Don't buy a new waterproof jacket this autumn unless you've tried treating your old one

Over a third of waterproof jacket wearers don't bother to treat their garment - do that before you buy a new one

cyclist in rain jacket
Treat your waterproof jacket properly and it'll stay good as new for much longer
(Image credit: Jesse Wild)

Most riders have been there: you’ve invested an unspeakable amount of money in a waterproof cycling jacket that was meant to “keep you pedalling all year round,” proving there’s “no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” - and then a year later, droplets are breaching the fabric and you’re ready to hurl the seemingly overpriced fabric into the nearest ditch. 

However, research completed by (you guessed it) a waterproof treatment brand suggests that over a third of wearers don’t bother to re-treat their clothing.

Sure, the “expert on aftercare solutions for outdoor clothing”, Grangers, has a vested interest in encouraging people to treat their waterproofs before replacing them, but the brand also has a very good point.

A survey found that only 66 percent of respondents had reproofed a waterproof, whilst 50 percent had stopped wearing one because it had lost all repellence. 

The average lifespan of jackets was quite long - at 5.88 years, but the expectation was longer, coming to 6.05 years. One in five said they threw away jackets, instead of recycling or donating them, yet 70 percent said they felt sustainability was ‘very important or ‘extremely important’ when purchasing outdoor clothing and equipment.

Grangers ‘Wear and Care’ survey asked 2,300 respondents for their feedback, and ran for 12 months from February 2020 to February 2021.

How do you treat waterproof cycling kit?

Most wet weather cycling kit comes treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish, which can be seen in action when droplets bead on the surface of the fabric. However, this does need occasionally refreshing, the frequency will vary depending on how often you wear and wash the kit, but an annual check is a smart move.

To check if your kit is still performing at its best, just dribble some liquid on the surface. The droplets should bead, if they form more of a giant smoosh and sink in, then the liklihood is that sweat and oils have begun clogging the pores of the internal membrane barrier. This does not mean you need to spend hundreds on a new waterproof or water resistant cycling jacket, probably more like £5 on a waterproof treatment.

The survey results showed that just 28 percent said they felt ‘somewhat confident’ re-waterpoofing a jacket, but the process isn't difficult, there's always guidance on the bottle.

Grangers produce a range of solutions, including a 2 in 1 wash and reproof formulation which it says is a “world first”, but of course, there are a range of options on the market.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.