Let’s face it: ski and snowboard gear isn’t getting any cheaper. With a full setup costing you close to $1,000 these days, you want to make sure that gear lasts as long as possible, especially the stuff that keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable.
Gore-Tex has emerged as the go-to for waterproof and breathable ski pants and jackets, but it costs a pretty penny. In order to save a little cash, we decided to find out how to extend the lifetime of our Gore-Tex, reaching out to the experts at Rainy Pass Repair—the only Gore-Tex certified repair shop in the world.
Based out of Seattle, which is fitting for a company that repairs rain and snow gear for a living, Rainy Pass has been repairing equipment for almost 30 years. In addition to jackets and pants, Rainy Pass fixes tents, sleeping bags, dry suits, and just about anything else meant to keep you dry and safe from the elements. The Seattle shop has corporate clients like REI and Mammut, but also caters to private customers wanting to eke out another season in their outerwear.
Here are a few things you need to know this season to keep your gear—and your wallet—happy.
Gore-Tex isn’t forever
Even powerful Gore-Tex has a lifespan. For people that use their gear daily, this lifetime can range from three to five years while those who use less frequency can get close to 15 years out of their garments.
Look out for warning signs
The easiest way to tell if your Gore-Tex needs some help is delamination. Delamination occurs when the fabric layers start to separate, leaving a bubbling effect on the surface of your garment. Also, if the two layers are completely separated, then it might be time to throw in the towel.
Rainy Pass recommends that you wash your garment once a season. Dirt and oil from hands can decrease the effectiveness of outerwear, and dust build-up in zippers can cause them to malfunction and jam, so make sure to keep your gear so fresh and so clean.
There are plenty of DIY options for minor repairs
Just because something goes wrong with your outerwear doesn’t mean you have to turn it over to the experts just yet. For minor nicks and cuts in your garment, Gore-Tex makes adhesive patches that are sold at REI and most ski shops. The patches come with directions and are so easy even a ski burnout can do it. Another important DIY option is re-waterproofing your gear. This is something you can do at home with a few different products, including Gear Aid, Nik Wax (Rainy Pass’ weapon of choice), and Grainger. The washing process is pretty basic, but if you’re nervous, these come with directions too.
Nothing is lost, until it’s lost
Rainy Pass can fix just about anything, so if you’re really in love with that purple ski shell, check with the guys and gals at the shop before tossing it. And that doesn’t mean just fabric repairs; Rainy Pass says that most of its repairs are actually replacing zippers. Also, if there’s nothing that can be done to revitalize your garment, they’ll let you know free of charge.
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