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How to reproof your waterproofs

You’re cycling in the rain. When you get home you notice that the sleeves of your sweater are a little moist, or wet even? You walk to the supermarket and your jacket soaks up every single drop of rain? I can hear you think: “time to get a new rain jacket…” Not really, though! Let me explain how you can reproof your waterproof jacket!

When you notice that your jacket gets heavy when it rains, or your skin gets a little clammy, chances are that the DWR-layer of your jacket has worn out. This doesn’t mean your jacket is no longer useful. It can be resolved with a dual treatment: washing and reproofing.

NO H2O

You’ve got two kinds of water resistant clothing: water repellent and waterproof clothing. Water repellent clothing will keep you dry in a light drizzle, but it won’t keep up in a shower. Waterproof clothing makes sure you’ll stay dry in any wet situation.

There are several components which make waterproof clothing actually waterproof. First there’s the membrane or the coating on the inside of the jacket. Secondly there’s the DWR-layer (Durable Water Repellent) which is applied to every single waterproof and water repellent item. The task of the DWR-layer is to let water pearl up and drip off the fabric.

Because of wear and tear the DWR-layer will loose it’s efficiency in time. When you notice your waterproofs take up more water than they drip off, it’s time to wash your items and reproof them. This will up the game of your waterproof clothing again, and restore its performance.

WASHING

Before reproofing your jacket, you have to wash it. Otherwise you will fixate all the (invisible) impurities in your waterproofs. In this article you can read how to clean your waterproofs.

REPROOFING

Reproofing is the technical term for ‘make it waterproof again’.  You don’t have to do that after every washing, by the way. But when your item doesn’t repel water anymore, it is absolutely time to reproof it. When the performance of the DWR-layer is substandard, the outer layer of your jacket will start soaking up water. The benefits of a (more expensive) jacket will be lost. Your jacket gets heavy and that also influences the breathability. Dirt, for example the oil of your skin, sweat, and mud won’t be repelled anymore and your outfit will get smelly.

After washing out all the impurities, your waterproofs are ready to get a new DWR-layer. Those kind of products exist in a spray, like Nikwax Spray-On, but also in a wash in product, like Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In.

SPRAY
  1. Spray the product all over your jacket, or on the spots you want to reproof.
  2. Wipe the product open so you won’t get stains on your item.
WAsh-in
  1. Pour the recommended amount of product in the dispenser of your washer.
  2. Wash your waterproofs in the same cycle as you did before when washing them.
  3. Put your waterproofs in the dryer (if it is allowed by the washing prescriptions in the clothing tag!) on low or medium heath. If you can’t put it in the dryer, you want to add some heat by using a hairdryer. The warmth will activate the water repellent layer.

Have you ever tossed out a jacket that didn’t seem waterproof anymore?

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Skiing in Belgium, a spontaneous adventure

Winter is in town. We got our skis out of the closet and decided, quite last minute, to go skiing in Belgium for a day. We drove to Ovifat for an entire day of snow fun.

When you think of skiing, you think of a very long bus drive, kilometers of slopes, panoramic views of beautiful mountains and making sure you catch the last lift home to get back to your chalet. We had a little bit of a different experience, but we enjoyed it just as much.

A couple of hours driving from our beloved home town, Ghent, lies Ovifat. It’s all the way in the east of Belgium. In the Rue du Piste 1 you’ll find the parking lot of a nice private terrain where you can enjoy a day of skiing on 3 (!!) different slopes.

skiing Ovifat elan k2

The practical side of skiing in belgium

First of all, the highway and big roads are free of snow and safe to drive. However, this is not the case for the smaller streets, including the street towards the parking lot of the skiing area! Winter tires are desirable when you’re driving towards the Belgian ski slopes.

Secondly, did you know that the skiing terrains in Belgium seldom allow snow boarders? It feels like a bit discriminating, but I’m sure they have a good reason for that. At least, I hope they do. So PJ went – feeling a little offended – skiing in stead of boarding,  for the first time in 15 years.

Another thing we discovered is that in order to use the lifts you have to buy a ticket with a limited amount of trips. Every time you take a lift back up the hill, they punch a hole in your card. And you’ve got 18 trips per card. At first we thought that 18 descends per person was not a lot, but at the end of the day we still had a couple of squares without a hole in it.

Finally, there’s one bistro at the top of the slopes where you can buy something to eat and drink. I would recommend to bring some snacks of your own to enjoy as much of the experience as possible. The first time on the slopes in the season is quite tiring and the cold doesn’t do much for your energy levels either. Also, don’t for get to bring water on your skiing trip! In this blog post you’ll read about why you should bring water and how to make it durable.

skiing ovifat Thaïsa
Ready to hit the slops for the first time this season!
skiing Ovifat lift
The lift of the red slope is not one to underestimate. It’s fast and steep.
Testing skis

After a couple of descends we got the idea to switch skis. Even though PJ’s skis are way too long for me and my skis are in fact too short for PJ, we still decided to shake it up. The difference we felt was remarkable, and that wasn’t only because of the different length of the skis. I won’t go into detail, but let’s say the type of ski definitely has a big impact on your skiing experience. The way a ski feels to you depends on your level, your style and your body type.

If you’re renting skis, for example at A.S. Adventure, Skimium, or a local rental place, I’d urge you not to sell yourself as the next world champion free ride or slalom if that’s not the case. The people who decide which skis you’ll be using for a week should be able to trust on your word to give you the right skis. The problem in the high season is that exchanging your skis for another pair is not always possible. In the sad case where your level doesn’t match the level of the skis, you’ll probably won’t be able to enjoy your holiday as much as you’d like.

skiing Ovifat change
The plus side of working in ski rental is being able to adjust skis on the slopes
skiing Ovifat elan
I was so ready to try out this brand new pair of Elan Amphibio 76
DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY

We used the day to test our techniques. I even tried to take my first couple of small jumps. Maybe we also talked a lot about technical skiing stuff. But most of all, we enjoyed ourselves a lot. It was my first time on the slopes in four years. For PJ it was his first time skiing in fifteen years. We had a lot of laughs and we joked around a bit, and we definitely enjoyed skiing in Belgium.

skiing Ovifat relax
The best kind of break for PJ is the one where you’re sitting in the snow and you’re enjoying a sandwich with chocolate-hazelnut spread
skiing Ovifat view
Even without majestic mountains, the sun provides you with magical snowy landscape views
skiing Ovifat selfie
Spontaneous adventures lead to smiling faces!

Our spontaneous little adventure gave us a lot of joy and a little bit of sunburn on our cheeks. Skiing in Belgium was a great idea in our humble opinion and we’re definitely going to do it again!

Did you ever go skiing in Belgium or elsewhere close to home? How was your experience? 

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A reusable water bottle, a durable investment

Until about a year a go, I used to take a plastic bottle with me. The kind you buy in the super market, the kind you throw in the trash eventually. I used to refill those bottles a couple of times, but eventually they became kind of dirty after a while. Plastic is everything but a natural product and Mother Earth could use a lot less of it. So I started to think about the amounts of trash I produce and how I could reduce it. The first step was quite clear: buy a reusable water bottle.

kleankanteen1

Why would you buy a reusable water bottle?

The environment will be so thankful! A reusable water bottle will easily last for years. You only need a little common sense to realize that you will throw away a lot less of those plastic bottles.

Tap water is perfectly drinkable. Where I live tap water even tastes really good, but I realize that this is not the case everywhere. If tap water doesn’t taste great in your area, just let it run through a water filter. That will make the weird taste disappear in no time.

It is a lot cheaper in long term! Tap water is available pretty much everywhere. Just calculate how much you pay for bottle water… And how often you buy a bottle… I rest my case.

kleankanteen3

To what should you pay attention while buying a reusable water bottle?

Reusable water bottles exist in all shapes and sizes. The volume of the bottle is up to you. You’ll also find a lot of different prize ranges for reusable water bottles. In my personal experience, I would like to advise to invest a little more. I won’t trash talk about brands, but cheaper brands will very likely be less durable and might even harm your health when damaged.

A reusable water bottle which is completely made out of stainless steel, like Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and Mizu, are safe options when you’re a little clumsy. They can take a beating and are perfectly safe, even when dented. When a bottle has a coating on the inside (a yellow coating on the inside of the bottle) you’ll have to be a little more carefull. When you drop such bottle, the coating may break and loosen.

Glass bottles are a stylish option for your desk. You’ll see in the corner of your eye and you’ll be reminded to drink regularly. Also a glass bottle with an infuser is a great option. A little bit of lime or lemon will freshen up your water break!

Hygiene

It’s not because you can’t see them, that they’re not there: bacteria. Give your water bottle a good wash up every night. A thorough rinse a day keeps the doctor away.

Hydroflask ski

I own three different reusable water bottles: a Klean Kanteen Classic, a Klean Kanteen for children, and a Hydro Flask 32 oz. It might seem a little too much, but all three have weekly functions. The Klean Kanteen Classic is for daily use. It reminds me to drink plenty every day: at least two bottles full during work. It is also a sturdy bottle and it is easy to clean. The baby bottle is perfect to carry in a purse. I take it with me when I go on errands, for when I might get a little thirsty. Last but not least my tea-buddy: Hydro Flask. It is an insulating bottle which keeps my tea warm from dusk ’till dawn, but you can read everything about the Hydro Flask in this blog post!

Plenty of reasons to buy a reusable water bottle? Do you already have one?