Care and Feeding of Raingear
Here are some frequently asked questions about how to size, repair and clean your raingear. We will answer them in order and if there are other questions please call our toll free number 888-484-WORK(9675) or chat with us online.
How do I choose the right size?
- Raingear is generally made and sized to go over the clothes you will already be wearing. If you wear a size large in a shirt you will wear a large in a rain jacket.
- The relationship between sizing for tops and bottoms is largely determined by your body type and the freedom of movement required by your activity while wearing raingear. For example, if you wear a large rain jacket you would most likely wear a large pant or bib.
- Be sure to take into consideration how much regular clothing you will be wearing, as cold weather may dictate additional layers to keep you warm, and therefore you require one additional size to accommodate your adjustment.
- Many of the waist pants and bibs have zippers at the hem, as well as hook & loop closures to allow for eaiser entry and exit over work boots. Be sure to look for that feature if easy access is important to you.
- Rain jackets and coats hoods are designed to easily accommodate a hard hat.
- Some of our rain coats include a zip in/zip out liner for additional warmth and versatility. Be sure to look for the feature "3 in 1" description of the item if this is needed for your activities.
What fabrication should I use?
Garments can be manufactured to three different performance level:
- Water Resistant - Generally either a mylon or polyester fabric with no coatings. Primarily used to protect from wind or very light rain or snow. Seams are sewn and are not sealed.
- Waterproof - These garments have either a PVC or PU coating on various fabrics, these are designed specifically for moisture and or chemical protection. Seams are electronically welded to be as waterproof as the fabrics.
Waterproof Breathable - There are two types of fabrics used for this level. Seams are taped to prevent moisture penetration.
- Tri-laminate - There are three layers of material. The middle layer is a membrane to promote breathability (most people use the term "goretex"). This construction process of fabrics is not generally used in the work trades as it is more expensive, it is primarily in mountaineering/ ski trades.
- Micro-Porous Coating - one layer of fabric (usually polyester or nylon) with a fine breathable polyurethane coating on the inside of the fabric. More economical to manufacture and it provides excellent water resistance and breathability. The Cahartt Shoreline Jacket is an example of this type of technology.
Waterproof gear is normally made with one of the following materials:
- PVC ( Poly Vinyl Chloride) coated fabric is one of the most common material used where protection from moisture and or various chemcials is a requirement. It is impervoius it does NOT breathe. A good example of this product is the Mandal Jacket from Helly Hansen.
- Neoprene or Polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by polmerixation of chloroprene. Neoprene exhibits good chemical stability and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range. This material is not used for raingear much anymore, but is used as cuffs in the sleeves of heavy duty gear to keep the rain from running down your arm. The Grunden's Briggs 44 is an example of how this material is used.
- PU or Polyurethane coated fabric has also become very commonly used today as it is a lighter material than PVC and it also can be manufactured to be breathable coatings on the inside of breathable garments. A good example of this is the Imertech by Helly Hansen.
How do I repair and alter my raingear?
The most common problem with raingear is getting the pant or jacket snagged on a nail or rebar. It results in an L shaped tear in most cases. Here is how you can repair:
- Fold/ reposition the tear back to its original postition, them place a piece of duct tape over the tear to hold it.
- Turn the garment inside out.
- Apply AquaSeal & another piece of material of Tear Mender to the back side covering the tear and let dry according to directions.
- After drying turn the garment right side out and remove tape. You are now good to go.
The main questions we receive on alterations is how to make the legs or sleeves shorter? Here are a few answers:
- PVC type raingear is the most difficult to alter because you really can't sew it, so the best way we have found is to turn the hem in/under to the desired length and apply duct tape it to secure it.
- The waterproof breathable fabrics are easier to do because they can be sewn. But because of hook and loop closures and or zippers, it may prove too costly to alter the length.
- Unfortunately, most manufactures just make regulars and not short or tall lengths. However, Grundens and Carhartt make a limited number of styles in short or tall. We may not have them listed on our site so just let us know what you need and we will see if we can get it for you.
How do I care and clean my raingear?
- In general, waterproof PVC or PU coated garments can be cleaned using mild soap and water with a soft brush, then hang to dry. Do not use bleach.
- The best way to clean the waterproof breathable raingear is with a product called Techwash from NIKWAX. This product is designed to clean your raingear and also to revitalize the water repellency. After you have had your raingear for a period of time you will find that the water doesn't bead up like it did when it was new, NIKWAX products will bring that feature back. CAUTION: NEVER USE HIGH OR MEDIUM HEAT SETTING IN CLOTHES DRYER TO DRY YOUR GEAR, USE LOW HEAT OR AIR SETTINGS ONLY.
Rubber boots or Rain boots are waterproof by nature of course, but here are a few things you may find helpful. These boots come in a whole size only. They come in oxford, mid calf and knee styles. Some have nylon (fiberglass) or steel shanks for support depending upon the brand. Rubber boots are prone to puncture if you step on sharp objects such as nails unless they are equipped with a metal plate in the sole. A way to repair a rubber boot is to use a product called "Freesole" or "Shoegoo". You can also make your rubber boots more comfortable by using a felt insole to cushion your ride and also make the boot warmer in the winter. Wearing a heavier sock is another way to make your boot fit better. Rubber boots should not fit tight as you will need air circulation around your foot. Check with our boot fitters for individual questions about a particular style or brand.