Nikwax Polar Proof is a really useful coating for fleece kit that not only freshens up older garments but adds or replenishes a useful degree of water repellency.
At this time of year, as the weather has turned and the mercury has plummeted, fleece becomes your best friend. An even better friend if it can keep the rain off as well as the cold out...
Polar Proof adds or reapplies waterproofing to fleece garments while maintaining insulation and breathability. It's water based and doesn't use PFC, so it's pretty environmentally friendly too.
Using it is really simple: you just add it in as you would any regular laundry detergent. You need to make sure there is no excess detergent in the drawer, so take it out and give it a quick rinse, then add one capful for a single item, or two caps for two or three items, then run it/them through the recommended wash cycle on the label.
I tried it on a fleece that had a little waterproofing, but not a huge amount. After first washing it with Nikwax Tech Wash and then the Polar Proof, the difference was immediate: what would normally come out of the washing machine pretty damp was essentially dry, and completely wearable within 10 minutes.
The waterproofing is impressive – water beads off the fleece, none of it soaking in even when I've held it under a running tap. It makes fleece look almost new, and though I don't have access to the road.cc labs to do a scientific analysis of before and after, I have noticed an improvement in both insulation and breathability.
At £6 a bottle, giving about six washes of a single fleece, or three washes of two or three garments, it works out at about 65p-£1 per garment – which is a pretty good price compared with buying a new one.
I'm impressed. Polar Proof does what it promises, completely reinvigorating fleece to 'as new' standard and giving it water repellency. And it's environmentally friendly to boot.
A great product that reinvigorates and adds water repellency to fleece garments
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Nikwax Polar Proof
Size tested: 300ml
Tell us what the product is for
It's for reinvigorating fleece garments, adding water repellency while maintaining breathability and insulation.
Nikwax says: "Adds Durable Water Repellency; reducing weight gain and maintaining breathability and insulation of fleece in wet weather."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
For best results always clean item(s) first with Nikwax Tech Wash® in a separate wash cycle. No need to dry item(s) before waterproofing. Shake well before use. Follow care label instructions.
Remove all detergent build-up from the detergent dispenser.
Place clean items(s) in washing machine (maximum 3 items).
Use 50ml for 1 item and 100ml for 2-3 items.
Wash according to care label.
Drip-dry or tumble dry on a low setting if care label allows.
To maintain waterproofing always wash with Nikwax Tech Wash®. Do not use detergents.
Excellent performance: not only added water repellency, but made a slightly worn fleece look practically new.
In the review period I can't test how long this treatment is likely to stay on, but you get six washes per bottle...
Excellent value if the alternative is buying a new fleece.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: does exactly what it's meant to – adds water repellency and reinvigorates old fleece products.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The water repellency is excellent; I think the fleece I tested it on might now be more waterproof than when I first got it.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing much to not like.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great product that gives new life to old fleece, helps them fend off the weather, and all while being environmentally friendly.
About the tester
I usually ride: Mercian King of Mercia or Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.