Whether you're snowboarding or hiking through rainy forests, traversing the great outdoors is such a freeing adventure. That is until water starts seeping into your shoes or raindrops soak the sleeping materials in your tent.
Now, you’ve got soggy socks and a wet sleeping bag! Let me help you prevent that for your next adventure. This article will help you pick out the best waterproofing spray available for all your outdoor gear.
Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellant, 12OZ
Atsko Silicone Water-Guard 10.5 oz
Nikwax TX. Direct Spray-On 300ml
Star Brite Waterproofing Spray, Waterproofer + Stain Repellent + UV Protection
This heavy-duty water repellent comes in a 12-ounce canister. Silicone based product suitable for an assortment of materials.
KIWI Camp Dry is perfect for boots, patio and other outdoor furniture, hunting appeals, tarps, and tents. You can even use this product on riding gear while bicycling or on your motorcycle.
You must use this product in a well-ventilated area – the smell can pack quite a punch and you don’t want to inhale the fumes. The smell completely dissipates after drying.
If you want a water repellent that works on a large assortment of products, this is your best bet for keeping all your belongings dry!
This silicone-based water guard comes in a pack of 2 x10.5oz cans. It dries in 24 hours and is fully cured in 72 hours. It's suitable for clothes, tents, sleeping bags, footwear, gloves and all sorts of outdoor furniture.
It also uses a C02 propellant which is good news for those people who worry about aerosols.
Atsko Silicone Water-Guard spray works on a whole range of outdoor gear but is unbeatable for shoes and boots! It works for canvas, suede and leather.
It does smell while it is curing, but after 72 hours you will find that it is odorless. This does mean you need to plan in advance when to apply it. (Don't use it on the day of a camping trip!).
You should avoid using silicone treatments on waterproof breathable (WPB) garments like Gore-Tex because they will destroy, rather than enhance, the waterproofing. If you want to re-proof a WPB garment then you should look at a product like Grangers Outdoor Gear Cleaner which is water-based and excellent for Gore-Tex.
Also, this is probably one to avoid if you are looking to re-proof a white garment as there are several reports of discoloration. But regardless, you should always test out any new spray on a hidden area before you do a full application.
Atsko created a product that will keep your feet dry and shoes protected in all sorts of weather and environments. If you like dry socks, you will be satisfied with this water repellent.
How to Waterproof Boots & Shoes
Waterproofing shoes with a spray is actually quite easy and will save you a lot of wet socks when you're out hiking in the rain. This process may be different though depending on what kind of boots you have.
Step 1: Cleaning
First, make sure that your boots are completely clean. This means removing the laces and using a brush to get rid of any dirt or grime. You can even soak the boots to remove any dirt caked on the bottom. Just let them dry before you start your waterproofing.
If you have fabric, make sure that it’s completely clean first. You can spray fabric boots while they’re wet or dry, but many people like to make sure they’re dry and leave them out overnight to dry. This takes longer, but you’ll be able to see if you got all the spots.
Start with clean leather shoes and use a hairdryer to heat the boots up. This lets the boots absorb the wax better. All you do from there is rub the wax over the boots, let it dry for about an hour, and get moving.
This waterproofing spray comes in a 10.5, 16.9, or 33.8 fluid ounce size bottle. It comes in a trigger spray.
Nikwax TX Direct is ideal for outdoor clothing. It is especially useful for restoring waterproof properties to older or improperly cared for clothing and bags. If you want extra protection, put on some gloves and rub more product directly onto high use areas.
Like the other products, use this in a well-ventilated area. This product produces bigger droplets due to the trigger spray bottle, so be extra careful when applying it around pets and children too.
This is the quintessential waterproof spray for all your clothing needs. A classic choice for hiking, fishing, and other outdoor adventures or even spraying a college student's backpack for those rainy days around campus.
Revivex vs. Nikwax
Whenever you get two big brands competing folk want to know which one is the best of the best. This battle isn't exactly Microsoft vs Apple but it's still a question I get asked. So here goes:
First off, because this article is about waterproofing sprays, I won't be commenting on the wash-in waterproofing options of either company. I may deal with that in a separate article. (If you want that info feel free to check out the Amazon reviews of Revivex's Wash In Fabric Cleaner and compare them against the reviews of Nikwax's Tech Wash product).
The rest of this section will look specifically at Nikwax TX Direct vs Revivex Instant Waterproofing Spray. Both products are "durable water repellent" (DWR) sprays. Both are non-silicone and water-based. Both can be used on outerwear, tents, sleeping bags and footwear.
Application: Spray vs Aerosol
Revivex comes in an aerosol can whereas Nikwax prefers a trigger spray mechanism. Each to their own (and I can absolutely see how an aerosol is marginally more convenient) but I definitely prefer the manual trigger spray approach. I'm not keen on the extra resources required for an aerosol delivery (it seems wasteful and, of course, you have to pay for it). And I've always found aerosols seem to run out of propellant before the can is empty.
So Nikwax (IMO) feels less wasteful and better value. You can also refill spray bottles (although at this time Nikwax to not seem to offer a refill. Nikwax: If you're reading this, you know what to do!).
A spray bottle does not impact coverage.
Revivex wins this one as it's virtually odorless. Nikwax isn't exactly stinky, but it does have a mild vinegary smell to it. It doesn't linger for long after an application, though, and it's generally best to re-proof gear in a well-ventilated space anyway. (And even though Revivex has no odor, it doesn't mean it isn't firing nano-particles into the area which many aerosol dispensers do.).
So for me this isn't a big deal, but if you have a super-sensitive nose, it might be a big deal for you!
Number of Applications Required
Both products really need more than one application in my experience. Nikwax recommend that you use their wash-in product prior to using their spray on product. That certainly seems to yield better results.
I struggled with the coverage of the Revivex tbh. It seemed to use a lot of product per sq foot and result was that I ran through the can far quicker than the bottle of Nikwax without getting better results.
Nikwax vs Revivex? Nikwax wins again as the fl ounces will go further.
I actually think this is a little unfair. Both products are extremely high quality and manufactured by experts. Much like the video below, I don't think there's a huge difference between them when it comes to actual waterproofing.
The main differences seem to be that:
- When combined with their wash in product, Nikwax spray is really effective
- It uses a trigger spray bottle not an aerosol
- Nikwax has better coverage and is therefore offers better bang for buck
And that's why, on balance, I usually recommend Nikwax.
Star Brite’s Waterproofing Spray is available in a 22oz trigger bottle or a hefty 128oz free-pouring bottle. The 22oz bottle is good for 80sq feet of coverage and the gallon bottle should manage well over 450sq feet.
Your tent needs special protection since it is open to all the elements. This is the best choice since it is will protect your tent in sunny, rainy, or snowy weather.
The trigger spray bottle can be tiresome to use if you have a large tent. You can wear gloves and apply it by hand or purchase the bigger size bottle and use a continuous one-hand pressure sprayer.
If your tent is often exposed to the weather, this is the best choice to protect it and you from the elements!
Is polyester waterproof?
Well, nothing is completely waterproof. But polyester is actually water-resistant, which is quite different than waterproof.
Basically, polyester is able to protect you from most everyday situations, like if you step out in the rain or the snow. It won’t remain dry or protect you from water if it’s underwater for a prolonged period of time though.
This because any polyester item isn’t necessarily woven together to be waterproof, even if the individual threads are. Polyester clothing also has zippers and openings to let the water in. But polyester is water resistant, meaning that it’s extremely dense and it will take much more time for any water to seep in. Polyester may not be a natural waterproof fabric, but the waterproof resistance is still perfect for camping or for a drizzle.
How to waterproof fabric
You have a waterproof spray in your hands and want to waterproof your fabric. So… what do you do? Well, instead of waiting for your fabric to dry or trying desperately to keep it out of the rain, try waterproofing your fabric first.
It should only take a few minutes to apply, and a few more hours for the fabric to dry fully. When you’re done, the water should roll right off rather than soaking in.
Using a waterproofing spray
When you’re using a spray, first start by laying out your fabric over a piece of cardboard. Lightly spray the surface of the fabric while holding the can about 6 inches away. Go over the entire piece of fabric without applying it too heavily. So, the fabric should not be completely saturated with spray.
Usually, you’ll want to put on a second coat after you let the fabric dry for about four hours. After that dries, then you’ll be good to go and ready to test it out.
You also have the option to use wax to seal the waterproofing quality into your fabric. This is a more labor-intensive option, but if you have the items, you can use this method instead. You’ll first need to melt the paraffin wax using a double boiler while your fabric goes into the dryer to warm it up. This makes applying the wax easier.
From there, apply the hot wax to the fabric with a small paintbrush, working over the fabric one section at a time. Dry the wax by aiming a hair dryer on high at the fabric, letting the wax melt into the fabric.
How to waterproof a backpack
There’s nothing worse than hiking in the rain and realizing that your backpack and everything inside it is now wet. Use your waterproofing spray to protect it.
Alternatively, a rain cover is always an option. They won’t keep all the water out, and it will be hard to get your items, but they’ll provide extra protection.
Leather is different than other materials. It’s very porous, so it won’t ever be completely waterproof, but you can protect it from water by waterproofing it yourself. Apply a spray like normal, or use the waxing method we talked about for leather boots.