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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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How To: get ski gear prepared for ski season with Nikwax

Everyone remembers to ensure their clothing is waterproofed and able to keep them dry, warm and comfortable when out on the slopes during ski season, but they may not be aware that Nikwax also produces two key aftercare products to care for their ski gear!

Clear vision with Nikwax Visor Proof
Whether you wear a pair of ski goggles or a helmet with a visor, it is important that your vision is as clear as possible and not obstructed with snow or droplets of rain that you have to keep wiping off with your hands. You just want to focus on your activity and be able to see any potential hazard on the slopes in front of you.

Visor Proof is the high performance rain repellent that ensures clear vision for all visors and goggles. A water-based product, Visor Proof can be used safely indoors, unlike solvent-based sprays. Easy to apply by hand, it will add effective water repellency to visors or goggles.

Visor Proof sheds water quickly, enhancing vision through the visor or goggles and helping the user see more clearly, especially in snowy or wet conditions.

Your customers need to know just how quick and easy Visor Proof is to use!

  • First, remove all surface dirt from the visor/goggles with mild soap and rinse thoroughly.
  • Shake the bottle well before use.
  • From a distance of 6 inches, apply two sprays of Visor Proof to the outside face of the visor/goggles.
  • Wipe with a clean, fluff-free cloth in smooth strokes to the outer edges of the visor/goggles.
  • Rub vigorously from side to side for even spread.
  • Your visor/goggles are ready for use!

And, did you know, Visor Proof is not just for ski goggles – it can be used on the visors of motorcycle helmets and protective sports glasses too!

Enhanced performance for skis with Nikwax Ski Skin Proof
Ski Skins are standard kit when it comes to ascending slopes and travelling over the snow smoothly and easily. The last thing someone wants is to find wet snow accumulating on their skins and making travel difficult.

Ski Skin Proof is the highly effective waterproofer that will prevent ice build-up and saturation on ski skins. By using Ski Skin Proof, the performance of the skis will be enhanced as it will reduce kick and improves glide. Ski Skin Proof will prolong the useable lifetime and performance of ski skins!

As with Visor Proof, Ski Skin Proof is quick and easy to use for instant protection.

  • Thoroughly shake the bottle before use.
  • Press the sponge applicator to break the seal.
  • Apply to either wet or dry ski skins whilst they are attached to the skis.
  • Start at the front of the ski skin and work the liquid into the fibres.
  • Ensure that the whole of the ski skin has been covered.
  • Leave the ski skin to dry naturally.
  • Note: if the ski skins are being treated before being glued to the ski, then ensure that the adhesive side is not exposed to the product.

Both products are free from PFCs and harmful chemicals, making them safe for the user and the environment. Treating gear from new, and when used, will help maintain its condition and performance.

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Interview with Tim Wiggins, Endurance Cyclist

Endurance cyclist Tim Wiggins is the author of Life in the Saddle – one of the country’s top independent cycling blogs. If he’s not busy filling it with news of his latest ride and providing inspiration and advice to the huge number of people in Britain who now love to be on two wheels, then he’s testing the latest cycling products to market. All of that time in the saddle means there’s no one better placed to tell us all about how to care for our cycling kit. We spoke to Tim to find out how Nikwax® and cycling work so well together…

What do you think is the best fabric to wear on a bike?
The real highlight in terms of fabric technology over the last few years has been the introduction of lightweight highly breathable insulating fabrics such as Polartec® Alpha®. Winter/ insulating jackets are no longer big and bulky, but are instead light, portable, and versatile in their temperature comfort zones; the Rapha Flyweight Brevet Jacket is a great example.

Should cyclists look after their cycling clothing in a specific way – what is different about it?
Yes, for sure. Cycling clothing is made of delicate (and expensive) fabrics, which you cannot treat like cottons. Always wash cycling kit on a 30 degree cycle – any hotter and the elastic elements will shrink. As cycle clothing is worn next to the skin, I would use Nikwax BaseWash® to keep my kit clean. Standard detergents can cause garments to retain rather than repel moisture and you can lose necessary fabric breathability, which makes you feel uncomfortable quickly when cycling. BaseWash thoroughly cleans and prevents bacterial build-up, plus garments will dry quickly when in use. Never use standard fabric softeners as these can reduce the effectiveness of shield fabrics. Finally, always hang dry kit rather than tumble dry it.

How do you store your cycling gear at the end of the day?
The first thing is never to store kit dirty. Road salt and damp can ‘eat’ through fabrics, and bacteria can breed in seat pads, encouraging saddle sores. I store jackets and jerseys hung up on an open clothes rail, and store shorts and tights loosely folded in a wardrobe.

Do you have summer and winter specific gear and what is different about it?
Winter cycling clothing is designed to protect and insulate—minimising exposed skin and trapping insulating air in layers of material. Summer cycling clothing is made to breathe and cool—wicking sweat away from your body to leave you cooler and drier.

Do you enjoy cycling in the rain? How do you keep yourself comfortable when the heavens open?
There is an old saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices“, that is very true for cycling in the rain. It can still be a great ride, even if the weather is a challenge. I use a good Gore-Tex waterproof jacket, waterproof gloves, waterproof shoe covers, a waterproof cap, and cycling tights that have been treated with a waterproofing wash, such as Nikwax TX-Direct®. For more advice, look at my ‘7 Tips for Wet Weather Cycling’ post on Life in the Saddle.

What about on hot sunny days – how do you stop yourself overheating and keep your clothing smelling fresh? 
On hot days it is all about wearing lightweight wicking fabrics that take moisture away from your skin, leaving you cool and dry; the fabrics should also protect you from ultraviolet (UV) rays. A cycling cap is a great accessory to act as a shade and a sweatband. To keep your kit clean and fresh, wash it with aftercare such as Nikwax BaseFresh®. It’s a deodorising conditioner that prevents odour build-up and keeps the wicking properties in the fabrics performing. It certainly does the job!

How do you look after cycling equipment like your helmet and glasses in order to keep them in tip top condition?
H
elmet pads, like base layers or cycling shorts, will soon get smelly if you do not wash the bacteria out of them. I rinse my helmet pads and straps in anti-bacterial Nikwax BaseWash once a week in the summer months. Glasses need to be cleaned often to reduce the build-up of dust, squashed bugs and mud. I use a gentle detergent spray like Nikwax Visor Proof, which also helps future spray and dirt to slide off the surface with ease.

What are your cycling goals for this summer?
The last few years my big touring trip each year has been a 3000+ kilometre bikepacking trip on the road – across Europe in multiple directions. This year, I am hoping to complete an off-road bike-packing adventure; self-supported through the mountains somewhere in Europe. Stay tuned to Life in the Saddle to find out! 

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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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