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Making wool coat water-resistant

I have a long wool coat that I would like to make water resistant. It's a wool/polyester/angora blend. I will attend a multi-day winter event and therefore will have to walk for several hours outdoors in snowy weather in an urban area.

I will bring my Eddie Bauer Girl-on-the-Go insulated parka with me as the main outerwear and use the wool coat as a backup.

Does anybody have any recommendations for a product to use? The only one I have found thus far is this UK spray:
https://youtu.be/oBsx_uRUXxs?si=da-TBtSwNrE9ULzd

It's a video made by the manufacturer and I have not seen an independent review of it. Ideally, the product should be non-toxic.

Thank you very much.

Posted by
6257 posts

Well, first of all, wool is naturally water resistant. It can repel up to a third of its own weight in moisture, without you feeling damp. Of course, that's 100% wool. It sounds like your wool coat is a wool/poly blend. Do you know the percentages?

If it's a high percentage of wool, I wouldn't put anything on it, as it could hurt the wool fabric. Plus, as I said above, you really don't need it with wool.

If it's a low percentage, then you could try spraying it with something, but if it was an expensive coat, I wouldn't do it. Too much risk of harm to the fabric.

Posted by
23223 posts

My first response is that your do not take back coats. Too much extra bulk and weigh that is either on or off. Building up with a series of layers clothing that together provide more warmth with less weight. Most spray on water proofing is more market than function. It may last ten minutes but you will get much water-proffing. You are wasting your time and money on a spray product.

Posted by
2311 posts

The Eddie Bauer jacket is waterproof I believe. I agree with Frank, focus on bringing layers for under that coat and don't bring an extra heavy long wool coat. If your EB jacket is loosing its waterproofness, there are products to clean and re-waterproof softshell coats, such as Nikwax, which I have used with much success.

Posted by
1388 posts

Thank you.

The wool coat indeed takes up a lot of space. I have not worn it for almost 20 years and am surprised that it still fits. I am going to Hokkaido, Japan to attend the Snow Festival. The weather is cold enough that ice and snow sculptures stay intact for days.

My concerns for the EB parka are: (1) it's only thigh-long, (2) the waterproofing may have worn off (but as mentioned, can be remedied), and (3) the arm holes are not big enough for me to layer much inside. I have spent a good amount of money on super warm base layers, mid layers, and winter boots that I don't have much budget left for a brand new coat. Besides, most of the longer coats are made of down, which I don't like. I also don't want to look like a Michelin tire person.

Posted by
4667 posts

Michelin tire people can be the warmest ones around.....I was such for my 2019 Xmas markets trip, and I was quite comfortable. I had an ankle-length down coat with a long rain poncho. The poncho kept my backpack dry when it rained.
In either case, enjoy and have a great trip. Safe travels!

Posted by
4366 posts

You can find very reasonable outerwear on Amazon and Temu, use and then donate if you don't love it

Posted by
635 posts

There are two ski resorts there, yes? I don't recall seeing many people wearing ankle-length coats while skiing at Tahoe, Mammoth, etc. Winter temps appear to be similar to those you would encounter skiing in Tahoe:

https://www.tripsavvy.com/weather-and-climate-of-hokkaido-5075161

Wind can be more of a factor than temperature in an Alpine climate. So maybe dress like a skier? A ski bib would keep your trunk and legs warm, then with the jacket, and a few appropriate layers underneath, you should be fine.

Posted by
1544 posts

Mardee is right about wool. I still wear an over 70 year old heavy, dense wool coat which belonged to my dear Welsh grandad. He brought it over when he moved to Canada in the fifties. Still good for our Ontario winters (if they still exist). The label inside says 'Burton Tailored', so I'm guessing Richard Burton made it for my grandad.

Posted by
1388 posts

Thank you again.

My rationale of bringing the wool coat is that I have it and may as well use it. Getting a new puffer coat is an option, but it takes up even more space in my luggage than the wool coat.

I guess this is every winter traveler's dilemma.

Posted by
32652 posts

the puffer may take space, but I bet it is lighter. And a waterproofing update will likely be better received by it than by the wool blend.

Don't you need the long coat for those steamy hot summers in San Francisco? Maybe not, after 20 years....

Posted by
5496 posts

I don’t think the waterproofing will be necessary unless you will be out in driving rain without an umbrella.

I lived in Sweden for 2 years and wore a knee-length wool coat almost everyday in the winter. I preferred it to a short coat as it kept my legs warm and dry when I was walking or standing on train platforms. It wasn’t waterproofed and snow didn’t make it wet.

Posted by
1219 posts

In my experience, puffers can squish into next-to-nothing in luggage. I travelled back from winter Vienna with a knee length puffer coat and a jacket stuffed into my Civita Day Pack - other things were in there, too. Having both really improved my travel experience, giving me choices based on each day's weather.

Posted by
1388 posts

Thank you again and again.

I finally bit the bullet and purchased a long waterproof coat made by Columbia from Sierra.com for $75. The reviews were very mixed: this coat does the job functionally (warm and waterproof), but looks terrible (imagine wearing a comforter). From the website photos, it does not look flattering at all.

However, I don't have a figure like a supermodel and I prioritize function over form. Also, beggars can't be choosers. None of the aesthetically pleasing yet functional, non-down coats cost below $350. I don't mind spending this amount at all if I live in a cold climate. However, after living in CA for over 20 years, I really have no practical use for a long coat.

If you have further suggestions, please keep them coming. Happy travels, everyone!