i got the enlightened equipment visp rain jacket for the colorado trail.
it appears to be discontinued as the link to the website is now dead. bummer because i thought this jacket was pretty good, though very expensive. this is also a reason why “reviews” for most things these days mean nothing. product life cycles are so fast that by the time a product can be thoroughly used and tested, it has been completely changed and the review for it is now meaningless. a perfect example of this is trail runners.
but, that’s not the reason for this post.
the visp worked perfectly for the full 500 miles/22 days. let me explain what i mean by perfectly. the exterior did start wetting out by the time i was finished, but i fully expected that given it’s a breathable dwr fabric. the water never made it to the interior of the jacket and i stayed dry. i had two other jackets on the appalachian trail that did soak through and allowed rain water to get to me. not fun.
to try to restore the water shedding ability of the visp, i purchased some nikwax tech wash and tx.direct water proofing/repellency restoration spray. reviews for the spray are hit and miss.
i followed the directions for both products. i washed the jacket with the tech wash twice. then applied the tx.direct spray immediately after the second wash/rinse while it was still wet. after the first application of the tx.direct spray and allowing it to dry, the jacket’s water shedding ability was no better than before the application. long sigh. i sort of expected it.
i completed a second application of the spray, but this time the jacket was dry for the application. i gave the tx.direct time to dry and then tested. again, no real improvement. there was enough product in the spray bottle to attempt one last application. i again started with it dry. the front was sprayed, dried for 5 minutes, then soft brushed with rag to soak up excess. jacket was flipped and the process was repeated for the back. i hung it to dry. after a few hours, i tested. marginal improvement at best.
well, some improvement was better than none. the spray was only $24. beats the heck out of paying another $200 for a different jacket that will do the same thing after 30 days of use.
i let the jacket hang in a doorway in our condo. after another couple of hours, i tested it again. no change.
i had read online that sometimes, just throwing a clean dwr rain jacket in a dryer on low heat for a few minutes helps reactive the dwr treatment. the visp says to hand wash, tumble dry no heat. nikwax says the tx.direct needs to air dry. there is no mention of heating.
i figured i didn’t have anything to lose, so i broke out the hair dryer. i blew hot air through the sleeves, the inside of the jacket, the hood, all over the outside all while moving constantly to ensure that the jacket never actually got hot. after twenty minutes, i allowed the jacket to cool for a few minutes. i then tested.
could i have just washed and heat blown dry and got the same result? after just one application and heat? or two and heat?
who knows. next time, i’ll try the wash and hair dryer first. then proceed from there.
now the question becomes, how long will this last?
i’m hoping another 500 miles.
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