Adventures In Waterproofing

September 11, 2015

Adventures in Waterproofing

A few months ago, I bought a surplus Scandinavian military snow jacket at the flea market. At $20, it was a lot cheaper than the Nigel Cabourn version I’d been coveting, and it’s been pretty great.

There was only one catch: it was lightweight cotton, and while it had a hood, it wasn’t waterproof, or even particularly water resistant. Living in Los Angeles, it’s never particularly cold when it rains, so a simple water-resistant shell is perfect, but a simple not-water-resistant shell isn’t that useful. Even if it’s neat.

So I’ve decided to try some waterproofing. I threw the jacket, along with another surplus military jacket, into a vat with a gallon and a half of hot water and a few ounces of Nikwax Cotton Proof. My research (mostly reading Amazon reviews and a few Ask Metafilter threads) suggested that Nikwax was the good stuff – purpose-made for specific fabrics and preferred by outdoorsmen and guys on worksites who want waterproof Carhartt gear alike.

I’ve agitaged, soaked, agitated, rinsed, and now the coats are out in the backyard on top of my hammock, drying in the sun. How will this all work out? I’ll report back. I promise.