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The single easiest way to make your outdoor clothing last longer and perform better is to keep it clean. Most people do not wash their gear frequently enough. Years of accumulated grime conspires to eat away at your fabrics and zippers not unlike pouring sand into your truck's gas tank. We're not suggesting that you wash your clothes after every outing–over washing can beat up your clothes too–but 1-2 times per year for shells, and 2-3 times per year for fleece, is not excessive. We recommend going to the laundromat and using a much superior, horizontal axis washing machine (if you don't have one at home), they are higher capacity and gentler, use less electricity, water and detergent, and do a better job of cleaning!

Zip your zippers about 3/4 closed before subjecting them to the washing machine agitator or dryer tumbler. Most zipper failures are caused by the slider getting beaten up during use and while washing. By zipping the garment most of the way closed, you still allow sufficient water penetration for proper cleaning, but prevent the slider from being thrown about.

Carefully follow the care instructions sewn into each garment (We often include labels that simply say "drip dry." This is not because they cannot be machine dried, it's simply because there's not enough room to include this entire paragraph!). Use either liquid or powder detergent, but do not use any more than absolutely necessary; it is a common mistake to believe that if some is good, more must be better. Dryers from different manufacturers and different ages are notoriously unreliable when it comes to temperature settings. One unit's "cool" is another unit's "cook." Monitor your model's performance carefully by opening it up and feeling the garment itself. Synthetic fabrics dry very rapidly; leaving them on overdrive may cause them to melt! Once you know your machine, you can probably gauge what setting and length of time work best, but remember that it will vary with the size of the load you are drying. If unsure, use the tumble dry, lowest heat setting possible, and monitor the clothes with your hands as they dry. It never hurts to pull them out a little early and hang them up.


The unique SEQUEL Solar System is designed to endure the rigors of years of outdoor activity, but hats tend to take a particularly abusive beating. Worn constantly, hats will get dirtier faster than many other articles of clothing, due to the head's incessant production of sweat to cool the brain. Sweat includes a lot of salt, as well as water, and mixes with dust in the air to form a grime that is best washed out on a regular basis. Too, hats get handled often, and dirty hands make for dirty hats.

The Desert Rhat cap, River Rhat cap, Desert Cap, and Desert Shield should all be hand washed with warm water, Ivory soap, and a sponge. Do not use detergent (We have seen some detergents literally eat away the foil lining sewn into the hat's crown). Using plain Ivory soap will keep your foil shining brightly for many years. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Drip dry. Though the brims are made of polyethylene (with the exception of the Desert Shield), you may want to rubber-band it to a coffee-can to retain its shape while it dries.

The Desert Rhat and River Rhat capes, along with their optional Mojave and Sahara capes, can be detached from the caps. The Velcro strips are neatly reversed, so that you can attach the loop to the pile before tossing them into your washing machine, and having them stick to everything else. Wash the capes in warm water. Tumble dry low heat. And consider purchasing a spare for long trips; you will appreciate having a clean back up, especially if you lose one when it's 100 degrees in the shade.


Gore-Tex was the first–and is still the most–durably waterproof, breathable and windproof fabric on the market. Gore-Tex outerwear is easy to care for. Machine wash in warm water. Do not bleach. Tumble dry warm. If professionally dry cleaned, request clear distilled solvent and spray repellent.

There are many misunderstandings about Gore-Tex fabrics that deserve special attention. Some people believe it "hurts" the fabric to wash it–that it won't breathe as well or won't be as waterproof, if they do–so they let it grow filthy to "preserve their investment." Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, keeping your Gore-Tex shell clean is one of the best things you can do to extend its life (without overdoing it, of course). We strongly recommend the use of Tech Wash from Nikwax. One bottle, poured directly into your washing machine, will properly wash 2-3 Gore-Tex garments at once and leave no residue or perfumes on the fabric after rinsing.

Another misconception revolves around the concept of "waterproofness." After a year or more of use, your Gore-Tex shell won't "bead up" like it used to. When it rains hard the water will tend to "sheet" across the fabric instead of "bouncing off" of it, like it did when it was new. The reason for this is that the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish applied to the fabric at the mill has worn down, not unlike your car when it's in need of a new coat of wax. The garment is still waterproof, as is your car, but the water behaves differently when interacting with the fabric. Cold water, sheeting across the exterior, diminishes the fabric's breathability and causes the interior to feel colder and clammier, sometimes leading to the perception that the fabric is "leaking," though it is not.

To restore the factory-applied DWR, you need only wash the garment and dry it according to the instructions on the label. The heat from the dryer will, like magic, boost the DWR nearly back to its original level. For a few wash/dry cycles this works wonders, but then you will need to apply a new DWR treatment. This minor bit of routine maintenance is no different than what your automobile requires–a fresh coat of wax–and will extend the functionality and comfort of your investment for years. We recommend Nikwax's TX Direct for this job, as it has proven itself to last far longer than other brands. The liquid, applied in the rinse cycle, is the most thorough (but not recommended for the Storm King Parka due to its hydrophillic lining), but the spray works well in between trips, especially on the shoulders and elbows.

What do tree skiing, ice climbing, nasty dogs, and crackling campfires all have in common? They can put holes in your waterproof shell gear. We suggest three levels of repair, depending on the extent of the damage:


Polartec fabrics are recognized worldwide as the leading brand of high-performance fabrics, and the first choice of serious athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. There are different Polartec fabrics engineered for a wide variety of performance activities, each designed to provide optimum comfort and protection through climate control technology. Care remains the same, however, regardless of the type of Polartec used in each garment: Luke warm wash, tumble dry low. Do Not use bleach or water softeners. And do not iron or dry clean. We recommend applying Nikwax Polarproof from time to time to maintain the fabric's DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish.

Sequel Polartec Mayanwear must be treated somewhat more gently, to preserve the exquisite, hand-dyed collar trim. We recommend hand or machine washing–gentle cycle–in cold water. Drip dry. All other instructions for Polartec remain the same.


SEQUEL outdoor clothing • PO Box 409 • Durango, Colorado 81302-0409 • USA