If you’re shopping for waterproof jackets, you’re looking for value for money. You want hard-wearing PVC jackets that will last you for as long as possible before needing replacing. Choosing clothing with a long life is better for your wallet and for the environment too, as well as saving you the hassle of having to shop for a new one. But how long does the average waterproof jacket last, and what can you do to prolong its lifespan?

Lifespan is often affected by usage

While the quality of the item is key to its lifespan, how much service your waterproof jacket provides is often affected by how it is used. You need to shop with usage in mind. For example, if you’re looking for something hard-wearing for commercial fishing, construction, farming or another heavy-duty use, it doesn’t make sense to buy it from a leisure outdoor wear retailer. You need a specialist instead.

Shopping carefully – what to look out for

To help you make the best possible decision when buying waterproof jackets, choose a specialist retailer with a good reputation. The retailer should also offer a decent warranty and have lots of positive feedback from previous customers. Next, look at the item itself. Was it specially designed for what you want to use it for? Is it made from a strong, hard-wearing material like PVC, with features like reinforced or welded seams to help it last longer?

How to spot the signs of wear and tear

If you aren’t sure how much life your existing waterproof jacket has left in it, look out for these tell-tale signs of wear and tear:

  • Loose cuffs
  • Sticky zippers
  • Rips and tears
  • Fading or discolouration.

Remember, it’s not always the waterproof material that goes first. You may find that the rest of the item starts to show signs of wear before you notice water penetration through the outer shell. Stormline, a specialist wet weather gear manufacturer recommends buying only gear that has welded seams, for extra durability.

How to care for PVC waterproof jackets to prolong their lifespan

There are also things you can do to prolong the life of your PVC waterproofs. For starters, make sure you follow the care instructions on the item’s label down to the letter. Avoid using commercial stain removers or bleaches as they can damage the item, and wash outdoor clothing only as much as is really needed. As a rule of thumb, if it feels damp, clammy or wet, or looks really dirty, pop it in the wash.

Holes and tears can sometimes be repaired using patches provided with the garment, which can be applied with PVC cement.

An additional note about how to wash waterproof jackets

The last thing to remember when caring for waterproof jackets is that you need to wash them in a particular way. As above, follow the instructions for washing on the label, avoiding biological washing powders and fabric conditioners as they can leave a residue behind. Rinse everything thoroughly and allow to drip dry inside out until completely dry. If putting in a washing machine, use a low temperature and make sure all straps and flaps are fastened so they don’t snag in the drum.

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