3 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Outerwear

686 products are built to last with high-quality materials and durable construction. This long-wearing design ethos gives us the ability to offer a Lifetime Warranty on our entire GLCR line. Still, we can all be hard on our gear from time to time. These simple tips will help your outerwear perform even longer in the elements.

WASH

All 686 outerwear is 100% washable and we encourage you to wash your gear when it becomes visibly dirty. Washing your garments doesn’t only prevent odor and keep it looking clean, but it can also help increase its life and water repellency by removing dirt and excess particles from its surface.

Follow these simple steps when washing:

  1. Before washing, zip together all zippers and attach all Velcro. This will help prevent zipper sliders and teeth from being damaged in the washer and/or dryer and Velcro can become clogged.
  2. Use a front-load washing machine only. Using an agitator-style top-load washer could possibly cause damage to your garment.
  3. Wash on gentle cycle only and use cold water. Cold water aids in maintaining your waterproofing and DWR coating.
  4. Use outerwear-specific detergent. We highly recommend the specifically formulated Nikwax Tech Wash. Using liquid detergent that is not outerwear-specific clogs the pores of technical fabrics and damages the DWR coating, significantly reducing the performance of the garment.
  5. Hang dry in shade or tumble dry on low heat.  Drying with excess heat can damage or melt fabric, zippers, and/or trims. Leave in until “almost dry” and change to NO HEAT or hang dry to finish. Low heat actually helps re-activate the DWR (Durable Water Resistant) finish after washing.

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REPAIR

While your gear is meant to last, accidents and abuse are part of the adventure. You may develop a tear in your garment from getting snagged on a tree or taking a hard fall on some unfriendly terrain. Depending on the damage you may be able to repair these areas and save your garment with a 686 Iron-On Fabric Repair Patch. These patches are also offered in GORE-TEX so that you can maintain the proper level of performance of the item that you are repairing.

Follow these simple steps when applying a 686 Iron-On Fabric Repair Patch:

  1. Clean the torn area and let it dry. This will help the patch adhere to the fabric.
  2. If desired, cut the patch to size. Be sure to leave enough room to fully cover the torn area with at least 1/4 inch of excess.
  3. Peel off film from the back of the patch and place the patch on your garment. Be sure to apply the patch adhesive side down, fully covering the the torn area.
  4. Set your iron to Polyester setting. (148°C/300°F)
  5. Gently apply pressure, only on the patch, for a few seconds and repeat until the patch adheres.

 

Revitalizing or Re-Applying a DWR (Durable Water Resistant) finish of your garment will renew the way that water beads from the fabric.

A garment typically has two main ways of keeping you dry: An inner waterproof membrane and a Durable Water Resistant (DWR) finish. The inner membrane is bonded to your fabric and provides the ultimate layer of waterproofing. The DWR finish makes the water bead off of the exterior of all technical fabrics. DWR finish will become less effective over time and use – especially if you are around campfires, smokers, oily lift pulleys, or other contaminants in general. While your waterproof membrane will continue to keep you dry, you may notice your gear starting to “wet out” on the surface over time. If this happens, the culprit is most likely the degradation of the DWR finish. 

Here are a few easy ways to renew your water resistant finish:

Revitalize the Existing DWR Finish

  1. Tumble drying your garment on low heat for 20 mins. This reactivates the DWR. 
  2. Drop water on the garment to see if it beads from the fabric. Be sure to do this after the material has cooled to room temperature.
  3. Determine if the DWR has been reactivated. If the water beads then you are good-to-go! If the fabric absorbs the water, then it is time to re-apply a DWR finish.

Re-Apply a DWR Finish

  1. Wash as instructed above. You always want to be sure that you are applying a DWR treatment to a clean garment.
  2. Repeat Steps 1-5 of the washing instructions while replacing the outerwear-specific detergent with a wash-in waterproofing finish. We recommend using Nikwax TX.Direct

By simply providing a little extra love to your gear, you can extend their performance and their lifetime.