NIKWAX HARDSHELL DUO-PACK
TEST SERIES BY ROBB PRATT
August 25, 2020
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unicornv007 AT yahoo.com
Canton, Michigan, USA
5' 10" (1.80 m)
165 lb (74.80 kg)
I backpacked sporadically growing up and rediscovered it back in 2011. Since then, I've taken several weekend trips a year. I also car camp with my family roughly a dozen nights a year when we use tents unless I can convince them I might snore and it would be better for all for me to use my hammock rig. I prefer a light pack (weight without food or water under 20 pounds / 9 kg). My backpacking stomping ground is northern Michigan that has small hills and I typically camp late spring, summer and early fall months.
PRODUCT FORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Nikwax North America
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Manufacturer's Website: Nikwax
Other details: Nikwax describes the DuoPack as a way to "safely clean and add water repellency to wet weather clothing without wicking liners". The first bottle is a technical wash that is a soap-based cleaner, used to clean clothing and equipment without damaging the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. The second bottle is the TX.Direct which adds water-repellency and revives breathability to fabrics without wicking liners. Each bottle is 10 oz (300 ml) in the smaller kit. A larger kit that is 17 oz (1 liter) per bottle is also available.
The bottles come in a package with them wrapped together to help drive home the point that these are a kit and they should be used together. Removing them from the package, I inspected each bottle. Its very clear which one is the wash and which one is used to refresh (or add) the DWR back into my rain-gear.
I especially like the caps on each bottle. I know its not a crazy-technical thing to like, but they at least look different than a standard bottle and are very easy to handle and open. After removing the caps, I looked at each nozzle. They both are roughly the size of a pop bottle opening which should make using the right amount easier than if they were full-sized openings. I also noticed each fluid has a scent to them, indicating that there is some kind of chemical in them. The smell is not overpowering and reminds me faintly of my childhood and playing with Elmer's glue.
The caps are easy to screw back on and each one has a slip-lock feature to prevent stripping the threads when tightening.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
One thing I've learned in the last few years with instructions is that I'm getting old. In this case, the writing is very small. I've learned a little hack though to deal with this - namely, I take my phone and snap a few pictures and then read them zoomed in.
For washing, there are instructions for top-loading and front-loading washing machines as well as hand-washing. As I have a top-loading machine, I especially paid attention to this section.
1. Place maximum 6 garments in washing machine
2. After machine has filled add 5 fl oz (150 ml) for 1-3 garments, low water level or 8.5 fl oz (250 ml) for 4-6 garments, medium water level.
3. Set cycle to Heavy and Warm
There was no need to dry the garments as the next step is the TX.Direct Wash-In.
For the TX.Direct Wash-in, the instructions are also split into three different types. I again paid attention to the top-loading machine:
1. Place maximum of 3 clean garments in washing machine
2. After machine has filled, add 10 fl oz (300 ml) of TX.Direct (basically, entire bottle)
3. Set cycle to Heavy and Warm, Low Water Level
After completion, it is recommended that I either air dry or tumble dry on a low setting if the garments permits it.
Overall, the instructions seem simple and easy. My rain-gear is years old and "wets out" now instead of letting the raindrops roll off. I'm really hoping the NixWax DuoPack rejuvenates them back to full strength. The only thing I really wonder about is why there is extra Wash (about 2x as much) compared to the TX.Direct.
Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and Nikwax for the opportunity to test the DuoPack. I'm looking forward to filing a field report as soon as I select which of my rain-gear to work with, apply the DuoPack and have a chance to head off into good storm.
My original plan had me using the generic top loader instructions but that only survived until I got to the washing machine itself.
Our previous machine, decades old and a solid, reliable soldier to tackle our worst laundry loads had given up several months earlier and been replaced with a new top loader. This one actually has a setting called "Waterproof". Side note: I wish it had a setting called "Teen Soccer Gear - Post Practice" but I suppose that is asking too much.
|New Washer with New Setting|
Anyway, after much debate, I decided to use the Waterproof setting, with a low water level, heavy soil and warm temperature. I put two garments in - my old raincoat and an even older pair of rain pants. I also added the proper amount of Tech Wash which was about 8 oz (237 ml) and turned the washer on.
I am not sure of the cycle time to complete as I was not watching the clock, but my machine was listing a complete cycle as 67 minutes. After completion, I checked the garments and WOW did they look almost brand new. I was really impressed how much they cleaned the dirt off and made the outer fabric layer feel smooth again.
At this point, I put them back in the washer and set the machine to the same settings as before and added a full bottle of the TX.Direct waterproofing. I'd like to say I followed the directions completely and let my machine do all the work. I really would like to. I cannot though. I have kids. They can be very distracting.
As the washer was nearly full but not yet cycling, I noted that a piece of fabric was standing above the water level. At this point, I interrupted the cycle briefly to push that layer back down. I was not paying very close attention to the washer and forgot about the TX.Direct waterproofing instructions and used my naked hand which now came away very tacky. The next brief interruption had me racing around the house with a sticky hand, trying to get the stuff off while attending to a small household disaster and I forgot about the washer for a good 20 minutes. No harm done, but it does mean I soaked the waterproofing into the fabric for longer than in the normal machine wash directions. As for my hand, it took a few hand-washings with dish soap and another hour just to get rid of the tacky feeling. Next time, I will follow the instructions and wear a rubber glove if I have to put my hand into the water.
Upon completion, I decided to air dry all the gear. I know the instructions say I can use a tumble dry on a low setting with my machine but I just made the choice to air dry as I felt that was less likely to end in another distraction on my part.
I checked in on the gear the next day and they all looked great and had a nice smooth feel. I did not see any streaking and the garments looked almost new.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
We've had a heat wave in Michigan which also meant no rain for weeks now so I've been eagerly waiting for a good storm. One finally did sneak through in the middle of the night but I just wasn't going to race off at 3 am to walk the neighborhood in dark cloths during a downpour.
The weather though did finally break and we had a nice rainstorm that was just long enough for me to get my gear on and go for a good 30 minute walk.
Both the rain pants and rain jacket did a great job keeping me dry. For the most part, I found that water was now beading up and rolling off my gear. There was some minor "wetting out" where it absorbed liquid but the actual water never made it through the layers of the jacket and into my clothes underneath. I am unsure how well it will handle a long, sustained downpour, but considering the jacket and pants are each over 6 years old, I was pleased with how both behaved in the rain.
|Torso Shedding Water|
|Cuffs Wetting Out a Little|
I did take the gear with me on several camping trips - both backpacking and non-backpacking campgrounds. On none of the trips did it rain, but I did use the coat as a windbreaker on one morning. I inspected the raingear after the trips and there are no signs of streaking or degradation of the material. As a brief durability test, I jumped in the shower again with the rain gear on, and it still is shedding water on the torso. The cuff's still experience a little bit of wetting out from the material absorbing some of the water.
I found the Nikwax Hardshell Duo-Pack easy to apply and it did a great job of rejuvenating my gear. It turned my older rain gear that I was desperately looking into replacing, back topacklist worthy for at least another season or two.
|Absolute Downpour - Stayed Dry!|
1. Great cleaning power on my dirty, grimy gear.
2. Easy to apply
3. Good job reviving my waterproofing
1. Not sure what to do with the extra Tech Wash. As Tech Wash to TX.Direct is not 1 to 1, I have enough left over to maybe clean a garment. I wish this was a 1 for 1 but the I know I'll eventually use it once I want to clean the coat again (my most used item of my rain gear)
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
This concludes my report. I want to thank both BackpackGearTest.org and Nikwax for letting me take part in testing Hardshell Duo-Pack.
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Read more gear reviews by Robb Pratt