Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Portaledge waterproofing

From an email exchange a while back.  Good info:

On May 4, 2010, at 11:07 AM, Hoffman, Dan F wrote:
My 5-season fly is pretty old (10+years) and I tested it in the backyard with a hose and it is no longer waterproof

(I think it was when I first got it but I can’t remember).  I found a reference to Nikwax Rainshield on you portaledge FAQ page but I don’t think they make it any more.  What is the best treatment for an old 5-season fly and how well do they work?
And while I am asking questions:  If I am on a route with a ton of fixed heads in a row (Mescalito, P.O Wall, etc) what is the best way to test them?  I don’t want to break them with my funkness.
Dan Hoffman

From: Fish Products [mailto:info@fishproducts.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 12:25 PM 
To: Hoffman, Dan F Subject: 
Re: dwr treatment for rainfly
Nikwax still makes products like that....  let me look for a link.....
or the TX Direct product would probably do it too.  Those products work pretty good.  If you have any areas that the coating has completely worn off due to wear, something like K-Kote is real good.  Let me look for a link......
Something like that ought to do it.
Fixed heads:  bounce test aggressively.  You can funk them too, but be real calibrated on your funks, ie: you need pretty big experience to gauge the funk
Hope this helps!

On May 4, 2010, at 12:02 PM, Hoffman, Dan F wrote:
Thanks Fish!
I’ll try the Nikwax tent stuff.
I don’t see any kind of coating on the inside or outside, which side should I apply the K-Kote?  Did 5-season fly’s used to be made without any waterproofing/coating?
Dan Hoffman

From: Fish Products [mailto:info@fishproducts.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 1:21 PM 
To: Hoffman, Dan F 
Subject: Re: dwr treatment for rainfly
the KKote is for the inside and is real thick like syrup.
The coating on flys is really two fold.  There is a urethane coating on the inside which is not really waterproof since it is pretty thin, but, there is also what they call a DWR coating on the outside. DWR is "durable water repellant" and this makes the water bead on the surface.  Between the two, they call the fabric "waterproof" but the standard they use for that term is not that great.  Standing water or high pressure water will still make its way through the fabric.  That is why you want a nice tight fly, to spill the water, and a bivy sack to keep you alive.  Like we say... the rainfly will not keep you dry, it only keeps water from directly beating on your head."
Depending on what year/materials were available our flys have had all sorts of "waterproof" fabric.  Some batches were better than others as far as coating since the industry does not take their claims very seriously.  We have always tried to get the best waterproofing we could and have rejected miles of fabric that was not up to spec.  Hopefully you can resurrect your fly with some after market coatings.  It has worked for me in the past, and the results should be pretty good.

Hoffman, Dan F wrote:
Yo Fish-
I tried the NikWax tent spray on my portaledge fly and it worked pretty well.  We were never poured on but it did rain for three nights and I stayed pretty dry.  Thanks for the recommendation.
Oh yeah – we were a party of 3 and my buddy brought his brand new Black Diamond double ledge- what a pain in the ass!  Not only did it weigh 35lbs (and cost over $1000.00 with fly-ouch!) it took them at least 45 minutes to set that thing up every night, even when they had a nice ledge to stand on while they set it up.  My Fish single would set up in 4 minutes and I’d be in bed eating chili while they flailed around in the dark!  Good entertainment!
Dan Hoffman

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