A WATERPROOF STORY
Didriksons have been producing waterproof garments to protect against rain, wind and cold since 1913. Over the decades they have developed and refined their approach to producing the finest quality waterproof clothing to keep you dry in even the worst storms
The key elements of waterproof design can be identified as;
Taped & welded seams
In addition to fabric that keeps out the wet, the seams must also be waterproof, since they are the most vulnerable areas on a waterproof garment. Didriksons plan the positioning of seams with great care in order to avoid rain seeping through and getting you wet.
As the seams incorporate the cut edges of the waterproof fabric and also holes from the sewing needle, these are areas where water can penetrate. Didriksons always tape or weld all seams on their waterproof garments, even seams that are not directly exposed to rain, in order to guarantee the water repellency of the garment.
In 1947 a machine was invented that could weld textiles together. In 1947 a machine was invented that could weld textiles together. We were one of the first companies to begin using this new technology, which revolutionised production. For the first time, they could now offer 100 % waterproof garments with welded seams. A technique they still use today.
Watertight & protected zips
Didriksons zips are always watertight, and many of our garments also feature a protective flap on the inside or outside of the garment (or both) to prevent the passage of water.
In order to measure waterproofness of rain gear Didriksons use a method that simulates a certain level of water pressure against the surface of the fabric. The higher the pressure, the more resistant the fabric to the pressure exerted by the water.
The waterproofness of the fabric is tested by placing a very tall cylinder on the fabric and filling it with water until the water penetrates the fabric. Once this happens, they measure how high the cylinder was filled (in millilitres) at that point.
Market rules allow a garment to be marketed as waterproof if it achieves a result of 1,500 mm in this test. Didriksons Galon garments have a waterproof rating equivalent to 5,000-8,000 mm and our other waterproof garments have a waterproof rating between 5,000 and 15,000 mm.
Didriksons always test their garments in accordance with the European standard (EN ISO 811). There are also Japanese and American standards with slight variations that simulate the same thing, but as the water pressure is increased at varying rates depending on the standard you can end up with widely differing results. EN ISO 811 increases the pressure at a slower rate, which exposes the material to high pressure over a longer period, making it more difficult to achieve the higher values for waterproofness.
A waterproof garment (not made of Galon®) from Didriksons has a coating on the inside of the fabric, concealed by a lining or other material. In other words, it is not the fabric itself that makes our garments waterproof. In addition to the coating on the inside, the garment has a water-repellent surface treatment on the outside. This finish is often referred to as DWR (Durable Water Repellency).
In order to ensure a garment is completely waterproof, all joins and seams are sealed using waterproof tape. Consequently, it is not the water-repellent finish that makes the garment waterproof, but rather the coating concealed inside the garment.
Galon®, however, does not require any water-repellent treatment, as the waterproof layer is on the outside. This makes Galon® an easy-care fabric and it is generally sufficient to simply wipe the garment over with a wet cloth when it gets dirty.
Impregnation & reimpregnation
A waterproof garment (not made of Galon®) from Didriksons is impregnated with a water-repellent treatment. This wears off after a while and the garment will need to be reimpregnated. How soon you need to do this depends on how wet the garment gets and how much wear and tear it has been exposed to. However, when raindrops no longer bead on the surface, that is a sign that reimpregnation is needed. Remember that moisture will not penetrate through to your body just because the outer fabric becomes wet. So why impregnate?
- It protects the jacket from getting wet and heavy
- It counteracts dirt getting into the fabric
- Spots and stains are easier to wipe off
You don’t need to apply new water-repellency treatment with every wash. Applying heat after the garment has been wet or has come out of the washing machine is often enough to reactivate the water-repellent impregnation; for example, by ironing it or giving it a few minutes in a drying cabinet or tumble dryer. If that is not enough, there are products that can be sprayed on or added to the washload. Be sure to use a type of impregnation that is free from fluorocarbons.
Galon® is a hardwearing and waterproof material that never needs any surface treatment and rarely needs washing, which makes it extremely sustainable.
The difference between Galon® and woven waterproof fabrics is that Galon® does not allow water molecules through in the form of vapour. If the vapour cannot get out, it forms condensation, and as a result you feel damp and then cold.
Galon® is primarily used for garments where the level of activity is likely to be lower. To allow Didriksons to still use Galon®, which has many fantastic characteristics, they have incorporated mechanical ventilation into several of our Galon garments. This means that the garments have openings to let the vapour out. Naturally, these openings are well concealed, under a rear yoke, for example, so that water does not find its way in.
Solution dyeing technique
In order to minimise the use of water in Didriksons production process, they have been using a technique known as “solution dyeing” for five years now for dyeing certain of our synthetic materials.
This process involves adding the colour pigment when producing the yarn. This means that you avoid the normal dyeing process, where you weave the fabric first using undyed yarn and then dye the fabric in a machine resembling a giant washing machine.
For the first time Didriksons are launching recyclable polyester clothing that is both wind and waterproof. If your garment bears our recycling symbol, then you know that it can be recycled down the line and turned into new material.
Didriksons have solely used polyester in the production of our recyclable garments and have verified, by means of laboratory studies, that all textile components, including our new polyester membrane, can be recycled. This means that all components of the garment (apart from zips and snap fasteners) can be broken down and recycled into new material.
PFC-free/PFAS-free water-repellent treatment
For Didriksons it is not only important to save water, but also to ensure that we are not discharging hazardous substances that may contaminate water and the environment. Our surface treatments to make our garments water-repellent are free from fluorocarbons/perfluorinated substances.
These substances have been a long-standing topic of discussion, since they are spread through air, water and food and can be carcinogenic and affect reproduction. Didriksons have been working to eliminate these substances, and all their surface treatments have been free from these substances since 2015.
Dry Level - The Dry Level communicates the water column of the waterproof fabric and is only used in fully seam sealed Storm System garments. The Dry Level number is expressed in meters of water pressure the fabric can resist.
Heat Level - The Heat Level stands for the garments ability to protect you against low temperatures. A high level number has a better ability to isolate the heat and keep your body warm than a low level number. What effects the level is the garments insulation volume, if it's waterproof and/or windproof and how much of your body the garment covers.
Breathable Level - The Breathable Level is achieved using waterproof and breathable fabrics. If a garment is using waterproof and breathable fabric but seams are not sealed, this will result in a higher level number than if it would have has sealed seams as air will be able to pass through.
The other factor is the ability of a waterproof fabric to allow moisture vapour to be transported from the inside of the fabric to the outside. The level number indicates how many kilograms that will pass through 1m2 during 24 hours. The breathability can be measured in many different testing methods, Didriksons use the one called ASTM E-96 BW Standard.
It's important to look at the garments function level when you are looking for a garment to be used when you are active as ventilation's etc help you to keep a good micro-climate inside your protective shell.