Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How to Wash and Care for Your Gear: Baselayers

I know what it is like to spend lots of money on outdoor gear and clothing and not have it hold up to the elements. One thing I've discovered through lots of trial and error is that it is really important how you care for your outdoor gear. While you may love your wicking baselayers, softshell jacket, and waterproof hardshell so much that it is hard to give them a wash--- it is one of the most important things you can do to protect your gear.

All the activity you do while wearing your gear clogs up membranes that are critical for waterproofing and breathability of the gear. By washing and caring for your gear appropriately you will get better performance. Here is some general tips and products that help me keep my gear in top shape:

(NOTE-- Carefully read your clothing and gears labels and follow them carefully. If you have questions or are unsure of how to appropriately care for an item contact the manufacturer/retail store directly.)

For Baselayers (wicking shirts, running tights, hiking pants and shorts--mainly synthetic material)

How often should you wash your baselayers and other technical gear? Depends on how often you use them. I like to wash my baselayers everytime or everyother time I use them. I find that regularly washing these items prevents stinky smells.

  • I typically wash mine in cold water (check your clothing label and follow it exactly)
  • Wash like items together
  • Don't place your base layers in with items that contain velcro or clips. One of the most common ways my wicking shirts get ruined is from snags, many of which are from other pieces of gear.
  • I was recently sent BaseFresh by Nikwax to try and find it to be a great addition to my cleaning gear. You know when you can't get that stink out of your favorite running shirt or wicking layer? This stuff's a charmer and seems to deodorize the stinkiest of gear. Recently after a drenching winter hike where we sweated through several layers of gear, froze it, and then resweated in it-- we tried this product. I'm please to say I can finally get the smell out of both my outdoor gear and my gym gear.
  • I always hang dry all my synthetic items. If you read the label on your item it may say dry on low, but personally I find that my gear lasts longer and looks better if I hang dry items. I have a large rack to hang dry things or I hang things over chairs and available items.

Check back for upcoming features:

How to Wash and Care for Your Gear: Midlayers
How to Wash and Care for Your Gear: Outerlayers

Disclaimer: Product Reviews and How to's are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. I have purchased way too many bottles of Techwash and TX.Direct Spray On than I care to recall. I was sent BaseFresh recently to try.

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