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How to Keep Your Winter Outerwear Performing Longer

By Katherine Donnelly on

Good winter outerwear isn't here's how you can keep it alive and performing well for as long as possible.

But spending more upfront for high-quality fabrics, top notch construction, and the features that you not only want but will come to rely on is a good move. Why? Because our gear is meant to last, keeping up with you and your adventures - whether you're skiing or snowboarding, in the resort or in the backcountry, or even just walking your dog around the block in a blizzard - for years to come. 

Rather than just a fun shopping spree, we consider a TREW purchase to be an investment: you're committing to spending more time outside, regardless of the conditions, and you're investing in a future of fun days and good times surrounded by mountains with the people you love.

Come what may, good gear will keep you warm, dry, and happy for longer. But you need to take care of it to make sure it lives a long and happy life! Don't worry, it's easy to do and we're here to help:

1. Regularly wash your gear

Probably the most common misconception out there around outerwear is that you shouldn't wash it. But it's time to set the record straight once and for all: to keep your outerwear performing at its best, you need to keep it cleanErase those ideas about having to hand wash your jacket or hang dry your bibs....washing your gear could not be any easier. All you need is some good detergent and your standard washer. Yes, you read that right - a normal household washer will do all the hard work for you while you sip a margarita and watch GNAR for the hundredth time (margs not included)*.

The 'science': Keeping your outerwear clean will make sure that it continues to shed moisture effectively and allow proper breathability. Most laminated waterproof/breathable fabrics are either microporous or nonporous. Microporous materials have pores, just like our own skin, and those pores can easily be clogged up with dirt, grime, and oils. Nonporous fabrics, like the ones we use, don't have pores and are easier to clean and care for. When nonporous fabrics accumulate dirt and oils on the surface, the waterproofing and breathability of the garment will suffer; as a result, you will find yourself getting damp (or downright drenched) - a combination of outside moisture getting through the face fabric and condensation building inside your outerwear from a lack of airflow and breathability. 

When to wash: when you begin to notice a lot of dirt buildup on your gear or you begin to notice the waterproofing properties starting to fade away. Depending on how often you use your gear, and how hard you use it, this could be every other week or only once a season. Just get in the habit of washing your gear when dirty, and at the end of each season before stashing it for the summer. 


2. Tumble dry your gear

We cannot emphasize this one enough. Every time you wash your outerwear, you should tumble dry it on low to medium heat until dry and warm to touch. EVERY SINGLE TIME*. 

The 'science': Each time you wash your item, the waterproof coating - or DWR (durable water repellent finish) - is essentially deactivated. Drying your item at a low-medium heat will reactivate the DWR coating, leaving your jacket, bibs, or pants clean, refreshed, and ready to shed water like it was new out of the box. 

When to dry: every dang time you wash your item. Maybe we're turning into a broken record, but this is one of the top reasons why we some customers find themselves getting wet on the slopes - they washed their gear, but they didn't tumble dry. 

WATCH: How to wash (and dry) your winter outerwear.

*If you own outerwear that is not TREW Gear, then we highly recommend checking with the manufacturer of your gear on washing and cleaning instructions before doing anything. 

3. Avoid rough, abrasive surfaces 

We'll be the first to say that sometimes sh*t happens. In skiing and snowboarding, there's no way you can always avoid every tree limb, sharp rock, or rouge ski edge....but we highly encourage you to do your best to avoid these rough and abrasive surfaces as much as possible. 

We use rugged fabrics in all of our outerwear products, because we believe that durability and longevity are some of the most important features you can ask for in your jacket and bibs. But as rugged as they are, our products are in no way indestructible. If you sideswipe a tree while careening down the mountain, slide down an icy chute on your butt, or clip your edges on your pant cuffs with enough force, your gear can be damaged. 

Here are a couple of tips for keeping your pant cuffs safe from harm:

  • When you are hiking/uphill touring, roll your cuffs up. This one isn't always popular with everyone, since some find this to look 'goofy'....but you now what's not goofy? Keeping your bibs or pants in one piece! When skinning or hiking, rolling your cuff up is a great way to make sure that your edges don't slice and your buckles don't tear. The way up can be clumsy, awkward, and downright slippery sometimes, and it's not uncommon to hear of cuffs getting the brunt of the damage when a kick-turn or boot-pack goes wrong. 
  • When you're not wearing you ski/snowboard boots, roll your cuffs up. The easiest way to do this is by just flipping the gaiter elastic up and over the bottom of your cuffs. Not only will this mitigate any tripping risks (yes, it has happened before) but it will also keep your pant cuffs out from under your shoes and away from the rocks, ice, and myriad of other things that can lead to damage. 


4. When a tear, rip or slice does happen, fix it properly!

This one is a bit more straightforward, but should still be included here. If you rip your outerwear, don't just let it sit. And please don't just throw a piece of duct tape on there and call it good, either...unless you really have to*. 

When you do rip, tear, or slice your outerwear - regardless of how it happened - it is important to get that patched up or repaired properly. The last thing you need is for something to get caught in that teeny, tiny rip on your bibs, and then that small repair turns into something much larger....

Gear patches and gear tape are easy to find and purchase online or at your local gear shop, and will make your DIY repair easy, affordable, and fun. Our top recommendation for DIY patching are Noso Patches - and you can choose from a huge variety of shapes, colors, and designs for a custom look. 

There is always the option of getting your gear professionally repaired, too - especially if the tear in question is larger or more complex. You can always reach out to our support team here at TREW and we can coordinate a repair with our own repair shop, or you can find a trusted seamster near you here

*Duct tape should be reserved for those emergency situations when you are in the mountains and have no other options at hand. Duct tape is amazing! but it is not a good pair with technical fabrics, and unless removed quickly after an emergency use it will damage the fabric and leave a residue that is often impossible to remove. Also, duct tape on our items will void warranty - so be careful!


5. Apply a new DWR coating when needed

Even with proper washing and drying, the waterproofing on gear isn't meant to last forever. So if you find yourself getting wet more and more often, and a through cleaning doesn't solve the issue, then it's very likely time to apply a new DWR coat to your garment. 

There are various products out there that will get the job done painlessly, but our favorite is the Clothing Repel from Grangers. Then all you need is that washing machine, a little less than an hour, and you're ready to get back out there rain or shine!


6. Contact us!

With every garment we sell here at TREW, we are committed to providing exceptional support to our customers and community. And while it may be a little counter-productive to making money, we actually do want you to keep wearing your current gear for as long as possible!

If you run into any questions, issues, or concerns with your product, we're here to help. Very often, your gear issue will be covered under our TREW warranty -- and even if it's not covered, we do our best to provide quick and affordable repairs with our trusted technical sewers. Almost everything on our outerwear products can be repaired: zippers, seams, drawcords, velcro, elastic, pockets, name it, and we can probably repair it. So before you call it quits or toss that jacket in the trash, contact us and we can let you know your options. 


The Afterlife Project

When it does come time to finally retire your outerwear, don't just toss it in the trash! Even your oldest, rattiest TREW Gear has more life - and adventure - to give. Recycle, donate, and trade-in your old gear with The Afterlife Project

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