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UV protection for fabric, WITHOUT waterproofing?
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Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
UV protection for fabric, WITHOUT waterproofing? on 02/21/2013 16:26:54 MST Print View

Almost all my clothing is black. Warms me up nicely when the sun shines, even when the wind is blowing off a Labrador ice floe, and dries quickly. On the North Atlantic, it's only too hot to wear black for about ten days a year, and that's solved by going to the beach. Also, I look totally badass while all alone in the middle of nowhere, and the ravens are guaranteed to introduce themselves.

I've recently invested in some nice new gear, and I don't want it to die of exposure prematurely. Can anybody recommend a non-waterproofing, non-stiffening, non-whitening anti-UV treatment for synthetic fibres? Goretex shell, Nanopuff, various Polartec fleeces, Cap 3, MEC T2...yup, black all the way down. Rock on.

Most products seem intended to replace sunscreen use on skin, by making the fabric absorb the UV, but sunscreening ME is not my intent. Most of those are for natural fibres, anyway. I found McNett's UV Tech, which is marketed for use on plastic kayaks and PVC whatnots. Any experience with it on fabric?

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
A little unclear. on 02/21/2013 16:29:52 MST Print View

Are you looking to reduce the amount of UV that goes through your clothing to your skin, or are you looking to prevent the synthetic clothing from breaking down from UV damage?

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
UV protection on 02/21/2013 17:25:03 MST Print View

Looking to protect the fabric itself, from becoming brittle and fragile due to UV exposure. Already had it happen to a Columbia shell, after three years of all-season wear. Got greenish, rattly and crinkly, hardened, and started to fray at the creases.

As for my own hide, it's already crinkly, hardened, and fraying at the creases, so I'm not too concerned. It was free, anyway. Don't tell my doctor I said that.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
UV on 02/21/2013 17:26:23 MST Print View

I have a great deal of interest in the same question, although, I have found Columbia to be pretty terrible in terms of long-term wear. I stopped buying from them.

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: UV protection for fabric, WITHOUT waterproofing? on 02/21/2013 21:13:01 MST Print View

I have two REI backpacks and several long sleeve nylon shirts and pants, and a gortex jacket. They are all over at least 10 years old. None of it has turned brittle or has noticably fadded. they do have some wear and tear from use and one of the backpacks was repaired when a strap failed (bad stiching).

If your shell is brittle and fragile after only 3 years, It's probably made from low quality fabric.

Be careful when applying a UV treatment to rain gear. Rain gear has DWR coating on the fibers of the fabric. If you apply a UV treatment over a DWR coating the DWR coating may fail. LOok for a DWR coating that also blocks UV. That way your rain jacket will still have a DWR coating after you treat it.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: UV protection for fabric, WITHOUT waterproofing? on 02/21/2013 23:56:50 MST Print View

Normally, UV degradation to Nylon is after months or even years of exposure

Like you wouldn't want a nylon boat cover or full time tent for multiple summers

You would have to do a lot of backpacking for that to be a problem

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
UV protection for fabric on 02/22/2013 05:40:20 MST Print View

"You would have to do a lot of backpacking for that to be a problem."

Yes I do, and so it is. I pretty much live outside a good part of the year. In other words, if somebody spent every single weekend out on the trail, it would take them at least three years to be out as much as I am in one year. Also, I'm far enough north that during the summer there are over 16 hours of daylight. That's a lot of UV exposure. The fact that most of my stuff is black no doubt exacerbates the issue.

The goretex shell is not a problem, the combined DWR/UV treatments are easy to find.

What I want to do is UV shield my fleece and poly and merino gear, without waterproofing it or killing breathability. Rips and tears can be fixed, the UV is the thing most likely to destroy my stuff. And it isn't going to be covered by warranty.

Hoping someone out there has found and used something they can recommend. Thanks!

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Try it! on 02/22/2013 07:29:44 MST Print View

This isn't what you want to hear, but try wearing white. ;)

This also isn't what you want to hear, but get a cheap black shell and try the McNett UV treatment and see how it looks. Test it!


I also found this:
http://www.atsko.com/products/uv-protection/u-v-killer.html

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Although... on 02/22/2013 07:30:55 MST Print View

Even if you're replacing your gear every three years, your dollar to use ratio is still ridiculous. You're getting your money's worth.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: UV protection for fabric on 02/22/2013 08:54:52 MST Print View

Polyester is better than nylon for UV protection. Fleece is usually polyester. And I think Merino should be fine.

Maybe it's not so bad if you use it full time and you have to replace it after a couple years.

Maybe it's just an issue for a tent that's left in the sun full time. Or nylon cord.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
UV on 02/22/2013 11:51:43 MST Print View

Nylon, urethane coatings, and kevlar are the most UV sensitive materials most backpackers will ever carry. The corresponding UV-resistant alternatives are polyester, silicone coatings, and dyneema.

As Jerry said, polyester fleece and wool won't harmed by sunlight. For nylon gear, there are lots of spray-on products for protecting fabrics from UV damage, but I haven't tried any of them. If it were me, I would just read a few reviews, pick the best one, and try it.

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
UV protection on 02/22/2013 16:05:47 MST Print View

Max: Thanks for that. I looked at Atsko products on a commercial gear website, and it said they had DWR properties. Atsko's own website says no such thing. Research failure on my part. So I appreciate your help!

Also thanks to Jerry and Colin for the nylon versus poly information. Never knew it. Sounds like I can focus on the few nylon things, like windshirt and pants, and not worry so much about the other stuff. Good news!

BPL, you're an education. Thanks for being there.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
:) on 02/22/2013 22:26:33 MST Print View

Glad to help!

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: Try it! on 02/22/2013 23:32:24 MST Print View

"What I want to do is UV shield my fleece and poly and merino gear, without waterproofing it or killing breathability."

I think you are confusing two very different things DWR is not waterproofing. DWR coating only prevent water from sticking to the fabric. It does not prevent water or air from flowing between the fibers of the fabric. To make fabric waterproof you need to fill in the gaps between the fibers with a thick film of Polyurethane or a solid PTFE membrane (Gortex, Event).

DWR coatings are used on Waterproof breathable rain gear to insure that water doesn't block the flow or air bettween the fibers. If the rain gear didn't have DWR coating water would fill in all the gaps between the fibers in the fabric and breathability would go to zero.

DWR coating will not affect the breathability of Fleece and other none waterproof fabrics.

I can't say the for UV teatments because I have never used them.

Bogs and Bergs
(Islandized) - F

Locale: Newfoundland
DWR and wicking? on 02/23/2013 06:55:16 MST Print View

Steven is right, I've been imprecise with the waterproof/DWR terms, as well as referring to 'breathability' without clarifying that for some of these garments, it's really the wicking effect that I don't want to mess with.

My (vague, uninformed, unscientific) understanding is that an external waterproofing treatment will form a solid membrane on and between the fibres, while a DWR treatment still 'waterproofs', but only the fibres themselves. Therefore both would interfere with the wicking properties of something like Capilene or T2 microgrid or merino, because wicking depends on absorption followed by transport. So don't DWR anything worn next to skin.

Is this even close to being right? Or is wicking still only about the gaps between fibres, and not the fibres themselves?

steven franchuk
(Surf) - M
Re: DWR and wicking? on 02/23/2013 11:02:03 MST Print View

"Is this even close to being right? Or is wicking still only about the gaps between fibers, and not the fibers themselves?"

Good question that I don't reallly know the answer to. However I would suspect it would depend a lot on the weave of the fabric as well as the fiber. For my fleece garments I hanen't knoticed any significant wicking.

\I just tested one fleece jacket and two different base layers I have that are all made from polyester. The weave was different for each. I basically just dipped a portion of the fabric in water. In all cases just the portion of the fabric touching the water was wet and the surrounding dry fibers stayed dry. That leads me to think that the material the fiber is made of makes the biggest difference between wicking and none wicking.

You could test the effect of DWR coatings on your fabric by just treating a small section and by then apply a drop of water to that spot as well as a drop of water on a untreated section. If the DWR coating doesn't have a big effect on wicking, you could go on to treat the entire garment.