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Celebrating National #GetOutsideDay

Nikwax user Carys Rees, aka @this.girlwalks, loves maps and has been a fan of Ordnance Survey (OS) for as long as she can remember, so you can imagine how thrilled she was to be brought on board by them as an OS Champion! This year, Ordnance Survey and Mountain Rescue England & Wales announced a new partnership to emphasise the importance of navigation skills and having the right equipment when enjoying days out in the hills, mountains, and countryside. As a member of the
Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team, this partnership is a particularly exciting one for Carys. Below, she tells us a little about herself, and shares her recent #GetOutsideDay interview with OS…

I have been lucky enough to have spent a lifetime hiking through the rolling hills of Wales and while there are more epic peaks to conquer, I feel most at home in the Bannau Brycheiniog. My parents always encouraged me to spend time outdoors. Growing up, my sister and I would often be found sitting up in some tree or riding our bikes. I did my Duke of Edinburgh in secondary school and still to this day, my
76-year-old father comes out with me on our favourite hike around Llyn y Fan – he’s actually quicker than me on those inclines!

Wales is a place of myth and legends, with dragons living in our hills and ladies in our lakes. I absolutely adore that there is a magical story for almost every area of the national park. Sometimes I feel more at home outdoors than I do under my own roof, and I feel a real longing for it when I’ve been away for too long. However, lets be honest, the weather isn’t always the best and so I have been using Nikwax all of my adult life to take care of my kit – one of my coats is over 20 years old and is still waterproof thanks to Nikwax! Take care of your kit and it will take care of you.

Spending time outdoors has always been incredibly important to me and I’m a huge advocate of getting out in the fresh air. I hike, wild swim, camp and paddleboard, but sometimes just going for a walk in nature has massive benefits. There have been studies which demonstrate that spending time outdoors can not only help with depression and anxiety, but also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and asthma. 

This year’s National #GetOutsideDay lands on Sunday 24th September so I thought I would speak to Helen from OS to find out what it’s all about!

What is Get Outside Day and why did OS set it up?
National #GetOutside Day is a celebration of the great outdoors: a day to come together and showcase that people of all ages, background and abilities can get outside. ​

It’s a day for the industry to join forces; providing inspiration for getting outside and showcasing that everyone can enjoy outdoor activities, especially those that struggle through lack of connection, access or skills. We believe the outdoors should be accessible to all.

We (Ordnance Survey) set it up to help get the nation outside and enjoying the physical, mental and social benefits the outdoors has to offer. It’s tied to our mission “to encourage more people to get outside more often”, which continues to sit at the heart of what we do today.

When did it launch and how has it grown over the years?
​National #GetOutside Day was launched in 2017 and has grown to become a well-known autumn campaign that sees the outdoor industry come together with one clear goal. Over the years, more organisations have got involved to support the campaign – and not just those in the outdoor industry! National #GetOutside day has become an unmissable event in many people’s calendars and a chance to rally up their nearest and dearest for a great day out.

Why is it important to spend time outdoors? 
Getting a regular dose of fresh air does wonders for our physical, social and mental wellbeing. Being outdoors lowers stress levels, improves mental health, and increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. A recent report* found that walking just 5,000 steps a day can bring noticeable changes to our physical health and improve life expectancy. Outdoor activities also connect people socially and help form lasting memories and friendships.

Where can people can find inspiration of things to do on Get Outside Day?
Our #GetOutside website has a huge bank of outdoor articles to help people plan their next adventure. Our activity guides provide ideas and inspiration on what to do and where to go as well as information to help people brush up on their outdoor skills, safety and navigation.

Do you have any ambassadors / celebrities taking part?
Our OS Champions continue to be our biggest advocates of the great outdoors. They come from all walks of life and have an unrivalled passion for the outdoors. We have paddleboarders, horse riders, wild campers, dog walkers, family adventurers and more! They’ll be sharing their precious places and outdoor activities for others to enjoy too.  

For more information on National #GetOutside Day, visit os.uk/getoutsideday

For more information on Nikwax aftercare products, visit nikwax.com

*https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-66440424

 

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Introduction to PFCs

Nikwax is committed to maximising enjoyment of the great outdoors with minimal environmental impact, which is why we have never used harmful chemicals in our water-based products. Since we were founded by Nick Brown in 1977, we have always championed a culture of transparency and public scrutiny around PFCs – long before they were on the world’s safety radar. In this month’s blog we delve into what these toxic fluorocarbons are, and why we should all be concerned with them.

What are PFCs?
PFCs is the name given to the broad family of products called perfluorinated compounds: man-made substances containing linked carbon and fluorine atoms (they are also called PFAS, which stands for polyfluoroalkyl substances). The chemical bond between carbon and fluorine is one of the strongest in organic chemistry, making it very attractive for use within different industries. PFCs can appear in all sorts of products – from carpets and clothing, to food packaging and personal care products, and firefighting foams. They are excellent at repelling oils and water and have been used extensively on non-stick pans for example, and on outdoor apparel as a durable water repellent coating.

Why are PFCs so problematic?
Despite their many useful applications, it is precisely their (chemical) repelling properties that make PFCs so hazardous. The strong bond between carbon and fluorine is persistent and can take thousands of years to break down – if it even breaks down at all. As a result, PFCs are often nicknamed ‘forever chemicals’. These forever chemicals are demonstrably harmful to the environment and our own health, which is why Nikwax, as an outdoor brand, has never included them in our cleaning and waterproofing products.

Literally thousands of substances fall under the PFC banner, leaking into the environment via industry air emissions and wastewater discharge, as well as via treated home goods that enter landfill. Some PFCs can also travel easily through soil and water, increasing the risk of groundwater contamination. As they take so long to break down, over time the amount of PFCs in the environment will increase and bioaccumulate (build up) in crops and livestock, which means humans are also at risk of ingesting them. In the UK, the Environment Agency* has found extensive evidence of PFCs in groundwaters, rivers and coastal waters, which has led to widespread contamination of our freshwater and marine life. Early evidence even suggests it can damage the human immune system and impact fertility and you can learn more about this by taking a look at the PFC page on our website here.

© Rijk van de Kaa, Unsplash

How is Nikwax helping to make a difference?
Quite clearly, we all need to be mindful of the choices we make. Over 45 years ago, we chose to prioritise clean chemistry over quick-win PFCs, ensuring our aftercare products are always safe for use in the home, and are always safe for the environment:

·        They are PFC-free

·        They are water-based and degrade into harmless compounds

·        They do not use aerosol propellants, which contain Greenhouses gases

Since 1977 we have been world leaders in the provision of high performance yet low impact cleaning and waterproofing products for outdoor gear, and we are committed to their safety for many more years to come.

*Source; EA report: Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): sources, pathways and environmental data Chief Scientist’s Group report August 2021 chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1012230/Poly-_and_perfluoroalkyl_substances_-sources_pathways_and_environmental_data_-_report.pdf

 

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How Nikwax keeps your feet feeling fresh in walking boots, sports shoes and sandals

July is officially sticky season, with time spent outdoors in the sunshine resulting in sweaty, smelly feet. Throw some walking boots into the mix and keeping your feet feeling fresh and comfortable on the tracks and trails presents even more of a challenge. Our water-based, PFC-free cleaning and waterproofing products have been developed to help maintain the breathability and longevity of your footwear, whether you walk in boots, trainers or sandals.

 STEP 1 – CLEANING
Whatever footwear you choose for your outdoor adventures this summer, by keeping them clean, you’ll be one step closer to having fresh, comfortable feet…

Footwear Cleaning Gel
Walking boots and shoes naturally gather dirt and contaminants through use, which, unfortunately, impair their ability to repel water and breathe. Keeping your waterproof footwear clean, therefore, is paramount to stopping your feet feeling clammy and uncomfortable.  Footwear Cleaning Gel not only cleans very effectively, but it also revitalises the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) – causing water to bead up and roll off your footwear – and maintains breathability.  Read more here.

Sandal & Sports Shoe Wash
Trainers and sandals are particularly unforgiving when the weather is hot and sunny. Over time, their contact with your bare feet or sweaty socks leads to a build-up of dirt, sweat and body oils, which in turn leads to bacterial growth and bad odours! Sandal & Sports Shoe Wash is a highly effective cleaner and deodoriser for non-waterproof footwear, including insoles and footbeds. Repeat-use will keep your feet feeling fresh and comfortable in the height of summer. Read more here.

STEP 2 – PROOFING

When cleaning alone no longer does the job, it’s time to re-proof your footwear. Whatever your boot or shoe type, we have the product for the job…

Leather walking boots/shoes
Whilst leather footwear is hardwearing, breathable and provides a high level of support, without regular maintenance its breathability is reduced – particularly if your boots become wet. As summer downpours can often catch us by surprise, it is vital to be ready for all weather eventualities! Waterproofing Wax for Leather not only revitalises the breathability of leather footwear and maintains its suppleness, but it also provides instant waterproofing. Read more here.

Fabric & leather walking boots/shoes
As with leather-only footwear, boots and shoes made from more than one material require specialist treatment to keep them performing at their best. Clammy, uncomfortable feet can be easily avoided if you regularly treat your combination footwear with Fabric & Leather Proof. It leaves a flexible, water repellent treatment on the individual fibres of the fabric and leather whilst allowing moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability. Read more here.

Nubuck & suede walking boots/shoes
Nubuck and suede leathers are softer and fuzzier than traditional smooth leathers and should be protected with a product that is gentle as well as robust. Nubuck & Suede Proof has been specifically designed and optimised for these more delicate materials, providing reliable DWR and improving breathability without compromising their special textures. Read more here.

Don’t just take it from us that our products are the best in the business, read what footwear giants Merrell®, Anatom® and KEEN® have to say about Nikwax…

Merrell works with Nikwax because the global #1 outdoor footwear brand wants to work with the global #1 footwear aftercare brand! Caring for your shoes ensures they will continue to perform as well as they did fresh out of the box. Plus, Nikwax’s environmental approach, carbon offset and fully recyclable packaging is something the whole industry can aspire to.”

“At Anatom, we see waterproofness, breathability, and aftercare as a concentric circle. Without aftercare, the waterproofness and breathability of footwear suffers greatly. We have worked with Nikwax from day one because they are a company who share the same values as we do in terms of the environment, and our impact on it. We also appreciate the fact Nikwax is water-based, which makes it very easy to use! Their footwear cleaning, conditioning and proofing products are the best in the world and that is why we promote Nikwax to all our new customers and established users.”

KEEN is a leader in the footwear industry and we recommend treating your shoes with an environmentally safe waterproofing product like Nikwax to keep them protected and stain-free.”

 

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What is Climate Change?

Nikwax has championed environmental action since the brand’s inception in 1977. Our founder, Nick Brown, committed from day one to the production of high performance, low impact waterproofing products – decades before the terms ‘global warming’ and ‘carbon footprint’ became part of the public discussion. 46 years on, Nikwax is globally respected for its environmentally friendly products and sustainable practices, and we’re excited to share with you our climate achievements and goals in forthcoming newsletters and blogs.

To kick things off, we’re going back to basics and talking about what climate change actually is. Put simply, it refers to large-scale, long-term shifts in our planet’s weather patterns and temperatures. The world is warming faster now than at any point in recorded history and we are all feeling its effects – hotter summers, warmer winters, wildfires, flooding, and droughts can all be attributed to climate change. Unsurprisingly, human activities are its main drivers, and companies and individuals must act immediately to help make a difference by reducing their carbon emissions.

©Amelia Bates, Unsplash

Climate change vernacular peppers the media and our conversations, but what does it all mean? There are several key terms everyone should be aware of to understand the basic science and political sphere of global warming:

GHGs: Greenhouse Gases are gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat, slowly increasing the temperature over time. They let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, yet prevent the sun’s heat from leaving it. Common greenhouse gases are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (man-made chemicals). GHGs themselves are not inherently bad; without them in the atmosphere Earth would be extremely cold, however due to human activity the levels of GHGs in the atmosphere have increased to an unsustainable amount.

Emissions: Greenhouse gases, such as those listed above, released into the air that are produced by activities including the burning of fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and melting permafrost. Categorising emissions into scopes is a key part of corporate carbon management and reporting:

  • GHG Scope 1 Emissions: direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources.
  • GHG Scope 2 Emissions: indirect emissions released into the atmosphere from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling.
  • GHG Scope 3 Emissions: other indirect emissions linked to a company’s operations such as business travel, employee commuting, waste generated, purchased goods and services, transportation and distribution.

Carbon Dioxide: The primary greenhouse gas and driver of climate change. Human activities are severely impacting the carbon cycle by burning fossil fuels and pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and by reducing the ability of natural sinks such as the ocean, soil and forests, to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Methane: Though produced in smaller amounts, the warming potential of methane is significantly higher than that of CO2 (up to 34 x). Fossil fuels (in particular, natural gas) are the main contributors of methane followed by agriculture. This is important because many fossil fuel companies will market natural gas as a more sustainable fuel as it emits less CO2, but fail to mention the impact of methane.

© Chris LeBoutillier, Unsplash 

Fossil Fuels: Sources of non-renewable energy formed from the remains of living organisms buried millions of years ago. Burning fossil fuels such as gas, coal and oil to produce energy is where most greenhouse gases originate – as the demand for energy has grown, we’ve burned more fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are also used to make many materials and products, including plastic.

Greenwashing: When a company makes an environmental claim about something they are doing that is intended to promote a sense of environmental impact, but which doesn’t really exist. The green claim is typically about some form of positive effect on the environment, and industry giants Shell, Respol, and Petronas have recently had adverts banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for their misleading messaging, which promoted “green” offers and plans such as renewable energy and net zero goals without any mention of their larger polluting operations.

Renewable Energy: This derives from Earth’s naturally replenished resources, including sunlight, wind, waves and geothermal heat. Switching from fossil fuels to renewables to power our lives will put us on the path to a safe, sustainable planet for future generations.

Of course, climate change lexicon extends well beyond the above but, familiarising yourself with these basic terms is a good starting point for understanding what our planet is facing and how things need to change.

© American Public Power Association, Unsplash

In over four decades of business, Nikwax has worked hard to reduce its environmental impact and has promoted a culture of transparency and public scrutiny in the global warming arena. We also believe consumers should have a healthy scepticism when it comes to companies’ environmental claims (see greenwashing example above), which is why we share our performance data online.

Our commitment to the health of our planet is firmer than ever and you can now look forward to monthly updates on our conservation, sustainability, campaigning and education plans and achievements.

Header image: © Li-An Lim, Unsplash

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The Bushcraft Show 2023

Everybody loves an outdoor adventure, and there is nothing better than learning the skills to become a true survivalist. Maybe you want to give archery a go or discover more about foraging, or perhaps you’d like to learn about native and common tree species on a guided walk? There is truly something for everyone at The Bushcraft Show.

Held at Stanford Hall in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, the show spans 3 days in a beautiful location that is only occasionally open to the public. For an unforgettable experience, you can camp in woodland or in a family-friendly open space, and there is also a caravan park area. Kids under 7 go free, whilst kids under 14 camp for free, and the event is dog-friendly too!

Enjoy a toasty campfire after a day spent axe-throwing, zorbing, weaving, wood carving, wild swimming, or enjoying many of the other exciting activities available on-site. There are plenty of activities for children within the woodland Kids Zone and you can relax within the natural surroundings on candlelit woodland walk.

At the event you have the chance to meet the author of the SAS survival handbook, John Lofty Wiseman, who will be telling many of his survival stories, plus, Ray Mears will be in attendance, talking about his bushcraft career and signing copies of his latest book!

For information on the event and ticket prices, click here

In collaboration with The Bushcraft Show, we have an exciting competition with 2 x adult weekend tickets, with woodland camping, up for grabs for one lucky winner! The winner will also receive a Nikwax Outdoor Complete Protection Kit – perfect for keeping your wet weather gear in peak condition. Plus, 5 runners up will each receive a Nikwax Outdoor Complete Protection Kit.

For your chance to win one of these prizes, enter the competition now by clicking HERE

 

 

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How to protect and revitalise your wet weather gear with Nikwax

There is nothing better than escaping into nature for fitness, relaxation, and general wellbeing. However, wet weather gear that is not properly cared for can impede your enjoyment of it. Regularly cleaning and proofing your clothing and footwear with Nikwax will not only keep it performing better, for longer, it will also save you money and help keep textile waste out of landfill.

So, to beat the April showers and get the very best out of your waterproof kit this spring, read up on our aftercare guidance below…

Why do I need to clean technical waterproof clothing and footwear regularly?
Because general wear, weather conditions, terrain, dirt, and contaminants will all take their toll. No matter the cost or technicality of your wet weather gear, the durable water repellent (DWR) coating (that prevents water absorption) will wear away and items will start to absorb water over time.

It is this reduction in DWR that causes you to feel clammy when active as moisture is unable to escape (breathe) through the material, causing it to build up inside your clothing or footwear instead. Plus, without due care and attention, your gear may start to degrade as bacteria can cause its material(s) to rot.

Is it difficult or expensive to clean and re-proof my gear?
Not with Nikwax! Our reliable and easy-to-use aftercare is also affordable, rejuvenating your gear and allowing you to get back outside in no time.

The Nikwax Outdoor Complete Protection Kit has everything you need to ensure you are fully protected when heading out on an adventure.

Caring for waterproof clothing
Firstly, avoid normal detergents! They are simply not suitable for technical clothing with DWR as they will leave water-attracting residues on the fabric, going against what the garments are there to do in the first place – repel water…

Tech Wash® and TX.Direct® are market-leading aftercare solutions that will enhance the performance of your waterproof gear, ensuring you stay drier for longer and your clothing remains as good as new.

To see just how quick and easy it is to clean and re-proof your wet weather gear, watch this video now.  

Caring for waterproof footwear
The same principle applies to footwear – avoid detergents that are not specifically designed for technical boots and shoes, in order to prevent water absorption and degradation of the materials.

Following a tiny bit of prep – removing excess mud – our aftercare duo will completely revive combination (fabric & leather) footwear. Clean it first with our Footwear Cleaning Gel, then follow up by proofing it with our Fabric & Leather Proof. It really is that simple.

Watch this video for the best tips on cleaning and proofing your combination footwear.

What are the benefits of using Nikwax products?
First and foremost, they are environmentally friendly aftercare solutions. They contain no PFCs or hazardous chemicals and are water-based. A key factor for us considering our love for the outdoors and our desire to protect it.

Simply cleaning with Nikwax can revive DWR, so you don’t have to re-proof every time you clean. It is only when cleaning alone no longer prevents water beading up on clothing or footwear that you should re-proof with the appropriate waterproofer.

You can save on energy. Heat is not required to develop the DWR – items can be left to air-dry.

Your clothing and footwear will last longer, which is a win-win! You don’t need to replace your favourite gear as often because our aftercare will maintain its performance, breathability, and water repellency. The result? You can enjoy the outdoors staying dry and comfortable (without over-heating, feeling clammy or feeling too cold).

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My Saturday Mornings in The Lakes

Introducing Jonathan James, Lake District dweller and Nikwax user. Jonathan has lived in Cumbria for over 10 years and takes to the hills most weekends to exercise, decompress and take in nature. With some of the UK’s most stunning scenery right on his doorstep, Jonathan gives us a flavour of how a typical Saturday morning unfolds – and leaves us dreaming about a life in the Lakes…

My regular, early alarm goes off on a Saturday and it is always with a little trepidation that I look out of the window to see what weather the morning may bring. I am Digital Director for an advertising agency, with offices in both Kent and Cumbria, and my busy weeks consist of travelling up and down the country between offices and meetings, juggling workloads and managing client deadlines. Whilst I love my job, I often get to Friday evenings feeling quite drained!

So, over the past few years I’ve got into a routine of getting up early on a Saturday as often as I can and taking myself off for a few hours on the nearby hills – my version of going to the gym. I find it a great way to decompress, clear the mind, leave the previous week’s worries behind and recharge.

We are lucky enough to live in North Cumbria with the northern Lake District hills, or fells as they are called up here, on our doorstep. Whilst the fell weather forecast the night before may suggest good conditions, even a short walk can herald a multitude of seasons and the weather can change in minutes. The only consistency is, usually, rain. After all, as the saying goes up here – ‘No Rain, No Lakes’!

I always pack my bag with full wet weather gear, regardless of the day, except during the height of summer. Also, even though I know the area around here like the back of my hand, I always take a map and compass, just in case. If the weather changes and visibility is minimal, you need to be able to navigate. It’s rare that an early morning walk doesn’t require a warmer top layer and my Rab® Microlight Alpine jacket generally does the trick. It has a Nikwax Hydrophobic+ down fill and retains great warmth, even if caught in a light shower. I love Tech Wash® and always use that for cleaning my walking kit when I get home. Every month or so I also find it important to use TX.Direct® Wash-In to reproof my kit. It is invaluable to keep my kit both clean and waterproof, essential up here!

One of the great things about the far northern fells is that whilst they are very accessible from the M6 motorway, Carlisle, or some of the bigger towns of the Cumbrian west coast, they are far enough away from the honeypot villages of the south lakes to remain fairly tourist light – especially during the winter months. I have a few regular walks, but a 10km route around and up High Pike (2,159 ft) is one of my favourites, a real hidden gem. There is a small parking area by a cattle grid at the farmstead in Calebreck, a few miles away from the villages of Hesket Newmarket and Caldbeck. From here, an old mine track loops around the northeast base of the fell and the views slowly open up as you gain height on the northern side of the fell. The Caldbeck fells around here have been mined since the 16th century, copper and lead being the main ores extracted, and the historical evidence is now littered across the fells. Rather than being unattractive and a scar on the landscape, I find it adds a ruggedness to the area and gives a glimpse into the very non-touristy use of the fells of years gone by. Walking around the rocky, sandy soil heaped fell-side, with the various old mine workings now sealed off with wooden fencing, in the height of summer it can feel a little like being in a spaghetti western set. Whereas during the cold winters, it makes you realise the hardships that the local miners must have had working there in all weathers trying to earn a living. It makes my own previous week’s hardships pale by comparison!

Turning off in a southerly direction from the mine track and joining the main path from Caldbeck, you then take a well-trodden yomp directly to the fell summit. From the roads nearby, High Pike can seem quite unassuming, but being the most northerly Lakeland fell over 2,000 ft, the views from the top can be impressive – north over the city of Carlisle and Solway Firth towards the Scottish Borders, east to the Pennines, and over the nearby, more famous, fells of Blencathra and Skiddaw towards the southern Lakes. Of course, there are many times when you have to imagine what the view is like! An unusual and touching element of this particular summit is a slate bench, which bears the inscription “In memory of Mick Lewis who loved all these fells”. He died in 1944 aged 16 and a small, recent addition is dedicated to the memory of his mother, who died in 1970. Both lived in Nether Row, a small hamlet at the foot of the fell, and it makes you ponder just how many stories there are that live in the hills and valleys in sight of where you are standing.

Heading down in a southerly direction from the top you follow Carrock Beck, which hugs the southern side of the smaller West Fell. On the way down, the fell opens up to a wider valley between High Pike and Carrock Fell, it’s slightly higher neighbour. Doing this walk regularly, it’s wonderful to see how differently it can look during the changing seasons. In summer, the way the light hits the fellside, breaking through clouds whose shapes race in the wind across the lower farmland, with an abundance of wildlife dotted around the land and buzzards soaring high in the warm air. Through to cold, harsh winter with crisp, silent snow covering the higher landscape, frozen becks and only a few glimpses of visiting winter birds and the hardy Cumbrian Herdwick sheep. Both climates are very different but neither more beautiful than the other.

Following the beck down it eventually takes you back to the parking area where the walk started. Most of my Saturday walks have a habit of ending up in the little village of Uldale, at the wonderful Mae’s café for breakfast. Another hidden gem! It’s located in the old village schoolhouse, often with the log burner roaring, and it is a welcome spot to dry off, warm up and add back the calories just burnt off.

Heading home with that wonderful feeling you have after being out and about exercising in nature, knowing the rest of the weekend is ahead of you, really does make that early Saturday morning alarm worthwhile.

Buy Tech Wash and TX.Direct now

 

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Prepare your kit for the upcoming snow season

Are you super-prepared and ready to hit the slopes this ski season, or, like most of us, struggling to find the time in busy lives to get snow-organised? Don’t stress, use Nikwax! The easy and cost-effective way to clean, freshen and waterproof your gear for maximum enjoyment in the mountains, Nikwax is guaranteed keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. Just follow our simple preparation steps and you’ll be ready to go…

Step 1: Clean your outerwear
Jackets and salopettes pick up more dirt than you think and if you didn’t clean them after your previous ski trip, it is most definitely time for a freshen up – hard-earned sweat and those après-ski spillages can quickly degrade waterproofing properties. First, clean the garments in your washing machine with Tech Wash® (check the garment care labels first!).

If your gear was wetting out before its clean, Tech Wash will help revitalise its Durable Water Repellency (DWR). However, if wetting out continues to occur after the cleaning cycle, it is time for a proper re-proof with TX.Direct® Wash-In. This can also be used in your washing machine, on a separate cycle. Note that for wicking linings we recommend TX.Direct Spray-On.

 

Paul Telling, Programme Director at Team Evolution, an Austrian-based British Ski Academy says:
“We tend to wear our team kit for 200-250 days a season, so we really need it to last and protect us from the wind, rain and snow. Our gear is made from high quality materials; however, it takes such a battering from the weather it is important we keep its waterproofing topped up. Whenever we clean our jackets we use Tech Wash & TX.Direct. Not only does Nikwax re-waterproof the kit and keep it breathable, it’s also simple to use. It doesn’t matter if we’re in France or South America, in a hotel or hand-washing our kit in a basin, we’re able to ensure our kit stays protected, and can therefore do its job protecting us.”

Nikwax is not heat-activated, so you can simply air-dry your gear after the cleaning and proofing process, or tumble dry it if the care label allows. It is essential to ensure your gear is completely dry before putting it away or packing it in your suitcase.

Step 2: Clean your synthetic base layers
Dirt, sweat, make up and oils from your skin all build up on base layers, which can impair their technical wicking capabilities, making temperature regulation more difficult. Regular detergents can have the same impairing effect, so it is vital you use the best cleaner for the job if you want to optimise your gear.

As Tech Wash does for outer garments, BaseWash® gently cleans synthetic base layers. Not only that, it conditions the garments too. Perfect if you have many base layers that need washing.

If you only have a couple of synthetic base layers, then pop them in a normal laundry wash and replace your regular conditioner with BaseFresh®. This high-performance conditioner allows your regular detergent to clean your items without compromising their functionality. Both BaseWash and BaseFresh will deodorise your base layers – removing built-in odour and sweat – whilst also enhancing the wicking and drying properties. Garments stay fresher for longer.

Step 3: Clean your gloves and socks
Ski gloves also pick up a lot of dirt on the slopes, which can affect their DWR resulting in damp, cold hands. Clean gloves will stay waterproof and breathable, which keeps you far more comfortable zig zagging down the mountains. After cleaning with Tech Wash, proof with Glove Proof, which is suitable for synthetic, full-grain leather, fabric & leather, and membrane fabric gloves.

In the same way hands suffer if they get damp, so do feet! Many snow sports enthusiasts choose Merino wool socks thanks to their temperature regulating and wicking properties, which need specialist care. Wool Wash – cleaner and conditioner in one – deodorises and enhances the wicking and drying performance of woollen gear, piste after piste.

“Keep your gloves and socks away from radiators! Put them next to a warm heat source instead, with enough space for the heat to circulate. If you must put your kit on a radiator, always lay a dry towel down first so you don’t have melted gloves in the morning.” Paul Telling

Step 4: look after your boots and equipment
If you are lucky enough to own a pair of boots, skis, or a snowboard, it is a good idea to service them before each trip to ensure your feet stay fully protected in all conditions. Clean the inners of your ski or snowboard boots with Sandal & Sport Shoe Wash to remove any unwanted odours and improve their wicking quality (as with socks, wet feet quickly become cold feet!).

If ski touring is your thing, you should waterproof your ski skins with Ski Skin Proof, a treatment that prevents ice building up on ski skin fibres, reducing saturation to improve glide and reduce kick.

Servicing your skis and board should, of course, include a re-wax and edge sharpen.

These recommended steps will safeguard the technical qualities of your snow sports gear, enhancing their properties and extending the life of the garments/equipment. Ensuring the longevity of your gear will not only save you money but it will boost your sustainability credentials too as you’ll be helping to keep garments out of landfill.

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5 key pieces of advice on how to choose and care for a down jacket…

It’s been a warm start to winter but now the weather is getting colder you can officially start the search for a new, cosy jacket if your current one has reached the end of its useable life with you. There is nothing worse than feeling the chill in plummeting temperatures and down reigns supreme for its ability to keep you insulated. There are several key things to consider when purchasing a down jacket – far more than just style, colour and fit! Check out our tips on how to make the best choice for your needs…

 1. Think carefully about the activities you will use your down jacket for…
Consider the environment you will be wearing your down jacket in and the level of activity you undergo. Will it be for daily use, such as dog walking, the school run, or travelling to work? Or will it be for occasional use whilst walking or hiking? Perhaps you have a climbing or skiing trip to look forward to, or even a winter camping expedition…

High energy activities warrant a down jacket that is lightweight, won’t restrict your movement, and won’t cause you to overheat when working hard. Less strenuous activities suit a thicker down jacket.

2. Pay attention to fill power & weight…
This is the terminology used to describe the volume of down when it is fully lofted (at its fluffiest!). A jacket with a higher fill power means the down clusters take up more space and therefore trap more air, which equates to a higher warmth-to-weight ratio (900-fill power is a better insulator than 550-fill power).

However, be aware that a high fill power doesn’t always result in a super warm down jacket. It also depends on the amount of down used. For example, an item that has 150g of 700 fill power will be less warm than an item with 300g of 550 fill power.

The benefit of lighter items is that they can be compressed down and stored away, which is useful for mountain activities where space-saving is key.

Down filled gear should always display a fill power rating so be sure to check before you buy:

Medium

400 – 500

Good

500 – 550

Very Good

550 – 750

Excellent

750 – 900

 

3. Understand the difference between natural down and synthetic fibres…
Down is an excellent insulator because it traps air between its fibres, which is what makes you feel warm and cosy, whilst being easy to compress and pack down small. However, it is susceptible to rain and snow, and down jackets that are not treated will absorb water, resulting in the down clumping, becoming heavy, and making you cold from loss of loft and insulation. It can also take a long time to dry out a down garment and restore its loft. Hydrophobic down is regular down that has been treated with a water repellent coating, meaning it has an improved ability to deal with moisture.

Synthetic fill is cheaper than down and easier to clean. However, it tends to make a jacket heavier and (sometimes) bulkier than one containing down fill. Synthetic fill is less susceptible to moisture so could be considered better for use in wet conditions. However, the jacket will not be as warm as down and may be harder to pack away if needed. It is a good solution if you suffer from allergies.

4. Buy your down jacket responsibly…
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) aims to protect ducks and geese used for down, by incentivizing the down and feather industry to treat these animals humanely; allowing companies to know what’s in their products so they can report truthfully to consumers, and rewarding those organizations leading the way.

The key factors:

  • Live plucking is prohibited
  • Force-feeding is prohibited
  • Respect for the animals’ welfare, from hatching to slaughter is in place
  • RDS down and feathers are identified (ensuring non-RDS down is not mistaken for RDS-certified)
  • Each stage of the supply chain is audited by third party certification
  • Only products containing 100% certified down can carry the RDS logo.

5. Care for your down jacket with specialist products…
Down items require expert care to keep them performing at their best time and again; definitely do not put them in the wash with normal detergents, as these can damage the down by leaving hydrophilic (water-attracting) residues on the fabric and fill.

Nikwax Down Wash. Direct® has been created specifically for hydrophobic and regular down filled gear. It thoroughly cleans and removes all dirt and contaminants that have built up on both the outer fabric and down fill of your jacket, whilst reviving its breathability and insulation. In the case of hydrophobic down, it also revitalises the durable water repellency (DWR).

When it is time to re-proof your down jacket (when water no longer beads up and runs off it) we recommend you use Nikwax Down Proof, our high performance wash-in waterproofer. It adds DWR to the fabric and down fill, and improves the natural, insulating properties of down.

All Nikwax products have been formulated for use in a washing machine, making your life easier! After washing your down jacket on a gentle cycle and spin drying it, we recommend a tumble dry. Down jackets should never be left wet, which risks permanent damage to the delicate down fill.