New Waterproofing Method Just Dropped


Taylor Ford

Sustainability 101

June 14, 2021

I have a raincoat, you probably have a raincoat, most people need a raincoat, regardless of where you live. But how do Fjallraven’s Eco-Shell jackets differ from any other type of jacket? How are they able to protect us from the elements? Let me tell you!

Most waterproof garments you see use something called fluorocarbons (PFCs) to give them that hydrophobic effect, which are basically just long carbon chains with fluorine bound to them. The bond between carbon and fluorine is so strong, it is able to repel water molecules (I won’t get too science-y on you guys don’t worry). Now, this may sound like just any old fun science fact, but fluorocarbons are actually extremely harmful chemical compounds that don’t break down in the environment. The carbon-fluorine bond is extremely strong, making the chemical so stable, it is able to slowly work its way up the food chain and biomagnify in organisms over time. They are powerful greenhouse gases that are 1000x more potent than carbon dioxide... YIKES!! Luckily, Fjallraven is working to eliminate fluorocarbons from the outdoor apparel industry completely.

Instead of using fluorocarbons to waterproof their Eco-Shell Jacket, Fjallraven uses fluorocarbon-free water repellent known as DWR. This allows the company to avoid the use of harmful fluorocarbons in the manufacturing process and therefore keeping them out of the environment. Now, this is the fun science fact I was looking for! 

Of course, there is a small downside to avoiding the use of fluorocarbons in waterproof garments. The waterproofing capabilities of this Fjallraven jacket diminish over time, usually within 3 to 6 months, but this is a small price to pay to protect the environment. And don’t worry, you don’t have to get a new jacket after all the DWR wears off (that wouldn’t be very sustainable), Fjallraven sells a fluorocarbon-free spray that can be used to re-waterproof garments right at home! 

This new and innovative way of waterproofing garments values sustainability over performance, and could be the key to sustainable outdoor apparel!

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