Posted on Leave a comment


Do you own a Páramo® clothing system yet? If not, you should… Páramo is the award-winning outdoor gear brand that optimises your garments for unpredictable weather by using Nikwax Analogy® waterproof fabric. Thanks to Nikwax Analogy, Páramo clothing is extremely durable and ultra-efficient at keeping outdoor enthusiasts and workers (such as Mountain Rescue volunteers) dry and comfortable in multi environments and varying conditions. It does this by directing liquid water and moisture vapour away from the body, meaning wearers can stay active and comfortable in wild conditions for longer – all thanks to one, single, versatile garment.

The Nikwax Duology innovation, however, goes one step further by combining two garments (layers) to form one system – ensuring an even broader range of protection, with no extra weight. The top layer consists of a Nikwax Duology Windproof, which is a tightly woven 100% polyester microfibre treated with Nikwax PFC-free Durable Water Repellency (DWR). Its primary function is to keep out the wind, of course, and to deflect rain, although it also protects from the sun and biting insects. The second, inner, layer consists of a Nikwax Duology Fleece, also treated with Nikwax PFC-free DWR, which provides insulation and directs moisture away from the body.

Worn alone, these layers are fully appropriate (especially in the summer months), but when combined, the Windproof enhances the insulation of the Fleece and the Fleece enhances the water repellency of the Windproof. The Duology system can withstand an impressive 4 hours of simulated rainfall in the Leeds University Rain Room and will keep its wearer warm and dry on a cold, wet day (for those not in the know, the ‘Leeds University Textile Department Rain Room’ was donated by Nikwax to assess outdoor fabrics and garments for wet weather suitability. Click here to read more about the testing process).

Ultimately, Nikwax Duology is an additional Páramo waterproof system for outdoor enthusiasts and workers. It is adaptable to the changing – and frequently unreliable – seasons, and the escalating issue of climate instability. In the ‘old days’ we could predict fairly accurately when winter or summer would begin and end, however, it is not uncommon now to experience warm weather in December and to see the mercury plunge in March. Thus, in return for combining a Nikwax Duology Windproof and Fleece, you are guaranteeing adaptability on your adventures.

Depending on your use, there are three different garment solutions available. Multisport users should wear the Ostro or Alize combination, which is ideal for lightweight, high-energy activities. For hillwalkers and hikers, the Bentu or Zefira combination is best. For high-mountain, climbing and alpinism, look no further than the Enduro or Ventura combination. Check them all out here.

Nikwax Duology is quiet, soft, puncture tolerant, field repairable and is free of PFCs and other persistent chemicals of concern. The waterproof performance is indefinitely renewable with Nikwax Aftercare giving a longer wear life, with lower environmental impact. All Nikwax Duology fabrics are recyclable.

Posted on Leave a comment

One man and his dog – Interview with SARDA founder

Have you ever wondered who’d be your knight in shining armour if you ever got lost in the English wilderness? Luckily for you, Nev [Search and Rescue Dog Association founder and president], his gang of handlers and their pesky canines are of service; suited and booted in their BOGS footwear, rucksacks and with dog treats aplenty.

We were lucky enough to chat with Andy, from SARDA England, a veteran Search and Rescue handler with 37 years under his belt. As a member of the Cave Rescue Organisation since 1976 and never without his trusty sidekick Belle (Andy’s fifth Search Dog) by his side, the duo respond to Cave and Mountain rescues within a 900 square mile area of the Yorkshire Dales.

How long has Belle been a SARDA volunteer, and how long did it take you to train Belle in the art of finding people?
Belle has been working as a fully trained Search and Rescue Dog for SARDA for a year and a half, and it took her three years to complete her extensive training.

Does Belle enjoy working for SARDA and, if so, how can you tell?
Belle loves being a Search and Rescue dog and gets very excited when I put on her working coat; she knows we’re off on an adventure and can’t wait to get going!

Man and his dog1

How often do you get out each month with Belle?
With SARDA we get out between six and eight times a month. Most of these, however, are training sessions to keep Belle on her toes.

What wouldn’t you leave home without when on a call out?
My best mate Belle, my rucksack, walking boots and my Páramo jacket [which Belle fancies for herself-maybe one day they’ll make a doggy version to keep her dry too!]

If you were to give outdoor walkers and enthusiasts three things they must take on a mountain walk to keep them safe what would they be?
Group shelter is essential, should the weather take a turn for the worst, and I’d recommend a Kisu emergency storm shelter. A map and a compass (it also helps if you know how to use them!) as well as a first aid kit, food and torch.

Would you recommend SARDA and, if so, how would someone interested get involved? SARDA is the best and most important organisation that I have ever worked with. SARDA Search Dog Handlers, although unpaid, act professionally, are trained to the highest standards and are all very experienced Mountain Rescue personnel ready to assist anyone in danger.

Learn More:

Dog in Boots1

Posted on Leave a comment

Get Outside And Get Active!

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get more active? There are many fantastic ways to get energised and the winter landscape can be a wonderful motivator to start your `New Year, New You`.

Being active is more than just getting fit and working off the extra treats you indulged in over Christmas. It also helps ward off illnesses and keep your body healthy. Getting out and about is one of the best ways to relieve everyday tension and stress; in this day and age when we’re constantly on the go or working longer hours, what better reason to get outside? When active, your body naturally produces endorphins – the `feel good` chemical – making you feel happier both emotionally and physically. You will feel ready to take on the world and here at Nikwax we want to inspire you to enjoy the benefits nature can bring!

Budding Photographer?
Winter landscapes contain many hidden gems for you to snap with your camera and stimulate the senses. Lacings of frost; animal prints in the snow; robins darting about collecting food, the list of photos to capture is endless. Before you realise it you’ll have been out for a couple of hours snapping away, walking further than you thought, soaking up vital Vitamin D and fresh air, returning home feeling an all-over goodness!

Before you head out, ensure you’re prepared for rain by wearing the appropriate waterproof gear; we recommend Páramo Men’s Halcon, or Ladies’ Alondra jackets – cleaned and cared for with Nikwax Tech Wash and TX.Direct.

Get on your bike!
Don’t have one? Visit the New Year sales to bag a bargain and get out on wheels. If you want to escape the urban scene then take yourself off to rural trails. You can experience a sedate pace through woodland paths or gentle country lanes, stopping off for a spot of lunch. If you don’t fear the mud then embrace a more extreme style and go off-road through forest trails where the adrenalin will take hold and flying through puddles is a must! Aside from working your leg muscles you will feel re-energised and ready for anything.DSC_0714
Not one for the gym? How about a hike?
Try good old-fashioned walking to get the circulation going. Footwear is key here, so find yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes or boots to brave the elements, such as the Anatom Women’s V2 Lomond Light Hiking Boot, or Men’s Q2 Classic Hiking Boots. Keep them breathable and waterproof with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel and Fabric & Leather Proof, as wet feet will cause discomfort and blisters.

There are thousands of walking routes out there to explore, from bracing coastal pathways through to gentle strolls in picturesque countryside. And you could join a local walking group and meet new friends. If you’re lucky enough to experience snow then imagine witnessing the unspoiled winter landscape whilst you walk your way to well-being and happiness. Who knows – next year you may be ready to take on a mountain!

Fancy something different? Try climbing!
Feeling a little more adventurous and want a challenge – then why not try climbing? Check out your local Outdoor Activity centre to see if they have an indoor climbing wall to learn the techniques and whether you have the head for heights! Once you feel ready then test yourself in the outdoors and take in a bird’s eye view of the world. Safety is paramount, so sign up with a local climbing club to ensure the experts are on hand to guide and instruct you. On a crisp winter’s day this experience is exhilarating and will definitely take you away from your everyday routine._MG_7798bsmaller

Hit the slopes!
If heights aren’t your thing then how about embracing the cold weather and learning to ice skate or ski? You can pick up the initial skills at indoor centres whilst keeping warm, and then pop on those gloves and hat ready to face the elements and take to the outside. These are great fun things to do with friends and you can motivate each one another – fitness is always so much better if you’re enjoying it with others.

When getting active outside in the winter it’s important you layer up to protect against the cold and wind. Technical underwear and base layers help to control your body temperature – they spread and wick sweat away from your body to ensure you do not get damp or cold. Use Nikwax BaseFresh in place of your regular fabric conditioner to care for your base layers to remove odours and revitalise their wicking properties.

Fleeces are great as an insulating mid-layer under a waterproof jacket in the winter months. But once you get going you might find you’re getting wet and cold from the inside as the material soaks up body moisture and sweat. Waterproof your fleece with Nikwax Polar Proof to allow moisture vapour to pass through it and ensure you stay warm and dry.

Nikwax is available from all good Outdoor shops and online retailers. To find your nearest stockist click here

Posted on Leave a comment

Nikwax demonstrates that High Performance outerwear does not depend upon PFC technology

Nikwax Waterproofing has until now been best known as a world leader for its waterproofing aftercare products. However, Nikwax is now entering the international world of supplying PFC free water-repellent technology to manufacturers of outdoor clothing.

Nikwax is launching two new garment component products at ISPO 2014: Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, which is being built into Rab Down garments, and the Nikwax Analogy Waterproof System which is being used to construct Páramo waterproof clothing. Both products are completely PFC free, and both have been shown to function at a high level in extreme conditions. Continue reading Nikwax demonstrates that High Performance outerwear does not depend upon PFC technology

Posted on Leave a comment

Nikwax supports World Land Trust urgent land purchase and protection projects

Nikwax and Páramo have been offsetting their unavoidable carbon emissions through World Land Trust (WLT) for over a decade. Alongside this Nikwax and Páramo donate a matched amount to contribute towards WLT’s urgent land purchase and protection projects.

Between June 2008 and August 2013 Nikwax and Páramo donated a fantastic £44,819.61 to land purchase and protection.

These funds were used for WLT’s project priorities at the time, working with the charity’s overseas project partners. Nikwax/Páramo funds have been used to purchase a reserve area in Ecuador, protect vital grasslands in Kenya, fund the purchase of critical parcels of land in Borneo and helped defend the Dry Chaco of Paraguay.

In Ecuador, working with Fundacion Jocotoco, Nikwax/Páramo funds enabled the purchase of a parcel of land that is now incorporated into the Buenaventura Reserve. This reserve now covers 3,721 acres (1,506 hectares) and is known as the richest sit for birds in south-west Ecuador. This is where the threatened El Oro Parakeet was discovered in 1980; it protects the habitat of at least 30 threatened or Endemic bird species, plus the Puma, Ocelot, Howler monkey and sloth are known to occur on the reserve.

The Kinangop Grasslands of Kenya, between the Kenyan Rift Valley to the west and the Aberdare Range to the east, are critically threatened by over grazing, and the tussock grassland so important for breeding and migrating birds is being lost to drainage and agriculture. Working with Nature Kenya, WLT has helped create the Leleshwa Reserve, protecting the tussock grassland in the Kinangop Plateau. This is the last stronghold for Sharpe’s Longclaw, and the grasslands and savanna of sub-saharan Africa are a short-term home for millions of European migrant birds that fly south from Europe every autumn as the weather gets colder. Over 180 Palearctic land-bird species migrate south across the Mediterranean and vast Sahara to feed on the flush of food stimulated by the rainy season south of the Sahara, making the Kinangop highlands an important stopping place for them.

The Borneo Rainforest project was launched in 2008 when WLT formed a partnership with two non-government organisations in Malaysian Borneo: Leap Spiral and Hutan. The threats to wildlife of the region, which include some of the last populations of Orang-utans and Pygmy Elephants, are threatened by the onslaught of oil palm plantations. WLT is working with partners to connect forest ‘islands’ in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Nikwax/Páramo were one of the original supporters of this project and were instrumental in the first land purchase in 2011. WLT has recently launched its Million Pound Appeal to raise funds to protect other threatened parcels of land along the Kinabatangan River: Big Match Fortnight.

The other project supported by Nikwax/Páramo is Defending the Chaco. WLT’s project partner in Paraguay protects a mosaic of threatened habitats including Pantanal wetland, Chaco-Pantanal and Atlantic Rainforest, but it is the Dry Chaco that covers a large proportion of the country. The Dry Chaco is part of a larger eco-region known as the Gran Chaco, which translates in the Quechua language as ‘productive hunting grounds’. As its name suggests, this confluence of unique habitats supports a large variety of wildlife, including many mammal species. Whilst much attention has been placed on the tropical forests of South America, the Chaco, in the very heart of the continent, has been largely overlooked. However, it is home to a diverse range of wildlife, with more large mammals than the AmazonForest, including the Puma, Lowland Tapir, Giant Anteater and the World’s greatest diversity of armadillos. It is critically threatened by clearance for ranching and dry-resistant crops such as soya, and because of its size it is difficult to protect. Consequently the Defenders of the Chaco funds reserve rangers whose task it protect reserve areas.

Please help support WLT’s Big Match Fortnight to raise urgent funds for Bornean Rainforest.