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Nikwax retailer Nevisport on planning your walking outfit…

Founded in 1970, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, by climbers Ian A. Sykes MBE and Ian D. Sutherland, Nevisport has grown to become one of the country’s leading outdoor speciality retailers, with a strong tradition of quality, value for money and genuinely caring for their customers.

Here, they share their tips on how to put together your perfect walking outfit – and how to care for it using Nikwax…

Finding the perfect walking outfit doesn’t need to be complicated; if you follow these simple steps, you will easily put together an outfit that works for you. You will need:

  • Breathable base layer
  • Insulating mid-layer
  • Waterproof outer layers
  • Waterproof walking footwear
  • Good quality accessories

Base layers
It is a misconception that base layers are only for insulation! Actually, their purpose is to wick away moisture and keep you dry, even during exertion so you don’t get clammy. You should avoid cotton tops for this initial layer (cotton naturally absorbs and retains moisture) and instead choose a garment designed specifically for moisture wicking.

Once your base layers have been worn a few times and are starting to smell, clean them with Nikwax BaseWash® to deodorise, freshen, soften, and enhance their drying and cooling performance.

If, during colder months, you choose to wear woollen base layers, then keep these performing with Nikwax Wool Wash. Unlike household detergents that cause wool to retain moisture, Wool Wash maintains the delicate, natural properties of wool. When you get hot, sweat will spread quickly and dry faster, whilst Wool Wash also deodorises to keep garments smelling fresh.  

Mid-layers

Your mid-layer should keep you warm, and fleeces and micro-fleeces are the best insulators for your top half (although you can definitely go old school with a thick wool jumper in extra cold conditions). Fleeces are also lightweight, so you can pack them away easily when the weather warms up.

Nikwax PolarProof® leaves a flexible water repellent treatment on individual fleece fibres that allows moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining breathability and optimising performance in wet weather. It also inhibits pilling of fleece fabrics, so your fleece stays newer for longer.

For your bottom half, we recommend quick drying walking trousers or running tights as these won’t get damp and leech the heat out of your legs. Avoid wearing jeans, which can stay wet and heavy for a very long time, leaving you feeling damp and very uncomfortable!

Outer layers
These will protect you from bad weather and a technical walking jacket paired with over-trousers (optional) are best for the job as your windproof and waterproof layers. In dryer weather however, you might prefer a softshell water resistant option. Look out for jackets with breathability vents (especially in the armpit areas), comfortable hoods, and good pocket space.

Nikwax Tech Wash® is an easy-to-use and highly effective cleaner that will also revitalise the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) of your jacket and maintain its breathability. When Tech Wash alone does not revitalise the DWR, re-proof with Nikwax TX.Direct®.

Footwear
Good quality walking boots are the best choice for most hiking trails, though you can go with lighter, more comfortable walking shoes on well-maintained paths.

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel will remove dirt and bring life back to your waterproof footwear, whilst Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof will replenish Durable Water Repellency on fabric and leather combination footwear, ensuring your feet stay dry and your footwear lasts longer.

Accessories
Finish off your outfit with hiking accessories to ensure you stay as comfortable as possible. Choose moisture-wicking walking socks that provide cushioning, without being so bulky they crowd your toes, and seek out windproof gloves – incredibly important on cooler days. In cold weather, mittens are better at trapping heat.

You should also cover your ears with a water resistant hat for protection from wind chill and wear a snood to protect your neck, which will also allow you to cover the lower part of your face in harsh wind.

Lastly, a good quality, fully adjustable walking rucksack can make a world of difference, allowing you to easily distribute weight and reduce rub, which can be a lifesaver on longer walks.

Shop the full walking and hiking gear range at Nevisport today!

Photo: toomas-tartes – Unsplash

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How To: make fleece water resistant with Nikwax

Fleece keeps us warm during autumn and winter, whether we wear it as a top, jacket, gloves, scarf or hat. The fibres trap body heat, keeping you feeling cosy and warm when the temperatures are low outside.

However, water and fleece are not great companions… If you are caught in the rain wearing untreated fleece, the fabric will rapidly absorb water, gain weight and lose vital insulation. In extreme weather this can be dangerous – causing body temperature to drop and even leading to hypothermia.

Protecting your fleece gear with Nikwax is the best way to make clothing and accessories more versatile as the seasons’ change.

PolarProof is a wash-in waterproofer that treats all of the fleece fibres with a flexible water repellency to prevent water absorption. It is so effective that it allows moisture to escape from the body whilst trapping the heat that keeps us warm. Breathability and insulation are maintained when fleece is treated with PolarProof.

 

Plus, PolarProof will help prevent the build-up of pilling on fleece – which can make fleece gear look worn and tired – thereby your fleece will have a prolonged useable lifetime and look newer for longer.

How to use PolarProof

  • Clean the item first with Tech Wash – washed according to the care label.
  • No need to dry the item after washing.
  • Remove any detergent build-up from the washing machine dispenser.
  • Use 50ml for 1 fleece item, 100ml for 2-3 items and pour the treatment into the washing machine dispenser.
  • Wash again according to the care label.
  • Preferably air-dry the garment for energy saving, but you can tumble dry on a low setting if the care label allows.
  • Cleaning fleece regularly with Tech Wash after proofing will maintain its water repellency. Do not use normal household detergents once a fleece item has been proofed – they leave water-attracting residues on the fabric.

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How To: stay cosy and dry in your fleece

Many of us are having to spend more time at home right now, why not make the most of this opportunity to clean and proof your winter gear with Nikwax, so that you stay warm and dry and really enjoy the time you spend outdoors.

Fleeces are often an overlooked item when it comes to specialist aftercare. They are thrown in the wash with a normal load and whilst this is fine for day to day use, given a little extra care your fleece will perform even better, last longer and even protect you from the odd unexpected shower!

Fleece is a very popular mid-layer because of its insulating properties and because it is also highly breathable – helping to wick away moisture that has been directed outwards from your base layer.

If your fleece has not been cleaned or proofed in a while, you could find that you get soaked if you get caught in the rain. Fleece is moisture resistant but not fully waterproof – it can hold up to 50% of its own weight in water and if it is soaked, it won’t be keeping you warm.

Caring for your fleece with Nikwax will not only enhance its performance to ensure you stay warm, but, we have a specialist product that will make your fleece water repellent, so you can stay dry too!

Follow these easy steps to use Nikwax to revive the performance of your fleece.

Clean your gear the Nikwax way

Tech Wash® is proven to be the best way to clean outdoor gear. Unlike other detergents, it will not leave any water-attracting residue on fleece. Cleaning ensures all dirt and contaminants are eliminated and will prepare your fleece for proofing. You can even pop your waterproof in with it!

  • Pop your fleece in your washing machine (you can also wash by hand!)
  • Ensure there is no detergent build-up in your dispenser, as this could prevent effective washing
  • Use 150ml Tech Wash in medium/hard water areas, or 100ml in soft water areas
  • Wash your fleece according to its care label
  • No need to dry before you proof.

Proof with Nikwax for impressive high performance

PolarProof® is the only specialist waterproofer designed specifically for fleece. Just like Tech Wash, it is water-based and completely safe for the user and the environment – now that’s a good reason to have these products in your cupboard!

  • Once the cleaning cycle has finished (or once you have finished cleaning by hand) simply pop in 50ml of PolarProof for one fleece item, or, 100ml for 2-3 items

  • Set the cycle according to the care label
  • After proofing you can leave the garment(s) to dry naturally. Heat is not required (e.g. a tumble dryer) for the treatment to develop, so it will save you energy. However, you can use a tumble dryer on a low setting if the care label allows.

Your fleece is now protected with a water repellent treatment! Not only that, PolarProof will maintain breathability, so moisture can escape from the inside to prevent you feeling damp. Plus, PolarProof will actually help prevent pilling on the fabric – this means your go-to insulating gear will look as good as new and last you longer.

Now you are ready to step outdoors and stay nicely warm and dry…

 

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Polartec® and the evolution of fleece as a go-to mid-layer

Most of you probably own a fleece item that you bring out every winter season as a versatile, warming layer – be it garment, hat or gloves. We all know it to be that soft, comfortable fabric that just makes you feel lovely and snug when outdoors in winter! Made from synthetic fibres, fleece is breathable – letting moisture escape whilst preventing the cold from getting in and disrupting your body temperature. But, what is the story behind this go-to fabric of outdoor gear?

The origins of fleece
40 years ago, outdoor company Patagonia® collaborated with a textile manufacturer known as Malden Mills. They came up with a soft, double-faced polyester fabric that had reduced pilling and was softer than what was currently in the market – fleece was born!

Patagonia named it ‘Synchilla’ and brought its first garments to market in 1981.  Malden Mills called it ‘Polarfleece’. By the end of the 1980s, fleece had become the cornerstone for insulating materials, with the brand Polartec established by Malden Mills in 1991. Even today, fleece remains a premier insulating fabric that’s versatile. Polartec fleece was even named by Time magazine as part of its Top 100 of the ‘20th Century’s Greatest Inventions’.

In 2021, Polartec is not only celebrating 40 years since the invention of fleece, but also the stream of innovations that has inspired.  Polartec’s campaign – “Peaking since 91” – launched on the 1st February 2021, celebrates 30 years of invention by the brand.

30 years of Polartec
Polartec is an industry leader in post-consumer recycling. In 1993, two years after the brand was established, the first fleece made from recycled plastic bottles was launched. To date, Polartec has recycled over 1.8 billion plastic bottles, saving them from landfill and turning them into premium fabrics.

In recent years, we have all become more environmentally conscious and focus has turned to the impact of materials that release microfibres. Microfibre Shedding is where materials, such as polyester, release tiny particles into water when washed, leading to microplastic pollution in the environment (primarily the ocean). Something we would all like to see reduced, and ideally, prevented in the future.

Polartec’s latest innovation – Power Air – focuses on providing more sustainable options for the market. It harnesses the qualities of fleece but reduces microfibre shedding during washing – by over five times that of a traditional mid-layer fabric. 

Key achievements during 30 years of Polartec:

  • 1981 Fleece:  first synthetic fleece. Ever.
  • 1993 Recycled Fleece:  the first fleece fabric made from recycled plastic. Ever.
  • 1998 Power Grid – the first bi-component knit structure
  • 1998 Power Shield – the first real soft shell that would become the one truly air permeable NeoShell
  • 2001 High Loft – the first fleece modification – an extra lofted fibre fabric
  • 2012 Alpha – the first Active Insulation fabric
  • 2015 Delta – the first Evaporative Cooling fabric
  • 2018 Power Air – the first Anti-Shedding fabric

Why is fleece important as a mid-layer?
It is all about insulation! It is not ideal being outdoors if your gear does not help keep you warm and comfortable so you can just enjoy yourself. Your mid-layer garment will manage the moisture/sweat your base layer has drawn outwards – if moisture soaks in, then your garment will be ineffective and you will get horribly clammy and cold. This is why caring for your mid-layer properly is just as important as caring for your base layer or waterproof, so that you can regulate your body temperature.

There are other fabrics used for mid-layers, these include Merino wool – which you can wash less frequently than a synthetic garment and has odour-reducing properties. Down – which is lightweight and easy to pack down, but does not always cope well if it gets wet. Synthetic – which will wick moisture out and dry quickly, but could lead to bacterial odour build-up, resulting in you washing items more often.

Fleece mid-layers come in different thicknesses, so you can definitely find the one most compatible for your outdoor needs. If you’re a fleece fan like us, you’ll have multiple fleeces of differing thicknesses – who says less is more! It is a versatile fabric to keep you comfortable in a range of weather conditions.

Don’t forget to care for your fleece with Nikwax
Fleece, in general, is a durable fabric that will keep you warm year after year if you look after it correctly. There is one very easy way to keep your fleece gear in prime condition…

Nikwax offers specialist aftercare for fleece that can also make it water repellent, if you’ve ever had a pair of fleece gloves and they’ve got wet, you will know how ineffective wet fleece is!

Rather than using standard washing detergents and fabric conditioners, which will attract water and allow the fleece to become soggy, use Nikwax water-based aftercare so you stay drier and warmer for longer.

We recommend that you clean your fleece with Nikwax Tech Wash®, you can throw it in the wash with your waterproof jacket, or any other outdoor items that require cleaning. Then proof the item(s) with Nikwax PolarProof® – to help keep your fleece performing at its best.

Overall, PolarProof will help enhance the performance and increase the usable lifetime of your fleece gear by:

  • Providing water repellency, thereby preventing fabric weight gain
  • Enhancing breathability and reviving insulation
  • Reducing the pilling of fleece fabric
  • Optimising performance in wet weather.

PolarProof is PFC-free, made with care for the environment.

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

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

Some of the key items you will need:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: iStock / Shutterstock

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The Technology Behind PolarProof

Fleece fabrics, made from manmade synthetic fibres, are used to make lightweight insulating mid-layers, as well as warming hats and gloves. They are fantastic items to wear over Autumn and Winter because the fabric’s construction means air is trapped between the fibres and then warmed by body heat – providing comfortable insulation for the wearer.

In recent years, the fleece has become ever more popular as a chosen item of clothing, with key outdoor brands championing such garments, which were once considered less fashionable. No longer is the fleece just to be worn if out hiking, instead it is becoming a staple in everyday wear because of its laid-back tailoring, versatility and comfort.

Why fleece is great at keeping you warm
Fleeces come in different weights – micro (lightweight), mid-weight, and textured (thicker). All have one thing in common – they are designed to keep you warm and are breathable, to allow moisture to escape. However, most fleeces will not keep you dry if you get caught out in the rain. The fabric will hold water in the spaces between the fibres, meaning that insulation will be reduced and the item will be heavier due to the water absorption. Fleece can hold up to 50% of its weight in water – that would make the wearer highly cold, uncomfortable and could even lead to possible hypothermia.
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How to look after your fleece
Nikwax PolarProof is the safe, easy to use, high performance waterproofing product that will protect fleece garments and enable the user to stay warm and dry during the colder months.

PolarProof is water-based and contains no fluorocarbons (PFCs), making it safe for the user and for the environment. Designed specifically for fleece fabrics, its innovative technology contains elastic water-repellent polymers that bond to fabric fibres, leaving the spaces between open and breathable. They stretch and move with the fabric so they work better and last longer. PolarProof will not change the look or feel of the fabric.

Some fleeces may now contain a durable water repellent finish (DWR), but without maintenance this will wear off over time. PolarProof leaves a flexible water repellent finish on all the individual fleece fibres – this allows breathability to be maintained and moisture can pass through the garment, preventing the user from feeling clammy. The treatment will add or replenish the item’s water repellency, to help prevent the absorption of water if caught out in the rain.

How to avoid your fleece pilling
Additionally, its formulation will help prevent the fabric from pilling – where abrasion damages fibres which then break away from the fleece, resulting in the item’s durability being reduced. PolarProof will keep your fleece items looking as good as new and they will last longer.

Easy to use in your washing machine, the water repellency will develop upon air-drying, so no need to use a tumble dryer, meaning energy is saved.

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