Diver Dave Water Repel is a spray on water repellent coating, mainly sold for applying to fishing waders, jackets, gloves and hats. It’s relatively cheap, compared to the more well-known commercial wash in or spray on products, easy to use and from my own personal experience, sheds water very well.
Now, I did just say “from my own personal experience”, however I’ve only used it to date on a fishing jacket, but it has worked extremely well and is proving to be an excellent product. Although a waterproof membrane jacket, the outer cover would soak up water and become sodden. While being dry(ish) underneath, the soaked outer fabric became heavy and had a cooling effect. Since spaying on Repel, any rain now just beads off, I’ve been completely dry underneath, plus the jacket is not becoming heavy or feeling the cold.
Due to the time of year and the now colder weather, washing my motorcycle jacket, getting it dried out and then sprayed with Repel, is proving to be a somewhat challenging task. If we manage to get a brief dry warmer spell, I will get it done, but I’ve a feeling I may now have to wait until the Spring
What is Diver Dave Water Repel?
It’s a liquid compound created by Dave Gordon who is better known for repairing fishing waders. He has a web site, on Facebook and known as Diver Dave. The product is mainly used for restoring the coating that can wear off waders and waterproof jackets over time. However, the product can also be used to add a water repellent coating to other items of clothing.
How does Water Repel work?
According to Dave, Water Repel is a concentrated C6 fluorocarbon product. The same product as used in the expensive durable water repellent (DWR) coating applied to hard-shell and soft-shell jackets to make water bead-up and run off, instead of soaking into the fabric. Dave says that Water Repel is more concentrated than the commercial stuff you can buy and is much cheaper too.
Is it a waterproofing product?
Water Repel is a hydrophobic water repellent. Using the term “waterproof” is always a difficult terminology to use, when it comes to clothing. I would suggest all treated fabrics will let in water at some point, depending upon conditions or wear and tear. So not a true waterproofing product as such, but it will make water run off the surface, instead of soaking into the fabric and will make a jacket much less likely to become sodden.
It is not going to plug up holes, damaged seams or worn out material. Anything damaged as such, would need repairing first
How do you apply Water Repel?
Repel comes in a hand trigger spray bottle and you simply spray the liquid over the fabric you’re trying to make water resistant. The supplied instructions advise that for best results you should gently warm the liquid and get the item as warm as possible to help the chemicals bond to the fabric. Using a hairdryer or perhaps a radiator to warm the garment will help.
How long will it last?
This will depend on the fabric, the amount sprayed on, whether you warmed the garment after spraying. General wear and tear plus how many times it’s been washed will have an effect. Dave says that a good application can last up to 10 washes, so it should hopefully last a while. If the water repellence does start to reduce, heating the garment can help reactivate the product.
Does it work?
It certainly works well on my breathable fishing jacket and I’m very pleased with the results.
As I stated above, I’ve yet to use on my motorcycle jacket, but I fully intend to do so and as soon as possible.
I currently have a BMW Street Guard, which is about 4 years old now, but still in very good condition. It has let in water several times when it has been heavy or constant rain. The waterproof membrane is a Gortex equivalent material, or at least that is the case with my version. The outer material tends to soak up water and when a material becomes wetted, it will lose its breathability. I also then feel the cold, particularly on my arms and shoulders when the outer becomes sodden. The longer I ride, the more I feel the water starting to seep through.
So, watch this space. I’ll hopefully give an update early next year on how successful I’ve been, but I’m confident there won’t be any issues.
A few words describing the product and technology from Diver Dave himself:
There are basically 3 types of waterproofing, wax, silicon and nano technology fluorocarbon. Wax is just basically a plug, stopping pores in the fabric. Silicon I know less about, when I was developing Repel the boffins discussed it, but its effects on breathability and repair was a problem for us, so we went fluorocarbon. It was designed to make for a micro airspace on the outside of breathable fabrics to enhance breathability – even the best breathable fabric will not work with the interior or exterior soaked, to push water through water or uphill you need a pump!
Repel uses the same chemicals as the top end expensive stuff, but with basic packaging, mixed on site and basic labelling. We have no storage or advertising costs and as such can sell it at low cost. We developed it to use as part of our wader repair service, as we are asked for it all the time and just wanted to offer it. But it was important to us that we did not need to wash the fabric in it (why would you want water repellent on the inside, holding sweat in) or need heat to activate it, as this can damage waders.
We had it made, and messed about with it, testing it on everything here, waders, jackets, boots, gloves, tweed and even paper napkins, and it just works. It repels water (we called it repel, because repellent would not fit on the label!) and basically does what is expected. It won’t fix holes or stop leaks, or if it does think of it as a side effect, this is not really what it is for.
How much does it cost?
Water Repel costs £8.50 for a 250ml bottle or £15 for two 250ml bottles, including postage and can be found on eBay