Currently, we are in the height of summer, and here in the UK, the weather has been great, we have had basically no rain for the past month, which is very unusual, though, I am taking this as a great opportunity to enjoy more of the outdoors doing things I love to do.
Knowing that the weather will not last too long, I have been going through my gear, and getting it ready for the rain by waterproofing it using a new technique that I discovered while waterproofing a new backpack.
Waterproofing your gear is an absolute must. There is nothing worse than being out in the rain, and getting wet feet, or all the gear in your rucksack wet. Yes, you can use a dry bag to line your backpack, but, a soaked through backpack, is usually a heavy backpack, and therefore, adding a waterproof coating to it will keep the fabric from soaking through, and gaining weight.
There are a number of ways you can go about waterproofing a backpack, you can just buy a rain cover and be done with it. This is a great idea, but, I find a rain cover a little annoying, especially when I want to access something in my bag, it usually means removing the rain cover, finding what I am after, and then refitting it. I would much rather have a waterproof rucksack and avoid the hassle of faffing around with covers.
So, lets talk about how to waterproof gear such as backpacks, boots and anything else you may think or, heck, even a hat. The focus of this article will be based on waterproofing a rucksack, but the method can be applied to many different items of clothing or gear.
How to Waterproof a Backpack using Sno-Seal
First off, you will have to grab some materials to get this job done.
What you are going to need to waterproof a backpack (or any other gear) is as follows:
- Snoseal (Waterproofing agent)
- Hairdryer (This is used to further melt the Snoseal into the material)
- Heatsource (I used a candle)
- Metal or ceramic tub (To melt the Snoseal in) I actually used one of these
- Nitrile Gloves
Once you have the required materials gathered up, it’s time to get waterproofing!
I am going to go over the way I did this, including the way I melted the Snoseal.
Melt the Snoseal.
The way I did this was in the ceramic candle burner thingy. You can use a metal can, such as an old candle casing, or saucepan, but I had the candle burner handy, so used it.
Get a dollop of Sno seal, and put it in your container over the heat source, and let it melt, until fully liquid.
Using the paintbrush, get a small amount of Snoseal on your brush, and when I say small amount, I say this for a reason. Once you remove the Snoseal from the heat source, it hardens fairly quickly, so you want to be sure to use all of whats on the brush, before dipping again, or you will end up with a badly clumped up brush.
Paint the Sno-seal onto your backpack, or whatever it is you are wanting to waterproof. Try and apply it as evenly as possible.
Note: This WILL darken the material, so if you are worried about this, try it out on a small area first, and let it dry and see how you like how it looks. It will also give the material a waxy look, which, in my opinion, looks great!
Once you have covered your whole backpack in Snoseal, put on some nitrile gloves, and hit the bag with the hairdryer until the Sno-Seal softens again. Now, massage the Snoseal into the material further, while holding the hairdryer over the area you are working.
You will want to apply as much of the wax as the material can hold, so if it looks dry, when you hit it with the hairdryer, apply a little more until the sealant is visible when using the hairdryer.
This technique can be applied to any materials which will absorb the Sno-Seal. It is also great for leather boots, trousers, hats… basically everything, even your bug out bag!