It’s always a sensible idea to look after your ourdoor gear and clothing. Whether a baselayer, pair of boots, or a tent – looking after your equipment properly will allow you to enjoy your time outdoors with it for longer. The historical problem with a number of cleaning, proofing and other DWR treatments is their impact on the environment, largely from PFC content. Always having had a PFC free choice in the range; Storm products are heavily focused on minimal impact on the environment, not least of all because of its heavier concentration which means less is needed per wash. This of course leads to less water used, less packaging needed and so less transport cost etc. With that in mind, are Storm products as effective as they are respectful to the environment? http://www.stormcare.co.uk/
To keep things simple, Storm have a Base & Mid layer wash that is suitable for all fabrics. In all honesty, its a welcome statment which prevents the need for seperating out your washing (which is, of course, a boring chore) and means that you can wash more garments at the same time. Again, this lowers the number of times that you would need to use the washing machine which in turn saves water and energy. Only 75ml is needed per cycle too (about 2 garments), which is 125mls less than the other two brands that I would otherwise use. If your outdoor clothing is used frequently, it is worth paying attention to the fact that you could potentially wash twice as many garments across three cycles with less cleaning fluid against alternative brands. This product also allows you to set the washing machine to 30 degrees, which may cast some doubt as to how clean your outdoor clothes may be once the cycle has finished. Possible doubts can be rescinded though as, even at 30 degrees – the most heavily used baselayer t-shirts were still left feeling almost new. Perhaps the biggest statement made here, is that the cleaner will improve wicking. It would be relatively hard for the average user to test this notion, and I certainly didn’t see an overwhelming difference but having washed some older clothing on the off chance; these items did feel slightly revived.
Continuing with the environmentally friendly approach to their products, Storm also have ‘Value’ packs containing both cleaning and proofing products. Each bottle contains four wash cycles, and Storm do recommend using both products in the same cycle with the cleaner in the detergent section and proofer in the softener section of the drawer. Again – less wash cycles needed to achieve the same result. Using “2-in-1” products previously led to less effective treatment, usually in the proofing element. Whilst the weather isn’t currently favorable to testing proofer, in the adverse weather experienced thus far after washing and proofing with Storm; there doesn’t seem to be anything lacking. Both these products are recommended to be used on a 30 degree wash, and the proofer is highlighted as being PFC free. One element of Storm’s Proofer is that it is a heat-cure product in that, passing the clothing through a tumble drier after washing should improve the durability of the treatment. It is cited on the Storm website, that this product is the same technology used by manufacturers. It will certainly be interesting to see if this proofer stands the test of time against rucksack straps and hipbelts.
Storm also have a line of footwear cleaner and proofer. After heavy use across peat bogs on Kinder Scout, it was put to the test. It can be said that Storm’s footwear care products are easy to use, with a spray container as opposed to one with a brush applicator. For the most part, when using a footwear cleaner that has a brush applicator; after first use the brush becomes worn and useless. These types of container aren’t the easiest to use to apply the cleaner, either. As simple as it sounds, all that is necessary with Storm cleaner is to spray the required amount across the footwear, work in with a cloth or sponge and then rinse. One thing that I had noticed is that this cleaning product does not lather as much as others, which instantly made me feel as though it might not be as effective. To my suprise, the stitching lines were left cleaner than usual as Storm Footwear cleaner seemed to penetrate a little more easily. I have yet to get out in the rain or any deeper streams since reproofing, so the quality of the footwear reproofer remains to be seen.
So, cleaning and proofing products with a couple of subtle differences but all the necessary qualities that make Storm products worth reaching for. Impact on the environment is lessened by the products’ concentration – leading to fewer cycles needed, the PFOS and PFOA free formulation of all products, and the PFC free formulation of Storm Eco Proofer. The products above have certainly performed well initially, but long term use will really test just how solid Storm’s claims over cleaning power/fewer cycles, and the durability of Proofing treatment.