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EcoSki: How to make your ski kit last

Our friends at Ecoski raise awareness about how we can all meaningfully reduce our impact as skiers, help protect the very thing we all love and make it easier for snow sport enthusiasts to make better choices. 

They have brought together key figures from the world of sport, environmental activism and fashion, to help them as advisors, in their journey towards a more sustainable way of life. This panel of advisors provide crucial insight, expertise and guidance through their first-hand experience and commitment to positive change. When these advisors include 4 times Olympic skier and host of Ski Sunday, Chemmy Alcott, and Polar Adventurer and Explorer Martin Hartley, you know they are serious about what they do and want to achieve.

Here they share their tips on making your ski or snow-sport kit last.

Make it last
Ski kit is not cheap and until very recently has essentially been made of some form of fossil fuel derived plastic. This means that the ski pants you wore once but don’t like any more, or the jacket that your child has outgrown, will take somewhere in the region of 500 years to decompose when it ends up in landfill.

Research has shown that extending the active life of one item of ski kit leads to a reduction in the carbon, water and waste footprint by up to 10 per cent — so taking care of your ski kit to make it last as long as possible is the best policy for both your pocket and the planet.

But, how to go about it?

Buy well and wear well
Begin with buying quality, not quantity. While not everyone can afford top-of-the-range kit, the more expensive a garment, generally the better it will be manufactured and the longer its life. As with fast fashion, if you avoid anything that you think you might not like the following season, or in two years’ time — for example, a bold print or colour, or a fur trim — you’re more likely to wear it time and again.

Look after your kit
Washing outdoor clothing in regular detergent and fabric conditioners inhibits its water resistant properties, making it less effective and at risk of degrading faster than if using appropriate aftercare. Sponge off marks or stains when they appear to help reduce the build-up of any oils or contaminants that can mask the water repellency.

Remember sunlight will degrade the properties of technical clothing too because of the harmful UV rays that can reduce fabric tear strength.

Re-proof to revive
If your kit is starting to ‘wet out’ rather than water beading up and running off the fabric, don’t despair – you just need to give it some TLC with Nikwax. Dirt, body oils, and even smoke, can all mask the water repellent coating on your gear, meaning it will soak up water. That’s why it’s key to use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash®. Tech Wash is the best performing technical cleaner on the market that effectively cleans away dirt while maintaining the water repellency and breathability of your jacket.

Should cleaning alone not revitalise water repellency you should then re-proof your ski garments with  TX.Direct®  

Care for your base layers

If you have smelly base layers, don’t chuck them away! Nikwax has a cleaner and conditioner formulated specifically to remove odours from synthetic base layers and other items worn next to the skin. BaseWash cleans away all body oils and bacteria and deodorises at the same time, so you stay fresher for longer. There’s even a gentle version for woollen base layers – Wool Wash – designed to be kind to the natural properties of wool.

Nikwax Sweatproofing products also enhance the ability of your base layers to wick sweat away from your skin so you stay comfortable and your body temperature is regulated during activity. Find a selection here.

Nikwax also have the following ski related products: Glove Proof, Visor Proof and Ski Skin Proof. Rather than buy new each year, use Nikwax products to enhance the performance of your gear and you will be helping prevent the addition of textiles into landfill.

A stitch in time
Extend the life of your kit by mending any tears. Gore-Tex patches are easily bought online or, contact the original manufacturer to get a colour and fabric match. A good top tip for mending tears in down jackets is to use a sailing spinnaker tape — you literally cut a circle of the fabric, peel off the backing, place it over the hole and rub vigorously to bond the glue to the jacket. If you’re not skilled enough to replace a zipper yourself, most manufacturers have a repair service, but you could also try the local high street or EcoSki offers a repair service, too.

Don’t bin it!
At the end of the day, don’t bin it! Skiwear is designed to be durable and hardwearing so if your children have outgrown their kit or you decide it’s time for a change, why not sell your ski gear to someone else? “Preloved” ski kit sells well; just make sure it’s clean and you’re honest about any wear and tear. EcoSki sells mens’, womens’ and childrens’ pre-owned skiwear. If your kit really isn’t worth re-selling it can it be shredded and used as insulation in building materials or recycled via EcoSki’s recycling partners. Anything to keep it in circulation and living a full life.

 

 

 

 

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Hit the slopes with confidence when you use Nikwax on your gear

Summer is becoming a distant memory, but is replaced with new excitement as the winter sports season is almost upon us. So many of us now like to turn our hand to snowboarding, skiing, or other snow-based activities during this time of the year and now is the time to check out your kit and get it ready before you head off to your mountain chalet.

Some of the key items you will need:

Helmet: if it is more than 5 seasons old then the chances are you should look to replace it. The inner supportive lining can wear down over time and you definitely want to ensure your head is protected as strongly as possible.

Skis: if they have been stored away for quite some time, then they will need to be waxed ready for use. Also, take this opportunity to check all the bindings still work appropriately.

Goggles: to help with ensuring clear vision when on the slopes, protect your goggles with Nikwax Visor Proof. This spray-on rain repellent is made specifically for visors and goggles, and will improve the vision by shedding water. 

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Base & Mid Layers: layering is key when doing winter sports activities. You want your base/mid layers to be breathable, to wick away sweat and be fast drying, to ensure that you don’t start to feel clammy or uncomfortable, especially when out in the glare of the mountain sun. Base layers can accumulate body oils over time, leading to them smelling. Use Nikwax BaseFresh, with your household detergent, to rid your base layers of bacteria and deodorise them so that you smell fresh! Mid layers, such as fleeces will provide great insulation – you need to keep warm as weather conditions can change quickly. Nikwax PolarProof will protect your mid layer fleece from absorbing water, as it coats the fabric in a water repellent formula. It also prevents pilling on the fabric, so your item stays looking as good as new.

Ski Jackets & Salopettes: the key outerwear, which will protect you against the elements, be it rain, snow, sleet or wind. Combined with your layers, you will be able to add and remove garments as required, to maximise your comfort when being active. If you have not cleaned the items in a while, then we recommend you wash them in Nikwax Tech Wash – the number 1 high performance cleaner for technical clothing. Safe and easy to use in a washing machine, Tech Wash will remove all dirt and contaminants from the garments, whilst reviving the durable water repellent (DWR) coating.

When reproofing is required then look no further than Nikwax TX.Direct. Another innovative Nikwax water-based product, TX.Direct will add DWR to your water repellent ski gear, whilst revitalising the breathability. The partnership of Tech Wash and TX. Direct ensures that the performance of your gear is optimised, preventing you getting cold and wet in winter conditions. You can focus on the thrill of the snow and stay warm, dry and comfortable.

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Gloves: we lose a lot of heat from our head and our hands, so make sure you have your winter season gloves ready. Try and get a pair that are insulated – your hands can lose body heat very quickly when out in extreme cold conditions. Because you want to keep your hands toasty and dry, use sponge-on Nikwax Glove Proof to add water repellency. Glove Proof will also help maintain palm grip on gloves and is easy to apply. For leather gloves, Glove Proof will also condition the tanning agents. You can clean them first with Tech Wash to remove any dirt, but leather gloves should be cleaned with Nikwax Leather Cleaner before applying Glove Proof.

Go out and enjoy the thrill of the season. Just remember, when it is over and you want to store your gear away until the next time, clean the items first with Tech Wash! By cleaning away the dirt you will be maintaining the lifespan of your gear and it will be ready for your next adventure!

Photos: iStock / Shutterstock

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Nikwax Glove Proof – as much of a safety item as strapping on your gloves!

Motorcycle gloves must be one of the most difficult pieces of kit to make waterproof. They are gloves, much like any other, but they need to keep a rider’s hands warm, comfortable, and protected. Modern motorcycle gloves contain special protection over the knuckles, finger joints and the scaphoid and wrist area amongst others. At the same time the glove needs to move about easily for throttle control, clutch and front brake control. Perhaps the most important thing is that it needs to stay on if you slide along the road. All in all then, they contain a lot of different stitches, materials and patterns, and they all face the elements like no other bit of kit you wear.

A while back I faced a problem with a pair of gloves that I bought before Christmas, specifically for riding in the cold and wet Irish winter. They were keeping my hands dry, but not keeping them as warm as they could have been. The reason? The outer fabrics, including the leather, had become waterlogged as I rode through a storm strong enough to close off some of the country’s airports. This had ensured that my hands were covered in a water jacket with the Hipora waterproof inner skin doing an admirable job of stopping it from physically reaching my skin.

So here we have a glove which is loaded with protection, as I described earlier, but which is, after a couple of hours on the road, preventing me from feeling anything through the handlebars. Believe me, as you approach a roundabout on a windy and wet day and you eye up diesel patches on the approach you really do need to feel what the front brake is doing as you apply the lever! No, my VFR has no ABS system! In preventing me from feeling much through the handlebars due to the cold micro-environment created by the waterlogging, this glove, one of the safest you can buy, was becoming a liability. This is where Nikwax Glove Proof enters the equation. “At last” I hear you think…

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The idea behind Nikwax Glove Proof seems rather simple, but because it is applied to gloves there was always going to be an added complication. The gloves need to remain grippy to ensure proper control of the throttle, brakes, clutch and steering, so a traditional approach to waterproofing leather would not really be acceptable. Not unless you enjoyed applying a death-grip to the throttle every time you tried to accelerate away from the lights! Applying the solution to the gloves was pretty easy and allowed me time to ponder over whether to believe the packaging and its claim that the gloves would not become slippery due to the Glove Proof. The sponge applicator makes the job very easy and the solution itself is quite liquid, which is a good thing because of the range of seams and stitches that need to be covered but which the sponge applicator will not necessarily manage to reach to. Maybe it’s just me but there is a certain satisfaction to seeing the solution flow into each crevice, because you just know it’s going to work its way in and do the job it was meant to. The only issue was that the gloves were now noticeably shinier; it was as if they had been restored to new, but such a gloss set off alarm bells about how grippy, or not, the gloves would be.

I have to admit, I was surprised in the best possible way, but then I really did want the stuff to work. Climbing aboard my VFR for the morning commute I did notice that my gloves felt a little slippy, almost like they had been when they were brand new, but after about five minutes that was gone and they felt as they had always done. On the same day there was a light rain shower and I took particular notice of how the water reacted with my gloves. Before applying the Glove Proof, in such a light shower, the gloves would have kept my hands dry but would have soaked in a certain amount of water to do that. With the Glove Proof applied, the water simply beaded up and ran off the glove. It was like a freshly waxed car, or a jacket treated with Nikwax TX Direct come to think of it…now there is a thought!

Although I have not had the chance, nor the weather, to test Glove Proof in a complete downpour, the initial signs are good and I am convinced that this is not a product of mere comfort but a product of safety. Warm and dry hands make for controlled riding which makes for safe riding. Stay tuned for any updates…apparently the relatively good weather is supposed to go away soon so I’ll be back to watching water bead up on my revitalised gloves!

Our Guest Blogger Nevin Power is a history student, university tutor, and an avid motorcyclist from Cork, Ireland. Nevin rides an 18-year old Honda VFR 750 almost every day as his main form of transport and uses Nikwax products to keep his gear clean, dry, and conditioned in all weathers.
You can check his blog at: https://anysidedrive.blogspot.com