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Can You Waterproof a Down Jacket?

Girl in a blue down jacket winter view from the back.

You can waterproof a down jacket. However, it won’t provide the same level of waterproofing that one made with a GoreTex or Pertex membrane does. Water-resistant more accurately describes what occurs when you treat a down jacket with a product like Granger’s Performance Repel or Granger’s Xtreme Repel.

What is a waterproof down jacket?

Gray down jacket isolated on white background.

The term jacket refers to a long-sleeved garment worn over other clothing, such as a shirt and pants or a dress. It covers the shoulders, arms, and torso. Its collar may also cover the neck.

A jacket, or overcoat, made of down refers to a coat that uses chicken, goose, or duck feathers for its fill. These feathers provide the jacket’s first measure of water resistance since ducks and geese naturally dry quickly when wet. The nature and composition of their feathers also provide significant warmth.

The outer layer of the jacket typically uses Pertex or GoreTex to provide the waterproofing for the outer layer of the jacket and the liner that forms the interior of the jacket. Combining the outer material that beads water and resists it, and the inner layer of feathers provides a jacket that keeps an individual warm and dry during a rain or snowstorm.

Waterproofing a Jacket Containing Down Feathers

Young woman in in blue down jacket warming hands and standing.

Not all jackets using these duck and goose materials also use an outer layer of waterproof material. Some jackets with these fillers use cotton, nylon, silk, polyester, or corduroy as the outer layer. In these cases, the manufacturer may treat the jacket with a spray-on substance to provide a measure of water resistance.

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If they have not already done that, then you can add the spray-on layer at home.

Steps for Waterproofing Your Jacket

The process used to add this water-resistant layer to your down jacket proves simple. It takes just seven steps:

1. Choose and purchase your spray-on treatment. Most outdoor sports stores carry a number of products for this purpose. Keep reading to find out the list of the top choices for these sprays.

2. Clean your down jacket according to the directions noted on the jacket’s tags. For some jackets, this means dry cleaning. For others, it means machine washing on a gentle setting, then drying the jacket in a dryer set to low heat.

If you dry it in a dryer, add either a couple of tennis balls or a pair of clean Keds-styled canvas sneakers. The balls or shoes help to reshape the wet feathers, so the down material distributes evenly, and the jacket retains its shape.

3. Lay the down jacket onto a flat surface, spreading it out completely. Ensure that all parts lie flat on the table or floor.

4. Holding the spray bottle or can about six inches from the jacket, spray it evenly using the spray-on treatment. You can start with the front or the back of the jacket, but you’ll need to treat one side at a time, letting it dry before treating the other side.

5. Let your jacket dry naturally in place. This may take some time. Each product dries at a different rate, so you’ll need to check your spray’s package instructions.

6. Flip your jacket over once it has dried completely. Treat the reverse side and let it dry. (You’re just repeating steps three (3) through five (5).

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7. Check the seams of the jacket to ensure they also received the spray. If you find any areas that seem untreated, do a spot treatment of the area and let the coat dry before wearing it.

A Relatively Comprehensive List of Waterproofing Sprays

You’ll find a plethora of waterproofing sprays on the market. Instead of using your expensive jacket as a testing ground for various sprays, treat your jacket with a dependable spray. Choose from one of the following for the best results:

  • Nikwax Spray-On Waterproofing,
  • Star Brite Waterproofing Spray,
  • Granger’s Performance Repel Plus,
  • Granger’s Xtreme Repel,
  • Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent,
  • Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector,
  • Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Water Protectant No. 3,
  • Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof,
  • Kiwi Boot Waterproofer,
  • Bickmore Gard-More Water and Stain Repellent,
  • Sof Sole Silicone Waterproofer.

Some of these products lend themselves to certain types of projects. For instance, Sof Sole Silicone Waterproofer works best on tents. The Scotchgard product only works on suede and nubuck.

What is the easiest way to obtain a waterproof jacket?

Stylish and daring young girl in a silver down jacket.

If you don’t yet have a jacket, buying a down jacket can prove the quickest method of getting a waterproof piece of outerwear. You’ll pay a little more for a jacket with this natural stuffing and an outer layer of GoreTex or Pertex, but you also won’t have to spend the time it would take to waterproof it yourself. If you already own a perfectly good jacket and don’t require a replacement, you can more easily spray a down jacket you do own with waterproofing spray.

This costs you only the price of the spray.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Perhaps we have yet to address your burning question about waterproof down jackets. Hey, we understand. Winter outerwear can cost a lot and you want to get the most out of that investment.

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Read on to find out the most common questions.

By what other names might a store or designer offer a down jacket?

You might find a waterproof down jacket going by aliases and some of them don’t use the word down or feather in them. Some of the other names for this type of outwear include down parka, down winter coat, safety rain jacket with down, down hybrid jacket, Zeus jacket, puffer jacket, waterproof down raincoat, ski jacket, dolman, anorak or down anorak.

What special features do these jackets offer?

Winter down jackets on display.

Some of these jackets may mention specific features such as a hood or breakaway liner. Some of the hooded jackets contain removable hoods. Those designed for hiking and camping might include breakaway sleeves.

Some designers use traceable, recyclable, or responsibly sourced feathers for their jackets.

What is a waterproof dog coat?

Dog wearing a winter coat.

Don’t worry; this isn’t a new down alternative. Some designers make coats for animals. A waterproof dog coat refers to a coat made to fit a canine that keeps the dog dry in wet conditions.

You can also find these items for cats and miniature horses. While it might sound facetious at first, the clothing designers made the original designs of these for service animals, such as seeing-eye dogs, also called sight dogs. Miniature horses, felines, and canines work in positions such as service animals, emotional support animals, or recovery animals.

This type of waterproof pet wear provides them warmth and dryness while they work hard to take care of their human. These designs provide both fun fashion and a humane way to care for the service animal.