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Reviving Your Fly-Fishing Outerwear with Nikwax

Nikwax has never used PFAS and bottles are made from recyclable recycled plastic.

Reviving Your Fly-Fishing Outerwear with Nikwax

Water should bead up on the surfaces of DWR gear. (Josh Bergan photo)

Most anglers have likely noticed that, after time, water no longer beads up on the surface of our Gore Tex or other breathable waterproof outerwear. Dirt, sweat, campfire smoke, detergents, and body oils can compromise the performance of your durable water-resistant (DWR) gear.

But there are products that can revitalize this gear–one of the best being Nikwax. Nikwax offers a number of specialized products, including products for tents, down-filled gear, DWR outwear, cotton, softshells, leather, suede, nubuck, and more. Some products are wash-in (meaning that you add it to a washer cycle) and others are spray-on, which is meant for more delicate, multi-surface, or rigid gear.

I have used Nikwax’s Tech Wash and TX.Direct products on my Gore-Tex waders and jackets to add life to my old gear. I was quite pleased with the results, especially considering Nikwax claims to have never used so-called “forever chemicals” like PFAS.

Each bottle of wash-in has two or three wash loads (front-loading washer recommended). And don’t be afraid to run your DWR gear through the dryer–it’s often recommended as it “reactivates” the DWR. And as Skwala’s Kevin Sloan says: “When we talk to people about it, you almost get a reaction like, ‘Wow, I can wash that?’ And our answer is, ‘Please do.’ They’re actually doing damage to it by not washing it. The product will last longer and perform better if it is washed.”

A wadered angler standing on the banks of Depuy Spring Creek, fishing.
Adding life to your waders and jackets means you can focus your resources on more important things like catching fish. (Josh Bergan photo)

A few things to keep in mind when using any wash-in revitalizer:

  • Be careful with older gear that has seam tape that has started to wear–a wash cycle might completely rip it off.
  • With anything with exposed cotton, it’s probably best to use a spray-on rather than a wash-in so you can avoid the cotton areas.
  • Primaloft and other fillers are fine for wash-in.
  • You can add it to non-DWR gear to make the fabric water resistant, but the seams obviously still won’t be taped which is a big part of waterproofing.

A number of videos are available on YouTube to guide you through proper usage. 

It can be a pain in the butt to clean and re-treat your gear, but adding life to your waders and jackets means you can focus your resources on more important things like catching fish.




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