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Nikwax becomes ‘Sustaining Member’ of EOCA

Nikwax is proud to be a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), and our commitment to the cause was further underlined by becoming one of the first ‘Sustaining Members’ at OutDoor in Friedrichshafen, Germany this July.

EOCA is an organisation that uses its membership fees to fund and support environmental causes around the world. 100% of fees from EOCA go towards the support of its projects. In the past 18 months, EOCA has gone through tremendous growth, increasing by 53%, which will be carefully managed so it can be sustained over a long period.

The new Sustaining Members have pledged an extra €10,000 to the association in terms of support per year for the next three years, which is on top of their annual membership fees.

As a result of the new initiative, EOCA will now be able to create a second funding round per year, therefore increasing the money being put back into the environment every year.

Nikwax founder Nick Brown, who is also EOCA Vice President and Advisor, said of Nikwax’s EOCA membership: “Nikwax is involved with EOCA because we believe that conservation is a crucially important part of building a sustainable future for our business and our stakeholders. The Outdoor Industry depends upon the naturally wild environment for its very existence, and so it makes total sense to help conserve it.”

Alongside Nikwax, the other companies to become Sustaining Members were: OutDoor (Messe Friedrichshafen), Pertex, KEEN Footwear, ISPO (Messe München), Patagonia and the European Outdoor Group (EOG).

The declaration was signed at the recent OutDoor international press conference in Friedrichshafen, where Nikwax was also one of the exhibitors with an indoor stand and an outdoor footwear care clinic. Nikwax CEO, Nick Brown, held a press conference at the show to discuss the new Nikwax Fleece and Nikwax Windproof PFC-treatment-free Fabrics, fielding questions from those present on the newest technology on the market.

For more information on the new ‘Sustaining Members’ of EOCA, click here.

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Once famous for Cheese – now famous for Challenges!

What have a sleeping giant Wild Boar, a mystical standing stone and menacing hills shrouded in a swirling ethereal mist got in common? Game of Thrones perhaps? Why no! – we’re merely Waxing lyrical about features of interest that our army of walking warriors enjoyed as they braved the elements to walk, jog and even run the Caerphilly Challenge Series ‘Wild Boar’ 2014.

A fantastic Saturday in May saw the running (by some) of the third Challenge, a not for profit community event part funded by Ramblers Cymru’s ‘Lets Walk Cymru’ and organised by a partnership of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Caerphilly County Borough Council and many others.

Caerphilly Image 2

Welcoming a record number of all-comers with our ethos of challenges for people of any ability, routes ranging from 1, 5, 9 and 14 miles, up to a boot-bustin’ 22 mile yomp through some of Caerphilly’s wild and rugged Rhymney (pronounced Rum-nee, we’re in Wales y’know) terrain were on offer, along with some amazing support and goodies thanks to our friends at Nikwax!

Keen outdoor enthusiasts from all over the UK – not only South Wales, but also the Midlands, West Country and Ireland – rocked-up at the very un-Saturday time of 6.00 am, to be greeted by enthusiastic staff and free massages (not from our really enthusiastic staff by the way, from experts of course…) set to a soundtrack of foot-stomping, walking-themed, bangin’ tunes! Could there be a better motivation for our bleary-eyed, hardy Challengees nervously anticipating their various challenges ahead?

Caerphilly Challenge WalkingWell, maybe the promise of an energy boosting cream tea, winning a box of Nikwax delights and a further free massage at the finish!

The relentless weather proved to be no deterrent to our intrepid ‘Boarers’, with the first 14 miler returning in 2.5 hours. However ‘’shower-proof’ was no deterrent to relentless weather either, as some of our more soggy strollers found out!  If ever there was a reason to invest in supporter Nikwax’s products, then this was proof – no pun intended of course ; -)

Thankfully the goody bags that went home with our booted ‘Boar-bashers’  included a fantastic complimentary wash of TX.Direct, whetting (and waxing) the appetite for next year’s event.

Bringing us Cheesily to that very subject… 

Saturday May 9th 2015 is set to see the Caerphilly Challenge Series return to its spiritual home, Twmbarlwm (pronounced tum-bar-lum, another free Welsh lesson for you guys). Whether its a 1 mile stroll along the Monmouthshire Brecon Canal or tackling the challenge of the 22 mile Twmbarlwm Trek, yet again we will be throwing down a walking, jogging or running Challenge to suit you – no matter how fit you are!

A £10 entry fee, with £8 early bird and further £2 off for under 18’s – checkout the website for updates on when to enter:

www.caerphillychallengeseries.co.uk 

So come on Nikwax fans, are you ready to ‘Take on the Trek’ in 2015?

This Guest Blog was written by Gavin Jones, Caerphilly County Borough Council.

 

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Hannah and Chico: Welsh Vacation

The latest blog from Hannah and her trusted friend, Chico:

I last sent a message at the very beginning of last July’s heat wave, when the rains of June were still fresh. The walk around Wales took another four and a half months; Chico the donkey and I finally arrived back in Aberystwyth in mid-November, having completed the full 1000-mile circumnavigation of the country.

We were very lucky. The adventure was dreamed up in 2012 during the wettest summer on record, and the organising all happened during last spring’s interminable coldness, when we all wondered whether the trees would ever get the chance to sprout leaves. I’d like to say it took faith, but actually I just tried not to think about it.

Here comes the rain…

After the heat wave which blazed right through July and half of August, we slow little travellers walked right on through a very mild September and October. There was rain, but never for more than a day, which meant that we always dried off before the next shower.

November got tougher – the rain started falling with vigour, and it doesn’t take long to become quite mouldy and wretched. My shoelaces, less than a month old, rotted and snapped. Food supplies got wet, bread in particular soaking up the leaks. Usually I’d manage to find a phone box to refold my map in, but occasionally there was nothing. Those maps – north Pembrokeshire and south Ceredigion – are still wrinkled and rubbed, with place names ominously missing forever, like whole villages might have been washed into the gutter along with us.

Chico, a hater of rain through and through, from his desert-dwelling genes to his unsuitably fuzzy, oil-less hair, had got so dependent on me that he’d often opt to stand in the rain where he could see me rather than take shelter. We were a sorry bunch.

And yet I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. I was living outside, and rain is part of outside (and Nikwax helps!) I was walking around Wales, and rain is definitely part of this green isle. But most of all, the rain was a fine reminder to be flexible, and attempt to be relaxed with uncertainty.

Power alarms

Climate change seems to be behind the extremes of weather, and that is scary. For the span of human history we have been creatures at the mercy of the elements, and now we are the ones with the power – it doesn’t sit easily.

I think privileged humankind are suspended between feeling powerful and feeling powerless. Collectively people suddenly have the power to change the weather, but individually it’s hard not to see my shorter shower, diligent recycling or energy-saving light bulb as a tiny squeak of desperation in the roar of threatened existence.

Individually we have the power to change how we live. So what to do? Do what you can, of course. Mend and reuse, buy less and recycle, ally yourself to brands and companies that you know care. Make changes that enrich your life, not ones that feel like sacrifice.

And make friends with uncertainty. During the heat wave I had friends who flew to the Philippines, to Croatia and to Spain, for guaranteed sun on their understandably precious summer holidays. Meanwhile I basked and burned, day after day, in fantastic Welsh sunshine – absolutely not guaranteed and somehow all the more wonderful for it. When the rain began there were still all sorts of sensory treasures – the smells and sounds of storms, wild winds that Chico and I leaned into on Strumble Head, occasional rainbows, and fierce hailstorms on the tent at 3am.

Make friends with uncertainty. Adventure stems from it, a donkey as a companion guarantees it! You need a resilient and resourceful attitude to cope with it, and that’s a thing well worth cultivating. And it looks to be the way the world is going.

And then? Get out there, whatever the weather.

 

See more Seaside donkey activity here: www.seasidedonkey.co.uk Like Hannah and Chico on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/seasidedonkey … and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hannahengelkamp Hannah is currently working on the book and the film of the adventure, following a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. You can pre-order the book and film at www.seasidedonkey.co.uk/shop, or sign up to the newsletter to be kept informed of progress!

 

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First aid for the outdoors

Trekking up a hill, skiing on the slopes or cycling deep in a woodland and an emergency strikes – would you know basic first aid techniques at the time of need in the great outdoors?

Here are some essential first aid procedures to print out and take with you on your next outdoor adventure:

Sprained ankle
If you suspect you or another has sprained their ankle follow the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Ask the person to sit down and elevate the leg on something supportive. Ice probably won’t be easily accessible, so carry Koolpak Instant Ice on every trip. These disposable cold packs turn ice cold in seconds to provide instant treatment! Apply the pack to the affected area, apply pressure and wrap with a bandage or item of clothing.

It is important not to continue walking on a sprained ankle as this could cause further damage to any injured tissues and ligaments.

Chest pains
Chest pains could signal a heart attack, particularly if they are accompanied by pain in the arms, dizziness, sweating and grey-blue lips. If you do suspect a heart attack always call 999. While you wait for help to arrive, ask the person to sit down and ensure their back is supported and knees are bent. Encourage them to breathe gently and slowly and get them to chew an aspirin (if available).

If the individual stops breathing it is important to act fast and begin resuscitation. The resuscitation method recommended by the British Heart Foundation is to hum the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive and pump the patient’s chest to the beat – around 100 to 120 times a minute.

Hypothermia
If you’re not wearing sufficient thermal layers and the wind, rain and cold moves in, your body temperature could drop below 35 C, creating hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, fatigue, pale skin, blue lips, clumsiness and a weak pulse.

To treat hypothermia and increase an individual’s body temperature, remove any wet clothing and ensure the skin is dried. Put the person in dry, warm clothes, wrap them in a foil blanket and give them a hot drink. Heather or bracken can also be used as insulation. Most importantly, they must be accompanied to the nearest point of warmth and if their symptoms do not improve they should be taken to A&E.

Blisters
For such a small injury blisters can really ruin your time in the outdoors. Blisters can be prevented by wearing a good-fitting pair of hiking boots. You should also protect your leather boots with Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather, which prolongs life and performance of leather footwear and will prevent any water seeping in!

If you do get a blister and it has opened, clean the area with water or an alcohol-free antiseptic wipe to stop infection. Apply a plaster or dressing, blister plasters work best creating a protective coating around the wound and a cushioned pad for comfort.

Breathing difficulties
Someone may find it difficult breathing due to asthma, high altitude or even a panic attack. If it is from asthma, help the person to find their inhaler, sit them down (they must not lie down) and encourage them to breathe deeply and slowly.

A decrease in atmospheric pressure can cause attitude sickness. Usually a good rest will help any breathlessness pass and then you can continue uphill gradually.

If someone is hyperventilating from a panic attack you need to regulate their breathing. Ask them to breathe slowly and deeply into a paper bag and to concentrate on this action, which should divert them from the cause of the attack.

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How to repair your outdoor gear on the move

Have you ever been adventuring somewhere remote and damaged a vital piece of kit? Check out these quick fixes for repairing your gear on the move:

Torn jacket
It’s easy to catch your jacket when you’re out and about, leaving you subject to the wind and rain. A simple solution is to patch it up with duct tape, which should keep you warm and protected until you return to civilisation.

Hole in your boots
There’s nothing worse than wet, cold feet causes by a leaking hole in your boots or a worn out sole. Fortunately there’s a temporary solution – a water resistant adhesive called Shoe Goo available for around £10! Purchase yours from www.shoegoo.asia

Ripped rucksack strap
There are a few options for a quick fix to mend a ripped or broken rucksack strap:

  • Pin together with safety pins, although this won’t take too much weight
  • Tie the loose ends in a tape knot (which is commonly used for climbing)

For a more durable repair, always carry a small sewing kit and spare nylon webbing with you. Cut the webbing to the appropriate size and sear the edges with a lighter to prevent fraying. Stitch the webbing over the damaged area, being sure to stitch diagonally across the width in both directions and around the edges.

Cracked tent pole
Tent poles can easily become damaged or broken and will usually result in the need to purchase replacement tent poles, or even a new tent. This can be very annoying, particularly if you find yourself stuck in a location with no convenient tent repair kits nearby. It is however, possible to repair them with a few basic tools.

Small breaks and cracks can usually be repaired by sliding a metal repair sleeve (free with most tents) over the split, then wrapping tightly with duct tape. This however, will not offer the same level of durability and strength of an undamaged pole, so a replacement should be purchased as soon as is possible.

Leaking tent
If your tent is leaking water via a tear or rip in the fabric Tenacious Tape from Gear Aid (available in all good outdoors shops) can provide long-lasting results. The product is made from tent fabric and high-strength adhesive to patch up your tent and keep the water out!

If there are no visible holes, rips or leaking seams and instead water appears to be seeping through the tent fabric walls it’s likely that the waterproofing treatment added at the point of manufacture has worn off. To restore a tent’s waterproofing ability it is best to clean and proof the outside of the tent before any big trip with a specialised product, such as Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof.

Tent & Gear SolarProof adds Durable Water Repellency to the outside of your tent and protects the fabric against UV degradation. The spray-on product is easy to apply and just one application could double the effective life of your tent! It is also ideal for waterproofing and protecting all synthetic weatherproof textiles, so alongside tents it can be used on awnings, marquees, rucksacks, panniers and camera bags.

Check out our blog regularly for more great hints, tips and advice!