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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.

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Nikwax – the Hydrophobic Down and aftercare specialists

Did you know that Nikwax has enhanced the performance of nature’s best insulator (down) to create the lightest, most efficient, water-resistant down? Nikwax Hydrophobic Down + and Nikwax Hydrophobic Down Recycled were launched in 2020 to keep people warmer and drier without the use of harmful fluorocarbon (PFC) chemistry…

  • Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) + is the world’s best performing hydrophobic down! It is up to 250 times more water resistant than standard down, conserving its natural insulating qualities even when wet.
  • NHD+ keeps users warm, dry and comfortable in a wider range of conditions. It will not wet out from rain, snow, or condensation produced whilst exercising or camping. NHD+ also keeps users warmer and drier in extreme cold, making it perfect for use whilst alpine trekking and mountaineering.

  • NHD+ is the first and only hydrophobic down to exceed 10,000 minutes on the industry IDFB 18a Shake Test. That’s 7 days constant exposure to water! (Standard Down lasts a maximum of 20 minutes shake time. To be considered hydrophobic, treated down must reach a minimum of just 40 minutes shake time).
  • Nikwax Hydrophobic Down Recycled was created to support our brand partner Rab®, who wanted to use recycled down with a high performance hydrophobic material, so their customers do not have to choose between high performance and a sustainable product.
  • Nikwax Hydrophobic Down Recycled was the first and only recycled down to achieve 1,000 minutes on the IDFB 18a Shake Test.
  • All down (not just NHD) can be maintained with Nikwax aftercare!

Nikwax has been supplying the likes of Rab, Haglöfs® and Therm-a-Rest® with NHD for nearly ten years. Used in their jackets and sleeping bags, our Partner Brands supply extreme explorers with expedition clothing and gear that must survive arctic temperatures and extreme weather conditions. Here’s what they have to say about us:

“As the Masters of Insulation, our customers expect our products to deliver superior performance for longer. That’s why we chose NHD treatment to dramatically reduce the negative effects that moisture can have on the down insulation and ensure our jackets absorb less water, dry faster, and retain their loft for longer, whatever the conditions.” RAB

“With the Hydrophobic Down water-resistant treatment in our sleeping bag range, Therm-a-Rest’s customers know they are buying into long-lasting quality and performance. Our long-term partnership with Nikwax is vital to the brand and what we stand for.” Therm-a-Rest

“When we heard about the hydrophobic down increased shake time of 10,000 minutes, it felt like the natural way to go. And for us to work with a company that is also driven by sustainability, it feels like the perfect match.” Haglöfs

NOMAD is taking another step forward in the process of creating innovative and sustainable products by working with NHD+.” NOMAD

Did you know that Nikwax down aftercare products have been cleaning and proofing down gear for over 25 years? Nikwax extends the life of down filled jackets and sleeping bags by restoring and protecting their insulating properties and water repellency. Easy to use in a washing machine or by hand, Nikwax is water-based and PFC-free.

Down Wash.Direct® is a technical cleaner that revitalises the durable water repellency (DWR) and insulating properties of both hydrophobic and regular down filled clothing and sleeping bags, without damaging the delicate structure of down. Down Proof is a speciality waterproofer that protects and improves the natural insulating properties of down filled gear from wet and damp conditions. Our high performance down care duo will optimise the performance of down items in wet weather whilst minimising weight gain due to water absorption.

Old gear? Clean it first with Down Wash.Direct before replenishing its DWR with Down Proof, which will cause water to bead up on the outer fabric once more. When used on NHD-filled items, the loft, insulation and breathability are also all maintained.

New gear? If your jacket or sleeping bag is relatively new, or has been recently treated with Down Proof, cleaning it with Down Wash.Direct will not only remove contaminants – such as dirt and body oils that can cause the fabric to attract water – but it will also revitalise insulation, breathability and DWR.

However, don’t just take it from us that our products are the best in the business, see what our customers have to say about Down Wash.Direct and Down Proof:

“I finally got around to using Down Wash.Direct on my Arc’teryx Thorium jacket. I am currently serving as an infantry soldier in the army reserve and have used the jacket for several exercises over the winter. Typically for down time or while on stag (sentry duty) worn under my combat jacket. It has taken a fair bit of punishment and duly picked up a fair bit of mud/sweat/tears along the way. Before using Nikwax in the washing machine, I ran a quite empty cycle to rinse any detergent. The jacket came out fully cleaned and after a cool tumble dry was puffed back up and suitably clean. The outer waterproofing has reactivated well and when last worn in light rain the water beaded up and ran off well in droplets. In summary, I will definitely use this again. I’m always a bit nervous about washing down jackets as they give the impression that they won’t come back to life, but, in this case, Nikwax Down Wash.Direct has performed really well.” James Bees

“Great performing product! Easy to apply either by hand or machine wash and lasts for several months of use or even when stored and not used. The warmth in my jacket and pants have not been lost and the down remains full and fluffed up.” Connor Duckworth

“I feel the protection and waterproofing it gives my outdoor clothing is the best available. The water repellent coating it leaves on my clothing is second to none.” Stephen Reilly

“I find Down Proof to be very effective at keeping my down jackets’ waterproofing in working order.” Gillian Craig

I am always impressed by quality of the products that Nikwax produce, and the current version of Down Proof is exceptional. Alan Cole

 

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An adventure with Jenny Tough

Adventurer, mountain runner and cyclist, Jenny Tough, tells us about her recent expedition and invaluable tips for planning your own trip…

The Caucasus Mountains have been calling me for years. In my global, long-term project to run solo and unsupported across a mountain range on every continent, the Caucasus were always one of my planned expeditions. With international borders, strict no-go zones, and autonomous regions, they were always going to be tricky, and the thrill of true adventure captured my imagination. Unfortunately, as this expedition was originally planned for 2020, I had to let it go, but this year I finally had my chance to visit.

I went out to Tbilisi with my mountain bike, packed as lightly as I could get away with, and a grand plan to try and cross the High Caucasus from west to east, skipping out Abkhazia and South Ossetia. When Azerbaijan didn’t meet their proposed deadline to open their land border, I had my first spanner in the works. When the Caucasus experienced some of the worst June weather on record, I had my second.

Adventure, by definition, shouldn’t go to plan. Landing in Tbilisi with a route already loaded to my bike computer and discovering that route would never go – a closed border and many closed mountain passes left a flimsy small amount of trail that I would never get to ride – I had to pivot my plans.

In hindsight, the weeks I spent bikepacking in the Caucasus Mountains was an objective failure – I set out to ride the length of the mountains range, from sea to sea, and I didn’t get to do that. But am I disappointed? Not really. In the end I did some fantastic riding in western Georgia and then some more fantastic riding around the Lesser Caucasus in Armenia – a country and region I had not even originally considered. I had an incredible time bombing around hidden trails, hauling my bike through thick mud in the middle of intense storms, hiking it up snowy passes, and staying in welcoming and charming small villages. I didn’t meet my main objective – two years on, a full traverse of this culturally rich mountain range remains elusive to me – but I still had an adventure.

Trip Planning
Researching routes, making lists, booking tickets, and finally packing your kit – adventure prep is easily one of my favourite parts of the experience. I’m lucky to work in the outdoor industry, meaning that I am almost perpetually unpacking from one journey before washing my kit out and repacking for the next one. I’ve got my systems dialed, my luggage always ready to go. One thing that is absolutely essential to keeping well-loved gear in motion is to treat it right. With proper care and love, your favourite outdoor products should last you years, and keep you dry and comfortable on many, many adventures.

Packing for my bikepacking trip in the Caucasus Mountains was tricky – I knew I would hit scorching heat, intense thunderstorms, and perhaps even snow or hail, often in the same day. That’s how it goes in the mountains in June. I needed my good waterproofs, my warm insulation, and my coolest wicking base layers. The other factor is, of course, that on a trip lasting a few weeks where I’ll be unsupported in the wilderness is that I won’t have access (or inclination, if we’re being honest) to laundry facilities. My gear needs to be solid. Here’s my routine for what I needed to pack on this adventure:

  • Cycling clothing: My favourite sweat-wicking t-shirt from Velocio is a go-to for mountain biking. A wash with Nikwax BaseFresh®
    enhances and revitalises its wicking properties, so it will hopefully last me three weeks of sweaty riding.
    (As a side note – I always somehow get chain oil on my jerseys, and Nikwax BaseFresh magically cleans that off!).
  • Waterproof: I’ve always maintained that if you can only invest in one item, it should be your waterproof. However, without taking proper care of your waterproof jackets, they will be rendered useless over time. Between trips, I always freshen my jacket with Nikwax.
  • Sleeping bag: To keep my bivvy system light, I usually go with just a hydrophobic down sleeping bag, and no tarp. The trick is to continually treat the bag a couple times a year with Nikwax Down Proof. Sleeping bags should last you a very long time!

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Newsflash – Haglöfs have partnered with Nikwax on their new Nordic Expedition Down Hood Jacket

We are excited to share that Swedish outdoor clothing and apparel brand Haglöfs has chosen us to supply the down for its new and award-winning Nordic Expedition Down Hood Jacket! Filled with H Platinum Down, which features Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+, the jacket takes weatherproof insulation to the arctic level.

“Haglöfs is focused on high performance and driven by sustainability, like Nikwax. When we heard about NHD+ with the improved shake time of 10,000 minutes, it felt like a natural choice for us. We know the performance of NHD+ will mean a lot to our customers, who can now stay out for even longer.  To work with a company that is also driven by sustainability is a perfect match for Haglöfs.” Jenny Spiik, Haglöfs Textile Designer

Combining the qualities of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ with super conductive graphene (an allotrope of carbon), the jacket was awarded Product of the Year at this year’s coveted ISPO awards for providing unparalleled protection and insulating performance:

“If you want excellence from the science in textiles – this is it!  A function-first design that hides a wealth of technology…”  ISPO Jury

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ is an evolution of our Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, which provides high performance, environmentally friendly and PFC-free insulation, and is the first hydrophobic down to exceed 10,000 minutes in the industry-recognised down shake test*, which mimics the equivalent of seven days constant exposure to water. 

Down is, by nature, susceptible to humidity so when it gets wet it clumps together, causing it to lose its loft and insulation qualities. However, Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ filled gear keeps users warm, dry and comfortable for longer in a variety of conditions. This is because it won’t wet out in rain, snow, or condensation caused from perspiration, which makes it perfect for use whilst alpine trekking and mountaineering.

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ has a flexible and durable water repellent finish on each individual down filament that helps to retain its natural structure and maintain insulation, even after seven days constant exposure to water.  This increases the range and extremities down garments can be used in, and increases their longevity as the down doesn’t absorb water.

Even better, the efficacy of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ filled gear can be infinitely renewed and maintained in a washing machine using Nikwax aftercare products…

Down Wash Direct® is the specialist technical cleaner for regular and hydrophobic down filled gear. It removes all dirt and contaminants that have built up on both the outer fabric and delicate down fill without harming them. It also effectively revives durable water repellency.

Down Proof is the high performance wash-in waterproofer that adds water repellency and revives insulation in down filled gear whilst maintaining breathability to keep you drier and warmer.

Watch our ‘how to’ video here

*The shake test works by shaking down continuously in a canister of water. Whereas untreated down becomes soaked in just 20 minutes, NHD+ excells over 10,000 minutes.  Read more here.

 

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How to choose a down jacket this season

Winter is coming and now is a great the time to start shopping for your new winter jacket. Nothing beats down for its ability to insulate you and keep you warm. It’s lightweight and incredibly cosy. After all, there is nothing worse than really feeling the chill when you are outdoors and the temperatures have plummeted!

Did you realise that there are a number of elements to consider if purchasing a down jacket? It is not just about the style, colour or fit; so to ensure you can find the perfect down jacket to suit your needs, then read on for all the advice you need.

Activity
Think about where you would wear your down jacket the most. Would it be for daily use – dog walking or going to work? Perhaps it would be for regular hiking trips you may take, or because you are going climbing or skiing. High energy activities mean you should ideally have a down jacket that is relatively light, because thicker down jackets will end up feeling bulky, potentially restrict your movement and possibly make you feel too hot. Less strenuous activities would suit a thicker down jacket.

Fill Power & Weight
This is the terminology used to describe the volume of down when it is fully lofted (that means at its fluffiest). Down works as an insulator because air gets trapped between the fibres, which in turns is what makes you feel toasty. Down jackets and other down items should always display what the fill power rating is on the item when you go to buy it.

A down jacket with a higher fill power means that the down clusters take up more space and therefore are capable of trapping more air – which means better warmth to weight ratio. So a jacket with 900 fill power would be better quality than a down item containing 550 fill power down. An item weighing less means it can be compressed down and stored away (in a backpack for instance) – useful for activities such as climbing, because you need warmth, easy mobility and the ability to pack the item away compactly and easily when conditions change.

A way to view the quality of fill power can be as follows:

400 – 450

Medium

500 – 550

Good

550 – 750

Very Good

750 – 900

Excellent

However, don’t be fooled by thinking a high fill power rating means you have a really warm down item. It also depends upon the amount of down used within that item. For instance, an item that has 150g of 700 fill power would be less warm than an item that contains 300g of 550 fill power down, however the latter would be a much heavier and bulkier garment.

Down or Synthetic?
You will find similar jackets that have a synthetic filling. How do you know which to choose?

Down is a natural insulator and will provide you much more warmth, whilst being easy to compress and is also lightweight. However, regular untreated down is susceptible to water. When it rains or snows, it will absorb water, making the down clump together, making the garment heavy and making you cold. Water inhibits the properties of regular down from performing as it should and it can take quite some time to dry a down garment out and restore the loft.

Synthetic fill is less expensive than down and could be considered easier to clean. It’s also a good solution if you have an allergy to down. However, this fill will tend 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 to use in wet conditions, yet the items will not be as warm as down and may be harder to pack away if needed.

Hydrophobic down
Hydrophobic down is regular down which has been treated with a water repellent coating, meaning it has an improved ability to deal with moisture.

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) is a leading example of water repellent down that will keep you dry, warm, comfortable and safe. It is environmentally friendly, formulated without any fluorocarbons (PFCs) or harmful chemicals, so NHD safely prevents down from absorbing water. Down jackets and gear such as sleeping bags that contain NHD will resist water up to 50 x less than regular untreated down. It also means that the down jacket or gear will resist water much more effectively, will dry much faster and retain its loft and ability to insulate you

The benefit to you? Well, you can use your down jacket or gear in a wider range of conditions that you would normally be able to and stay dry and warm when you need to most. Also, because of the technical formulation of NHD, it protects the down fill from microbial action which can actually cause damp down to breakdown – this means your down jacket will have a prolonged life!

Look for responsible, ethical down filled items
Unfortunately there are practices out there whereby down is sourced by the means of plucking the down feathers from a live bird, causing unnecessary harm and suffering to the animal. As a consumer you want to be safe in the knowledge that any down filled item you purchase is not one where the animal has suffered.

This is where the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) comes into play. This is a global voluntary standard which encourages companies to certify the down products they produce contain down which has not been sourced from birds which have been subjected to inhumane treatment. RDS aims to make companies morally accountable and lead to consumers trusting in those products which are RDS certified.

The main key points of the RDS are:
Live plucking is prohibited.
Force-feeding is prohibited.
Respect for the animal welfare from hatching to slaughter is in place.
RDS down and feathers are identified – to ensure that non-RDS down is 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.

Nikwax will only work with down manufacturers who hold all necessary certification under the RDS certification systems and are audited under such systems, to ensure that the down used for Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is ethical and safely sourced. Look for the following logo to check if a down item you are interested in purchasing is safe and has followed the practise for animal welfare.

Don’t forget to care for your down jacket
Down items do need specialist care if they are to remain in their utmost condition and keep you dry time and time again. Don’t just put your down jacket in the wash with normal detergent! This could harm the down, plus you also do not want to damage the jacket by putting it on the wrong wash cycle.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is the specialist aftercare, created specifically for all hydrophobic and regular down filled items. All dirt and contaminants which have built up on the outer fabric and down fill of your down item will be thoroughlyremoved – this alone will revive the natural breathability of your item, whilst revitalising the insulation and, in the case of hydrophobic down, revitalise the durable water repellency.

Once you need to re-proof your down jacket then Nikwax Down Proof is the high performance wash-in waterproofer that can be used safely and easily in a washing machine.  It will add durable water repellency, therefore improving the natural insulating properties of the down fill.

Just be sure to wash your down items on a gentle cycle, then spin dry multiple times (each time increasing the speed of the cycle) in order to remove water from the down according to the care label. Drying is key! Tumble drying is recommended, if the care label allows, to ensure it dries as quickly as possible. Down should not be left wet otherwise it could be permanently damaged.

Pick the right down jacket and use the appropriate aftercare this winter and you can just get outdoors feeling warm, comfortable and dry with a jacket or gear that goes on and on.

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The Nikwax Expert – Learn About Down

Jamie Maguire, Key Account Manager at Nikwax discusses down, how it works and how to care for it, with key information that could benefit your customers when they are searching for that perfect winter jacket or sleeping bag. Learn about the power of award-winning Nikwax Down Wash Direct® – safe, high performance cleaner for all conventional and hydrophobic down clothing and gear  tokeep it working at it’s best .

What is down?
Down is the layer of fine feathers found underneath the exterior feathers of birds. Duck and goose down is most commonly used in down jackets because of the fantastic warmth it offers. Out of all natural fibres, down arguably has the greatest warmth-to-weight ratio and possesses excellent abilities to compress and recover, making it a great insulator. Down feathers are rounded in shape and made up of soft plumes, prongs and nodes that air.  Whereas feathers are flat, rigid and aerodynamic for flying. As down also has a three dimensional shape it can ‘loft’ and trap more air than any synthetic material. By trapping air down, warmed by body heat it can keep the  heat you generate inside your  jacket, keeping you warm and toasty.

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Are down jackets waterproof?
Probably not, but some down jackets and sleeping bags handle rain better than others. There are down jackets that have a waterproof, breathable outer material but they are few and far between, most down jackets are made with a windproof fabric that has been coated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment. A DWR coating makes water bead up on the surface of the jacket and roll off, this means your jacket will shrug off a bit of snow and light rain but will become overwhelmed in really wet conditions. Water has long been the enemy of down. When down soaks up water it loses its loft, collapses, traps water and no longer offers any insulation. Recent advancements in chemistry, such as Nikwax’s development of ‘Hydrophobic Down’ which can resist up to 50 x less water than standard down is down that has been treated with a PFC-free solution that prevents down from absorbing water. If down doesn’t  absorb water then it won’t lose its loft, if the down can loft then you stay nice and warm. Simple.

Should you clean your down kit?
Most definitely yes. Regular cleaning of your jacket or sleeping bag will ensure it a long life and make sure that it keeps performing at its best. Dirt on the outer fabric and body oils trapped on the inside of the jacket or sleeping bag stops the DWR working and will attract water, will stop the down lofting and these all need to be cleaned away. As a down jacket or sleeping bag is a specialist piece of kit made with delicate natural components and high-tech synthetic materials it’ll come as no surprise to you that there’s a very specific way of cleaning it. Don’t worry though as it’s really simple to do at home.

machine

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is the best product to clean all your down kit and clothing as it’s specially formulated for hydrophobic and conventional down. It will effectively clean the item and restore its water-repellency at the same time safely and easily in your washing machine.  Like all Nikwax products, its water based, PFC-free and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals so it’s kind on the environment.

It’s best not to use conventional household detergent as the chemicals and perfume they tend to contain can damage down and they leave behind residues that will impair the DWR and loft of the down.

Anything else?
Remember the water repellent treatments on the jacket and the down? Well they wear off. Don’t panic though. Regular cleaning with Nikwax Down Wash Direct will revive  the water repellency on both fabrics and down that is lost through normal wear and tear.

If you haven’t kept on top of cleaning your down jacket and a top-up from Down Wash Direct isn’t enough to restore the water repellency then all is not lost. Nikwax make a product called Down Proof that will apply a fresh DWR to down jackets and sleeping bags and will even make non-hydrophobic down water repellent. Just follow the instructions on the bottle and all will be well with your kit again.

Iceland-22

 

 

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How to wash your down garments safely.

Winter is at an end and the weather is improving for outdoor activities. Now is a great time to clean your down items before storing them away ready for next winter.

Many people can be nervous about washing down items, but cleaning them with the right product is important to maintain performance, and Nikwax has the perfect aftercare product for you to use!

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is the high performance technical cleaner specifically designed for both hydrophobic and regular down filled items. Easy to use, Down Wash Direct cleans effectively whilst restoring water repellency, maintaining fill power and reviving insulation.

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To care for your down items just follow these steps:

Washing – cleaning and waterproofing

  • Regular detergents can damage the natural properties of down. Cleaning with Down Wash Direct will clean down items and restore the durable water repellency (DWR) of hydrophobic down.
  • Carefully read the washing instructions of Down Wash Direct for either machine wash or hand wash, for best results.
  • For regular down filled items you should follow the washing process with Nikwax Down Proof (in a separate cycle) to add high performance water repellency.
  • Ensure you follow the manufacturer’s aftercare recommendation when washing your down items.
  • For optimum results do not overload your washing machine. Sleeping bags and very large down jackets are best washed in a bath (or equivalent) and then spin dried in a washing machine.

Spinning

  • It is important to remove the maximum amount of water from the down items. To achieve this, spin dry on a slow setting three times. If the items are spun too quickly whilst holding a large volume of water, it is possible to damage the down’s delicate structure.

 

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Drying

  • Tumble dry (if the item’s care label allows) on a low setting, until `clumps` have disappeared from the down fill. This helps ensure the down dries thoroughly and quickly as possible.
  • During the drying process tease apart the clumps regularly to restore loft to the down. Tennis/dryer balls can be used in the drying process to break up clumps.
  • After drying we recommend the item(s) are air dried for at least a day in a warm, dry space.
  • If your item cannot be tumble dried, you should place the item flat on a drying rack in a warm, well ventilated room and repeatedly (every 2 hours) tease apart clumps to restore the loft. This process can take up to 24 hours.

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Storing your down items

  • Down items should be stored in a dry place and hung loosely.
  • Compression bags for sleeping bags are meant for transportation only, however some sleeping bag brands do provide a larger bag specifically for storage.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is safe and easy to use; it is free from dangerous fluorocarbons (PFCs), non-aerosol, is water-based and biodegradable.