I used to be confused how a thermos can know whether to keep the coffee hot or the ice tea cold. Somehow it just knows. Well, how silicone makes things waterproof is another conundrum I had to work through. Good news is I now understand it and I’m about to tell you.
I use a spray called Silicone Water-Guard that I get at Wally World in sporting goods. It has an orange cap. Here is how it works. All silicone components have a low surface tension. Surface tension is something you learned about in high school physics class. Remember how you can float a needle on a glass of water? That’s surface tension.
Silicone doesn’t float a needle but actually it is volatile and aggressively soaks into the micro-pores of leather, nylon and fabrics. Then the flexible siloxane backbone of the silicone molecule allows the methyl groups to orient them toward the surface, like standing micro-needles, during crosslinking. The crosslinking is triggered by exposure to air. This creates a tough waterproof breathable umbrella.
When wearing the garment or boots, water vapor passes through the micro-holes, from the inside out. But water droplets (beaded water) can’t pass to the inside. Now the surface is waterproof.
Silicone Water-Guard uniquely uses CO2 as a propellant to expel the silicone product. This is significant because all of the competition uses fluorocarbons which require a large percentage of propellant by volume. In short because Silicone Water-Guard is expelled by CO2 the can actually contains up to 50% more silicone, which is a plus to the end user. Choose the blaze orange cap and not the green one.
The win for you and I consist of treating our raingear and active wear with Silicone Water-Guard. Being dry is a plus. I often conduct wilderness expeditions like the one I’m repeating this summer in Alaska’s Prince William Sound’s fjords. In locations like this I travel in a 17-foot Zodiac, carry a PLB, two-way radios, and the best tents, and expedition wear I can buy. Getting wet out in the glacial fjords can spell death. I treat all of my rain gear with Silicone Water-Guard as well as my tent.
In October and November, I’ll be out in the elements bowhunting whitetails in Ohio. I treat my camo raingear the same way and it allows me to hunt all day in a cold drizzle. Being dry is being effective and comfortable. So here is your mission; Restore your raingear.
- Wash your raingear in Sport-Wash. This removes all dirt and residue and opens up the micro-pores in your tech waterproof fabric.
- Treat your raingear with Silicone Water-Guard. Allow it to Air dry to allow crosslinking.
- Go adventure and hunt as a dry guy. That’s the “How” of dry.