Raincoats are a lot like nonstick pans. I feel like when I get a new raincoat and love it, I walk out in the rain and feel invincible, as raindrops ricochet magically off of me, and skid to the sidewalk. But like nonstick pans, after continued use, their coating begins to wear off. And so, this spring, when I broke out my favorite raincoat, I was unpleasantly surprised when I quickly became soaked through. I was planning on chucking it in the garbage, but I got some advice that made me reconsider.
Baxter Wood makes the kind of raincoat you’d never want to throw out. They are Paddington Bear-esque and fully waterproof. Co-Founders Kewku Larbi and Sarah Smith told me that it’s normal for “the Durable Water Repellent substance used by a factory when the raincoat wears off over time.”
But they told me not to chuck my old raincoat. Instead, they said, I should apply this to it.
“NIKWAX acts just as the waterproofing applied when the raincoat was manufactured,” Kewku and Sarah said. “It repels water from the external surface of a raincoat, and maintains the breathability of the raincoat, especially if it's a raincoat material like gore-tex.”
Nikwax Direct Spray-On Waterproofing
They prefer NIKWAX over other products because “NIKWAX is the only outdoor company to manufacture an entire range of water-based waterproofing products,” and they have “never used aerosols, and have considered the environment since their inception, with a product that increases the useful life of rainwear.”
Best of all, they said, “It’s incredibly simple to use. Make sure to wash the raincoat before reapplying. The raincoat should be made fully wet, then apply the NIKWAX waterproofing to the wet surface (fully covering all external parts of the raincoat). After all parts are covered, use a damp cloth to wipe off excess spray, then hang to dry or tumble dry on low."
I think the simplicity of application is what most convinced me to try it. Spraying it on my old raincoat was easy (I just put it in the bathtub). It didn’t smell bad or toxic either, like I expected it to. It dried fairly quickly, and immediately, I could feel a brand new sheen on it. It was as if my rain coat had suddenly gotten a second life. The next time it rained, I stepped outside. There was no way it would work, I thought. And yet, it did, maybe even better than when I first bought it.
The Founders of Baxter told me to reapply once a year, which seems easy enough. If it can keep me in the same raincoat for years on end, I’m willing to give it a go.
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