We all know the old saying: “cotton is rotten.” And to a certain degree, it’s true. While it’s a perfectly fine material for a T-shirt or a hoodie, cotton may be the single worst fabric you can wear in any potentially wet outdoor situation.  Any moisture tends to rob even the thickest cotton garment of its warmth, and good luck getting it to dry in anything less than a few hours.

The Denim Diehard. Photo by John Johnston
The Denim Diehard. Photo by John Johnston

Yet, every day on the ski hill you will see folks who, despite all of the arguments to the contrary, brave the elements in all sorts of cotton. There are many reasons, from style to economy to pure toughness, that folks still choose to rock cotton out in the elements. In fact, it’s a good bet that someone you know falls into one of the following categories:

The XXXXXXXL Steezball: This cotton lover is a product of modern trends in freeskiing fashion more than anything else. Taking the baggy, colorful “skittle-thug” look to its logical extreme, these stylish park-rats can be seen hucking cork-9s and backside lipslides off booters, rails, and boxes decked out in neon-colored XXXL hoodies or T-shirts from the big-and-tall section of the thrift store. For a further breakdown of the XXXXXXXL Steezball’s clothing and habits, check out this helpful infographic.

The Denim Diehard: The Denim Diehard believes in tradition. They’ve been rocking jeans and a sweater (or, if they’re a child of the ‘90s, a starter jacket) since they first strapped on skis, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The Spring Skiing Joker. Photo by Frank Kovalchek
The Spring Skiing Joker. Photo by Frank Kovalchek

The Workhorse: Carhartt Jacket. Dickies pants. Work gloves. Safety glasses. If it’s good enough for the construction site, it’s good enough for the ski hill.

The Spring Skiing Joker: This dude is a fair weather cotton type. Come late spring, with the snow melting into a slushy mess and the silliness factor on the hill rising, he’ll don wacky, not nearly waterproof getups. It can be a whole lot of fun, but it’s a dangerous game, seeing as the spring conditions can be as wet as they come.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, Nikwax has a great solution to keep your garment warm and dry, even while being battered by the elements. Nikwax Cotton Proof wash-in waterproofing adds water repellency to all cotton and polycotton garments while maintaining breathability. It’s the perfect solution to keep your style factor high AND dry, even if you’re rocking an XXXL hoodie on a wet, snowy day.

3 thoughts on “Waterproof your Cotton Tees”

  1. I am a fireman and wear a cotton pullover we call a jobshirt for most chilly/cold days. I would like to see if nikwax cotton treatment would work on these. Anyone have experience or an opinion?

    1. Hi b simpson,

      We have found that Cotton Proof works very well on all types of cotton items. Clean first with Tech Wash, as regular detergents can leave behind residues that attract water. Then, use Cotton Proof in a second cycle in your washing machine. You can either let the pullover air dry, or tumble dry. We recommend letting the pullover sit for a day or two before you take it out in the rain, as the Cotton Proof actually gets better with a little rest time! Let us know how it works for you!

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