Waterproof Jackets not as good as they used to be? This could be why.

Related Reads

Junior Rangers – getting the kids out of the house.

Lockdown again. Only level 3 for the moment, but...

Good Blokes – Boris Vos – Lead Ranger

Boris Vos, former Royal Netherland Marine, Sniper, Jungle Warfare and Combat Tracking Instructor, Leader Developer, Good Bloke.

ROAD iD – emergency id for yourself, your loved ones.

Piece of mind means doing all you can to ensure, should the need arise, your kids will be safe, even when lost or separated from you. ROAD iD is a smart method of managing ICE (in case of emergency) details for yourself and your family.

waterproof, Waterproof Jackets not as good as they used to be? This could be why.

Fluorocarbons – PFOS, PFOA and things that keep you dry.

Water repellent treatments work by lowering the surface energy of a fabric so water beads off instead of wetting out.

Waxes, Oils and Silicones all are used to achieve this – but also are all affected by oils – such as those coming off our skin during use.

Fluorocarbons, particularly PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are effective at effective at repelling both water and oil – so for a long time were used by outdoor equipment manufacturers to create waterproof systems.

However, a couple of years ago, data related to the potential health and safety concerns emerged in regards to both PFOS and PFOA. They are both now considered a ‘likely carcinogen’1.

Greenpeace called for their ban2, and NikWax campaigned to get rid of them3.

waterproof, Waterproof Jackets not as good as they used to be? This could be why.

Newer, safer, but better?

So, manufacturers have been moving away from the PFOS and their ilk. Generally this has meant shorter chain chemicals – they break down faster in the environment and cause less (reported) health effects. The downside? They don’t work as well. They are getting better, but they don’t work as well.

But wait – aren’t there new, better materials coming out all the time?

Gore Tex, Event, there is a newer material coming out every couple of months at the moment – all promising faster, better more breathable and more waterproof.

Remember though – there is two parts to a waterproofing system – the fabric (Gore Tex, Event and all) which is what effects breathability and the DWR coating, which is what keeps the water out of the fabric in the first place. Yes, the materials are getting better.

There is plenty of ongoing experiment and testing – but fundamentally, we had to take a step backwards and are still catching back up.

  1. carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes. 

  2. http://blog.stepchange-innovations.com/2013/07/greenpeace-puts-pressure-on-outdoor-brands-to-phase-out-fluorocarbon-chemistry/ 

  3. http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2013/12/17/outdoor-boss-warns-uk-industry-of-gathering-storm-over-waterproofing-chemicals 

Go on, Share...

Support The Bloke

This content doesn't make itself!

Apparently, doing honest reviews and putting together safety and education content isn't the way you become rich on the internet! So. Your support is the main, direct way to keep me doing this. Become one of the blokes to support the site and related projects. Good on ya mate!