Restoring water repellency to drysuit

I’ve recently seen recommendations to treat drygear with products like nikwax or 303 fabric guard after they lose their outer water repellent characteristics.

Is this worthwhile?

Is one product better than another?

I would be using it on Kokatat Tropos.

e-mailed 3 days ago but no reply.



I just did mine
Treated my NRS Extreme with the 303 High Tech Fabric Guard. Seems to work, as water now beads better.

The theory is that breathability of the fabric is reduced if the outer layer is wet because the vapor pressure difference is reduced. It’s not that the fabric has lost its waterproofness.

The 303 is stinky. Spray outside.

I hadn’t thought of it that way but it makes perfect sense.

"e-mailed 3 days ago but no reply."

(e-mailed kokatat)

Thanks for replies so far

I decided not to water repel.
In the summer I like having the suit stay wet for awhile after dunking, to keep me cool.


WL Gore recommends you use
Revive’x on all types of their Goretex…stuff is great!!!

be careful with any DWR (durable waterproof reisitance) most say to put the itme in a low heat dryer to set it…think of your gaskets when you read the bottle…there are some that are air dry…


I used Revivex on my Kokatat and used a hair dryer per recomendation by Mcnett rep. The hair dryer wasn’t hot enough sooo I used a heat gun. Bad idea, it dried the suit OK but melted the fuzzy part of the velcro tabs on the wrist and ankles. ( Kokatat says use an iron set on low )

Moral: If a little is good, more isn’t necessairly better.

Now I have to sew some new velcro on.

No reply?

– Last Updated: Oct-18-07 9:52 AM EST –

Probably because Kokatat knows that the Tropos fabric doesn't breathe and technically you could coat it with varnish if it makes you happy.

The Tropos garments has a double layer of cloths. That inner liner of vinyl breathes a bit to the outside fabric and that's it. Sorry to dissapoint you - I have a Tropos jacket. It doesn't even come close to Gortex. I have Gortex stuff too.

I'd spray the jacket with fabric guard if you want it to bead off. You can't screw up the breathability because it doesn't breath.

Breathing through layers
Keep in mind that it probably won’t matter if the water beads or not when your sprayskirt and pfd are laying against the fabric of the suit when you’re wearing it.

Also, for the fabric scientists, I’ve noticed the 3 layer breathable laminates work nicely when it’s low humidity but just how much does it work in high humidity? Not talking about swimming but rather rain or for the legs below decks as body heat warms up the cockpit area and made it a much more humid environment. I have my own anecdotal observations but I’d like to hear from someone that knows and works with the science behind these fabrics to provide some actual information the volume of breatability that these fabrics can actually produce.

See you on the water (today without drysuit),


The River Connection, Inc.

here ya go-best conditions
inside the jacket/material will be warm and humid (prolly stinky too)

outside:the best “breathability” conditions are dry and cool…

if it is warm and humid outside then the material will breathe but not as fast as you might like…think of a warm summer rainstorm…you are still humid and warm inside the jacket…and are going to stay that way…but it is still waterproof so it is not going to be coming in…

when sweat comes out of you it is in a vapor…that vapor can escape through the tiny pores of the fabric…

in a fog the water vapor is not as small as what comes out of our skin so it cannnot fit BACK in through through those same pores…

in rain those water droplets are bigger than those pores ‘fer sure’ and will not get in…

the best conditions are the opposite of the internal atmosphere…you want a steep temp and humidity gradient for it to work the best…

and that goes for ANY WB (waterproof breathable) fabric…laminate, coating or otherwise…

the biggest things is that a coating like system# from EMS or Precip from Marmot will wear off and need to be recoated every once in awhile…where as since the gore membrane is sandwiched between other materials it should work for ever (and technology is getting better about this all the time!!!)

btw: marshall you are correct-even if there are waterdroplets on the material it will still breathe well…there are billions of pores in that fabric…if some are plugged due to waterdroplets or dirt then others in that area will workk just fine…


-a gore product tester

-want to be one?

-email me backside…

not much point
i treated my goretex kokotat drysuit with the product they recommended, the thing where you wash the whole suit with an entire bottle of the stuff. didn’t do a damn thing, imo.

even the goretx ones don’t breathe much if you are really working hard. you’re going to be wet no matter what from your sweat.


… my observations over the years. Have been asked “How much does it breath?” and never have had a good quantifiable answer for that. If I’m working hard I’ve still to find a material whose traspriation rate can keep pace with my perspiration rate. It would be kinda interesting from the scientific trivia standpoint for a Consumer Reports sort of test to get some comparitive figures for the various fabrics under set conditions. Anyone need an science fair or engineering project? Let us know what the results are.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

there was a test done about 4 years back
by the military…

testing a bunch of WB fabrics…a few recognizable by name a few unknowns (iirc)…

have tosee if i can find it online somewhere…


here are a few links have to pay for this one…military info…good stufff…

now…i will admit as some people will know already Gore has discontinued the XCR brand of goretex and added in Proshell…nicer…lighter…more comfy…

(had a test jacket since march in this…love it!)

i would love to see a drysuit made out of proshell…or just a dry top…that would be sweet!


Good info.
Like you said, the info by the military would be interesting to look at the comparitive analysis.

Good links. Thanks for sharing.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

could be worth it, but probably not
Here is why is should work… most waterproof breathable fabris (3layer type) have a nylon-ish layer, the actual membrane (breathable part) and another layer (next to your skin). In order for it to breath the inside of the garment must be hotter and more humid than the outside. So a cooler drier environment is best for breathability (sp?). When the DWR (durable water-repellent) finish wears off water no longer beads on the jacket and the outer fabric gets wet (absorbs water). As long as the water is beading the fabric itself is drier and dries quicker (great for breathing). When the fabric gets wet the humidity is 100% and you can’t get any higher than that (but you can achieve 100% inside the garment - yuck!). At this point breathing stops until the fabric dries.

So treating the fabric should increase breathing except that you have a spray skirt tunnel and PFD on, which are not very breathable. So the only part of the garment that will breath are the sleeves and the legs. If the legs are damp they will take forever to dry because they are in the humid cockpit (hence breathability is pretty low).

I notice a difference between fabrics so I think that is more important than the DWR.

I read a test of different fabrics I will try to find it and post a link. The winners in breathability were Entrant DT and eVent. Gore-Tex XCR was in third but it wasn’t too close.

Good information

– Last Updated: Oct-19-07 10:27 AM EST –

If you can find the fabric tests I would be interested in reading it.

Even though the breathability is often compromised by the PFD and skirt and wetness, the difference between non-brreathable fabrics is still enormous. I once bought non-breathable paddling pants from NRS. I used them about 3 times. I was soaked after a paddle.

The Gortex patent ran out about 3 year ago. Thats why you suddenly saw and influx of new breathable (attempts) in the paddling clothing market.

eVent fabric stuff…
It looks like this stuff is finally making its way over to paddling gear. eVent is supposedly several times more breathable than Goretex (so much so that you can purge air from drybags made of the stuff through the fabric). At this year’s OR expo, NRS supposedly said that they would be switching their paddling drysuit from Triton to eVent next year. Heck even though I already have an okay drysuit, I think I may take the plunge next year to see how breathable this stuff really is!

Gore XCR
Fabric isn’t discontinued it is just a new name. Paclite same thing - not discontinued, just new naming system.


I found some info from a test in PDF

– Last Updated: Oct-19-07 2:06 PM EST –

would you like me to email it you? It is a different test but the results are similar.