Water Resistant Gear: Buy it or Make it?

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    Depending on the conditions you are facing, getting wet can be unpleasant. Staying wet can be even more unpleasant and lead to disease and discomfort such as trench foot. This can be quite debilitating in a survival situation not just because you could literally lose some toes but also because of the pain involved. Even in cases where it is hot and a cool rain feels good, you do not want to stand out in that rain forever much as you would not get much enjoyment out of having your own personal rain cloud constantly following you around. At some point you have to dry out; staying dry is staying well.

    Having water resistant or ever waterproof gear is a big part of staying dry. Products that are made to resist water will be of great service to you. Starting with an oilskin (canvas coated with oil) hat and working down your body with other items that will keep you dry is essential. Ponchos can be bought inexpensively and stored easily, but a trash bag will work in the absence of a poncho. Footwear are available in many varieties from duck boots to rain boots that will keep your feet happy. Raincoats or rain jackets can be combined with rain pants to create a rain suit for when you know severe weather is soon to appear. Such outfits are often made of rubberized cloth, coated nylon, oiled cotton, or even oiled fur. Name brand water resistant products include Durable Water Repellent (DWR), GORE-TEX, British Mackintosh, eVent, and Australian Driza-Bone, just to name a few. Some of the substances used in water resistant gear are Teflon, wax, silicone, polyurethane, and polyvinyl chloride.


    While purchasing water resistant clothing is a nice luxury, sometimes you have to make do with what you already have. Purchasing new clothing with rain in mind may be out of the budget. If that is the case, you will be glad to know you can make regular cloth and even shoes water resistant all on your own.

    For the treatment of clothing, you can apply liquid latex to the inside of clothing. This results in a rubber layer than is not breathable and will stick close to your skin but will also keep water out. It can, however, be a problem for those with latex allergies. Another option is silicone spray. Simply apply it to the outside of fabric and allow it to dry. Also possible is using wax products such as Nikwax which can not only serve as a new application but can also repair clothing after water resistance has been lost. For items such as tents and backpacks, Aqua Armor can be used.


    Footwear water resistance is going to depend somewhat on the type of shoes you have. Since water repellants can alter the look of shoes, your selection should also be based on your willingness to cope with a difference between the before and after colorations. For waterproofing footwear, Nikwax can be used in addition to mink oil, Neat's Foot Oil, Rain & Stain Guard, and many other products. Recently reviewed was Rust-Oleum Never Wet which shows promise on footwear as well.

    Even though getting wet may not seem like the end of the world on a warm day, getting wet can be problematic if allowed to go on unchecked. Keep your body and feet safe from moisture-related problems with at least a few water resistant items in your survival gear lineup. Whether you buy something new or do it yourself, you will be glad to remain at least somewhat dry when the rains of change are upon us.


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