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Posted: 12/29/2003 8:18:58 AM EDT
I have purchased a woodland camo mil-issue jacket(used) that seems to get damp/wet after a period of time in the rain..is this normal or has it lost some of its water repellency?  Can I do anything to help this situation?  Thanks for any help.   Dennis
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 8:25:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 8:33:45 AM EDT
The Gore-Tex membrane never loses its ability to keep water out--unless it is torn or develops holes.  

The outer shell (non-waterproof fabric) will lose its ability to shed water over time.  You need to re-coat that shell with either a product called "Revivex", which is made specifically for Gore-tex garments.  Revivex will put the teflon coating back onto the shell and it will again repell water.  

Nikwax also makes a similiar product that works pretty well.  I've used it on all of my Gore-tex and it indeed works.  It's also cheaper and easier to find that the Gore-made Revivex.  
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 8:33:47 AM EDT
Take a look at the last two products on [url=www.frontiersmc.co.uk/acatalog/Nik_Wax.html]this page[/url]. That Nik Wax stuff works.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 8:39:49 AM EDT
another vote for Nik Wax

Link Posted: 12/29/2003 8:41:26 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 8:56:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2003 8:58:00 AM EDT by XXX]
Wow..now that's service.  I posted less than an hour ago and I already have an answer.  Thanks guys!  It was a deal that I couldn't pass up...very good condition jacket for 40 bucks at a local gun show.  By the way, where can you get Nikwax in the U.S.?
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 9:10:15 AM EDT
I've heard the Nik Wax is good.

Simply washing my well-used parka and tumbling it dry on low heat seems to restore its water repellancy (is that a word?).

Dirt and grease screw up Goretex.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 9:18:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By XXX:
By the way, where can you get Nikwax in the U.S.?
View Quote

I got mine at [url=www.rei.com]REI[/url].
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 9:35:31 AM EDT
Extracted from the Infantry Letters in the May-June 94 edition of Infantry Magazine.


LTC Jack H. Cage, in his article “Light Infantry in Cold-Wet Conditions” (INFANTRY, November 1993, page 11-12), raises serious concerns about the performance of the extended cold weather clothing system (ECWCS) parka in wet weather.  He and his soldiers went to the field believing their Gore-Tex parkas would provide protection.  Instead, they encountered the unusually severe weather and the Garment failed to keep them dry.
Essentially, LTC Cage was right in trying to find out why this happened and how light infantry or dismounted infantry soldiers could be protected in cold and wet weather.
Since my company, W.L. Gore & Associates. INC., manufactured the fabric used in all the parkas worn during this exercise.  I was concerned with determining what has caused this situation.  After reading LTC Cage’s detailed description of what happened and the reports of the personnel form the Army’s Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center who investigated the situation, I believe the following observations are relevant:
Natick’s positions that the ECWCS is designed for use only in  “cold” conditions is debatable; it certainly doesn’t reflect the original intent of the program under which the requirement documents of both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps mandated that the ECWCS be functional in the temperature range of 40 to -25 degree Fahrenheit and that the shell garment (the parka and the trousers) be constructed of water resistant (Army) or waterproof (Marines) and moisture vapor permeable.  The reason for this is that the primary function for the parka and trousers is to provide a windproof barrier and keep the clothing worn under them dry.  As LTC Cage and his soldiers can testify, he weather can become dangerously cold at 40 degrees.
While I may disagree with Natick personnel concerning the intent of ECWCS design, they are accurate in saying that the current parka design will not provide waterproof protection.  But this doesn’t mean waterproof garments cannot be constructed using Gore-Tex fabric.  The material itself is absolutely waterproof and has been used successfully in both commercial and military wet-weather garments in some of the world’s worst climates.  If this is the case, then why didn’t these garments provide the protection that soldiers expected?
First the ECWCS parka was designed more than ten years ago and used than state of the art features to make it as waterproof as possible.  Unfortunately, at that time, we didn’t realize the importance of sealing all the seams in a garment.  Therefore, the seams attaching the zippers in front and under the arms are not sealed and allow water to enter through the stitch holes to cause significant problems, we learned over time that they do contribute to leakage in a garment.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 9:36:18 AM EDT

During the past decade, we also learned to appreciate the effects of wicking on garment designs.  This term is used to describe the tendency of a material to transfer moisture from one location to another.  In the case of the ECWCS parka, the lining material wick moisture from any point that gets wet to area that are well removed from that point.  This means moisture on the hood lining wicks down the back of the garment, unless the hood is raised as soon as it begins to rain.  Water entering the stitch hole along the zippers can migrate to areas around the chest and back; and if the soldier is not wearing waterproof trousers, the trouser material becomes saturated and where the trousers contact the lower liner of the parka, it will wick moisture up into the body of the garment.  In this situation, the solider can become soaked even if the garment doesn’t “leak.”
The statement that “the PFTE suit’s water resistant capability might be degraded after repeated wear and laundering” should not come as a surprise.  [b]Natick personnel who investigated this situation determined that about half of the garment worn by LTC Cage’s soldiers had been manufactured in 1985 and under average wear conditions, should have reached the end of their service life in 1989.  We recommend that the command have the soldiers inspect the garments periodically for excessive wear, paying particular attention to garments with a contract date more than four years old.[/b]  But even if LTC Cage had done this, half of the unit would still have garments well with their service life.
Can soldiers do anything to improve the performance of the material in these parkas?  The answer is an unqualified yes.
First, many soldiers think that the Gore-Tex fabric is fragile and don’t wash the garment until absolutely necessary.  The truth is that this material is very tough, and the water repellant finish performs better when clean.  The material is actually constructed of two fabrics laminated to a film.  When the laminate is manufactured, a water-repellent finish is applied to the external fabric, but this finish doesn’t make the laminate waterproof.  The film provides this quality while the finish causes water to bead in the surface of the exterior fabric, reducing the tendency to wick water toward unsealed areas.  By getting water to run off the surface, we keep the material from feeling cold and clammy.
Another benefit of the water-repellent finish that it allows passage of vapor more readily from inside the parka.  Without this finished on the fabric, water can soak in and cool the surface in and cools the surface as it evaporates.  Moisture generates by a soldier’s body in the form of vapor can pass easily thorough the laminate unless the vapor contacts a cool surface; then it condenses into liquid (just as warm breath condenses into a liquid when it contacts a cool piece of glass).  Once this occurs, the water must be re-vaporized before it can pass through the laminate.  It is readily apparent, then, that the water-repellant finish should be kept in good shape.   Fortunately, this is not difficult.
When water no longer beads in the surface, the garment should be washed and then dried in a standard home dryer in the permanent press or sturdy cotton setting.  This is important because the heat in the dryer helps prolong the life of the finish.  Simply washing and drying the garment may restore its ability to make bead on the surface.  If water doesn’t bead on the surface, ironing the parka, using a warm steam setting (for synthetics or nylon), may temporarily restore the fabric’s water repellency.  After the garment has had extended wear, however, a soldier many have to maintain surface beading by applying a commercially available non-silicon water repellant (such as Scothguard, Ultrthon, or Prevail brands) to the outer fabric.  These steps may be repeated as necessary.
Unfortunately, given the current situation relative to ECWCS parka design, I have to agree with LTC Cage’s position that soldiers in light infantry units and dismounted soldiers in mechanized units need the standard army wet-weather parka and trousers (WWPT) in addition to the ECWCS to protect themselves during severe wet conditions.  This is certainly not an acceptable answer, however, if soldier’s load is considered, and the Army and the Marine Corps are working aggressively toward a solution.  They have launched an 18 month program with Natick to redesign the ECWCS parka and trousers to eliminate the problem described.  If the program is successful, soldiers should not have to carry both the WWPT and the ECWCS parka and trousers.  Until that time, I think the recommendations are in order
• Take the WWPT to the field to augment the ECWCS parka and trouser if sever weather is expected.
• When using the ECWCS parka in wet weather, also wear the ECWCS trouser to prevent wicking from the BDU trousers onto parka’s lining.
• Follow the cleaning instruction described in here, and as the garment ages, restore the water-repellent finish as described.
• Inspect the garments periodically and turn in worn-out items

S. Nicholas Allen
W.L. Gore & Associates
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 9:43:27 AM EDT
Outstanding post, STLRN!  And from a cannon-cocking Jarhead, no less!

I will have to lay off the Marine Corps shit talking for at least the next 12 hours. [:D]
Link Posted: 12/29/2003 9:47:25 AM EDT
I will add this:

Regarding the issue of holes in the actual gore-tex membrane: It is quite common on some installations to see soldiers on special duties (gate guards, Staff duty) required to wear a brassard on the left shoulder.  These are often pinned on - THROUGH the membrane - with safety pins, to keep them in place.  MPs are especially bad at this.  If you get a surplus gore-tex with a leaking left shoulder - that may be to blame.

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