Looking after your PFC-free Macpac gear

3 mins

Have you noticed a ‘PFC-free WR finish’ tag on your Macpac gear? Let us fill you in on what this tag means and why it’s important.  

PFC - What is it?

First up, let’s talk about PFC and what it is. PFC stands for ‘perfluorinated compound’ which is a group of chemicals known for their water and oil-repellent properties. PFCs are commonly used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Due to these properties, they are prevalent in the outdoor industry for use in durable water repellent (DWR) and water repellent (WR) finishes. You will often see these finishes in waterproof gear. 

Water repellent finishes work by reducing the surface tension of outer fabrics (face fabrics) encouraging water to bead up and roll off their surface, preventing that water from soaking in. Water repellency works in conjunction with a rainwear’s waterproof membrane, to help protect the wearer from the elements.  

Today, the outdoor industry is in the process of transitioning to using non-fluorinated finishes on gear. This is due to mounting evidence that these substances can be toxic and are persistent in the environment.

This season you will notice ‘PFC-free WR finish’ tags on select styles. These tags will help you identify which products have transitioned to a PFC-free WR finish and will guide you in how to best care for these products.

Product care: Looking after your Macpac gear with a PFC-free finish. 

Care and maintenance will play an integral role in the continued performance of PFC-free finished products. Over time, abrasion, and the build-up of dirt, sweat, and other contaminants can impact the effectiveness of your waterproof garment’s finish and the breathability of the fabric.  

When water repellent finishes are working, they prevent water from entering the outer surface (face fabric), while allowing for moisture vapour (sweat) to escape. Abrasion and contaminants will degrade the finish and the face fabric will begin to soak up water. Known as ‘wetting out’, this reduces the garment's breathability by blocking body moisture from escaping through the fabric.

Water repellent finishes work at their best when they’re clean so regularly washing waterproof clothing will remove everyday contaminants and restore the finish. Periodically, reapplying a water repellent finish is also required, as these treatments aren’t permanent and will wear off over time.

It’s also important to note that PFC-free WR finishes wear at a faster rate than their predecessors. Therefore, any products using these finishes may require maintenance sooner than previously. We highly recommend using specialised ‘PFC-free’ cleaning and waterproofing products from Nikwax and Grangers to maintain optimal performance. Please follow the care instructions printed on the label of your garment, and for more information refer to the Product Care page on our website.

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