When you’re trekking, climbing, biking, or just adventuring, you want to protect both yourself and your hard-earned outdoor equipment, whether it’s your shoes, jackets, tents, bags, or anything else.
Exploring the backcountry means having to deal with rainy weather from time to time – there’s no doubt about that. What can an outdoor enthusiast do to protect his valuable hiking apparel from getting soaked?
Buy a water repellent spray, of course! These simple but extremely useful and convenient products can prevent the fabric from absorbing water and becoming soaked, wet, and bulky.
What is more, water repellent sprays can also add a protective layer to all kinds of materials, making them stain-resistant and dry. But how does one find the best product of this type for his needs?
One thing is certain – consumers are spoilt for choice due to a huge number of different types of water repellent sprays available on today’s market.
Whether you’re looking for a spray you’ll be using on your shoes, jacket, or any other kind of outdoor equipment, have a look at my short but comprehensive and informative reviews of the best water repellent sprays you can get for your money:
Sof Sole Silicone Waterproofer Spray
- Can be used on both shoes & outdoor gear
- Stops leakages on surfaces like tents & umbrellas
- Very effective – no need for multiple coats
- Can’t be applied to Gore-Tex fabrics
This is one of the most durable water repellent sprays on the list. Besides being a perfect choice for sleeping bags and other kinds of camping gear, the Sof Sole Silicone Waterproofer can also keep your suede shoes and trekking boots dry and stain-resistant.
For the best results, make sure to follow the instructions written on the canister and always let the items fully dry before using them.
A single application should be more than enough – as I’ve said, Sof Sole Silicone Waterproofer is quite effective and protects the fabric for a couple of months after the application.
Kiwi Heavy-Duty Camp Dry Spray
- Very versatile – works with different kinds of fabrics
- Exceptionally effective against heavy rains
- Very easy to apply
- A somewhat strong chemical odor
This particular water repellent spray is a good choice for all those who want to protect their outdoor gear from getting soaked.
The Kiwi Heavy-Duty Camp Dry has a unique formula that creates a water barrier by reacting with materials such as leather. However, it also allows these materials to breathe through the layer it protects them with.
The spray works particularly well with porous fabrics, like the ones you’ll find on most t-shirts.
You can apply it on all sorts of equipment if you’re planning to head into the backcountry, whether it’s a simple hike just outside the city or an epic motorcycle ride during a rainy week. Most users praise the spray’s versatility – it works wonders with a plethora of different surfaces.
Grangers Performance Repel Plus Spray
- Can be used with eVent & Gore-Tex fabrics
- Provides complete outdoor protection
- Eco-friendly & fluorocarbon-free
- Needs to be applied in large amounts
Just like the Kiwi spray, this particular product works extremely well on a variety of different materials. In fact, it can be used on sensitive eVent and Gore-Tex fabrics as well.
One thing that makes it extremely popular with outdoor enthusiasts is that it’s Bluesign-certified (and therefore eco-friendly) as well as recommended by renowned brands like Burton, Patagonia, the North Face, and others.
For the best results, make sure to apply the Grangers Performance Repel Plus to damp garments. And after you’ve applied the spray, take a dryer and dry your garment off.
The heat coming from the dryer will activate the molecules that are present in the spray and make it even more effective.
Better Boat Fabric Protector Waterproofing Spray
- Effective for outdoor & indoor fabric
- Outstanding marine waterproofer
- Does not change the fabric’s color
- Flimsy packaging (potential leaking issues)
Like all other products I’ve analyzed in this article, this spray also works by adding a protective barrier to the surfaces it’s applied to.
One particularly good thing about the Better Boat spray is that can be used for outdoor and indoor furniture as well. And, as its name suggests, it’s the perfect product for bimini tops and boat covers.
A lot of people who buy this spray use it for trekking shoes and other footwear, with overwhelmingly positive results.
A single coat of this spray can and will provide your shoes with protection against heavy downpours. To be doubly sure, however, you can always add a second coating.
Clout Guard Stain & Water Repellent Spray
- An exceptionally versatile water repellent spray
- A water-based, silicone-free solution
- Restores the original shine
- Leaky nozzle
There’s a lot to like about this water repellent spray – not only does it protect hiking footwear from water, oil, salt, dirt, and stains, but it also maximizes breathability and can be used with polyester, canvas, nylon, nubuck, leather, and suede. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
A word of caution, though: before using this spray, check the colorfastness of your hiking shoes by using the product only on the small area of your footwear.
Keep a distance while applying the spray and make sure to dry out the shoes before wearing them.
Scotchguard Fabric Water Shield Spray
- Safe for silk, wool, and other delicate fabrics
- Works well with jackets & shoes
- Very efficient in stain removal
- Emits a strong odor
This particular water repellent spray is one of the most popular products of its type, and for a very good reason.
While it’s true that it can be safely used only on dry-clean-only fabrics, it requires a simple 1-step application process and works extremely well with all kinds of clothes, including jackets.
One particularly interesting thing about this product is that it works wonderfully with older clothes, as it is capable of completely restoring their old look.
It is perfect for outdoor clothing as it repels liquids and blocks stains at the same time.
Star Brite Stain Repellent Waterproofing Spray
- Ideal for boots, jackets, backpacks, patio furniture, and boat covers
- This spray does not alter the color of the fabric
- Ensures longevity of the material
- Not compatible with PUL and other economy fabrics
One of the best features of this water repellent spray is that it also protects the fabric from UV rays.
As you can already guess, this is great for new fabrics, as it can significantly increase their lifespan. One gallon of the Star Brite spray can cover more than 450 square feet of fabric in total.
Like most of the other sprays on my list, this one is also compatible with a variety of outdoor fabrics, including acrylic, nylon, polyester, canvas, and cotton.
Furthermore, Star Brite spray causes no irritation of the skin and is completely odorless. Its only disadvantage is that it’s not compatible with some economy fabrics.
303 Fabric Guard Moisture-Repelling Spray
- Recommended by fabric manufacturers
- Works with a large variety of materials
- Adds an odorless coating
- Lower coverage per square foot
One of the best products of this type available on the market, this water repellent spray works wonders with a variety of fabric types.
It’s one of the very few sprays recommended by well-known fabric manufacturers such as Sunbrella and for a couple of good reasons.
The 303 Fabric Guard Moisture-Repelling Spray protects against water, oil, and stains without changing the fabric’s breathability or its color.
It is perfect for materials such as umbrellas, cushions, suede, upholstery, and canvas, as well as many other outdoor fabrics.
Nikwax Waterproofing Cotton Wax Spray
- Maintains the fabric’s breathability
- Restores water repellency
- Non-flammable & water-based
- A very strong odor
This spray’s job is to keep your gear dry while maintaining its breathability. However, it can also help you clean your equipment – remember that fabrics typically absorb more water when they’re dirty.
By helping you effectively clean your gear, the product also protects it from moisture. This Nikwax spray is entirely water-based and non-flammable.
Furthermore, it contains no fluorocarbons, VOCs, or POCs, and it is capable of restoring the durable water repellency (DWR) of outdoor apparel. It’s one of the most popular products of this type on today’s market.
Rust-Oleum H20 Shield Boot and Shoe Spray
- One application lasts for 6 months
- Works with most shoe materials
- A silicone-free water repellent spray
- Takes some time to dry
The superhydrophobic coating of the Rust-Oleum spray creates a water barrier that can and will keep your shoes dry and increase their lifespan.
It is suitable for nubuck, canvas, suede, and leather, and it doesn’t alter the look of the footwear in any way.
This silicone-free water repellent spray is extremely easy to apply and looks crystal clear.
Once applied, it will protect your trekking shoes or boots from stains, mud, and dirt. It works wonderfully with tennis and sports shoes as well.
Atsko Silicone Water-Guard Spray
- Suitable for clothes, footwear, and outdoor equipment
- Successfully restores factory waterproofing
- Very affordable
- Leaves a very strong smell
Next up is the Silicone Water-Guard Spray made by Atsko, a product that works very well with both clothes and shoes.
While it’s true that this spray leaves a very strong odor once it’s applied, the smell disappears completely after about 72 hours, so there’s nothing to worry about.
The manufacturer advertises this product as a spray capable of restoring factory waterproofing, and that’s exactly what it does.
Sof Sole Jackets, Boots, and Shoes Waterproofer Spray
- Works with clothes, footwear, and outdoor gear
- Creates a breathable layer
- Unsuitable for sensitive fabrics
Here we have yet another product made by Sof Sole – a waterproofing spray that works with footwear, apparel, and all sorts of outdoor gear.
This particular spray effortlessly repels water, oil, and dirt, and is just as easy on the pocket as the Atsko spray that I’ve described above.
This Sof Sole spray is effective on most kinds of materials, including silk and other sensitive fabrics.
However, the manufacturer says that this spray should not be used on woolen scarves and jackets, as well as on fabrics such as patent leather or vinyl. Its easy-spray nozzle allows a thorough and quick application.
Mountval Textile Shield Waterproofer Spray
- Suitable for fabrics with Gore-Tex membranes
- A solvent-free, pleasant-smelling spray
- Restores old, worn-out clothes
- Users report issues with the nozzle
This hi-tech water repellent spray can be used for outdoor clothing as well as for outdoor trekking gear.
It restores the quality and breathability of old, worn-out garments, even though it comes at a genuinely affordable price. What is more, it maintains the thickness of the fabric and refreshes it thoroughly.
The Mountval Textile Shield Waterproofer Spray has a very pleasant smell and is solvent-free.
You’ll need only a small portion of it for each application, which means that the 300ml bottle is going to last you for quite some time. It works especially well with Gore-Tex.
Outdoor gear is not cheap, and neither are quality hiking jackets and shoes. Protecting them is crucial, particularly if you’re a keen backcountry explorer who spends a lot of time in the Great Outdoors no matter the weather.
Without adequate protection, your precious trekking apparel, footwear, and equipment are guaranteed to have a much shorter lifespan.
Waterproofing them with quality water repellent sprays, like the ones I’ve analyzed above, is bound to maintain their quality and ensure their longevity.
Hopefully, one of the products I’ve reviewed above is going to be a perfect choice for your needs and your budget.
I’ve had the privilege of hiking the Camino de Santiago twice, walking up Ben Nevis, and spending three weeks hiking in the Candian Rockies. I love the peace that comes from getting out of the cities I have lived in to enjoy hikes of all lengths in various countries.