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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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THE NIKWAX DUOLOGY® WATERPROOF SYSTEM – MULTIPLE SEASONS, ONE ACTIVE OUTDOOR COMBINATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Essential Tech Wash

Guest blog courtesy of Giles Babbidge – a commercial and editorial photographer & writer specialising in the outdoor markets. You can find out more about what he does over at his behind-the-scenes website – www.theactivephotographer.com – or catch up with him on Twitter – @gilesbabbidge.

 

TechWash is one of those products which I have come to view as a standard item in my kit cupboard. Some might question why – surely it’s just a maintenance product? – but actually, therein lies the point. Time and time again, the old adage rings true – look after your kit and your kit will look after you.

Ahead of my winter 2014/15 camping activities, I knew that certain items could do with a spot of TLC. In particular, there was one main culprit lurking on the list – my trusty 20-year-old Ajungilak synthetic winter sleeping bag. What better way to see how TechWash really performs, I thought, than setting it to task here?

Now, don’t get me wrong – the bag wasn’t full of fleas(!) or looking like it had never been cared for in its long life. Just general wear and tear, but it was certainly overdue a spring clean.

Giles blog 2

One Sunday, I put aside a morning to complete the process. Following the bag’s care instructions (wash at 60 degrees, rinse several times, spin and tumble dry), I added 150ml of TechWash. For 1-2 items of kit, this amount is recommended for medium/hard water areas; in soft water areas, you’ll want 100ml.

So how did it come out? Was it a success or was the passing of time just too much of an adversary?

Well, I kid you not – the results were so good that I would gladly say the bag looked as close to new is it could do, given its age. The sort of dirt you would expect a sleeping bag to pick up through typical use seemingly vanished and in particular, the renewed loft (or ‘fluffiness’) was incredible! Seriously, the pictures you see here don’t do it justice.

Giles blog 3

And that’s the important bit, of course. As many of you will know, loft = insulation = warm, comfortable nights spent under the stars in the great outdoors.

Naturally, the real proof of the pudding was always going to be taking it out into the field during a ‘real world’ situation. And so, the first big test was a wild camp/photography trip to Snowdonia, during which I was shooting publicity pictures and bedding down on the snow at night. If you’re interested in hearing more, you might like this edition of my podcast, in which I gave an overview of the trip.

Sure enough, I went to sleep each night with a wry smile on my face; my sleeping bag worked like a treat, and I’m convinced the comfort level was noticeably improved by its recent Nikwax treatment.

Giles blog 4

TechWash is ideally suited to revitalising the breathability and water repellency of waterproof gear, including clothes and rucksacks, and certainly as a go-to general purpose cleaning agent, I’ve found it does a fantastic job. If you read the Nikwax Blog regularly, you might remember how I also used it ahead of waterproofing some fleeces with Polar Proof; that article can be found here.

 

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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.

 

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How to clean and waterproof your winter jacket

We often get asked how to use our products effectively. And while we love answering your questions, we thought it might be useful to create a ‘How To Use’ guide for two of our most popular products – Tech Wash and TX.Direct Wash-In.

Nikwax Tech Wash

  •  First, remove all detergent build-up from your detergent draw (regular detergent is water attracting so the draw must be cleaned out thoroughly)
  • For cost-effective cleaning, place up to two items in your washing machine
  • Add either 100ml of Tech Wash (soft water area) or 150ml (medium/hard water area) into your detergent tray, or in the drum with a Nikwax wash ball
  • Set your washing machine and wash according to the garment’s care label.

For those stubborn stains that just won’t come out, use Nikwax Tech Wash neat with a sponge or nylon brush and scrub lightly before cleaning with Tech Wash as normal.

 Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In

  • As with Tech Wash, thoroughly clean your detergent draw
  • After cleaning with Tech Wash, add one or two items to your washing machine
  • Add 100ml of TX.Direct per item to your detergent tray or wash ball
  • Set your washing machine and wash according to the garment’s care label

And voila! Clean and waterproof garments with minimal hassle and great results.

Hopefully this will clear up some FAQs, but feel free to fire across any other question you have. Contact us by:

Twitter: @nikwax

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nikwax.waterproofing

Phone: 01892 768400

Email: info@nikwax.com

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Nikwax team up with GB Rowing Team as they look to make waves en route to Rio

Rowing is synonymous with British sporting success over the past 30 years, since Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Matt Pinsent and others became Olympic legends. A gold medal at the summer Olympics has pretty much been a guarantee on the boating lake since 1988.

And now, in 2014, the new generation of oarsmen and oarswomen are taking on the mantle left by those greats by winning medals and storming the water.

Nikwax caught up with one of the GB Rowing Team’s more recent heroes, Andrew Triggs Hodge – winner of gold medals at the last two Olympic Games – to talk about the appeal of the sport and how important the correct kit is to him.

“(You) are out in the fresh air, it’s an outdoor sport, but also the team element – you’re relying on people around you 100%. It’s a cross between a dedicated individual sport where each person has to excel, but in a team atmosphere where ultimately you are as strong as your weakest link.”

Nikwax opted to get involved in the sport by becoming one of the suppliers to the GB Rowing Team as they look to build towards what is hoped to be a hugely successful Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.

It’s new ground for Nikwax, having previously not been involved in high level sport, but the benefits of the products provided by Nikwax go hand-in-hand with a sport that has the demands of rowing.

Nikwax products are famous for providing high performance waterproofing, something that serves all the team members of GB Rowing Team when they hit the water for training or on race day. All the rowers’ training gear and technical underwear will be treated meaning that however hard they are working, their kit will perform.

Triggs Hodge says that it is imperative that his kit works for him. “We need our kit to stay strong with us. We train three session days, we go through a lot of hard work, a lot of sweat goes through our kit, it has to stand up to a lot. But it also has to protect us outside. We will train through the winter, come wind, rain or snow. It has to work equally hard with us.”

So what do Nikwax products offer to help Triggs Hodge and his team out? “Nikwax is great for our waterproofing” he says. “It’s very important our waterproof kit stays breathable, otherwise the sweat accumulates inside and can make you very cold. Comfort wise it’s very important so we use it to maintain breathability, but to be able to repel any rain.”

Using Nikwax BaseFresh revitalises the wicking properties of base layers and improves cooling efficiency, meaning items can be worn again and again. “When we’re in the gym and you do a 16K ergo, I’ll sweat out a litre and a half or two litres depending on how warm it is, so that adds a lot of other stresses, so using products like BaseFresh keep the clothes fresh, keeps you wanting to wear it again – otherwise you end up going through a lot of kit! Nikwax does a great job of ensuring our kit’s in good working order.”

Nikwax takes huge pride in being environmentally friendly and PFC free, something that Triggs Hodge appreciates in his other profession “Water quality is a huge issue. I know it’s a big thing for World Rowing who’ve put a big focus on it, but also as an individual thing, I’m a water scientist, so of course it is absolutely important to me and using products that are in line with that get a double thumbs up.”

Using Nikwax, GB Rowing Team can be assured that their kit is in safe hands, as is the current generation of potential medal winners on the Road to Rio. 

 

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Clean, waterproof and protect your tent and gear for the 2013 camping season

Cleaning your tent
Around this time of year one of our most frequently asked questions is: Should I regularly clean my tent and if so, what’s the best way to do it? The answer quite simply is yes, cleaning your tent will remove dirt and dust that could inhibit the tent’s waterproofing ability. The quickest, easiest and safest way to clean your tent is to put it up and sponge it down using a diluted solution of Nikwax Tech Wash.
How to clean your tent with Tech Wash:

  1. In a clean bucket, add three full capfuls (medium/hard water areas) or two capfuls (soft water areas) of Tech Wash to six litres of warm water.
  2. Sponge the solution over the tent to remove all dirt. Repeat if required.
  3. Hose or sponge down the tent with clean water to wash off all the cleaning solution.

Protecting and waterproofing your tent
After cleaning, or if your tent is brand new, use Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof to add Durable Water Repellency and to protect the fabric against UV degradation. The product is easy to apply and just one application could double the effective life of your tent!

How to protect your tent with Tent & Gear SolarProof: 

  1. Erect tent and rinse down with clean water
  2. Spray, sponge or brush Tent & Gear SolarProof evenly to the outside of the tent fabric.
  3. Wait for 2 minutes. Remove any surplus product with a damp cloth.
  4. Check carefully to ensure no areas have been missed.
  5. Allow to air dry and ensure the tent is fully dried before packing away.

Check out our video from Nikwax’s Luis Brown on how to apply Tent & Gear SolarProof.Click Here

Did you know?
Tent & Gear SolarProof is ideal for waterproofing and protecting all synthetic weatherproof textiles, so alongside tents it can be used on awnings, marquees, rucksacks, panniers and camera bags.

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Sudan refugees get a helping hand from Nikwax!

Nikwax was approached last year by TchadSolaire, an NGO working to improve the lives of Darfurian refugees in the Chadian desert. The growing refugee camps and the need for cooking fuel has put pressure on the surrounding ecosystem and women leaving the camps in search of wood risk being attacked and raped. The NGO provides refugees and local people with simple but effective solar cookers. Not only do the cookers mean women can feed their families without risking their safety collecting firewood, it also protects the local environment as scrubland is not being destroyed to fuel fires.

These solar cookers are simply made from cardboard and aluminium foil and moisture from spillages and condensation was reducing the lifetime of the cookers. The charity approached Nikwax asking if they could advise on a waterproofing solution. Nikwax has gone one step further and invested time and money developing a new solar cooker waterproofing product. It’s already been delivered FREE to the refugee camps to help waterproof the solar cookers. The unique waterproofing formulation can more than double the lifetime of the cookers and reduce the amount of replacement stoves required.

Nikwax founder, Nick Brown said, “TchadSolaire is doing an amazing job helping to make a real, and lasting, difference to the lives of the Sudanese refugees and we are only too pleased to help. We will continue to help them to waterproof their solar cookers for as long as they need.”