You’d be forgiven for not realising that the really expensive Gore-Tex jacket you’ve just bought will eventually soak up water like a sponge and take ages to dry after a good soaking. That’s because so-called breathable-waterproofing has nothing whatsoever to do with the outside of the jacket. What you need in order to stop rain soaking into the fibres themselves is something called a DWR (Durable Water Repellent). And that’s what Nikwax is.
Now Nikwax has been around for donkey’s years, but I confess that I’ve never actually used it, so this test/review was designed to push the limits of the coating to see just how good it is.
I cut an old pair of jeans in half, hand-washed half in Nikwax, sewed them back up and then went for a walk in the rain.
The results were astonishing. The Nikwax-coated leg of the jeans repelled the light rain for over an hour, whilst the other leg soaked it up and became heavy, grippy and uncomfortable. I deliberately kept the jeans slung low and walked through wet grass, and the difference in the amount that each leg soaked up from the ground was also impressive – with the Nikwax leg ending up with 5-inches of wet bottom as opposed to around 12 inches on the un-treated side.
I had thought that wax coating jeans would end up with them feeling clammy and slippery on the skin, and I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case. There was a very slight difference in feel in both legs, but not so much that you’d notice if you weren’t told.
SUMMARY: Nikwax Cotton Proof was subjected to a pretty demanding test, probably far greater than what it’s designed for (tents, jackets) and it performed superbly. I was genuinely impressed by how much better than I thought it would be that it actually was. I’ll be looking to test some of Nikwax’s other proofers in the future.
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