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Do I need to apply a water repellent coating to a new pair of rain pants?

Hi - I just purchased  a pair of REI's essential rain pants.  These will be worn next summer during a boat excursion above the Arctic Circle and will need to keep me dry.  They are supposed to be waterproof.  Would it be ok to spray a chemical waterproofer on them to enhance that possibility?  Thanks.

1 Reply


Thanks for reaching out!

What a cool trip you have planned! I lived in Fairbanks, AK for six years and, in spite of the close proximity, never made it to the Arctic Circle. There were just too many other adventures to be had!

The REI Co-op Essential Rain Pants are made with 2.5 layer waterproof-breathable fabric and are coated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish. As such, you should not need to re-treat your rain pants unless you put them through heavy use between now and your trip and you notice that the DWR is losing its effectiveness. That could be caused by abrasion or repeated wear and tear like stuffing and removing from a backpack repeatedly. A simple test is to just run the pants under a light stream of water from the faucet and observe what the water does. If it beads up and rolls off then your DWR is good to go. If you notice it 'wet out' in spots, you may need to re-apply. A product like Nikwax TX.Direct Spray On Water Repellent Treatment will work well for that application.

It is important to note that the waterproof-breathable layer of fabric remains waterproof even without the DWR, the treatment just allows the water to bead up and roll off the fabric without absorbing into the face fabric of the pants.

Hopefully this helps, have an awesome trip! Please come back here in the community and tell us about it!

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