garment and looking after it properly limits the impact on the environment and also saves you money.
To sum-up:this is good for the environment AND your budget.
So,how will maintaining your hiking jacket affect its waterproofing? In fact, cleaning your jacket will remove particles (such as dust or grease stains) that clog the pores of the jacket's membrane. This membrane is like a film with small holes (pores) that prevents water from penetrating and wicks away your perspiration (this is called breathability). This will impact the breathability of your jacket's membrane.

It is however advisable not to wash your waterproof jacket too often. Indeed, with each wash, the components undergo a lot of pressure. The jacket assembly, for example, is held together by seams sealed with waterproof tapes. Faced with a lot of friction after repeated washing, residues are deposited that weaken the waterproofing of the jacket.

Re-waterproofing: how to reactivate waterproofing on your hiking jacket

When should you do your re-waterproofing?

It is often not necessary to wash and dry your jacket after each use to re-waterproof it. So how do you know whether or not your product needs to be put through the washer? Use the water drop test. To do this, simply pour a trickle of water over your garment: If the water does not penetrate and beads up on the surface of the fabric, it’s in good condition. You won’t need to reactivate the waterproofing. However, if the fabric absorbs the drop of water, your jacket has effectively lost its waterproofing properties. In that case, be sure to follow the rest of this article!

Give your garment a new lease on life: here’s how!

Please remember to close all zips and flaps on your jacket. Then remove any parts of the garment that do not wash. Loosen the straps and elasticated parts and empty pockets. Wash the item on the reverse side.

2nd step: WASHING
You can wash the jacket using a 30° or 40°C synthetic wash programme using your usual detergent. Important: do not use fabric softener because this may damage the garment’s original performance. And, of course, do not use bleach. To avoid unpleasant surprises, do not mix it with clothes of different colours and fabrics. And make sure you don't bunch up your jacket too much when you put it in the washing machine. Be sure not to overload your machine.
Extremely important: rinse thoroughly or double rinse to fully remove detergent residues.

3rd step: DRYING
The drying step is essential to restore the waterproofing treatment. Remember: let your jacket dry in the open air, flat on a drying rack. And never dry it hanging on a radiator!
Then put your hiking jacket in the tumble dryer on the synthetic programme for a short time. That is, 10 to 15 minutes, then turn it right-side-out. Warning: do not over-dry the jacket.


If you do not have a tumble dryer or if for one reason or another you do not have access to one, there are alternatives to provide heat to your component therefore reactivating the chemical treatment applied to the yarn during its manufacture.

You can replace the tumble dryer with your hair dryer. Heat it at thirty centimetres from the component. Be sure to maintain this distance otherwise you risk damaging the jacket.

If, despite washing and rinsing thoroughly and then drying, drops of water no longer run off the surface.  What do you do? Don't run out straight away and buy a new one, you can still re-waterproof it with a spray or a liquid sold in our shops.

Re-waterproofing: how to reactivate waterproofing on your hiking jacket
Re-waterproofing: how to reactivate waterproofing on your hiking jacket


A hiking enthusiast and Quechua employee

Do you like walking in the rain?