Biker Boy: Light, breathable barriers against rain
Waterproofing sprays are an affordable solution to protect your riding jacket
Fed up with your old riding jacket that seems to have lost its waterproof qualities?
If you have been drenched by the rain while on the road this week, chances are the waterproof membrane in your jacket has worn out.
But before you bin it, there is a cheap solution that could save it - and save you a tidy sum.
Enter the waterproofing spray or fabric protector.
This magic-in-a-can forms a waterproof barrier against the rain while at the same time allows air to flow into your jacket.
Brands such as SDoc100, Scotchgard 3M or NeverWet NEO come in 300 to 325ml cans/bottles and are available at selected motorcycle workshops and department stores.
The SDoc100 costs around $25 while the NeverWet NEO, which is made in the US but comes with Japanese instructions, costs more than $40.
Aside from textile-type riding jackets, these sprays claim to work on leather shoes, gloves and jackets too.
I treated a two-year-old Alpinestars riding jacket, which is designed with zips and mesh panels, and a 20-year-old denim vest with the SDoc100 reproofing spray.
I began spraying the solution from about 20cm away in a well-ventilated area.
The jacket's surface turned dark initially due to the spray's wetness, but it regained its original colour after 10 minutes.
Both items were then "cured" in direct sunlight until their surfaces dried. There was a slight odour initially, but it disappeared after curing.
About 30 minutes later, I gave the jacket and vest a continuous blast of water from a shower head for five minutes.
Upon contact with the jacket surface, the water from the shower head began to bead and bounce off onto the floor.
It was the same story for the denim vest, where only the left side was treated with the waterproofing spray.
The right side of the vest was drenched while the left was bone dry.
I learnt some important things from my mini field test.
If there are small tears or ventilation perforations on the jacket surface, these waterproofing sprays will not be effective.
More attention should be given to areas with zips and seams as these sections easily allow water to penetrate your jacket, so spray liberally around there.
While there are other solutions to staying dry like buying an expensive Gore-Tex jacket or installing a waterproof liner inside your jacket, these will cause you to sweat more in our humid climate.
Waterproofing sprays, on the other hand, form a light, breathable barrier against the rain which should give you enough time to find shelter and wait out the storm.