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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 Coastal Life – Nikwax’s Rose Cawte

There is always salt in the air, it’s that distinct smell you notice when you arrive at the coast. I love the pureness of it. My favourite feeling is stepping off the train from London and taking a deep breath of the freshest, cleanest air. Those big, bright, clear skies that you only find by the sea. The kind of wind that feels like it clears your entire body out. 7 miles of sandy beach and, on a normal day, only a handful of people to share it with. These are my favourite parts of living in Camber.

But this is an English coastal village and owning a dog – especially a dog like mine – means, regardless of the weather, you always have to go out. Coastal weather can be unpredictable, and it is important to make sure that I am always prepared for 4 seasons in one dog walk. Combining that with a windy day – we get plenty of those – and going up and down the sand dunes, everything comes back with a layer of salt and sand.

This certainly has an impact on the clothing and footwear I use on the beach as it always requires more cleaning. Because I rely on my gear so much, I make sure I use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash® and Footwear Cleaning Gel, so I’m not replacing jackets and shoes every year. The years BN, or ‘before Nikwax’, I used to notice my footwear falling apart: leaking, jackets letting water through, and zips stiffening after just one winter. Both the combination of salt and using regular detergents would speed up the degrading of the fabrics and components. The added bonus of using Nikwax cleaners is that you rarely get caught in the rain with leaking jackets. Often a wash revamps the waterproofing of my coat and if it does ever start to ‘wet out’, a quick wash and re-proof with TX.Direct® does the trick.

The same goes for my running trainers. I am lucky to have some beautiful run routes on my doorstep; from the promenade along the sea defence, the beach itself, and a huge golf course on the western side of the village. This means lots of different terrain to manage, so I have both road and trail shoes and both get equally as dirty! Dusty in the summer and muddy in the winter, alongside the running shoe stink from sweat! I use Footwear Cleaning Gel and Fabric & Leather Proof on my waterproof trail shoes and Sandal & Sports Shoe Wash on the road (non-waterproof) trainers. This keeps them in top condition, breathable, and comfortable as I get the miles in.

We’re an active family. Alongside the dog walking and running, we regularly jump in the sea for a swim. In all honesty, we are quite fair-weather swimmers, but we do take an annual Christmas Day swim – or surf if we are lucky with the waves – and there’s nothing quite like celebrating the start of a new year with a New Year’s Day dip! Autumn and winter swims are so invigorating, building up the courage to get in is the hard part, but it is always so worth it. We found the dry bag from the Nikwax Outdoor Complete Protection Kit is great for stashing valuables whilst you’re in the water and then, in turn, to hold your wet swimwear afterwards.

Living in this little coastal village can sometimes feel very isolated and certainly has its downsides. You get used to washing your windows and cars more often to keep the salt off, the constant battle against sand in your house, especially after a windy day (and having a dog that loves to run in the shallows on the beach), or the difficulty keeping a garden thriving with the salty air, harsh elements and lack of rain in the warmer months. But, as long as I can wrap up warm and stay dry, you will always find me on the beach – even on the wildest days in the middle of winter. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

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Look after your gear and it will look after you

Whether you’re gearing up for the three-peaks challenge, striding out along a coastal path or enjoying a local ramble, the blue skies, patchy sunshine and gentle breezes of late spring make for perfect hiking and walking conditions. However, making sure your gear works hard for you is key to a successful excursion.
Below, we’ve singled out footwear and backpacks for special attention – arguably your most essential pieces of kit for staying comfortable outdoors…

Your footwear
Firstly, make sure you are wearing the right socks for the activity. Is it a long hike? Then look for a pair of close fitting, padded socks. Are you planning an energetic walk in warm weather? Breathable, wicking socks will do the trick. Will the conditions be cold and snowy? Look for insulated socks made of materials such as wool.

Choosing the right footwear is also essential for your comfort and enjoyment on the hills and mountains. Different materials offer different benefits, and a well-fitted boot or shoe will ensure your feet are supported, comfortable and safe. However, even the best brands can agitate your toes and heels, rubbing them and causing blisters – particularly if your feet overheat and get damp.

You can reduce the chances of discomfort by ensuring your footwear will perform at its very best. If it is dirty there is a risk of reduced breathability, which can cause your feet to feel damp and increase the risk of rubbing. Cleaning your footwear regularly with a specialist cleaner, such as Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel, which is designed to revitalise the water repellency and breathability of all waterproof footwear, will help to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Specialist cleaners also care for the integral components of your shoes, such as glues and seams, without risk of damage.

After cleaning your footwear, you should concentrate on proofing it, as boots and shoes that let water seep in will contribute to an uncomfortable hike. For leather footwear we recommend our Waterproofing Wax for Leather, which adds instant waterproofing to all smooth leather footwear. For combination (fabric and leather) footwear, Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof is the go-to product. Don’t underestimate the importance of aftercare to protect your shoes – and your feet! Plus, the added bonus of Nikwax footwear aftercare is that it will increase the useable lifetime of your boots and shoes, so you can enjoy them for longer.

Your backpack
A decent backpack enables you to carry your hiking belongings safely, but how do you choose the right one for you? Whilst size and features are key, fit is the most critical factor. Go Outdoors recommends you load, adjust and wear your pack around the house before leaving for a trip – a correctly fitted backpack should carry 70-80% of the weight on your hips with the rest on the shoulders. The weight should be held close to your back and remain there without excessive movement when you move up and down, or side to side.

As for size, although much of this depends on the terrain of your route, and the weather, a pack sized between 10L and 25L will hold your water bottle, picnic, jacket and sunscreen, which are usually sufficient provisions for a daytrip. For all the campers out there, a 20L – 30L pack is generally suitable for a multiday hike that entails camping and cooking for yourself, whilst serious adventurers should consider a 35L pack. The longer the hike the higher the chance of extra gear, as well as unpredictable weather, tiredness, and clothing changes.

Most backpacks are waterproof, lightweight and flexible, providing maximum protection for the products inside them whilst keeping you comfortable. However, did you know that a dirty backpack can affect its performance, as well as that of your jacket, fleece or base layer? Keeping your pack clean and renewing its durable water repellency periodically will stop it, and your clothing, from wetting out in rainy weather.

Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarWash® is the only cleaner designed to revitalise the water repellency of weatherproof textiles. Recommended for all synthetic and canvas tents and gear, it will clean your backpack effectively, increase its tear strength and protect against UV deterioration. Follow with Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof® for added water repellency and extra UV protection. Using the right aftercare for your backpack will keep it working hard for you, whatever the weather, and extend its useable life.

Look after your gear and it will look after you! Happy hiking and remember to stick to the Countryside Code.

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Nikwax retailer Nevisport on planning your walking outfit…

Founded in 1970, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, by climbers Ian A. Sykes MBE and Ian D. Sutherland, Nevisport has grown to become one of the country’s leading outdoor speciality retailers, with a strong tradition of quality, value for money and genuinely caring for their customers.

Here, they share their tips on how to put together your perfect walking outfit – and how to care for it using Nikwax…

Finding the perfect walking outfit doesn’t need to be complicated; if you follow these simple steps, you will easily put together an outfit that works for you. You will need:

  • Breathable base layer
  • Insulating mid-layer
  • Waterproof outer layers
  • Waterproof walking footwear
  • Good quality accessories

Base layers
It is a misconception that base layers are only for insulation! Actually, their purpose is to wick away moisture and keep you dry, even during exertion so you don’t get clammy. You should avoid cotton tops for this initial layer (cotton naturally absorbs and retains moisture) and instead choose a garment designed specifically for moisture wicking.

Once your base layers have been worn a few times and are starting to smell, clean them with Nikwax BaseWash® to deodorise, freshen, soften, and enhance their drying and cooling performance.

If, during colder months, you choose to wear woollen base layers, then keep these performing with Nikwax Wool Wash. Unlike household detergents that cause wool to retain moisture, Wool Wash maintains the delicate, natural properties of wool. When you get hot, sweat will spread quickly and dry faster, whilst Wool Wash also deodorises to keep garments smelling fresh.  

Mid-layers

Your mid-layer should keep you warm, and fleeces and micro-fleeces are the best insulators for your top half (although you can definitely go old school with a thick wool jumper in extra cold conditions). Fleeces are also lightweight, so you can pack them away easily when the weather warms up.

Nikwax PolarProof® leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on individual fleece fibres that allows moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability and optimising performance in wet weather. It also inhibits pilling of fleece fabrics, so your fleece stays newer for longer.

For your bottom half, we recommend quick drying walking trousers or running tights as these won’t get damp and leech the heat out of your legs. Avoid wearing jeans, which can stay wet and heavy for a very long time, leaving you feeling damp and very uncomfortable!

Outer layers
These will protect you from bad weather and a technical walking jacket paired with over-trousers (optional) are best for the job as your windproof and waterproof layers. In dryer weather however, you might prefer a softshell water resistant option. Look out for jackets with breathability vents (especially in the armpit areas), comfortable hoods, and good pocket space.

Nikwax Tech Wash® is an easy-to-use and highly effective cleaner that will also revitalise the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) of your jacket and maintain its breathability. When Tech Wash alone does not revitalise the DWR, re-proof with Nikwax TX.Direct®.

Footwear
Good quality walking boots are the best choice for most hiking trails, though you can go with lighter, more comfortable walking shoes on well-maintained paths.

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel will remove dirt and bring life back to your waterproof footwear, whilst Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof will replenish Durable Water Repellency on fabric and leather combination footwear, ensuring your feet stay dry and your footwear lasts longer.

Accessories
Finish off your outfit with hiking accessories to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible. Choose moisture-wicking walking socks that provide cushioning, without being so bulky they crowd your toes, and seek out windproof gloves – incredibly important on cooler days. In cold weather, mittens are better at trapping heat.

You should also cover your ears with a water resistant hat for protection from wind chill and wear a snood to protect your neck, which will also allow you to cover the lower part of your face in harsh wind.

Lastly, a good quality, fully adjustable walking rucksack can make a world of difference, allowing you to easily distribute weight and reduce rub, which can be a lifesaver on longer walks.

Shop the full walking and hiking gear range at Nevisport today!

Photo: toomas-tartes – Unsplash

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New Product Bundles!

The downtime that many people are experiencing right now offers the perfect opportunity to clean and re-proof your outdoor gear. We have three new kits now available on Amazon that will ensure you are also highly protected from the weather. These kits will ensure you will stay dry and feel comfortable, whether for use in your outdoor space now, or in readiness for future adventures later this year.

First up we have the Nikwax Basics Kit – view HERE  

Wet weather gear is still very important at this time of year and it is the perfect time to spring clean your wet weather clothing and reproof it ready for the next downpour!

Our basics kit contains your key garment aftercare items!

  • Tech Wash® – to fully clean your wet weather gear and keep it breathable, whilst reviving water repellency.
  • TX.Direct® – to reproof your clothing when cleaning no longer prevents water absorption.
  • Wash Ball – making it super easy to clean and proof your garments in your washing machine.
  • 10L Dry Bag, worth £9.99 – your valuables are kept super safe and dry, or you can pop dirty gear into it.

 

Next up is the Nikwax Footwear Care Kit – view HERE 

Your feet are just as important as the rest of you and the last thing you want is to feel dry and snug in your wet weather clothing, but suddenly find your feet are cold and damp! This kit will ensure your breathable outdoor footwear is fully protected, ready for those future activities you can be planning. Plus, it is great for sports shoes and trainers too!

  • Footwear Cleaning Gel – to remove all dirt and contaminants that mask the water repellency.
  • Fabric & Leather Proof – the high performance spray-on waterproofer for combination footwear.
  • Waterproofing Wax for Leather – cream for smooth leather footwear, providing instant durable water repellency.
  • 10L Dry Bag.

 

Lastly, we have the Nikwax Essentials Kit – view HERE 

The ultimate kit to care for and protect both your clothing and footwear!
This kit contains:

  • Tech Wash – technical cleaner.
  • TX.Direct – wash-in waterproofer.
  • Footwear Cleaning Gel – sponge-on cleaner.
  • Fabric & Leather Proof – spray-on waterproofer.
  • Footwear Brush.
  • 10L Dry Bag. 

 

 There will be additional kits added to Amazon in due course, so keep your eyes peeled for more…

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Nikwax and The Duke of Edinburgh Award

For the last seven decades, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has transformed the lives of millions of young people – teaching vital life skills and giving them the chance to take part in outdoor expeditions and exciting volunteering opportunities.

Nikwax has been working with the DofE for seven years. A relationship that’s set to continue into the future.

Nikwax products feature on the DofE Expedition Kit List, and all of the products have been tried and tested to ensure they are suitable for DofE expeditions and offer value for money. We recommend using Nikwax products as they offer additional protection and prolong the life of expedition kit for DofE Leaders and participants, making expeditions more affordable and enjoyable for everyone.

“Before any expedition it is important to make sure your kit is clean and serviced” says Oliver Dibbens, Operations Officer with the DofE. “Expeditions can be particularly tough on waterproof jackets due to the abrasion caused by a rucksack’s hip belt and harness, so using a spray on these areas to ‘top up’ protection before the expedition can really help. This can also be done to the knees of waterproof trousers. Don’t forget to re-proof your tent and especially the ground sheet, as not only will this help keep you dryer – it also means not having to pack away a sodden tent every morning. Remember, even if it has not been raining there will be morning dew about!”

“And it’s good to get into a habit of re-proofing your equipment, as it gives you the opportunity to inspect for tears and other damage that you might have missed when you put the kit away last time. Expedition kit can be expensive and re-proofing will extend the life of the garments and equipment” says Dibbins.

“Nikwax is incredibly proud to be associated with this charity” says Nikwax Founder, Nick Brown. “To be a part of something whose ethos is to encourage young people into the great outdoors and introduce them to its challenges and opportunities whilst developing outdoor skills is to be admired.

“We are particularly pleased to know that Nikwax is helping thousands of young people to keep themselves and their kit comfortable and protected each year whilst on their DofE expedition. No matter what the weather throws at them.”  

The DofE recommends the Craghoppers Horizon Jacket and Ascent Overtrousers, and the following five Nikwax products:

 

 

 

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How to Care for your Boots

One of the best ways of ensuring your hiking boots are as sustainable as possible, is to look after them so well you never have to replace them. Owning just one pair of boots for many years is a sure-fire way to reduce impact on the environment you’re trying to enjoy.

And the best way to do that is to use environmentally friendly Nikwax products. By applying the right treatment at the right time, you can keep your boots waterproof, protective and in tip-top condition.

Our environmental credentials are award winning
Nikwax is the only major aftercare company to have never used aerosols or fluorocarbons. We have never tested our products on animals, they are solvent and VOC-free, and all our products are water-based. We’ve received numerous awards, including becoming one of only 13 UK companies in 2014 to have received the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development.

Subsequently Nikwax has become the global leader in environmentally safe aftercare and waterproofing solutions that extend the life and performance of technical footwear.

So how do you look after your boots?
Looking after your footwear means following these three simple rules:

Clean…Waterproof…Condition

Clean
Take your boots out on any walk and they’ll get dirty. It’s all part of the fun. But the problem is as soon as the leather or fabric gets dirty, they can start to soak up water. That’s because the dirt masks the effect of any waterproof coating your boots already have. On top of this, when your feet get hot and sweaty, the water vapour inside your boots can’t escape because your shoes aren’t breathable anymore.

Damp feet after a walk is a sure-fire cue you need to clean your boots. But, if you have the time, try to clean them on a regular basis and especially after particularly muddy walks.

However, watch out! Other conventional footwear cleaners and household detergents leave behind a water-attractive residue which masks the water repellency, causing footwear materials to absorb water and ‘wet out’ in damp or wet conditions. Avoid this by using Nikwax’s Footwear Cleaning Gel to thoroughly clean your waterproof footwear safely, and revitalise its water repellency and breathability.

Waterproof
After a while any original water repellent treatment will eventually fade. If you notice that the water repellency of your boots isn’t revitalised simply by cleaning, then it’s time to re-proof your boots.

Nikwax manufactures ‘Fabric & Leather Proof’ and ‘Nubuck & Suede Proof’ – your pick depending upon the material your boots are made from. Alternatively, you can choose to use Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather, for smooth leather surfaces.

Nikwax Proof and Wax is easy and quick to apply and its water repellency develops on air drying. It leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on individual fibres of fabric and leather; thereby allowing moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability and keeping your feet dry.

Condition
When your boots are really past it, then it’s time to bring out the Nikwax Conditioner for Leather. This restores suppleness and softness to dried-out leather whilst waterproofing at the same time.

The comfort of your footwear isn’t just down to dry feet. Your hiking boots need to provide support whilst staying soft and flexible. The more your boots absorb water, the more the shoes’ tanning agents and lubricants are lost, causing the leather to become dry, stiff and prone to splitting. Using Conditioner for Leather prolongs the life of leather footwear, like hiking boots, whilst adding water repellency and maintaining breathability.

And that’s it!
Follow these three simple rules and your hiking and walking boots should bring you years of dry comfort.

 

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Stage 2 of #DoMoreWithNikwax

As summer turns to autumn and holidays draw to a close, here is a little something to inspire you to get up, get out and keep being active!

This summer Nikwax teamed up with three athletes – Markus Stitz, Fredrika Ek and Jenny Tough – to undertake the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge, which saw them ride a combined total of 7,000km, hike 7,000m and camp in 10 countries across Europe in 21 days. You can view the Strava routes here.

At Nikwax we are passionate about everything outdoors and all that nature can provide – we want everyone to see how much is out there and just how great it is to be active, no matter where and no matter the weather! We also wanted to use this opportunity to show our support for conservation champions EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association). Since their beginnings in 2006 they have funded over 100 conservation projects across the globe, putting a phenomenal €2.4 million into protecting natural habitats, wildlife protection, conservation and more. Their tireless work has just seen them smash their target of planting over 2 million trees – a means to benefit local communities, wildlife and show everyone that we need to protect this natural world we all want to enjoy and want future generations to experience.

Our summer challenge shows you just want can be done outdoors, but whatever activity you undertake, bear in mind how precious our environment is.

Stage 2 of #DoMoreWithNikwax – Fredrika Ek takes the baton!

Markus Stitz (record holder for riding a single speed bike around the world) completed the first leg of #DoMoreWithNikwax in the UK, totalling 1,675km of cycling and hiking the highest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis. It was then time to hand over to our next athlete, Fredrika Ek. You can read about stage 1 with Markus here.

Fredrika was awarded the European Adventurer of the Year after spending 2 and a half years bike packing around the world. This saw her travel through 45 countries and clock up 51,000 km on her bike! When we told Fredrika about our plans to take 3 athletes on bike between the 3 highest peaks in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia, she was very keen to be part of it!

After the crew took a night ferry from Hull, UK to Rotterdam, Netherlands, we met Fredrika and the second leg of #DoMoreWithNikwax began.

Day 7 – Fredrika’s challenge started by cycling from Groningen, Netherlands. Groningen is one of the most northerly areas in the Netherlands and provides ample opportunities to cycle past large open spaces with panoramic views! The Dutch are known for their love of bikes, so what better way to enjoy the scenery, and such beautiful landscape will just want to make you keep on cycling!

This first day saw Fredrika cycle 177km, spending almost 8 hours on the road whilst making her way upwards at an elevation of 253m! She finished day one in Bremen, Germany – which is one of many German cities to have environmental zones, whereby only cars which are strictly environmentally friendly are allowed into the main city. Such a great idea to reduce air pollution and perhaps encourage people to find other means to travel – such as by bike! Strava route here.

Day 8 – The destination for the day was Genner, Denmark. The journey started smoothly and took Fredrika across North Germany, but things reached an abrupt halt when local construction work had completely shut down a key route! Are hurriedly re-planning, the journey continued with a re-route of 50km over a river. Fredrika was back on track and by the end of the day had reached a total of cycling 309km whilst being on the road for 13 hours! Pretty impressive stuff for the first two days of her leg of the challenge. Strava route here.

Day 9 – Fredrika’s third day started in Kolding, Denmark, where she then cycled to the very northern tip of Jutland – Hirtshals. Undertaking such a journey inevitably means that some bike maintenance is required en-route, as you would want to ensure your entire journey is smooth and trouble free. The same can be said for your active clothing. You may well wear layers whilst cycling, in order to maintain your body temperature without either getting too cold or too sweaty. You also may want light protection in case of rain!

Outer waterproof layers definitely need to work their magic and keep you dry in case the weather breaks. Nikwax TX.Direct is your go-to product here! If you have cleaned your waterproofs with Nikwax Tech Wash, but find water is still being absorbed, then you need to re-proof. TX.Direct is safe, quick and easy to use, adding water repellency to all of the garment to ensure the fabric remains breathable (letting the sweat out) whilst repelling water off the outer fabric (keeping you dry)!

After a distance of 277km and cycling for almost 12 hours, Fredrika boarded a ferry to head to Norway to continue her epic journey. Strava route here.

Day 10 began in Kristiansand, which is the fifth largest city in Norway. Outdoor activities form a standard part of daily life for people in Norway, with hiking, jogging and running being favourites, and who can blame them when you have some of the most amazing scenery right on your doorstep to enjoy. Whatever time of the year and whatever the weather, Norway’s natural world can be awe-inspiring. But if you cannot make it to somewhere like this, then just be encouraged by Fredrika and search out your own local magical landscape on your doorstep to cycle or walk through. 

Fredrika began heading north towards more wild landscape and with a greater elevation to battle with. It was at this point she passed the 1,000km mark of cycling – an amazing feat on the fourth day of her challenge! After a day cycling 231km for over 9 hours and undertaking an elevation of 1,637m, it was time to stop and take a relaxing night’s break. Nesbyen was the final stop – a village in a more mountainous area of Norway, where a spot of wild camping was enjoyed by Hallingdalselva, with a relaxing swim in the lake! Strava route here.

Day 11 was always going to be a challenge for this part of #DoMoreWithNikwax – the day commenced at 5am as Fredrika set off for the highest peak in Scandinavia – Galdhoppigen. She rode through the Jotunheimen National Park – home of over 250 mountains. We were proud to see Fredrika excel in her challenge today, reaching 217km of riding over 9 hours and with 2,333m of elevation! Are you getting the urge yet to get outdoors and see what adventure you could be having? Strava route here.

Day 12 turned attention away from the bike and on to the hiking! Galdhoppigen is the highest peak standing at 2,469m above sea level and during summer months you can find a few hundred people reaching the summit daily. To hike up any mountain though you need comfortable, and ideally waterproof, footwear that can also protect and support you on the terrain you may encounter. Good care is essential to keep such footwear in good condition. Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather is for smooth leather footwear, whilst Fabric & Leather Proof is for combination footwear – both products add water repellency, whilst keeping your shoes breathable (so no sweaty feet!) and helping to increase the usable lifespan of your walking shoes! Fredrika’s Strava route here.

Upon reaching the peak of Galdhoppigen, we were pleased to get Fredrika to take part in the Nikwax Floating Sleeping Bag challenge – profiling the superior water repellency of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD). NHD is a water resistant down fill and provides 50x more water repellency than conventional down, keeping you warm in very cold conditions and extending the range of conditions you can use down items in. NHD is available within a range of down jackets and sleeping bags from different brands, including RAB, Therm-A-Rest and Mountain Hardwear, amongst others. Keep a look out for the NHD logo! 

Day 13 and it is time to get back on the bike to head south from Otta to Gansvika in Norway, where there was another great opportunity for some wild camping! Nothing beats being outdoors in your home from home – the trusty tent – lapping up all the natural environment has to offer. A great way to relax and rejuvenate, especially after a very long day cycling!

Fredrika totalled 302km of riding, spending over 13 hours on the go, so a relaxing last night was well earnt! Strava route here.

Day 14 is the last day for Fredrika and she faced a distance of 350km to get from Norway to the Swedish border. No matter the activity, keeping refreshed is vital, so if you can find an opportune moment to stop and take a much needed water break then do so!

And so, the week drew to a close. Fredrika totalled a fantastic 1,800km of cycling, which included climbing elevations amounting to 10,000m! This was as well as hiking the tallest peak in Scandinavia and floating around in our NHD filled sleeping bag. What a great achievement for anybody, but what inspiration seeing just what you can do when you put your mind to it. Strava route here.

It does not matter what the weather holds, or where you are, just get outdoors, be active and appreciate all that natural world has to offer, because it is so very rewarding. And you can do this with Nikwax! We have all the aftercare your outdoor clothing and gear needs to enable you to stay safe, warm and dry – and ultimately, having fun and adventures outside. So what are you waiting for? #DoMoreWithNikwax

If you wish to do your bit towards conservation then you can help with EOCA. Visit their website HERE and look for the Donate button!

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Get your gear ready for the half-term winter break

The half-term holidays are not far away and lots of us will take the opportunity to get away on a short winter break. Whether you choose to travel abroad to spend time on the wintry slopes, or even just have a staycation here in the UK, we guarantee you will be taking key pieces of winter kit with you – you just never know what the weather will have in store!

Winter’s break in the Nordic countries or a spot of skiing in the Alps?
Half-term has proven to be a popular time for families to visit the lands of the northern lights, with prices often being slightly cheaper than around Christmas. Perhaps some huskie sledging in Finland? Or, you just prefer to head to the slopes for some skiing in the Alps?

Either way you all need to be kitted out appropriately to keep warm and dry in such cold conditions.

Down jackets can benefit you in really cold, and damp, conditions
If you already have an insulated down jacket, then check it now to see if it needs preparation for your trip, or have you used it already over the start of winter? If items have been used a number of times then they could use a clean, in order to ensure optimum performance whilst on your break.

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Nikwax Down Wash Direct
People may feel nervous about cleaning their down jackets, for fear of the down fill clumping and not returning to its original condition. Fear not! Even if your jacket is not hydrophobic, Down Wash Direct will efficiently clean it without harming the item in any way. Dirt and body oils are removed from the outer fabric and the down fill, whilst durable water repellency is restored. Your down gear will have a prolonged life and its performance will be optimised in cold and wet conditions.

  • Down Wash Direct can be used on your jacket easily in the washing machine.
  • Dry the item thoroughly afterwards. We recommend you spin dry the item a number of times, in order to get as much water out as possible.
  • If you have a tumble dryer, and if the item’s care label allows, then this is the perfect way to ensure the down is completely dry after cleaning.
  • Remember to tease apart any down clumps during the drying of the item – it will help restore the loft so that your jacket is back to normal ready for use.
  • Air the item in a warm environment for a day or so after drying.

After your trip, and when it comes to putting the down jacket away until next season, be sure to store it appropriately. Folding your garment away in a bag will compress the down. Ideally you need it to have plenty of room in order for the loft to be maintained and also keep within a warm environment.

Tempted by a staycation this February?
Wherever you may choose to stay in the UK for this winter break, there is a very strong chance of rain. However, there are still plenty of activities to keep you busy and allow you to continue enjoying the outdoors.  

Wet weather gear should be a must-have for this February half-term. Waterproof items are covered in what is known as a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating – this is what causes rain to ‘bead up’ and roll off the garment, instead of being absorbed into the fabric, which causes it to ‘wet out’. Some people think they cannot wash their waterproof items for fear that this coating will be damaged, when actually it will be reduced if the items are not kept clean.

Nikwax Tech Wash & TX.Direct
The perfect aftercare companions to ensure all of your family’s rainy day clothing is kept in top condition and therefore keep you safe, warm and dry if you experience a wet half-term break.

  • Dirt will eventually prevent the DWR from working, which is when you will get cold and damp in your waterproof clothing.
  • Normal household detergents actually leave water-attracting residues on the fabric, so cleaning with these will not help your waterproof clothing to stay waterproof.
  • Tech Wash is the no.1 high performance cleaner, designed especially for wet weather gear. Cleaning away all dirt, it will revive the DWR on the outer fabric, whilst making sure that garment remains breathable.
  • Eventually, after lots of use, the DWR will need replenishing on waterproof items.
  • TX.Direct is the easy to use wash-in, or spray-on, waterproofer. It leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on the item, while making sure moisture can escape through the fabric from the inside.
  • The result? Your clothing will work again at its full potential.

When the season turns and you plan to put your wet weather clothing away, try to keep it hung up loosely. Don’t be tempted to put it into a stuff sack, because this could lead to the items becoming creased, which in turn could lead to the DWR starting to wear off.

Don’t forget your feet!
Wherever you spend your half-term break, footwear cannot be forgotten. If your feet get wet and cold, then inevitably the rest of you will feel this too. Keep the following Nikwax staple items in your cupboard so your shoes can be cared for too.

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Footwear Cleaning Gel & Waterproofers
Suitable for all outdoor footwear, Footwear Cleaning Gel is a sponge-on aftercare product easily applied by hand to clean away all of the dirt, which may be causing your shoes to absorb water.

  • Rinse shoes to dampen the footwear, then apply Footwear Cleaning Gel generously over the area to be cleaned.
  • You can use a stiff brush to help remove tougher dirt or mud.
  • Rinse well with clean water.
  • Leave the shoes to dry naturally, whereupon the DWR will be revitalised and your shoes will remain comfortable, breathable and supportive.
  • If waterproofing is then required, ensure you use the appropriate product for your type of footwear – these can be used whilst the shoes are wet.
  • Waterproofing Wax for Leather: designed for all smooth leather footwear – perfect for leather hiking boots for example. It keeps leather shoes waterproof, prevents them from stiffening and maintains breathability so feet do not get sweaty inside.
  • Fabric & Leather Proof: for combination outdoor footwear. You can either sponge or spray on to the footwear to provide instant DWR, which will develop when the shoe is left to dry naturally.
  • Nubuck & Suede Proof: provides the same high performance as our other footwear aftercare, but is optimised for nubuck and suede shoes.

Keeping all of your kit cleaned and proofed with Nikwax aftercare will help ensure your clothing will last for much longer and allow you to stay dry and warm when you are enjoying all of your outdoor adventures.

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Prepare for The Wild Boar challenge, 2017!

Each year in Caerphilly, Wales, the Borough Council’s Countryside and Landscape Service, along with Caerphilly Adventure Group, Caerphilly Ramblers, Islwyn Ramblers and other partners, organise the Caerphilly Challenge. This annual event consists of a series of routes for people to walk, or even run; varying from a mild 1-5 mile walk, through to the longer and much more challenging 22-mile route involving steep and difficult terrain.

The event attracts seasoned and non-seasoned walkers and runners of all ages – canines too! People register for the event, choosing the `challenge` that will suit their ability best and use the experience as a means to fundraise for charity, or just to test themselves.

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This year the challenge is The Wild Boar and is taking place on Saturday 6th May. Nikwax will be attending the event, as we love nothing more than an excuse to get out and enjoy the countryside. At our stand will be our Footwear Cleaning Station and if the routes are wet and muddy then you will be needing our services when you finish!

To undertake a challenge like this, your footwear is one of your biggest priorities, as you don’t want to end up with blisters or fungal infections as a result of damp feet from under-performing outdoor footwear. We recommend you prepare your walking shoes in advance of the event, to ensure you are comfortable when undertaking the challenge route of your choice.

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Firstly, clean your footwear with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. This will remove any dirt and contaminants, which may be masking the durable water repellency (DWR) and could cause your feet to get sweaty and damp inside.

If your footwear is relatively new, then Footwear Cleaning Gel will revitalise the existing DWR to ensure water is not absorbed and your footwear remains breathable. However, if your footwear has been thoroughly worn you will need to add DWR after you have cleaned with Footwear Cleaning Gel.

Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof can be applied either as a spray or as sponge-on to wet Fabric and Leather combination footwear. It adds a flexible water repellent treatment to the footwear, which develops upon air-drying and maintains the breathability of your footwear, whilst keeping your feet dry and comfortable.

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If you have full grain leather walking boots then use Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather as the aftercare product, after cleaning with Footwear Cleaning Gel. The support from leather footwear is maintained by tanning agents in the leather, if the leather absorbs water it softens and you lose the tanning agents. As a result you find your leather boots feel stiffer once dry and can lead to splitting, as well as a loss of the breathability. Waterproofing Wax for Leather provides DWR, whilst replenishing tanning agents.

Clean and protect with Nikwax aftercare now and you can join in with the fun in Caerphilly knowing that your footwear will maintain its performance and allow you to just enjoy the outdoors.

Remember to come and visit us at our Footwear Cleaning Station after the walk so we can give your footwear a much-loved Nikwax clean and reproof, ready for your next outdoor challenge!

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For further information and registering your place at The Wild Boar Challenge in Caerphilly, please visit: https://your.caerphilly.gov.uk/caerphillychallengeseries/