gear aid revivex waterproofing review
When your softshell jacket or pants start wetting out, it's time to refresh the durable water repellant (DWR) coating.

DWR Review: Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Waterproofing Spray

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The Gear AID ReviveX Durable Waterproofing Spray is an easy-to-apply spray that refreshes the durable water repellent (DWR) coating that comes on many outdoor jackets and pants. The trouble with DWR coatings is that they will all eventually wear out and begin to fail. When this happens, you need to reapply a DWR coating yourself — hence our Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Waterproof Spray review.

How do you know when you need to refresh a DWR coating?

If water beads up and rolls off of your jacket or pants, you’re in good shape. If this doesn’t happen, though — if the water starts to sink in in places — the outer layer will begin to “wet out” and absorb water. Your particular fabric may still (technically) remain waterproof, but the breathable waterproof layer inside — like GORE-TEX or eVent — won’t be able to release moisture from the inside that you generate because it will run into this layer of water . . . and that, in turn, may make your interior base layers get wet.

gear aid revivex waterproofing review
Does water bead up everywhere? If not, time for a DWR refresh.

Either way, once your jacket gets soaked, it gets heavier and loses its ability to insulate you against the elements. When you first start to notice a problem, you can likely wash the garment and then put it in the dryer on warm, which will reactivate the DWR coating. If your jacket or pants no longer cause water to bead up after your reactivation attempt, you’ll need to reapply a new DWR coating.

The key is to use a DWR spray that is designed for breathable fabrics so you don’t clog the ability of your outdoor clothing to breathe.

Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Waterproofing Spray Review

I recently choose to use Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Waterproof Spray on my Sitka Gear Mountain Pants. Why? It’s a simply spray-on application, followed by a choice: air dry for 48 hours or tumble dry on medium heat until dry. I choose to tumble dry on medium heat because I was heading back out in them the next morning. Oh, one more thing: I choose Gear Aid ReviveX DWR because it seems to be scentless (or near scentless).

gear-aid-revivex-review-dwr-spray
This pair of Sitka Gear Mountain Pants needed a DWR refresh — and Gear Aid ReviveX did the job quickly and easily.

To get this going, I washed my Sitka pants without any detergent — but I would have used a special detergent like the Gear Aid ReviveX Outerwear Pro Cleaner if I felt there was enough grime to worry about. Then I hung them in the garage.

I liberally sprayed the Gear Aid ReviveX DWR all over them, hitting the seams and the backside seat of the pants with a little extra. I used half of the 5 ounce bottle, which Gear Aid says is enough to do two treatments.

Next, Gear Aid says to toss the pants in the dryer and tumble dry — but that seems a bit like a waste because some of the Gear Aid DWR coating must surely contact the interior of the dryer and rub off before it sets into the garment, right? Instead, I turned the pants inside out so that the coated parts only contacted each other during the drying process.

I have no idea if this is better, worse, or if it doesn’t matter . . . but it works, so I’m going to keep applying it this way.

After drying, my softshell pants regained their water-repellant characteristics. Of course, I should say that these pants were never supposed to be “waterproof” in the first place, just water-repellant — which is what I wanted, something that would shed early morning dew from tall grass or fight off a light backcountry drizzle.

For All DWR Reviews: Not Exactly ‘Waterproof’

In case this isn’t clear, no DWR coating will make a non-waterproof garment suddenly become waterproof. For it to be waterproof, you really need it to have a physical waterproofing layer — some kind of waterproof fabric — with sealed seams. Interestingly, you can use Gear Aid ReviveX on breathable fly fishing waders if your outer layer of breathable waders starts wetting out. To do it, though, Gear Aid recommends that you use an iron to heat and activate the coating rather than putting your waders through the dryer. Again, breathable waders still have an inner layer of waterproof fabric that the DWR doesn’t even get to — the DWR is for the outer layer so that the layers remain open with air so that moisture can still escape.

All in all, I wish all DWR coatings were permanent, but they get beaten down and scraped off through normal wear and tear. Consequently, Gear Aid ReviveX Durable Waterproofing Spray has earned a spot on my gear shelf. I’ve used it on a variety of outdoor shells, including snow pants, and it’s been working great each time. Highly recommended. Get some for your own gear shelf or closet because you never know when you’ll need to refresh a key softshell jacket or pair of adventure pants.

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