Waterproofing Suggestions?


Trying to find a Waterproofing spray to use for when I get to costume building since i’m currently making budgeting notes.
Any suggestions on affordable yet effective brands or potential alternatives? Most of the costumes I’ve made in the past have been for indoor events so this is new territory for me.


B :crossed_swords:

I have a coat I lined with waterproof fabric in an inoffensive colour (dark green).

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Nikwax spray is what I’ve been told is useful for things like cloaks.

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Nothing will make your stuff properly waterproof short of lining it with waterproofing, making it out of wax cotton, or impregnating it with Greenland wax:
(You can make your own by melting 90% candle wax and 10% beeswax in an improvised double-boiler)

I just use a wax cotton cloak, and have a reasonably water resistant hood too. As most rain hits your head and shoulders, a hood with a mantle can be surprisingly helpful.

Before I got this, I sprayed the hell out of a cheap cotton-canvas cloak with no-name Nikwax equivalent and it held up just fine for years, with the occasional respray.


Fabsil has always done the job for me, although looks like Nikwax is slightly cheaper, and non-aerosol if that matters to you.

In 2006, Trail magazine did an experiment with various water-repellency fabric treatment products, measuring initial effectiveness and then how long the repellency lasts when the fabric is rubbed.

They did the measuring for new 2-layer Gore-Tex DWR fabric, and for fabric treated with each of nine products from three makers… and also, just for a laugh, Comfort fabric conditioner.

“Comfort Pure concentrate provides greater water repellency on first application than half the dedicated proofers on the market, remains effective longer than two, and lasts 64% as long as the best.”

I note that it’s also the odd one out in being silicone-based.

It’s a lot cheaper per bottle, and immensely cheaper per application.

(scroll down then sideways)


Let’s hear it for science!
I’m now going to get a big bottle of that.

Another thing that I can imagine working well would be to use a “pump liner” type of fabric for a lining (or interlining) just inside the outermost layer:

That liner-and-outer-combination of fabrics really does work well.

That might not be the only brand/model of such fabric: the garments from Furtech used a different one based on the same principle (and it’s polyester like the Nikwax one), but the website doesn’t/didn’t say what exactly. Still, I reckon any cloth should work if it

  • is or can be treated to be hydrophobic (water-repellent… e.g. by using a wash-in DWR treatment (or, as it turns out, fabric-conditioner))
  • and it has its fibres in a tight/dense weave (or knit) on one side, and has the fibres looser/sparser on the other side
    • …so that a water droplet within the thickness of the fabric near the dense side will have lots of contact with the fibres, so it will tend to move towards the less dense side of the fabric, where it will have less contact with the fibres. (So the dense/smooth side needs to be nearer your skin, and the fluffier more open-weave side against the outer fabric.)

As for the Nikwax pump liner fabric specifically, I don’t know of anywhere actively offering the fabric for sale, and I imagine Nikwax might not be interested in selling small retail quantities, but (as well as the larger Paramo company) I know of two small companies that make garments using it, and they both offer made-to-order service, so I’m pretty sure they’d be willing to sell you some of the fabric: it would help them to keep up the quantities they order from Nikwax.
(I suppose it might help to explain that what you want to make is nothing like their market of hill/mountain “outdoor” clothing.)

Those two small companies are:

  • Hilltrek, in Aberdeenshire, who offer a choice of outer fabrics including “Ventile” (very tightly woven cotton) which I feel bodes well for the pump-liner fabric being effective under a LARP-appropriate outer fabric:
  • Cioch Direct, on the Isle of Skye: http://cioch-direct.co.uk/
    (If anything happens to my Gore-tex jacket I reckon I’ll replace it with something from them, and like it better.)

But… arguably none of this matters.
I’ve always managed without any decent IC rain-gear as such.
I think that’s the case for most people.
The closest things I’ve used, for various characters, are:

  • Leather trousers
  • Sleeveless leather torso-armour
  • Steel back-and-breastplate set (I wore it for about three hours, then put it in the car for another three hours of driving home, by which time it was dry and rusty. Oops. Paint your steel!)
  • Various hats
  • Leather vambraces (forearm armour)
  • Plain wool cloak with no waterproofing
  • Holding a shield over my head

Oh, and I know that sometimes people wear OOC foul-weather gear under IC robes and suchlike: some IC outfits make that sort of approach easy.

Then it’s just a matter of

  • trying not to go out in the rain too much
  • changing from wet clothes to dry clothes when appropriate

My cloak is my single best LRP purchase, ever. In second place is a half-weighted 42" bastard sword that I no longer own, but it is not a particularly close second place and they cost about the same.
It is a woven wool fabric on the exterior, that has once had to be re-waterproofed. It has a lining of linen and a big hood. I’ve repaired it about 4 times nows, mainly from when it has got caught on trees. Not bad for an item of clothing I’ve owned for 19 years. The biggest problem is not putting the hood up during the “it’s sort of raining” stage so that it is wet when it gets to the “now it’s raining” stage.
And only once have I used the line “I’ve got a cloak that’s older than you, child!”