How to Proof Sealskinz Fabric and Leather Waterproof Walking Gloves

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All waterproof kit eventually loses its water repellancy after enough use, usually failing on you during a wet and cold winter walk. Fortunately, they can usually be re-proofed if you know how.

You can't tell from this image exactly how sodden these gloves were at the time.
You can’t tell from this image exactly how sodden these gloves were at the time.

My Sealskinz All Season gloves, which are half leather and half fabric, didn’t perform particularly well on a wet January walk and so I returned home determined to put that right. Of course, the tag on the inside had lost all it’s text and so didn’t offer any clues. Searching the Sealskinz website, there was a product care page, but unfortunately only of use for socks and specific gloves. For all others? Check the label.

So being totally on my own, I decided to follow their instructions to wash at 40°C, using NIkwax Tech Wash, in the first instance. At least I’d have clean gloves.

'Throw' them in the washing machine action shot.
‘Throw’ them in the washing machine action shot.

The actual proofing method wasn’t immediately clear. Proofing them alongside my waterproofs with TX Direct was one option, but I wasn’t sure how that would affect the liner in the gloves. I didn’t have any spray on TX Direct, but I did have some Leather and Fabric proofer for boots. I wanted to proof some leather and some fabric, so this appeared to be just the ticket.

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I applied this liberally’ (in the sense of adding a lot, not in the Lib Dem sense, that just wouldn’t do), especially to the seams, and dabbed away the excess after a few minutes with a dry tea towel. All well and good, but this was still experimental, and It all depended on how waterproof they were once they dried off. This being a most lengthy process that you’re not recommended speeding up using a heat source, though I find that they never dry without some time on a warm radiator.

Once dried overnight, they beaded well and survived a ritual dunking under the tap as you can see from the images.

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The leather palms now resist water.
The leather palms now resist water.

Disclaimer – this isn’t the recommended method of proofing leather and fabric gloves (well, not that I could read the instructions on the gloves) but worked well enough for me!

 

Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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