Although you don't need to heat-treat post applying Nikwax, if you do you will improve the durability of the DWR (ie. make it last longer)
If you use a regular washing machine to apply water-proofing treatments, make sure you do a service wash in it first (no contents/ no detergent/ maximum temperature/ 1/2 cup of white wine vinegar). Doing this to your machine every 25 washes will make the machine last longer & improve the effectiveness of your low temperature washing...
I am midway through a test on Bionic canvas, as well as a number of other different pack materials (including 24 yr old Aztec from Macpac). The initial conclusion (& I have been using a Martindale wear tester rubbing machine) is that these materials far exceed what you get from regular nylon. I work on the Performance Sportswear Design course at FU & the experiment is to try and get answers in a world where marketing tends to obscure the facts. None of the materials we are using are suffering that much - untreated nylon, then treated nylon have produced the worst results so far
Interesting I have been in touch with Macpac's design team about testing their new materials & they have clammed up completely, having said that they are reluctant to let me investigate further - an odd stance to take as the original prompt for this test was my Pursuit which still performs after nearly 2 1/2 decades of use
Initial conclusions are pointing towards not the failing of the fabrics, but the poor design that they are used in. Things like having joining seams on wear edges & lower quality liners are producing the most dramatic problems. Design is more about what you leave out, than what you add. The value of an experienced designer is shown when you take the packs off the machines & into use
I have been using Finisterre's Ortlieb PU nylon project fabric, Trakke's waxed cotton, One Planet's Waterloc, Boreas's nylon & thermoplastic polyurethane materials, & a TNF norm (siliconised nylon), plus regular basic polyester & nylon in the same test. When we can write up I am sure the information will find its way to OM...
Forgot to say there was a British research project into how people treat their waterproof garments which reported last year; centred on the reproofing routines. The majority of the feedback showed that people did not know how to care or reproof their fabrics: only a tiny minority heat-sealed their reproofing (which enhances the durability of all DWRs from bad stuff to the eco-friendly Nikwax solutions). This is a complicated area that needs work in both the chemical & education side: the majority of the consumers just want to buy garments that remain waterproof & do not comprehend how they need to be cared for. Great opportunity for some disruptive change...
The whole DWR subject is changing in my opinion. The PFOAs (Carbon 8/ long chain) have been moved away from because of eco evidence (bio-accumulative/ carcinogenic/ et cetera); currently the majority are using C6, but this is seen as a stepping stone for the current time (it is not so durable, so is leaving more bad stuff falling off into the environment).
Although it is easy to throw dirt at Gore, they have made the change before legislation & have advanced work in similar areas. Their strength in the marketplace means that they have prompted many others to follow.
The current situation is basically there is not a great DWR out there. There is a Swedish research project evaluating alternatives, but results are not yet in. Norway has also announced a ban in this area for clothing on sale there from 2017; we expect the rest of the Scandinavian countries to follow along with Germany; this will translate as all goods sold in Europe will change their finishes as it will be too hard for the international brands to manage what garment goes to what country (also: would you buy a garment if you could buy the same garment from the next door country/ mail order that had a better performing DWR?)
The non-carbon options do not offer such durability, oil or dirt resistance (but their water resistance is good). The latter two are something that might be relaxed as there are changing consumer habits: we all now wash our jackets on a more regular basis (hopefully after our machines have been service washed/ cleaned) using specialised cleaning materials (Nikwax/ Storm/ et cetera); whilst I have seen very new coating that beef up the durability of the water resistant finishes. As you might know oil is also sweat; plus anything compromising the DWR means that the garment wets out faster, which leads to the big drop in breathability performance/ getting wet from your own perspiration
I say 'we' as I am meant to reasonably informed on the subject. I work on the Wrap.org.uk textiles strategy group, alongside the European Outdoor Group Sustainability team, lecture in Performance Sportswear Design, et cetera. People think I know what I am talking about
I will be at the Gore press conference later this week in Germany on the new knit backer fabric & will be asking them about their DWR, but IMHO if they had cracked a non-carbon, brilliantly performing DWR - that would be the lead subject of the announcement.
Apologies for a lengthly announcement based on just my speculation, but it could be more informed than most out there...
ps. Will also be trying to find more out about Voormi whilst at ISPO!
The Arc'teryx shoes look better in the hand (& even better when boots); Toray's polyester replacement is perfect; lots of little bits of innovation IMHO - nothing too radical. Best stuff on gear, not clothing...