So after outfitting yourself with a helmet, which is the most important piece of skiing and snowboarding equipment, followed by a pair of well fitting boots and then a decent pair of skis, how do you have money for a new ski jacket or snowboard jacket?
Has your jacket, or more specifically your Gore Tex on your jacket seen better days? If it has, then in order to stay dry and warm, you may need to help it out a little. I prefer to spend my small allotment of a ski budget on equipment and not fashion. And even then, I am still not usually on the latest and greatest skis or boots.
So how can you save money on a new jacket? Well easy, don’t buy one. Recycle your existing piece of outerwear and go pick up some Nikwax Tech Wash, which is a cleaner specifically designed to clean waterproof material without stripping it of its special waterproofing coating.
Then, after a thorough cleaning in your washing machine, the next step is to add the Nikwax TX.Direct which is a conditioner. This adds back the repellents that was slowly lost over the years and also allows for the breathability of the jacket.
These Nikwax products are specially designed for Gore Tex and other water repellent coatings such as eVent. If your jacket doesn’t have Gore Tex, then the Nikwax may not be of much use to you. In this case, you may want to buy some Scotch Guard or similar water-repellent spray.
I have a friend who demonstrated the abilities of the Scotch Guard spray. One year, when he came to visit me in Breckenridge, he had somehow figured it wasn’t going to snow in Colorado, so he wasn’t concerned about bringing any ski pants.
Surprise! Snow it did. He proceeded to thoroughly spray almost the whole can onto a pair of his jeans, since he didn’t have anything else suitable for skiing while it was snowing. I was skeptical of how well the Scotch Guard would actually work, but he proved its worth, as the Scotch Guard did turn his regular blue jeans into a pair of waterproof blue jeans.
Although, they lost some of their flexibility and could almost stand up on their own afterwards. In defense of the Scotch Guard, I don’t think its use was intended for how it was actually applied, which was quite heavy and on material (cotton) that is super un-repellent to begin with. Unlike Gore Tex, his pants didn’t breathe very well after the Scotch Guard was applied, so they were a little on the clammy side on the days the snow wasn’t falling.
So if you do try the Scotch Guard method, then maybe it would be best to spray in moderation over most of the garment. Then, only the areas that will be subjected to the most exposure, like the shoulders, tops of the arms or top of the jeans would get the heavy dosage.
Another article on Saving Money on Ski & Snowboard Gear