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Top Camping Tips for your Summer Staycation

Sometimes you just need to be outside – enjoying nature, the peace and quiet, and time away from your everyday routine. If you are planning an affordable, summer camping staycation this year, read up on our top tips to ensure it is everything you need it to be…

PLAN AHEAD
Finding the location that is right for you is crucial; whether you yearn for peace and quiet, family fun, the wild outdoors, or campsites with firepits and frills, then researching in advance will ensure you can find the best spot to pitch up.

Note down your top 5 essentials and after some research online you will be well on your way to locating the best spot to sleep under the stars.

WILD CAMPING
Recently, wild camping has been in the headlines with the ongoing discussion over Dartmoor National Park. Recently, the High Court declared that it is illegal to wild camp on Dartmoor Commons, mirroring other national parks in England and Wales.  Currently, Dartmoor National Park are looking to appeal this decision, but they have secured a permissive camping system – learn more here

Don’t think that you can pitch up your tent anywhere you please – if you have found a good location then either check in with the landowner or look online to see whether camping is allowed.

Be sure to respect your surroundings and Leave No Trace – the outdoors should be left as pristine as you found it (for both wildlife and other outdoor enthusiasts).

CHECK YOUR GEAR
How long has it been since you last used your tent? Don’t just pack it in the car and hope for the best upon arrival! Check before you go that you have all the tent pegs and poles and check your equipment to ensure it isn’t still dirty from its last use – this could hamper protection from the rain for one thing! If it needs a clean, use Tent & Gear SolarWash® and Tent & Gear SolarProof® to keep it in prime condition. You can buy our Camping Care Kit here and save 15% this month!

KEEP AN EYE ON THE WEATHER
We all know that weather in the UK is changeable. Even on the most glorious of days, we can be hit unexpectedly with a thunderstorm or downpour out of nowhere. You should be prepared for anything when living life outdoors, so be sure to have your waterproofs to hand, plus some entertainment to keep yourself (and the children) amused should it rain and you are confined to your tent… If your waterproofs have not been cleaned in a while, then ensure they are ready for your trip by cleaning with Tech Wash® and re-proofing with TX.Direct® – you don’t want to end up cold and wet if you get caught in the rain.

PACK THE ESSENTIALS
Remember key items of kit! A torch for when you need to navigate to the toilets in the dark of night; bin bags to ensure you take all your rubbish away when you pack up; a first aid kit in case of any scrapes or bumps; camping chairs to relax comfortably outside of your tent; cutlery and cooking utensils when cooking over your campfire; wet wipes for easy cleaning; sunscreen and insect repellent; and, a mallet to help get tent pegs into hard ground, are some of the key pieces we recommend.

 SWITCH OFF
We all spend a lot of time on our phones and laptops, connected to a digital world where hours can just fly by…. Take the time to put your devices down and just enjoy the simple power of nature. Stop and listen to the birds singing, get up early to watch the sunrise whilst other campers sleep, take long walks to explore your surroundings… Quite simply, take time to yourself – being outside is so beneficial for our physical and mental wellbeing!

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How to protect and revitalise your wet weather gear with Nikwax

There is nothing better than escaping into nature for fitness, relaxation, and general wellbeing. However, wet weather gear that is not properly cared for can impede your enjoyment of it. Regularly cleaning and proofing your clothing and footwear with Nikwax will not only keep it performing better, for longer, it will also save you money and help keep textile waste out of landfill.

So, to beat the April showers and get the very best out of your waterproof kit this spring, read up on our aftercare guidance below…

Why do I need to clean technical waterproof clothing and footwear regularly?
Because general wear, weather conditions, terrain, dirt, and contaminants will all take their toll. No matter the cost or technicality of your wet weather gear, the durable water repellent (DWR) coating (that prevents water absorption) will wear away and items will start to absorb water over time.

It is this reduction in DWR that causes you to feel clammy when active as moisture is unable to escape (breathe) through the material, causing it to build up inside your clothing or footwear instead. Plus, without due care and attention, your gear may start to degrade as bacteria can cause its material(s) to rot.

Is it difficult or expensive to clean and re-proof my gear?
Not with Nikwax! Our reliable and easy-to-use aftercare is also affordable, rejuvenating your gear and allowing you to get back outside in no time.

The Nikwax Outdoor Complete Protection Kit has everything you need to ensure you are fully protected when heading out on an adventure.

Caring for waterproof clothing
Firstly, avoid normal detergents! They are simply not suitable for technical clothing with DWR as they will leave water-attracting residues on the fabric, going against what the garments are there to do in the first place – repel water…

Tech Wash® and TX.Direct® are market-leading aftercare solutions that will enhance the performance of your waterproof gear, ensuring you stay drier for longer and your clothing remains as good as new.

To see just how quick and easy it is to clean and re-proof your wet weather gear, watch this video now.  

Caring for waterproof footwear
The same principle applies to footwear – avoid detergents that are not specifically designed for technical boots and shoes, in order to prevent water absorption and degradation of the materials.

Following a tiny bit of prep – removing excess mud – our aftercare duo will completely revive combination (fabric & leather) footwear. Clean it first with our Footwear Cleaning Gel, then follow up by proofing it with our Fabric & Leather Proof. It really is that simple.

Watch this video for the best tips on cleaning and proofing your combination footwear.

What are the benefits of using Nikwax products?
First and foremost, they are environmentally friendly aftercare solutions. They contain no PFCs or hazardous chemicals and are water-based. A key factor for us considering our love for the outdoors and our desire to protect it.

Simply cleaning with Nikwax can revive DWR, so you don’t have to re-proof every time you clean. It is only when cleaning alone no longer prevents water beading up on clothing or footwear that you should re-proof with the appropriate waterproofer.

You can save on energy. Heat is not required to develop the DWR – items can be left to air-dry.

Your clothing and footwear will last longer, which is a win-win! You don’t need to replace your favourite gear as often because our aftercare will maintain its performance, breathability, and water repellency. The result? You can enjoy the outdoors staying dry and comfortable (without over-heating, feeling clammy or feeling too cold).

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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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Prepare your kit for the upcoming snow season

Are you super-prepared and ready to hit the slopes this ski season, or, like most of us, struggling to find the time in busy lives to get snow-organised? Don’t stress, use Nikwax! The easy and cost-effective way to clean, freshen and waterproof your gear for maximum enjoyment in the mountains, Nikwax is guaranteed keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. Just follow our simple preparation steps and you’ll be ready to go…

Step 1: Clean your outerwear
Jackets and salopettes pick up more dirt than you think and if you didn’t clean them after your previous ski trip, it is most definitely time for a freshen up – hard-earned sweat and those après-ski spillages can quickly degrade waterproofing properties. First, clean the garments in your washing machine with Tech Wash® (check the garment care labels first!).

If your gear was wetting out before its clean, Tech Wash will help revitalise its Durable Water Repellency (DWR). However, if wetting out continues to occur after the cleaning cycle, it is time for a proper re-proof with TX.Direct® Wash-In. This can also be used in your washing machine, on a separate cycle. Note that for wicking linings we recommend TX.Direct Spray-On.

 

Paul Telling, Programme Director at Team Evolution, an Austrian-based British Ski Academy says:
“We tend to wear our team kit for 200-250 days a season, so we really need it to last and protect us from the wind, rain and snow. Our gear is made from high quality materials; however, it takes such a battering from the weather it is important we keep its waterproofing topped up. Whenever we clean our jackets we use Tech Wash & TX.Direct. Not only does Nikwax re-waterproof the kit and keep it breathable, it’s also simple to use. It doesn’t matter if we’re in France or South America, in a hotel or hand-washing our kit in a basin, we’re able to ensure our kit stays protected, and can therefore do its job protecting us.”

Nikwax is not heat-activated, so you can simply air-dry your gear after the cleaning and proofing process, or tumble dry it if the care label allows. It is essential to ensure your gear is completely dry before putting it away or packing it in your suitcase.

Step 2: Clean your synthetic base layers
Dirt, sweat, make up and oils from your skin all build up on base layers, which can impair their technical wicking capabilities, making temperature regulation more difficult. Regular detergents can have the same impairing effect, so it is vital you use the best cleaner for the job if you want to optimise your gear.

As Tech Wash does for outer garments, BaseWash® gently cleans synthetic base layers. Not only that, it conditions the garments too. Perfect if you have many base layers that need washing.

If you only have a couple of synthetic base layers, then pop them in a normal laundry wash and replace your regular conditioner with BaseFresh®. This high-performance conditioner allows your regular detergent to clean your items without compromising their functionality. Both BaseWash and BaseFresh will deodorise your base layers – removing built-in odour and sweat – whilst also enhancing the wicking and drying properties. Garments stay fresher for longer.

Step 3: Clean your gloves and socks
Ski gloves also pick up a lot of dirt on the slopes, which can affect their DWR resulting in damp, cold hands. Clean gloves will stay waterproof and breathable, which keeps you far more comfortable zig zagging down the mountains. After cleaning with Tech Wash, proof with Glove Proof, which is suitable for synthetic, full-grain leather, fabric & leather, and membrane fabric gloves.

In the same way hands suffer if they get damp, so do feet! Many snow sports enthusiasts choose Merino wool socks thanks to their temperature regulating and wicking properties, which need specialist care. Wool Wash – cleaner and conditioner in one – deodorises and enhances the wicking and drying performance of woollen gear, piste after piste.

“Keep your gloves and socks away from radiators! Put them next to a warm heat source instead, with enough space for the heat to circulate. If you must put your kit on a radiator, always lay a dry towel down first so you don’t have melted gloves in the morning.” Paul Telling

Step 4: look after your boots and equipment
If you are lucky enough to own a pair of boots, skis, or a snowboard, it is a good idea to service them before each trip to ensure your feet stay fully protected in all conditions. Clean the inners of your ski or snowboard boots with Sandal & Sport Shoe Wash to remove any unwanted odours and improve their wicking quality (as with socks, wet feet quickly become cold feet!).

If ski touring is your thing, you should waterproof your ski skins with Ski Skin Proof, a treatment that prevents ice building up on ski skin fibres, reducing saturation to improve glide and reduce kick.

Servicing your skis and board should, of course, include a re-wax and edge sharpen.

These recommended steps will safeguard the technical qualities of your snow sports gear, enhancing their properties and extending the life of the garments/equipment. Ensuring the longevity of your gear will not only save you money but it will boost your sustainability credentials too as you’ll be helping to keep garments out of landfill.

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My Coastal Life – Nikwax’s Rose Cawte

There is always salt in the air, it’s that distinct smell you notice when you arrive at the coast. I love the pureness of it. My favourite feeling is stepping off the train from London and taking a deep breath of the freshest, cleanest air. Those big, bright, clear skies that you only find by the sea. The kind of wind that feels like it clears your entire body out. 7 miles of sandy beach and, on a normal day, only a handful of people to share it with. These are my favourite parts of living in Camber.

But this is an English coastal village and owning a dog – especially a dog like mine – means, regardless of the weather, you always have to go out. Coastal weather can be unpredictable, and it is important to make sure that I am always prepared for 4 seasons in one dog walk. Combining that with a windy day – we get plenty of those – and going up and down the sand dunes, everything comes back with a layer of salt and sand.

This certainly has an impact on the clothing and footwear I use on the beach as it always requires more cleaning. Because I rely on my gear so much, I make sure I use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash® and Footwear Cleaning Gel, so I’m not replacing jackets and shoes every year. The years BN, or ‘before Nikwax’, I used to notice my footwear falling apart: leaking, jackets letting water through, and zips stiffening after just one winter. Both the combination of salt and using regular detergents would speed up the degrading of the fabrics and components. The added bonus of using Nikwax cleaners is that you rarely get caught in the rain with leaking jackets. Often a wash revamps the waterproofing of my coat and if it does ever start to ‘wet out’, a quick wash and re-proof with TX.Direct® does the trick.

The same goes for my running trainers. I am lucky to have some beautiful run routes on my doorstep; from the promenade along the sea defence, the beach itself, and a huge golf course on the western side of the village. This means lots of different terrain to manage, so I have both road and trail shoes and both get equally as dirty! Dusty in the summer and muddy in the winter, alongside the running shoe stink from sweat! I use Footwear Cleaning Gel and Fabric & Leather Proof on my waterproof trail shoes and Sandal & Sports Shoe Wash on the road (non-waterproof) trainers. This keeps them in top condition, breathable, and comfortable as I get the miles in.

We’re an active family. Alongside the dog walking and running, we regularly jump in the sea for a swim. In all honesty, we are quite fair-weather swimmers, but we do take an annual Christmas Day swim – or surf if we are lucky with the waves – and there’s nothing quite like celebrating the start of a new year with a New Year’s Day dip! Autumn and winter swims are so invigorating, building up the courage to get in is the hard part, but it is always so worth it. We found the dry bag from the Nikwax Outdoor Complete Protection Kit is great for stashing valuables whilst you’re in the water and then, in turn, to hold your wet swimwear afterwards.

Living in this little coastal village can sometimes feel very isolated and certainly has its downsides. You get used to washing your windows and cars more often to keep the salt off, the constant battle against sand in your house, especially after a windy day (and having a dog that loves to run in the shallows on the beach), or the difficulty keeping a garden thriving with the salty air, harsh elements and lack of rain in the warmer months. But, as long as I can wrap up warm and stay dry, you will always find me on the beach – even on the wildest days in the middle of winter. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

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Give your ski gear an end of season MOT

As the European ski season comes to a close, we want to highlight the importance of looking after your gear before safely packing it away until next winter. So follow these steps to ensure your gear goes away safely, ready to serve you well again the next time.

Step 1: Clean your outerwear
Your ski jacket and salopettes pick up more dirt than you think. From hard-earned sweat to those après-ski spillages, if left they can quickly degrade the waterproofing properties. First wash in the washing machine with Tech Wash®, making sure to follow the instructions on the care label.

If your gear had been wetting out before the clean, Tech Wash itself can revitalise the durable water repellency (DWR) but if it is still wetting out, it is time to re-waterproof! TX.Direct® can be applied directly in the washing machine in a separate cycle. Alternatively if your gear has a wicking lining, we recommend using the spray-on TX.Direct. Nikwax does not need heat to activate it so you can just hang you gear to air dry after cleaning and proofing, you can of course tumble dry if the care label allows.

For down-filled items, use Down Wash Direct® in the washing machine to clean and follow with Down Proof to add DWR. We recommend tumble drying down items to fluff them back up, this can be a bit of a process as you will need to tease the down clumps apart at intervals in the drying process but it’s worth it. It is vitally important to make sure all gear is completely dry before packing away.

Step 2: Clean your gloves and socks
Like your outwear, your gloves will pick up a lot of dirt on the slopes. Clean gloves will ensure that they stay breathable and waterproof, stopping water lingering on the inside of your gloves and making your hands feel cold. It takes a long time for extremities to warm back up again once they are cold, so it is important to keep them warm. After cleaning, you can apply Glove Proof to synthetic or leather and synthetic combination gloves. For full leather gloves, use Waterproofing Wax for Leather.

In the same way that hands can quickly get cold if they are damp, the same goes for feet. A lot of snow sports enthusiasts use Merino wool socks for their temperature regulating and wicking properties. These types of socks need different care to synthetic ones. Make sure to clean according to the care label and use Wool Wash, our speciality cleaner and conditioner designed to deodorise and enhance the wicking and drying performance of woollen items. For synthetic socks, look to BaseWash and BaseFresh® to gently clean, condition and deodorise leaving them fresh and ready for the next winter.

Step 3: Clean your base layers
Sweat, oils from your skin and dirt will build up on your base layers after working hard in them on the slopes. This can cause the technical wicking to become less effective, making temperature regulation more difficult. Regular detergents can build up on clothing and have the same effect, so it is important to use a speciality cleaner to ensure your gear is performing at its best. BaseWash will gently clean and deodorise synthetic base layers, whilst Wool Wash will do the same for your woollen pieces. BaseFresh is the only fabric conditioner designed to deodorise and enhance the wicking and drying properties, rather than regular conditioners which can attract water to give the soft feel. Using these types of cleaners and conditioners will ensure you are dryer, warmer and more comfortable whilst smelling fresh too!

Step 4: look after your equipment
If you are lucky enough to own your own boots and ski’s or snowboard, it is a good idea to service them at the end of the season so they are set and ready before being packed away. Clean the inners of your snowboard or ski boots with Sandal & Sports Shoe Wash to remove any unwanted odours and to improve their wicking quality. As with your socks, wet feet very quickly come cold feet!

Servicing your skis and board can include a re-wax and edge sharpen, but if ski touring is your thing you can waterproof your ski skins with Ski Skin Proof. This treatment is designed to prevent ice build-up on the fibres and to reduce saturation on all ski skins to improve glide and reduce kick.

Following these steps will safeguard the technical qualities of your snow sports gear for future use, enhancing their properties and extending the life of the garments. The longer you can use the gear for, the less you will have to purchase and the more sustainable your use would be. Our last tip and perhaps the most important – make sure all your gear is thoroughly dry before packing away until next season!

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Nikwax and Nick Brown Invest in the Future

45 years after founding Nikwax, Nick Brown is passing control and ownership to his employees

Building on 45 years of Nikwax history
February 1st, 2022, became a historic day for the Nikwax Brand. After 45 years of being owner and founder, Nick Brown has passed control to the employees, on three continents, by selling his business to our newly formed Employee Ownership Trust.

Back in 1977, Nick was living in London and had just finished university; he was both unemployed and in love with the outdoors – specifically long-distance walking and backpacking. Nick also had a flair for chemistry and he utilised this talent to create his first product – Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather – which he supplied to the 1980 Royal Geographical Society Karakoram Expedition, and which went on to sell in more than 50 countries.

Over the years, Nikwax has grown to be an international company, with branches in Mainland Europe, North America and South America. We are the only established waterproofing aftercare brand never to have used PFCs in our formulations (PFCs are associated with cancer and immune system damage, and are now known as the “forever chemicals” because they bio-accumulate). Our innovation is what led to the achievement of winning a prestigious 4 Queen’s Awards, the last being The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in 2014 – the first outdoor brand to do so.

Nick explained how he feels about the transition,
“By passing on the business to the employees, I feel that I am not only looking after them, but also looking after the interests of our loyal customers. Outdoor people have come to have high expectations of Nikwax, at many levels, and I would not want them to be disappointed. So many companies end up being aggressively taken over and broken up, and lose their soul. This is our best shot at avoiding that and continuing the guiding principles.”

The future of Nikwax is in shared ownership – an Employee Ownership Trust
Nick is now 67, and whilst he hasn’t hung up his boots, he has been preoccupied for more than decade with how to achieve a smooth succession. The Nikwax legacy is one of trying to do business in a responsible way and taking our planet and peoples’ future into account. 4 years ago, the idea of an Employee Ownership Trust was suggested by Nick’s HSBC Bank Manager, Simon Austin, and that started a long and complex project that comes to fruition today, having been delayed by Covid-19.

The founding concept of an EOT is that it exists for the benefit of the employees and all, in effect, are partners whilst employed. Since their introduction, EOTs have become an increasingly popular route for owner/founders to achieve succession, whilst protecting the community of employees they have created.

And, finally, one percent for the planet and for people
Part of the transition is a watertight undertaking that one percent of turnover will be forevermore dedicated to environmental and social projects.

Maïté Angleys, Director of Sustainability for Nikwax, said, “1% for people and planet is about giving back. Nikwax has been here for 45 years and it will still be here in another 45 years’ time, which is why we want to do our best to protect the great outdoors for generations to come. To ensure continuity, Nick and his family will be involved in choosing the projects and organisations we support, giving us the chance to preserve our founding values into the future.”

Watch this space. With so much already achieved, and the buzzing enthusiasm of the work force, where will we, at Nikwax, go next?

 

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EcoSki: How to make your ski kit last

Our friends at Ecoski raise awareness about how we can all meaningfully reduce our impact as skiers, help protect the very thing we all love and make it easier for snow sport enthusiasts to make better choices. 

They have brought together key figures from the world of sport, environmental activism and fashion, to help them as advisors, in their journey towards a more sustainable way of life. This panel of advisors provide crucial insight, expertise and guidance through their first-hand experience and commitment to positive change. When these advisors include 4 times Olympic skier and host of Ski Sunday, Chemmy Alcott, and Polar Adventurer and Explorer Martin Hartley, you know they are serious about what they do and want to achieve.

Here they share their tips on making your ski or snow-sport kit last.

Make it last
Ski kit is not cheap and until very recently has essentially been made of some form of fossil fuel derived plastic. This means that the ski pants you wore once but don’t like any more, or the jacket that your child has outgrown, will take somewhere in the region of 500 years to decompose when it ends up in landfill.

Research has shown that extending the active life of one item of ski kit leads to a reduction in the carbon, water and waste footprint by up to 10 per cent — so taking care of your ski kit to make it last as long as possible is the best policy for both your pocket and the planet.

But, how to go about it?

Buy well and wear well
Begin with buying quality, not quantity. While not everyone can afford top-of-the-range kit, the more expensive a garment, generally the better it will be manufactured and the longer its life. As with fast fashion, if you avoid anything that you think you might not like the following season, or in two years’ time — for example, a bold print or colour, or a fur trim — you’re more likely to wear it time and again.

Look after your kit
Washing outdoor clothing in regular detergent and fabric conditioners inhibits its water resistant properties, making it less effective and at risk of degrading faster than if using appropriate aftercare. Sponge off marks or stains when they appear to help reduce the build-up of any oils or contaminants that can mask the water repellency.

Remember sunlight will degrade the properties of technical clothing too because of the harmful UV rays that can reduce fabric tear strength.

Re-proof to revive
If your kit is starting to ‘wet out’ rather than water beading up and running off the fabric, don’t despair – you just need to give it some TLC with Nikwax. Dirt, body oils, and even smoke, can all mask the water repellent coating on your gear, meaning it will soak up water. That’s why it’s key to use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash®. Tech Wash is the best performing technical cleaner on the market that effectively cleans away dirt while maintaining the water repellency and breathability of your jacket.

Should cleaning alone not revitalise water repellency you should then re-proof your ski garments with  TX.Direct®  

Care for your base layers

If you have smelly base layers, don’t chuck them away! Nikwax has a cleaner and conditioner formulated specifically to remove odours from synthetic base layers and other items worn next to the skin. BaseWash cleans away all body oils and bacteria and deodorises at the same time, so you stay fresher for longer. There’s even a gentle version for woollen base layers – Wool Wash – designed to be kind to the natural properties of wool.

Nikwax Sweatproofing products also enhance the ability of your base layers to wick sweat away from your skin so you stay comfortable and your body temperature is regulated during activity. Find a selection here.

Nikwax also have the following ski related products: Glove Proof, Visor Proof and Ski Skin Proof. Rather than buy new each year, use Nikwax products to enhance the performance of your gear and you will be helping prevent the addition of textiles into landfill.

A stitch in time
Extend the life of your kit by mending any tears. Gore-Tex patches are easily bought online or, contact the original manufacturer to get a colour and fabric match. A good top tip for mending tears in down jackets is to use a sailing spinnaker tape — you literally cut a circle of the fabric, peel off the backing, place it over the hole and rub vigorously to bond the glue to the jacket. If you’re not skilled enough to replace a zipper yourself, most manufacturers have a repair service, but you could also try the local high street or EcoSki offers a repair service, too.

Don’t bin it!
At the end of the day, don’t bin it! Skiwear is designed to be durable and hardwearing so if your children have outgrown their kit or you decide it’s time for a change, why not sell your ski gear to someone else? “Preloved” ski kit sells well; just make sure it’s clean and you’re honest about any wear and tear. EcoSki sells mens’, womens’ and childrens’ pre-owned skiwear. If your kit really isn’t worth re-selling it can it be shredded and used as insulation in building materials or recycled via EcoSki’s recycling partners. Anything to keep it in circulation and living a full life.

 

 

 

 

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Top Tips for mountain bikers, old and new!

Has watching Great Britain win a total of 12 medals in cycling at the Tokyo Olympics inspired you to get outdoors on two wheels? Tom Pidcock wowed us all with his fantastic gold-medal performance in the Tokyo Olympics men’s cross-country mountain bike race, winning Great Britain’s first ever mountain bike medal at an Olympics!  

Over the past couple of years, men and women, young and old have taken up the sport  and we expect to see this continue, with the global mountain bike market forecast to grow by more than £2bn between 2020 and 2024. Whether you are new to cycling or it’s one of your favourite outdoor pastimes, our very own Creative Director and mountain bike supremo, Tom Redfern, is here to share his tips for getting off road on 2 wheels.

Top Tips for mountain bikers, old and new
Since Covid-19 blighted our world, many people have been attracted to the physical and mental benefits of getting outdoors. A decent percentage of those have decided to take up the amazing sport of mountain biking. It’s a sport I’ve been obsessed with since 1999, so I thought I’d share a few insights learned from many years of riding – and falling off…

Not all mountain bikes are the same
There’s a variety of riding within the catch-all term ‘mountain biking’. For a start, you don’t even need mountains to ride a mountain bike. Mountain bikes are designed for riding off-road and generally, the steeper the place where you ride, the more you’ll benefit from having a bike with longer suspension travel in the front forks and rear suspension. There’s no point buying a £8,000, 160mm travel Enduro bike if you’re going to be riding somewhere relatively flat. You’ll just be pedalling something that’s carrying too much weight and you’ll limit your ability for fun.  

If you’re not very fit or have a health condition, an electrically assisted bike (e-MTB), will help to get you out on the trails by increasing the amount of distance you can cover and speeding up your recovery time before your next ride. However, e-MTBs are more expensive than a regular bike and carry a greater environmental cost (they require electricity to work and use battery materials such as Lithium, which are difficult to recycle).

Whichever bike you choose, try and have at least a small ride on it before you commit. Not all bikes are the same. And these days there are some great bikes available for around £500.

Buy good quality kit
In my time riding mountain bikes, I’ve seen a few horrific accidents. However, most riders save themselves from permanent injury by wearing protection, especially a helmet. Invest in a good quality helmet and it’ll protect your head when you fall off – which will happen at some point as you increase your speed and become more adventurous in your riding.

Invest in a good pair of cycle shorts. It’s no fun riding a bike for long periods without decent, padded cycling shorts. There are many styles, from baggy to tight, but make sure you buy a pair with a good quality chamois. It’s worth buying a good quality jersey which can wick sweat away and keep you cool and a lightweight waterproof for the British summer.


© Chris Bell

Care for your kit for continued high performance
Make sure you keep your kit performing by regular cleaning with the right Nikwax products. Cleaning technical base layers with normal detergent and fabric conditioner could lead to your garments starting to smell quite quickly and for the wicking to be reduced – causing you to feel chilly and damp when you stop cycling. This causes real discomfort.

However, Nikwax has all the aftercare you need to ensure your gear will regulate your body temperature, so you stay dry and comfortable no matter how much you exert yourself.

Try BaseFresh® for revived, deodorised clothing. It works in place of your normal fabric conditioner (which impairs the wicking), so you simply pop your garments into the washing machine with your normal detergent, adding the required amount of BaseFresh. It will allow your detergent to remove all dirt from the garments whilst preventing any harm to the fabric’s technical properties. BaseFresh enhances wicking, so sweat spreads and dries faster. Plus, it deodorises the fabric, to ensure your garments smell better for longer by preventing the build-up of odour-causing bacteria.

If you wear woollen base layers then clean them with Wool Wash, which is designed specifically for delicate garments. It cleans and conditions this natural fabric without any degradation to the performance.

Never forget your waterproof outer layer…. Tech Wash® is your go-to cleaning product to revive the water repellency and remove all the dirt you’ve collected from your rides. TX.Direct® is the easy-to-use waterproofer that will re-proof your jacket when the water repellent coating has worn away (this changes depending upon how frequently you use your jacket and the conditions it is worn in).

Upgrade your riding ability, not another bike
As with skiing, you’ll really benefit from investing in some lessons from a professional instructor. When you get into mountain biking, you’ll realise it really isn’t ‘just like riding a bike’. There are many additional skills required; body positioning, cornering, jumping, and reading the trail to name but a few. An instructor will help with your riding progression and enable you to feel more comfortable when confronted with trail features and enable you to ride a wider variety of trails. Whatever your skill levels, you’ll benefit from some tuition and it’s a much better idea to invest in skills training than continually spending money on upgrading your bike or other kit.


© Chris Bell

Leave no trace
Remember to take any litter home with you and don’t discard any food wrappers or empty drinks bottles. If you see litter on the trail and it’s safe to stop, then pick it up and take it home with you. I see so many discarded energy-gel packets out in the woods and it infuriates me. There’s no excuse for littering, the outdoors are for everyone and we should treat it with respect.

The last word
Mountain biking can appear daunting when first taking up the sport, so take your time and understand that the learning and progression never stops. There’s no shame in riding within your comfort level and never attempting that super-steep trail with the jumps and drops. It’s really all about staying healthy, enjoying being out in nature and having fun with friends and family.

So ride your bike, have fun and hope to see you out on the trail!

Tom Redfern
Creative Director Nikwax and Founder of Broken Riders.

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End of Ski Season Checklist – How to Store Ski Gear Properly

It’s the time of year when snow is out of the picture. Before you enter summer mode completely, take a moment to clean and store your ski and snowboard gear. Many people don’t know how to store their ski gear properly. This end of ski season checklist can help avoid delaminating jackets, funky smells, rusty edges, and warped gear. Follow these 5 tips to make sure your planks and outerwear stay in great condition and are ready to go when the lifts start to spin again.

End of ski season checklist:

1. Wash your outerwear

It is okay to wash waterproof jackets and trousers. It really is! Your ski jacket and salopettes get dirty throughout the season: sweat from going big, grease from a breakfast binge, ketchup stains, and spilled Après beverages are all contributors. If left unwashed the sweat, dirt, bacteria, and beer stains fester and degrade the waterproofing and fabric of your outerwear.

  • For hardshells or synthetic insulated outwear, first clean with Tech Wash and then re-waterproof with TX.Direct.
  • For down-filled puffy items, Down Wash Direct will remove grime while protecting delicate feathers, and add water-repellency. For jackets place items in the dryer and tumble on air dry. In three 20-minute intervals remove the jacket and massage the baffles to help fluff the items back up. For sleeping bags air dry and intermittently massage the baffles.

 2. Love your gloves
Gloves and mittens take a beating on the hill, from abrasive snow to runny noses. These inhibit the water repellency and shorten their lifespan.

 3. Clean your base layers
Why store stinky things? Wash and deodorise your dirty layers and buffs before putting them away.

  • Use BaseWash to clean and deodorise your synthetic layers. Wool Wash will take care of your wool layers, ensuring they are ready to perform at their best next season.
  • TIP: If you use your base layers year round for running, hiking, and camping trips, use BaseWash with every load of synthetics to keep them performing and in great condition.

4. Care for your Skins
Uphill ski traffic has exploded in popularity! To get the maximum life from your skins be sure to dry them and fold them correctly after each tour.

5. Store boots buckled or laced. Important!

  • Store your boots in a dry, cool place with the buckles buckled and straps strapped to help the plastic shell or leather outer retain its shape. If stored unbuckled boots can warp and become (even more) uncomfortable.

Goodbye sweet ski season. We miss you already. But Hello Summer!