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My Saturday Mornings in The Lakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Tech Wash and TX.Direct now

 

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A Trustworthy Partnership: Therm-a-Rest & Nikwax

Across all of their products, Therm-a-Rest’s philosophy is a pretty simple one. The brand, who turn 50 this year, advocate for a better rest outdoors, and build each piece of gear to not only meet the basic needs of sleep, but to exceed them. 

For Therm-a-Rest’s sleeping bags, this philosophy is dialed down even further; the outcome of which is a range of down and synthetic bags that are highly durable and packable and support aall types of adventurer on any type of adventure.

When designing each sleeping bag, designers Jim Giblin and Katie Nash deliberate over every possible thread, cut and filament, with every corner thoughtfully considered to ensure the finished product delivers maximum comfort, warmth and robustness.

Alpinists are deliberate with every piece of gear, from their cams and ice tools to their sporks, before heading up a climb,” says Jim. “We brought that same level of consideration into the design of each sleeping bag.”

The designers’ remit for sleeping bag fill was simple: source a partner that could deliver high-quality, sustainably sourced down that would meet the brand’s needs across multiple temperatures and bag types. The outcome was a long-serving and rewarding partnership with Nikwax – one which started in the early 2010’s and extends well into Therm-a-Rest’s future plans. With a commitment to the Responsible Down Standard, the choice to partner with Nikwax was a simple one to make; for Therm-a-Rest’s down sleeping bags to be considered reliable and tough against even the harshest of environments, their partner not only had to produce the highest quality of down, but be an advocate of impeccable design and responsibility.

Therm-a-Rest Hyperion -6°c sleeping bag. Photo Credit: Scott Rinckenberger

Just one example of this partnership bearing fruit for the brand is the lightweight, highly-versatile Hyperion range of down sleeping bags, available in 0°c for milder Spring nights and a -6°c option for when temperatures start to dip. Packed with 900 fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD), the Hyperion strikes the perfect balance between packability and comfort, while NHD performs 90% better than untreated down when wet, which means that a change in climate doesn’t have to impact sleep. Fill power refers to the relative quality and loft of down and it measures the amount of space one ounce of down will occupy in cubic inches. The higher the fill power, the warmer the item will be because there are more pockets in the down in which air can get trapped – thereby insulating the user. Trust in NHD performance means Therm-a-Rest can deliver a sleeping bag that stays dry and retains loft to keep you protected in both wet and dry conditions. 

Therm-a-Rest’s new Parsec 0°c sleeping bag. Photo Credit: Dan Patitucci

Therm-a-Rest continue to utilize Nikwax Hydrophobic Down across their full assortment of down sleeping bags, the latest of which was launched in 2022 with updated 100% recyclable shells. The 2022 Parsec range, complete with 800 fill Nikwax down, cement Therm-a-Rest’s partnership with the Nikwax brand, and ensure this alignment of quality, durability and responsibility continues.

 

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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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Nikwax and its Brand Partnerships

Nikwax is proud of its multiple brand partnerships, borne out of a mutual desire to develop
outdoor innovation, safely…

Did you know Nikwax Directional Textiles are chosen by Páramo® Outdoor Clothing to keep their users safer, drier and warmer?
Put simply, thanks to Nikwax Directional Textiles, Páramo clothing systems keep you cool or warm, depending on the climate conditions you are in. Too much moisture in a standard breathable fabric base layer, jacket or pair of trousers will lead to sudden and rapid cooling when you stop and rest, whereas directional fabric avoids a build-up of water in your clothing when you are working hard – directing condensation, sweat and rain away from you.

Páramo waterproofs are made from unique Nikwax Analogy® fabric, which mimics the action of animal fur to protect you from rain, condensation and perspiration whilst protecting your insulation. Rigorously tested in the Leeds University Rain Room, which was specially built and donated by Nikwax to enable the assessment of outdoor fabrics and garment designs, Páramo Analogy clothing resists at least 4 hours of heavy rain by moving liquid water through the fabric system, making it easier for you to keep your body temperature stable.

Nikwax Directional Textiles are also the natural choice for rescue services nationwide, including SARDA and Mountain Rescue volunteer teams, who rely on our long-lasting, high performance fabrics used by Páramo to keep them safer, drier and warmer during rescue operations in the very worst conditions…

‘It is dusk on a cold weekend evening. Snow lies on the wet ground and more is falling. A SARDA search dog and handler, accompanied by a navigator from the local Mountain Rescue team, are out searching for a father and son lost on the hills. Mobile phone signal is patchy and the ground is difficult – cut up and with hidden pools of cold water. Nevertheless, the search dog and her handler press on as they have an urgent rescue to complete before night falls.

Under these conditions you need to be able to trust your kit. You know it’s going to be tough staying warm and dry, and you cannot be worrying about whether your clothing is up to the task. This is where Páramo comes into its own: it is the kit of choice for our SARDA handlers as it is tough, hard-wearing and you know it’s going to give you the protection you need.’ Kate Gilliver, SARDA South Wales.

 

The full Nikwax Directional Textiles range used by Páramo includes waterproof, windproof, denim, fleece, insulator cotton and polyester fabrics that are all easily renewable with Nikwax aftercare and can ultimately be recycled after years of service.

For further information on the impressive range of Nikwax Directional Textiles, click here

Did you know Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) is chosen by global outdoor brands to insulate their technical garments and gear?
You do now! We are the proud global leaders in PFC-free waterproofing technologies, which is why brands such as Rab, Haglöfs, Therm-a-Rest, NOMAD, Ternua, Ayacucho and Domex choose NHD* to insulate and prolong the effective life of their top of the range down-filled garments and gear.

Launched in 2013, NHD is a specialist down fill prepared using a Nikwax environmentally sustainable water repellent treatment, which makes it (up to) a huge 200 times more water resistant than untreated down. The result? You stay warmer and drier in a wider range of conditions, and your gear lasts longer. It’s no wonder top notch outdoor clothing and gear companies use NHD.

Since launching our award winning NHD eight years ago, we’ve been beavering away behind the scenes with our brand partners to develop and improve our processes. The result? Our two latest innovations: NHD+ and NHD Recycled.

NHD+ is the first and only hydrophobic down to exceed an incredible 10,000 minutes of continuous shake time on the industry IDFB 18a Shake Test. That’s 7 days of constant exposure to water! Rab, Haglöfs, Therm-a-Rest and NOMAD all trust NHD+ to take their gear to the next level.

NHD Recycled was created to meet our brand partners’ wish to use recycled down, without compromising on quality. Old down is given a new lease of life, passing an impressive 1,000 minutes of shake time on the industry IDFB 18a Shake Test. We delivered, and Rab used our NHD Recycled in their Autumn/Winter 20/21 collection and are expanding their use of NHD Recycled for Autumn/Winter 21/22.

Here’s what our valued brand partners 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 choose Nikwax Hydrophobic Down treatment to dramatically reduce the negative effects 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.’ Jim Evans, 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.’ Lindsay Morrison, 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.’ Jenny Spiik, Haglöfs.

 ‘NOMAD is taking another step forward in the process of creating innovative and sustainable products by working with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+.’ Roos Schaffels, NOMAD.

*In line with ours and our brand partners’ environmental values, Nikwax Hydrophobic Down only works with responsible down brands who have RDS or TDS certification:
• RDS or TDS ensures the safety and welfare of birds farmed for down
• No live plucking takes place
• Force-feeding is prohibited
• The conditions in which the birds are kept ensures best quality of life.

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Nikwax Hydrophobic Down – the world’s best performing hydrophobic down – Chosen By NOMAD®

NOMAD chooses Nikwax Hydrophobic Down for its iconic yellow sleeping bags, taking performance to a new level in extreme cold and wet conditions

New for Autumn/Winter
NOMAD have launched a range of new high performance sleeping bags for Autumn/Winter 20-21 filled with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ (NHD+). This is the beginning of a new brand partnership with NOMAD, who plan to expand the use of NHD+ in their range of sleeping bags for 2021. Products featuring NHD+ will be appearing on NOMAD’s new look website and in their upcoming ‘I am NOMAD’ campaign. 

The world’s best performing hydrophobic down
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ is prepared using a high performance, completely PFC-free Nikwax  treatment process. It is up to 250 times more water resistant than standard down, conserving its natural insulating qualities even when wet.

Nikwax has taken nature’s best insulator and made it even better. NOMAD have chosen NHD+ as it is the best performing hydrophobic down available. NHD+ is the first and only hydrophobic down to exceed 10,000 minutes on the industry IDFB 18A Shake Test, keeping its loft and maintaining its insulation properties after 7 days constant exposure to water. NHD+ is PFC-free and is only used in conjunction with Responsible Down Standard (RDS) and Traceable Down Standard (TDS) certified down.

NHD+ keeps users warm, dry and comfortable in a wider range of conditions. It will not wet out from rain, snow and 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.

Tim Pickering, Head of Product Development at Nikwax says, “We’re proud to be partnering with NOMAD, a brand with a really rich heritage of innovation in down sleeping bags. The addition of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+ to NOMAD’s range will enable adventurers to stay warmer and drier for even longer.”

NOMAD choose NHD+
NOMAD, have partnered with Nikwax and will now be using NHD+ in their down gear – proudly using the world’s best performing hydrophobic down to fill their Orion 900, 1200 and Gemini 750 and 1100 sleeping bags.  

“NOMAD is proud to be taking another step forward in the process of creating innovative and sustainable products by working with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down+.”  

To find out more about our ‘Chosen By’ campaign take a look at our dedicated website: http://chosenby.nikwax.com/

 

 

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Interview with Chad Altbaier of Downlite

This month we took time out with Chad Altbaier, VP for Downlite Outdoor, a family-owned and managed company in the US, which focuses on down processing. Nikwax have partnered with Downlite for the production of Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD).

Downlite have over 100 years’ experience, with knowledge of every facet of the down industry, and work with many leading brands and retailers within the outdoor industry. They are committed to sourcing down responsibly, with additional focus on using eco-friendly chemicals and being sustainable – things that Nikwax consider to be of high importance within this industry. 

Read on to learn more from Chad, who gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of Downlite, and shares how their focus on high quality production and strong ethical values are at the heart of their business.

How long have you worked in the Down industry? 
I’ve been with DOWNLITE for just shy of 17 years.  As a family business, however, I did have some exposure to the Feather & Down industry prior to that – even when I was not working for the business directly.

What lead you to work in the industry?
Who wouldn’t want to work with bi-products of waterfowl for a living?

What is Downlite’s relationship with Nikwax?
DOWNLITE is a licensee and user of the Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) PFC-free DWR product for treating down supplied to the apparel and sleeping bag industries.

How long ago did Downlite start working with Nikwax?
We had initial conversations with Nikwax approximately 5 years ago, and signed our initial supply & license agreement at the end of 2015.  We now offer NHD treated down from both our processing mill in the USA, as well as our partner facility in China.

Why did Downlite choose Nikwax to work with?
Quite simply, the NHD PFC-free DWR treatment is the best performing DWR treatment on the market.  This product performance, coupled with Nikwax’s consumer brand awareness and unmatched environmental stewardship, made the decision quite easy.

Why should customers choose Downlite products?
DOWNLITE has built its long-standing reputation on the core pillars of quality, integrity, innovation, unmatched service, and environmental stewardship.  With over 100 years of experience in down processing, and global sourcing and processing scale, we are a trusted partner in all the channels we serve – including finished filled bedding for the retail and hospitality markets, and material supply for our Outdoor division.

What are the benefits of Downlite/Hydrophobic down items (from Downlite’s perspective?)?
When down saturates, it can lose its loft, insulating value, become heavy/smelly, and generally does not perform as it should.  When a high performance DWR treatment is applied to the down, this dramatically reduces the water absorption of the down clusters – which can often occur in damp environments, or when participating in a physically demanding activity.   The Nikwax offering is the safest, highest performing PFC-free DWR treatment that we’ve tested.

What are the key principles of responsible down?
Outerwear brands looked to DOWNLITE to help collaborate on the leading down traceability certifications in the market today, and we were the world’s first RDS and TDS certified down processor.  Even before these standards were created, our proprietary down-trac™ process ensured complete traceability and the highest levels of animal welfare requirements, including strict animal husbandry criteria that must be achieved.

What should customers look out for when selecting an item made from down?
The quality of the down is critical.  This is both technically measurable – in terms of down cluster, fill power, etc – and also in terms of the supplier itself.  Consistency and integrity are critical within the supply chain, as is the environmental stewardship, experience, and scale of the organization.  Not all down and not all down suppliers are created equal.

 

 

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DoMoreWithNikwax – Part 3!

As you may know, this summer we undertook a challenge to #DoMoreWithNikwax, where we teamed up with 3 top athletes and got them to cycle / hike / camp in 10 countries across Europe in just 21 days! Markus Stitz was our first challenger and then Fredrika Ek took over for part two. Finally it was the turn of Jenny Tough to take the helm of the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge. Jenny is an endurance athlete who grew up in Canada but now lives in Scotland, and adventure is in her blood. Currently her focus is on running solo over a mountain range in every continent – that is quite some project to take on!

Read on for Jenny’s week and be inspired to #DoMoreWithNikwax

Day 15: Jenny Tough takes over from Fredrika Ek in Gothenburg, Sweden! Sweden is not just about ABBA – if you have never been then there is plenty to explore. Gothenburg is the largest non-capital in the Nordic countries for one! There is plenty to do no matter what the season in Sweden – rock climbing in the Archipelago, walking in local parks, ice skating in winter…The Swedes love getting outdoors at all times and the scenery is inspiring throughout the year.

But there was no hanging around for Jenny – she had to make her way into Denmark, so the race for her was on!

372km later and Jenny arrived in Vordlingborg, Denmark. That was a pretty good start to the cycling for just day one and for somebody that does not truly consider themselves a cyclist!

Day 16: Another 300km took Jenny from Denmark over into Germany – to Tangermünde on the Elbe river, which runs from the Czech Republic, through Germany and all the way to the North Sea!

Day 17: Today’s ride from Tangermünde was one that was wrought with potential delays as Jenny seemed to encounter road repair season in Germany. What with that and the hot sun beating down, the cycle was a challenge!

In hot conditions you need your gear to perform for you and if you are someone who likes to cycle, or do any kind of energetic activity on a very regular basis, then you need to know your next-to-skin clothing will keep you cool and definitely not make you smell! Nikwax BaseWash is the aftercare we recommend for washing all technical base layers. It is far kinder than normal detergent – which can leave a water-attracting residue on fabrics and basically prevent the wicking capabilities from working, plus it does not fully remove odours but just masks them with scent. This means you would sweat when being active, but your garment would not dry quickly enough, so you end up smelling and feeling damp! BaseWash effectively removes odours from base layers and next-to-skin clothing, helping to prevent bacterial build-up. Also, it softens your base layers so they are always comfortable, whilst its specialist formula enhances the drying capabilities – meaning the fabric will wick away sweat and help regulate your temperature. Perfect if being active in warm conditions like Jenny was doing!

250km later leads Jenny to Triptis, Germany. Day 3 was another successful day!

Day 18: Jenny’s 4th day of the challenge and it was time to head south, from Triptis down through Schmidmühlen in the Bavarian region of Germany. The rolling hills began forming a backdrop to the cycle route and we knew that the Alps were not far away. The focus today was to make it to the destination for the hiking element of the challenge and she did it! Jenny pedalled a distance of over 200km, keeping up the power despite the summer sunshine.

Day 19: So, this was the last hiking element for the #DoMoreWithNikwax summer challenge! This was the day that Jenny Tough would climb Germany’s highest mountain peak – Zugspitze!

Standing 2,963 metres above sea level, Zugspitze houses three glaciers, as well as Germany’s highest ski resort. So if you fancy some winter snow sports then perhaps this is the location for you? Even if skiing does not call to you, then the view on its own may be enough to entice you to don some walking boots. From the top of the Zugspitze you can see across more than 400 mountain peaks. Now that would make for some amazing photographs!

The weather was in our favour – blue sky and sun – making the mountainous landscape full of colours and shadows. The summit was reached and what an accomplishment to achieve.

Jenny summed it all up quite nicely:
Crawling up the ridge of Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany, was one of those mountain moments that leaves you breathless (and out of breath from that final scramble!). I sat down and took my time to absorb the insane view, and thought about how lucky I am to be able to do these things – to have the health that carries me to the top of a mountain, the freedom to travel the planet, and access to these incredible outdoor spaces that sometimes seem to be disappearing before our eyes. Not everyone on the planet has all those three things, and I know I’m incredibly lucky, and also responsible for looking after our wild places. I want everyone to get outside and do more, and I hope that generations to come are still able to do that. Everybody needs a good mountain moment in their life!”

That night was spent sleeping under the stars – something we all need to experience at least once in our lives! Jenny was kept toasty warm in her Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) filled sleeping bag. NHD is the PFC-free down fill that gives you 50x more water repellency for your down items compared to standard down, ensuring you stay warm and dry even in extreme cold conditions.

Day 20: Back on the bike to cycle from Lake Eibsee (by Zugspitze) north. In just 2 days Jenny would be ending her mammoth challenge in Rotterdam, so it was time to get pedal power underway. Another 200+ km later and she reached Ulm, Germany.

Day 21: The penultimate day of #DoMoreWithNikwax and Jenny got some scenic views as she cycled through vineyards, making her way further north. The destination was Mannheim, a city situated between the rivers Rhine and Neckar. Mannheim is a creative and cultural location, but it also contains a magical nature reserve with its own forest so you can easily step away from city culture and unwind amongst nature. The best of both worlds, some could say! Jenny finished the day with 216km clocked up.

Day 22: So this was it, the last day for Jenny where she leaves Germany and her week’s adventures behind to return to Rotterdam, ready to travel back to the UK. The week has been filled with sunshine, thunderstorms, an array of landscapes, the highest peak in Germany and fantastic memories created. Jenny cycled 1,800km and hiked 2,963 metres and ended the challenge on a high.

Whatever activities you do we just want to encourage and inspire you to keep getting outdoors. Nikwax’s full aftercare range can protect you in all weather, so you can just keep enjoying being outside. There is so much to experience out there!

Also, we urge people to take a moment to learn about EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association), who we support wholeheartedly. They donate thousands each year towards protecting and conserving amazing natural habitat all across the world. We don’t want to lose the great outdoors, so perhaps you can help and pledge your support to EOCA here.

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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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Interview with cycling world record breaker – Markus Stitz

Markus Stitz hit the headlines in 2016 when he became the first person to cycle Around the World on a single speed bike (a bike with just one fixed gear). He peddled 34,097 kilometres in total, covering 26 different countries. But he says those aren’t the most important figures to him, “I guess the most interesting stat was the total 342,000 metres I climbed. That shows how hard the route was. This was my most significant achievement.” That’s the equivalent of 38 times up Mount Everest!

Markus has been cycling seriously since 2009. First on a mountain bike, then road then back to the mountain bike. And when he moved to Scotland he really got into the long-distance stuff. Launching Bikepacking Scotland and becoming a qualified MTB Leader.

He has just completed a 650km route in Scotland in a slightly different style, “Most recently I have been getting into gravel routes. My focus is always changing but this is a nice mixture of dirt tracks and then back to road.

“I wouldn’t describe myself as a racer. I like long distance. I use my fitness to be able to get to places I haven’t been before.”

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So, Markus, what made you want to be a part of the #DoMoreWithNikwax challenge?
“I think this campaign is really interesting and I came to it at the right time. After I had completed my Round the World trip I spent quite a lot of time at my desk developing Bikepacking Scotland. I am really feeling the urge to get back on my bike and get some big miles done. I want some adventures!

“I am also pretty passionate about Scotland. So having a challenge that includes Fort William and Ben Nevis is pretty tempting! It is inspiring me.”

The Nikwax campaign focuses on the outdoor industry’s environmental credentials. How important is this to you?
“A lot of the work I am doing at the moment is to inspire more people to use their bikes, full stop. I think the UK is a pretty car-dependent country. The more I can do to get people out of their cars and onto a bike exploring the country is a really good thing. I want to inspire people to use different modes of transport. I am very keen on not leaving footprints wherever I go. And I think this should be the same principle for any company in the outdoor industry.”

You’re going to be cycling up to 15 hours a day. How fit and ready are you feeling?
“I am pretty confident I can handle the distance. I am getting the bike up to speed at the moment. I have done the distance in the past. Two weekends ago I took the single speed bike out and covered 240km in a day and that bike is not really suitable for that! So with the right bike – which I am building up at the moment – I should be fine. The most important thing when it comes to distance is the mental side of things. Being in the right mindset. I am looking forward to long days in the saddle again – it’s going to be a challenge, but it is supposed to be.”

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Nikwax is all about protecting our gear so it lasts. How do you look after your gear?
“I am trying my best! It’s no coincidence but I have just reproofed my waterproofs with Nikwax! I recently went on a road trip in Scotland so I had to have my waterproofs ready! I am reliant on kit that does the job. It has to be rugged and functional over long distances. Waterproofing is important if you live in Scotland – we get the odd bit of rain! Your kit needs to work, there’s no room for error.”

What are you most looking forward to learning about?
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is very interesting to me. I used a down sleeping bag and jacket on my Round the World adventure because down is a lovely warm material that’s also super lightweight. These are key criteria for bikepacking. But the only issue was I had to be really careful not to get it wet! So to be able to try out Hydrophobic Down will be really interesting.”

Where are your favourite places to ride in Scotland?
“Honestly my favourite place at the moment is Glen Feshie in the Cairngorms. It is an interesting region for bikepacking. The guy who owns the estate is keen on rewilding so the landscape is fascinating. There is one of the toughest sections there because I had to cross three rivers in water up to my waist. It’s very tricky in cycling shoes! But the land is equally fascinating and challenging at the same time.

“Another great location is Sandwood Bay in the north west of Scotland. It’s a stunning beach and bay with plenty of opportunities to pitch your tent. You’re far away from the road so the only people there are people who have had to make an effort to get there. It’s the best place for a micro adventure.”

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What are your top tips for bike packing?
“You need to have waterproof kit that also keeps you warm. The other most important factor for bikepacking is to find stuff with the lowest pack size imaginable. Weight is important but as soon as you throw a packet of biscuits into your pack you’ve negated the weight! So it’s about size. Bikepacking is a pretty good testing ground for your kit.”

Markus Stitz is a keen photographer and film maker and will be tracking his journey through his social media feeds. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and his You Tube channel.

https://twitter.com/reizkultur

https://www.facebook.com/fearlessandunique/

https://www.instagram.com/reizkultur/

https://www.youtube.com/user/reizkultur

#DoMoreWithNikwax

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Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ (NHD) Wins 2018 OutDoor Award

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) technology was entered in the sleeping bags category within this year’s OutDoor Industry Awards and we can proudly announce that OutDoor selected NHD technology as a winner within this category, recognising the superior water repellency that 100% PFC-free NHD gives down sleeping bags and jackets.

 

What is Nikwax Hydrophobic Down?
Nikwax Hydrophobic Down (NHD) is a technology designed to resist water. Individual down fibres are treated with Nikwax, meaning Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is 50x more water-repellent than conventional down. It maintains its ability to insulate you even after being shaken with water for 16 hours, extending the range of conditions in which you can use your favourite down clothing and gear.

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down leading industry partners:
PFC-free, NHD technology is used by leading outdoor brands in down sleeping bags and jackets, including Rab, Berghaus, Alpkit, Nemo, Mountain Hardwear and Therm-A-Rest. Look for the NHD on the label.

Why NHD and how does it work?
Although down offers superb insulating properties, it clumps together if it gets wet, leaving you feeling cold. Nikwax’s revolutionary Hydrophobic Down is a water resistant down fill that retains loft and recovers quickly after a downpour; all without adding weight.

It works by adding a flexible Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to each individual down filament, thereby reducing the absorption of moisture – whether from the inside (perspiration, condensation) or the outside (rain and snow). It maintains its high performance loft and insulation properties in cold and damp conditions.

Wet down loses its insulating properties because water conducts heat away from the body up to 25 times faster than air
It’s also heavier and loses its breathability, resulting in a cold, wet and uncomfortable experience. But a reduction in insulation can also be dangerous and in severe cases can lead to hypothermia.

That’s why Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is the optimal down fill for sleeping bags, jackets and gilets. It’s down that has a water resistant treatment applied to it which is at least 50 times more water resistant than standard down, maintaining loft, breathability and an ability to continue to insulate.  Furthermore, because it stays moisture free, there’s less bacteria trapped inside a garment, which can result in the breakdown of damp down. This increases the useable lifetime of clothing and gear and also provides odour resistance.

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down’s radical features offer clothing manufacturers more versatility as their products can be used in a much wider variety of conditions
The increased performance of Hydrophobic Down in comparison to similar down filled garments means Nikwax treated down will continue to be effective in conditions where conventional untreated down filled items would fail.