Woman with rain beading off hat

Embracing Non-PFAS DWR Coatings

At Sunday Afternoons, we are passionate about outdoor adventure and are dedicated to taking care of the places that allow us to explore, stretch our limits, and of course, have fun. As pioneers in the hat-making industry with over thirty years of experience, our commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible business practices is at the heart of everything we do.

Whether your family is looking for comfortable, casual outerwear options that keep kids shaded, dry, warm, and protected, or you’re an athlete seeking technical innovation to help you stay outdoors longer, we care deeply about people and our planet. That’s why we’re dedicated to reducing our impact wherever possible with our line of PFAS-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) hats.

The outdoor apparel industry shares a collective commitment to create products that are less impactful—from design and production all the way to delivery, and we're proud to be part of the shift. In this article, we’ll explore more about DWR, and our journey towards a more sustainable future.

Understanding DWR and PFAS

Rain beading on hat

Durable Water Repellent (DWR) is a critical feature for outdoor gear, providing essential water-resistant properties to fabrics. Traditionally, DWR coatings have relied on PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances), chemicals known for their resilience against water and stains. However, recently, PFAS DWR has raised concern for its potential risks. As awareness of the impact certain chemicals present, so does the call for more sustainable alternatives.

The Shift to Non-PFAS DWR Coatings

The outdoor industry is shifting towards more technologically advanced non-PFAS DWR coatings .Fueled by consumer demand, new regulations, and a collective commitment to impact reduction, the move toward PFAS-free DWR coatings marks a significant step forward. Effective in repelling water, this innovation and evolution in outdoor apparel manufacturing is a fundamental change in how we approach water-resistant options in apparel and accessories.

Innovations in non-PFAS DWR technology have been remarkable. Modern advancements have led to the development of more environmentally conscious alternatives that perform wellin outdoor conditions. These new coatings use bio-based technologies that provide effective water resistance. A few states such as California and New York are introducing legislation to mandate the elimination of PFAS chemicals by 2025, and alternatives that prove to perform well are being developed.

Sunday Afternoons' Approach

As a Climate Neutral Certified global business with distribution in 66 countries, we approach sustainability holistically and integrate impact reduction into every facet of our operations, from responsible design to ethical treatment of people and meaningful conservation, we consider our impact every step of the way. As of 2023, all Sunday Afternoons products use PFAS-Free DWR and we're proud to be the first hat brand to make a full transition. Styles that are protected by this coating have a "PFAS-free DWR" call-out.

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond just our products. We have global, national and local nonprofit conservation partnerships, are actively involved in environmental initiatives and partnerships with the Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and we measure social and environmental impacts using the rigorous Higg Index to stay accountable while building a realistic and ambitious roadmap for the future. This holistic approach to sustainability underscores our belief that every action, no matter how small, contributes to a larger impact on our planet.

Consumer Questions Addressed

In today's marketplace, consumers expect transparency about the products they choose. We understand this need and address common questions regarding the, effectiveness and maintenance of our non-PFAS DWR coatings.

Does DWR mean waterproof? 

It's important to differentiate between water-resistant and waterproof. DWR coatings provide water resistance, helping hats repel water but not making them entirely waterproof.

Does DWR degrade over time?

Man with rain hat

While DWR coatings are durable, their water repellency can diminish over time and may require reapplication. We provide guidance on maintaining the effectiveness of our non-PFAS DWR coatings with proper washing and care instructions.

Which Sunday Afternoons hats use a PFAS-free DWR coating? 

We introduced our PFAS-free DWR hat styles beginning with the release of our Spring/Summer 2020 collection. Search for our complete list of PFAS-free DWR hats here

The Effectiveness of PFAS-Free DWR

PFAS-free DWR coatings are scientifically engineered to repel water efficiently while being environmentally friendly and third party quality testing confirms performance and durability under various conditions. This article published by Impermea Materials provides even more information about the proven effectiveness of PFAS-free DWR coatings. 

Caring for PFAS-free DWR Coated Hats

To extend the life and maintain the effectiveness of PFAS-free DWR, proper care is essential. We recommend infrequent, gentle washing by hand in cold water with mild detergents and avoiding harsh chemicals like fabric softeners and bleach. Air drying can also help maintain the DWR coating. For sustained water repellency, periodic reapplication of PFAS-free DWR treatments may be necessary. For more information about this process, we recommend the suggestions published here by Outside Magazine.  

Responsible Hat Choices

Our hats and accessories are backed by a Lifetime Guarantee, and we stand behind our hats as long as you stand under them. Every product we make is designed responsibly, including consideration of end of life. For that reason, we are proud to offer a variety of recycled or bluesign® fabric options, and PFAS-free DWR that combined with patented innovations, thoughtful design, and responsible materials, helps you stay outside longer.

Explore PFAS-free DWR Hats

Join the Conversation

Share your experiences and insights in our comments section below or on Instagram or Facebook.