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Spring is in the air!  It’s time to dust off and tune up all of the camping gear you’ve neglected all winter.  I know skis have been get all the attention, so let’s indulge the summer gear…

Welcome to the first and only edition of “Cleaning and Waterproofing Your Boots by Mitch Warnick”, or in my case “Cleaning and Waterproofing My Eleven Year Old Boots In An Attempt to Not Have to Buy More”…

A couple of weekends ago, I took my old trusty boots on a rigorous, snow-filled, climb up a 13er.  Unfortunately, the waterproofing has run out (it ran out years ago) so, in an attempt to extend my lucky boots’ lifespan, I re-applied the waterproofing—and documented the process for you…enjoy!

Step 1

Clean any excess dirt and mud off of the boots.  I used the bathtub, but a hose outside would also work.  In order to be thorough, I used a hand towel to scrub instead of just running water to rinse….


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Step 2

I use Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel to further clean the boots.  Depending on how dirty your boots are, this step can be combined with/replace Step 1.  However, if you do skip step one, be sure to still dampen your boots before applying the cleaning gel.  Once the gel has been massaged in, rinse the excess off with water.

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Step 3

For the actual waterproofing, I use Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof spray.  There are many choices and types of applications out there, and you will see another later, but this is an excellent choice.  While your boots are still damp, spray the outer generously.  Be sure you cover the entire outside surface otherwise you may have random damp spots or leaks.  When this is complete, gently wipe off any excess buildup of the spray, but otherwise let it dry naturally.

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Intermission

Because of the rough shape my boots are in, I added another step to ensure more durable waterproofing.  Before doing that, I wanted to let the spray on application dry properly—so I had a beer while I waited.

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Step 4

Like I said before, my boots are eleven years old and certainly on the tail end of their usefulness.  So, in order to get the most waterproof boots possible, I decided to spot-check the seams and confluence of the upper to the sole with Nikwax Waterproofing Wax For Leather.  Many of you will likely not need to go this extra step, but I certainly needed it.  For this, I simply rubbed the wax into the seams to prevent infiltration through them.  Again, your call on that…

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