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LONG TERM REPORT - Atsko Sno-Seal - Richard Lyon

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  • richardglyon
    Html version with photo will be posted to Tests folder shortly. Richard LONG TERM REPORT SNO-SEALĀ® ORIGINAL BEESWAX WATERPROOFING March 31, 2006 Richard Lyon
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2006
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      Html version with photo will be posted to Tests folder shortly.

      March 31, 2006
      Richard Lyon
      Personal Information and Backpacking Background: I've been
      backpacking for 45 years on and off, and regularly in the Rockies
      since 1986. I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-
      day trips. I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000
      to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m). I prefer base camp backpacking, a long
      hike in with day trips from camp, but I do my share of forced
      marches too. Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm
      not yet a lightweight hiker, and I usually choose an extra pound or
      two over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.
      Male, 59 years old
      6' 4" (1.9 m) tall, 200 lb (91 kg)
      Dallas, Texas, USA
      rlyon AT gibsondunn DOT com
      Manufacturer: Atsko, Inc.
      Provided in: 8 fl oz (237 ml) jar. Other available sizes and
      product variations are listed on Atsko's website,
      http://www.atsko.com/, and in my Initial Report.
      MSRP: USD 6.95
      Net weight of jar, per product label: 7 oz (200 g)
      Total weight of jar, as measured: 8 oz (227 g)
      Contents: "Contains no silicone." The only ingredients actually
      mentioned are beeswax and "a solvent."
      Warranty: None found on website or container.
      Recommended uses (from Atsko's website and other promotional
      materials, with my one comment in brackets): All "split, sanded,
      suede [but see following paragraph], rough and recycled leather";
      specific products identified are boots, gloves, chaps, belts, hats,
      harnesses, saddles, and horse blankets. Oiled cotton clothing. As
      a wax finish for wood. "To fill stitching holes in tents." Horses'
      hooves. "Severely dry and abused skin."
      Atsko does say that Sno-Seal will provide necessary waterproofing
      for suede, but goes on "Not recommended for suede leather. If used
      on suede it will darken and flatten the nap, changing the
      appearance." As reported previously, Danner Boots, whose new suede-
      napped Light IIs I purchased last fall, recommends against Sno-Seal
      for the same reason.
      Additional information about how to apply Sno-Seal is included in my
      Initial Report.
      Further testing. Except for one instance noted in the second
      following paragraph, I have not applied additional Sno-Seal to any
      of my test items. That one re-application came after all reported
      test observations.
      Since filing my Field Report I have worn my ski "Sprint Pak" on two
      additional in-bounds ski days. No precipitation on either day, but
      the usual exposure to snow when I fell (at least once) and the grit
      and grime of ski lifts, and I had a leak in the water bottle carried
      inside the pack. Sno-Seal kept the leather panel completely dry,
      though the adjacent Cordura portions of the pack were wet or icy
      from the leak. As before, there were no water or salt stains on the
      leather panel.
      One Friday evening I placed my normal weekend footgear, two pairs of
      Timberland shoes that I had earlier treated with Sno-Seal, in a
      bathtub and then filled the tub with water up to the cuffs of the
      lower-cut shoes. When I inspected the shoes next morning the inside
      of all four was completely dry. Later I had the chance to test Sno-
      Seal on these shoes in the real world. North Texas's long drought
      ended with colossal rains one March weekend, over nine inches (23
      cm) near my house. While walking the dogs during and after the
      downpour I wore a pair of slip-ons that (as noted in my Field
      Report) received only one application of Sno-Seal. My feet were dry
      where protected by the shoes, though my socks were soaked from the
      rain and standing water. I wore the other pair, lace-up Chukka-
      style boots, to inspect the flood damage to my basement and lower
      level of my house. Though the shoes were caked with mud and silt,
      the waterproofing performed flawlessly. As a precautionary measure
      I re-applied Sno-Seal after cleaning off these boots so they'll be
      ready for the next rain.
      Continuing to break in my leather Scarpa hiking boots, I gave them
      the bathtub test, with results identical to those with the
      Timberlands. After retrieving them from the tub I put the boots on,
      restrung the laces, and walked to the end of my street and back,
      about 1.5 miles (2.4 km). The boots did not feel soggy or sodden,
      and I noticed no additional weight that could be attributed to
      absorbed water.
      Finally, I selected a pair of medium brown penny loafers and applied
      a dosage of Sno-Seal to the right shoe on each of three successive
      Saturdays. Here is a photo that indicates a slight darkening of the
      treated shoe, bearing out Atsko's warning about use on lighter
      colored leather:
      [photo added]
      Here are my observations (in italics) on the test criteria I set out
      in my Initial Report:
      Effectiveness of waterproofing. Will Sno-Seal actually prevent
      absorption of water and consequent increase in weight, as Atsko
      claims? In all instances the answer was an unqualified "yes." Will
      my feet stay warm and dry? Except for leaching down from socks that
      get wet above the shoe cuff, yes. Will the Gore-Tex lose any
      breathability? None noticed on any of the three pairs of Gore-Tex
      boots that I tested.
      What's the proper dosage? I've always applied it once, let the
      boots dry, then apply a second (and sometimes a third) round. I'll
      test one pair of shoes with a single application only. My limited
      testing on this point indicated that a single treatment suffices.
      How long does a treatment last? The shoes that receive a single
      application will be examined for "leaks." No leaks noticed on any
      shoes. Four months may be inadequate testing for a firm conclusion
      on this, but it coincides with my long experience wearing shoes and
      boots treated with Sno-Seal.
      Preservation. I shall examine older shoes and my ski pack for any
      sign of leather rot or deterioration. I'll examine the ski pack for
      salt stains. Outstanding results on this criterion; if anything the
      treated leather is softer, more pliable, and less dry than other
      untreated shoes. As noted in my Initial Report, I used Sno-Seal
      regularly on a pair of Danner leather boots for many years. Through
      two re-solings and countless miles through mud, dust, rain, and
      snow, the leather portions of the shoe uppers remained in good
      condition. I wish I could have had them re-soled again.
      Cosmetic effect. I'll check each pair of shoes and the ski-boot
      panels carefully for darkening of the leather. Some darkening on
      the treated shoe in the test pair, supporting my earlier
      observations on the Danner boots and Atsko's warning.
      Sno-Seal is reasonably priced, easy to apply, and does all that its
      manufacturer claims. In several decades of outdoor activities I
      haven't found its peer for waterproofing leather. And it doubles as
      a hand salve! I can't think of a bad word to say about it. Sno-Seal
      will remain a mainstay in my gear closet for years to come.
      Thanks again to Atsko and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to
      evaluate this old friend.
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