Posted on Leave a comment

Care for your warm winter gear with Nikwax!

We head straight for our cosy winter garments at this time of year, so that we can keep warm and snug when outdoors. It is important to look after garments made from wool or fleece, so that they do not get affected if you get caught in the rain. Also, you want to know that they can keep you warm without over-heating or prevent you getting chilly from sweat if you are super active.

Here are some top facts on why Nikwax aftercare will ensure your woollen and fleece clothing performs for you this winter!

Woollen base layers

  • A natural fibre, Merino wool is fantastic at wicking away sweat and keeping the user dry and comfortable. It also contains natural antibacterial properties that help to curb the build-up of odours. Because of this, Merino wool can be washed less than its synthetic counterparts. Bonus!
  • Standard detergents and fabric conditioners can impair the natural performance of Merino wool; a garment’s natural wicking capabilities can be masked, causing the fabric to dry slower, absorb moisture and prevent it from actively helping to regulate body temperature.

Nikwax Wool Wash – to stay fresh, dry and comfortable

  • Wool Wash is water-based, containing none of the enzymes found in standard washing and conditioning products; enzymes which, over time, can weaken wool and start to eat away at the fabric.
  • It cleans AND conditions at the same time. Excellent – two products in one!
  • Its formula enhances the natural wicking found in wool, ensuring that breathability is maintained and sweat will spread easily, dry faster and keep body temperature regulated.
  • Wool Wash deodorises as it cleans! Base layers smell fresh and the potential for any odour build-up is removed – no stinky clothing to deal with during high energy activities.
  • Woollen base layers stay soft, providing enhanced user comfort and warmth during the colder months.

Wool Wash is so easy to use

  • Shake well before use.
  • Place garments in the washing machine and use 50ml of Wool Wash.
  • Ensure garment is washed on a cycle according to its care label.
  • Dry the garment naturally – a low tumble dry setting can be used if the care label allows.
  • Wool Wash can also be applied by hand: use 25ml of Wool Wash in hand-hot water in a sink or bowl, immerse the item(s) to clean. Ensure they are rinsed 3 times in cold water before leaving to dry.

 

Fleece mid layers and accessories

  • Fleece is a great for warmth – the fabric construction ensure air gets trapped between the synthetic fibres and is warmed by body heat to help insulate, making it ideal as a mid-layer garment or in a hat or gloves.
  • Fleece is also lightweight, which will be beneficial with a lot of outdoor activities, and it wicks away moisture which helps with regulating body temperature.
  • Water will compromise fleece because it can be absorbed into the spaces between the fibres; this causes weight gain and loss of insulation, leading to the user feeling cold and damp. Plus, fleece can be prone to pilling after time, therefore reducing the quality of the item.

Nikwax Polar Proof® – to protect your fleece

  • Polar Proof is an easy-to-use wash-in waterproofer that adds water repellency to your fleece items.
  • It leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on all of the fibres, which will ensure moisture can escape whilst preventing water absorption between the fibres.
  • Breathability of the fleece is maintained which helps increase the performance of the item’s insulating properties.
  • Polar Proof will also inhibit pilling on the item – this means your fleece gear will have an increased user lifetime!

Polar Proof is easy to use in your washing machine

  • Wash any items first with Nikwax Tech Wash, to remove all dirt and contaminants.
  • Use 50ml for one item and 100ml for 2-3 items, then wash according to the care label.
  • Tumble dry on a low setting if the care label allows.
  • To maintain waterproofing, wash items with Tech Wash as detergent will impair the durable water repellency.

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The importance of layering when active outdoors

Winter can be a fantastic time to be outdoors – especially if we are lucky enough to get snow! You want to ensure you keep warm, but you don’t want to overheat or be too cold, so layering up your clothing is the most beneficial way to stay comfortable. Every layer will play a key role that allows you to maximise your activity, however, all of your layers need to be looked after. Nikwax has the ultimate aftercare solutions to keep your base layers performing over and over when you need them most.

Layering up means you can quickly adapt your clothing in order to regulate your temperature and maintain ultimate comfort and ease of use, depending upon the weather and your activity.

4D4A2785_A

Next-to-skin base layers
These technical items are essential in order to manage sweat and prevent you from feeling cold or clammy. During winter, merino wool base layers are often a favourite because of their natural insulation, which distributes heat evenly across the body. Also, the natural fibres can assist with the prevention of odour build-up. Synthetic base layers are another firm favourite because of the fabrics ability to wick away moisture from the skin, preventing the user from feeling sweaty. However, synthetic base layers can collect bacteria and body oils, which will lead to them smelling after a short period of time.

These base layers will be affected if washed in standard household detergent and fabric conditioner, which can reduce the wicking capabilities and breathability. By using the appropriate Nikwax product, your base layers will keep working through every season. For merino base layers, Wool Wash will clean and condition, whilst softening the garment for user comfort. Containing no enzymes, Wool Wash revitalises wicking properties, without damaging the natural fibres. For synthetic base layers, BaseWash also both cleans and conditions the garment, whilst deodorising the fabric to remove body oils and prevent odour build-up.

2_A

The middle layer
This is the focus for insulation! During winter, fleece mid-layers are great for providing soft, warming insulation when out in the cold. Fleece tends to come in three different weights in order to suit different activities. For example, lightweight fleeces would be best for warmer climates or aerobic activities such as running. The main principle with fleece garments is that the fabric traps air between the fibres to provide warmth evenly over the body whilst being breathable. However, fleece is not naturally water repellent, so if it gets wet you run the risk of the fabric absorbing the water – making the garment heavy and making you very cold!

Nikwax Polar Proof is the product to use to ensure your fleece mid layers perform to their optimum when outdoors. An easy to use waterproofing product that you can use in your washing machine, Polar Proof will add a water repellent treatment to all of the fleece fibres to prevent water absorption. It also ensures that the breathability of the fabric and its insulation properties are maintained, whilst preventing the build-up of pilling (bobbling) so your mid layers last for longer.

4D4A2181_A

The outer layer
The item to protect you ultimately from wind, rain and all other inclement weather! There are many options available here for you to choose from – dependent upon what your activity focus tends to be. Windproof or waterproof, or jackets aimed at ski and mountaineering – there are many possibilities. You need to consider what will benefit you most when outdoors. If your outer layer lets the rain or the cold wind in, then you will start to feel damp and uncomfortable inside. You want an outer layer that allows room over your mid and base layers, whilst providing the protection against the weather. Some outer layers have added insulation, such as fleece, but this would not be suitable for higher energy activities such as cycling, instead a lighter soft shell would be more preferable as it focuses upon breathability to prevent you getting clammy from sweat. If you are walking through the hills on a crisp and snowy winter’s day, then a water resistant and windproof outer layer would be ideal in order to combat the elements.

All outer layers need specific care because dirt will build up from use and combined with the abrasion on the fabric from general wear, it will lead to the durable water repellent (DWR) coating wearing off. This is when water will get absorbed into the jacket and up to 70% of the item’s breathability will be lost, meaning you feel wet and cold. Wet weather outer layers can be protected with Nikwax TX.Direct – the no.1 wash-in waterproofer, which will replenish the DWR on the outer fabric, whilst optimising the breathability of the fabric. When caught out in the rain you will find the water will bead up on your jacket and run off, instead of ‘wetting out’ and seeping into the garment.

Ultimately, if you care for your garments with Nikwax you can ensure that your layering system will work this winter, whether enjoying the mountains, cycle routes, rambles, or any other outdoor activity. Nikwax aftercare will make your garments work better for longer and you stay dry, warm and comfortable.

Check out our base layer care video HERE

Photos: © Howies
DJI_0137_A

 

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

Put Pedal to the Test with Tech Wash & Polar Proof!

Nick Mitchell is this month’s Guest Blogger. A cycle tour guide and author of cycling books, he has ridden over 25,000 miles across Britain and from Munich to Sheffield and Sheffield to Norway! He is preparing for a cycle tour – The Road to Vienna – and if you wish to join this, or a tour from Lands End to John O’Groats with Nick, then check out the website: www.pedal-nation.co.uk

I work as a cycle tour guide and having been invited to review Nikwax Tech Wash and Nikwax Polar Proof, I decided that there was only one garment in desperate need of waterproofing and that was my battered and worn orange Patagonia fleece. I’ve owned it for around 4 years and it’s been used on some eventful long-distance cycle tours, as well as being been drenched with perspiration, faded by the sun, used as a pillow, and washed and dried hundreds of times to such extent that its position in my wardrobe lies somewhere between essential cycling kit and potential gardening wear.

Blog_6_Nikwax_Far North of Scotland

I wasn’t expecting miracles from the Nikwax products but hoped that they would add some longevity to the life of the fleece: perhaps another few months on tour, whilst adding some badly needed protection from the inevitable rain showers that are part of the daily life of a cycle tour guide. I carefully read the instructions on both the Nikwax products and then proceeded to wash the fleece, firstly with Nikwax Tech Wash and then re-washing with Nikwax Polar Proof. Having been thoroughly washed and then reproofed the fleece was now dried out. It certainly smelt very fresh and had a slight sheen to the surface, which wasn’t there pre-treatment with Nikwax Polar Proof. It was now ready for testing in the field as I was supporting an elite cyclist undertaking Lands End to John O’Groats, in a sportive style time frame of 10 days. We were departing in early May and undoubtedly we would have a little if not a lot of rain.

Blog_3_Nikwax in Glencoe

My prediction proved correct, rain was a constant companion from the first roll of the wheels until the very last; almost from the minute we set off we faced a range of difficult conditions, the most notable, a cloudburst over Marazion in Cornwall on the first day of the tour. As I sat in the support van after this initial rain lashing I could see droplets of water sitting on the top of the fabric rather than being absorbed, a new experience as pre treatment with Nikwax Polar Proof the rain drops soaked straight into the fabric. During the next 10 days numerous other showers tested the reproofing and it was apparent that the fleece was now resistant to rain showers for far longer than before treatment with Nikwax Polar Proof. I was now able to stand out in a rain shower wearing my fleece and confident that I wouldn’t be getting soaking wet, reproofing with Nikwax Polar Proof meant that the rain droplets weren’t immediately absorbed and it had given a new lease of life to a tried and trusted fleece; another season in the sun (or showers) beckoned.

Blog_2_Nikwax Tours Loch Ness

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Benefits of Using Nikwax Polar Proof

When it comes to looking after my kit, I always treat clothing as I would my photography gear; to keep items in prime condition, it’s essential to use recommended cleaning products and follow suggested guidelines. By doing this, I can be sure that they’ll last longer and perform better, even with regular (dare I say, unforgiving) use. 

When it comes to caring for fleeces, it’s a two-part process that I use. First, I clean them using Tech Wash, following Nikwax’s recommendations alongside those outlined on the fleeces’ care labels. You might ask why I don’t simply use regular detergent; well, the quick answer is that with this approach, I know the garments will have the best head start when treating them with Polar Proof.

Polar Proof washing machine

It’s true what they say – Tech Wash really does revitalise garments, and I’m sure this is also part of the reason why they feel so much softer when pulled out of the washing machine after applying Polar Proof. For example, when I’ve compared like-for-like with an untreated fleece, it is noticeable just how much physically ‘flatter’ the untreated one is. Thanks to Nikwax, the fabric is given renewed volume; this equates to improved insulating and breathability qualities. With more air trapped between their fibres, my fleeces feel great when worn next to the skin as base layers.

In terms of how much solution I use, I’ve always followed the recommendation of 1 full cap (50ml) of Polar Proof for 1 item and 2 full caps (100ml) for 2-3 items. The temptation is to think that maybe this isn’t going to be enough, but actually it is plenty. In all the years I’ve used the solution, I’ve never known it to leave any form of residue or fail to deliver on its promise. 

Polar Proof drying naturally

My preference is always to allow garments to dry naturally outdoors. Yes, tumble drying them works very well, too, but why not take the most environmentally-sympathetic route where possible? Besides, on a fine day, they’ll dry in no time at all!

So, what about water repellency?

In my experience, the beauty of wearing a Polar Proof-treated fleece is two-fold. When I’m dashing around, I can be sure that perspiration won’t be unnecessarily absorbed directly into the garment, which would otherwise make me cold and uncomfortable when I finally stop. With added water repellency, the time I can take going about my business in the rain without having to grab a waterproof jacket is considerably extended, too. Oh, and I also get to feel just a little bit smug as I watch the water beading off whilst colleagues suffer in their sponge-like garments!

polar proof nikwax beading

Don’t get me wrong, my treated fleeces are never going to do the same job as a full-on Gore-Tex shell, but they certainly do a fine job of keeping drizzle and sudden downpours at bay until I have the opportunity to reach into my bag for complete wet-weather protection.

 

Giles Babbidge is a commercial and editorial photographer & writer specialising in the outdoor markets. You can find out more about what he does over at his website – www.gilesbabbidge.co.uk – or catch up with him on Twitter – @gilesbabbidge.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Cut the cost of “Back to School”

Back To School – these are the words that strike fear into some children. And it can be scary for parents too! New school gear costs money, so it is important that you keep your child’s garments fully protected.

That is where Nikwax comes in! Cut the cost of replacing those school essentials such as jackets, fleeces and shoes by stocking up on tried and trusted products such as Tech Wash, TX.Direct, Polar Proof and Waterproofing Wax for Leather.

As you may know, a new pair of school shoes can cost as much as £50. And when a child finds a puddle, they are likely to jump in it. When leather gets wet its breathability is reduced leading to soggy socks and damp feet.  Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather gives immediate protection by renewing the leather’s Durable Water Repellency (DWR). Not only that but Waterproofing Wax for Leather Black restores colour and helps to reduce scuff and abrasion marks for when the kids forget they shouldn’t be playing football in their new shoes!

Waterproof coats and jackets will need to be replaced if they are not looked after correctly. They can begin to soak up rain simply because they are dirty, and using a regular household detergent will leave water attracting residue on the item, inhibiting its water repellency. First, wash your garment with Nikwax Tech Wash, then wash with TX.Direct to maintain breathability and replenish the Durable Water Repellency, help your child stay warm and dry in the rain!

On cold winter days, your child will appreciate their fleece jackets, gloves and hats. Nikwax Polar Proof has been specifically designed and optimised for fleece garments; it leaves a flexible treatment on individual fibres, adding water repellency whilst allowing moisture vapour to pass through it. This maintains breathability and optimises the garments performance in wet weather. Avoid a cold, wet, unhappy child by using Nikwax Polar Proof.

Choose Nikwax to protect and lengthen the lifespan of your child’s school gear this September!