Both moisture and dryness damage leather. This might seem strange until you
consider what keeps leather pliable and resilient: oil. Tanned leather contains oils that will allow it to flex without cracking. When water is allowed to penetrate the leather, it can wash out these oils. Over time, the repeated cycle of getting wet and having the water evaporate off can leave the leather brittle and dry. This in turn leads to cracking and eventually failure as the fibers breakdown (also known as dry rot.) If you add in the heat that is trapped under your gear and the salt from your sweat, the effect is accelerated. All leather will fail this way if not cared for.
How Prevent This
The equipment we make has some built in protections against losing its oils. First, we only use top quality, full-grain leather. We give the item a coat of Sealer to protect its surfaces. That said, even the best quality, most thoroughly treated piece of leather will eventually become damaged if neglected.
What do we recommend for keeping everything in good condition?
For routine care, its recommend rubbing the leather with Neatsfoot oil or Mink oil. They do not need to be applied in excess, just rub the surfaces with a clean rag. Alternatively, you can use a bee’s wax-based conditioner. If the leather requires thorough cleaning, you can use a mild soap and water (there are special formulations made just for leather.) While soaps help removes dirt, they will also remove essential oils. You don’t need to go overboard with cleaning and if you do use soap, be sure to apply oil or conditioner afterwards.