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Eric Lindemans: my favourite Nikwax product…and more…

This month, we’d like to introduce you to Eric Lindemans, our long-standing Nikwax Head of Sales in the Benelux region. We haven’t seen as much of Eric as we’d have liked to over the past two years, due to you-know-what, so we were thrilled to finally catch up with him again in person last month at our East Sussex HQ. Here, Eric tells us why he loves using Wool Wash, fills un in on the Nikwax cabin in Reewijk, and shares a bit about himself…

How long have you worked at Nikwax and what is your role at the company?
I have worked for the brand since 2006, as Head of Sales for the Benelux region, which comprises Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Before Nikwax, I worked somewhere completely different – for Media Markt, which is a German multinational chain of stores selling consumer electronics. They have over 1000 stores in Europe. 

What do you think is the best thing about Nikwax?
Nikwax is a very honest and transparent company, which is hugely important to me. Quite simply, we do what we say we do, and have done for over 45 years.  

What is your favourite Nikwax product and why?
Wool Wash is without doubt my favourite product! I love wool as a material because it keeps me cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and Wool Wash keeps my woollen clothing in perfect condition. The weather in the Netherlands can change rapidly without warning – from cold to hot, from light rain showers to storms so it is essential that my clothing delivers for me (I live in a country where frogs thrive!). Woollen clothing that has been treated with Wool Wash dries 70% faster than wool that hasn’t been treated, and I also I use it occasionally on synthetic base layers.

What activities do you enjoy in the great outdoors?
I really enjoy skiing and walking as well as sailing, diving, snorkelling and kayaking – I spend a lot of time on the water!

Tell us about the Nikwax cabin in a Netherlands nature reserve…
A few years ago, we decided we needed a showroom that resonated with Nikwax values and an opportunity came up to rent a cabin in Reewijk, near to the river De Lansing. This beautiful, award-winning nature reserve can only be reached by boat, covers over 5 hectares and is home to protected flora and fauna, including yellow irises, orchids, crab warblers, grass snakes, polecats, natterjack toads, carp, kingfishers, and owls. We rent the cabin for a minimal cost because we help take care of the nature reserve, which feels truly reflective of who we are and what Nikwax stands for. Visitors to our cabin experience Nikwax in nature and gather a deeper understanding of the Nikwax brand and products.  

We are also proud that our Nikwax cabin has virtually no carbon footprint. We use solar panels for power, a dry toilet for composting, UV tarps above the deck protect visitors from UV light and provide shade, and we cook on wood where possible.

Is there a memory of working at Nikwax that particularly stands out for you?
4 years ago, I attended a European meeting in the UK. Since I was travelling to the UK anyway, I decided to plan my family holiday around this trip and explore the beautiful countryside of Southeast England. Very generously, Nick Brown, the Founder of Nikwax, invited my family and I to stay in his home for two weeks as his guests, whilst we explored the area. This memory, particularly, stands out to me because Nikwax feels very much like a family.

Where is your favourite place to walk/hike in the Netherlands?
Definitely (north) Texel and The Slufter, which is a large salt marsh plain positioned between two sand dikes. It is unusual due to its location along the North Sea coast – only plants that tolerate saltwater grow here and it turns purple in the summer from the flowering sea lavender. Eider ducks and sky larks also nest in the area.

I first came to Texel when I was 15 years old and that summer I made lifelong friends. I try to visit Texel at least once a year and my dream is to retire there so I can walk the beautiful trails a few times a week rather than just once a year!

©Sam te Kiefte (Unsplash)

And your favourite place to walk/hike in the UK?
The National Trust’s Lydford Gorge Walk in Devon, which has an amazing 30m waterfall called the White Lady. I really loved my visit to that place – beautiful vegetation everywhere and never a straight path. I want to go back there and explore some more!

Tell us about an environmental cause that is close to your heart
In Zeeland, where I live, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) issued a warning that we should not be eating more than one fish a year from the ocean due to the risk of ingesting PFA’s. The average Dutch person already ingests too many of these harmful substances through food and drinking water and there is a push, in Zeeland, to reduce the intake of PFA’s as much as possible. This is something I really believe in, and I have adjusted my diet in line with the RIVM’s advice.

©Dennis Möller (Unsplash)

Tell us something about the Netherlands we don’t know…
Everybody always talks about Amsterdam as the must-visit place, but in Texel and Rotterdam you will discover the real Netherlands. Texel delivers on beautiful beaches and nature reserves, whilst Rotterdam has some fantastic modern architecture and is famous for its port, which is the largest in Europe. I would recommend these places to visitors over Amsterdam any day!

 

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Nikwax isn’t just for the rain, it also targets sweat…

From the frozen wastes of Antarctica to the highest mountains in the world, Nikwax aftercare products have kept outdoor professionals and athletes warm and dry in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable. However, did you know that Nikwax will protect you in warmer weather too? From cycling the country roads to weekend running, Nikwax Sweatproofing products will enhance your clothing and footwear’s cooling effect, keeping you fresher and drier throughout the summer months. Below, we answer five commonly asked Sweatproofing questions…

Why should I use Nikwax Sweatproofing products in the summer?
They will enhance the performance of your next-to-skin technical clothing by eliminating odours and speeding up fabric drying times, keeping you fresher for longer – and your kit working at its best. As for non-waterproof footwear, you can rely on Nikwax to thoroughly clean and refresh your sandals and sports shoes, giving them a new lease of life. Our Sweatproofing products keep you cooler in warm conditions, warmer in cooler conditions – and smelling better whatever the weather!

Why shouldn’t I use standard detergents to wash my technical base layers and sportswear?
Next-to-skin clothing works brilliantly to control sweat and regulate body temperature. However, household detergents can leave behind a hydrophilic (water-attracting) residue, and standard fabric conditioners can leave behind residues on the fabric that impair its breathability and wicking ability, meaning sweat and moisture is retained. Added to this, body oils and bacteria can build up over time, causing garments to start smelling. Regular household detergents mask the smell rather than removing it, so as soon as you start to use your base layers again, the smell returns very quickly. The Nikwax Sweatproofing range cleans and conditions all next-to-skin clothing and footwear, with no loss of performance. On the contrary, performance is improved!

What products are in the Nikwax Sweatprooing range?
BaseWash® is a specially formulated product that both cleans and conditions your synthetic base layers. It deodorises, freshens and softens your clothing whilst accelerating its drying and cooling properties to keep you comfortable when exercising in the sunshine. Nice weather for ducks? BaseWash also keeps you fresh and dry when working out inside!

BaseFresh® is a fabric conditioner that allows you to wash your base layers with other, non-technical, garments, alongside a conventional washing detergent – great if you just have a few technical garments you need cleaned! It delivers the same results as BaseWash – deodorising, accelerated drying and improved cooling efficiency in warm weather – whilst removing the need for a separate wash. Additionally, BaseFresh treated fabrics are more resistant to stains and day-to-day soiling.

Wool Wash is a cleaner and conditioner for all your merino and woollen base layers (a necessary back-up for our unpredictable British summers). It enhances and revitalises the natural wicking properties of wool to increase its breathability and keep you feeling fresh and dry in the great outdoors.

Sandal and Sports Shoe Wash is an effective cleaner that freshens and deodorises all non-waterproof footwear, including the insoles and footbeds. It removes the dirt and body oils that build up as a result of warm weather, bare feet and/or sweaty socks, and reduces the growth of bacteria (that can lead to your shoes starting to rot). Sandal and Sports Shoe Wash also prolongs the usable life of your footwear to keep it performing summer after summer.

 

What weather conditions and activities are Sweatproofing products best suited to?
Sweatproofing products can be used year-round and will keep you fresher and more comfortable in both wet and dry weather. However, when putting technical clothing and footwear through its paces during summer – aka the sweaty season – you can rely on Nikwax to prevent odours, boost comfort and maximise the performance of your gear across a huge range of activities, including walking, running, cycling, tennis, golf – and even ultimate frisbee!

Are Nikwax Sweatproofing products environmentally friendly?
Yes! Our Sweatproofing range is designed with the same environmentally conscious approach as the rest of our aftercare products – they are all water-based and contain no harmful aerosols. Nikwax is proud to be the only Outdoor company to have balanced our entire operational carbon emissions since our inception over 40 years ago, protecting tropical forest through EOCA and the World Land Trust. BaseFresh has also received an Outdoor Award for Sustainable Innovation.

Stock up on Nikwax and sail through summer staying fresher for longer…

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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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Iwan Thomas prepares for ultra-marathon

 

We are excited to announce Nikwax’s sponsorship of a moving video following athlete Iwan Thomas MBE, preparing for his first ultra-marathon. Iwan holds the current UK 400m sprint record with a run time of 44.36 seconds.

Covering 100 miles, which is the the equivalent of 400 x 400m races, Iwan completed the gruelling ‘Centurion Running South Downs Way 100’ race during last summer’s heatwave, raising around £25,000 for Group B Strep Support, the world’s leading charity working to eradicate Group B Strep infection in babies. See if you can spot our Nikwax products in the video here…

 

Earlier this year, Iwan also participated in series 4 of the hit Channel 4 show Celebrity Hunted, which follows a group of celebrity contestants on the run for 14 days. Iwan successfully avoided capture by the Hunters – a team of elite athletes, police and intelligence personnel – and was crowned the show’s winner after a gruelling two weeks.

Did you know Nikwax Sweatproofing products will clean and condition your next-to-skin clothing and footwear without compromising its performance? They are the must-have products for all budding ultra-marathon runners! Next-to-skin clothing works brilliantly to control sweat and regulate body temperature, however, did you know household detergents and conditioners can leave behind residues on the fabric that impair their ability to evaporate sweat? This causes them to retain moisture. Added to this, body oils and bacteria can build up over time, so they start to smell. Regular household detergents mask the smell rather than removing it, so as soon as you start to use your base layers again, the smell returns very quickly.

Nikwax’s Sweatproofing wash-in cleaners, BaseWash® and Wool Wash, gently clean, remove embedded odours and prevent the build-up of odour-causing bacteria. They also accelerate the ability of the fabric to dry, to help regulate your body temperature when sweating.

Our wash-in conditioner, BaseFresh® can be used in place of standard fabric softener in a washing machine. It deodorises and improves wicking, keeping your base layers smelling fresher for longer.

Sandal & Sports Shoe Wash is great for cleaning and freshening all non-waterproof footwear – from sandals and sports shoes, to insoles and footbeds.

 

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Enjoying life on the road…

Spring is officially in the air and up and down the country, motorcycling enthusiasts are dusting off their bikes ahead of drier, warmer conditions in which to enjoy the open roads. One such biker is our very own Marika Nicholson, Nikwax Export Sales Account Manager, who will soon be making the most of the sunshine and longer days on her HD Sport Glide…

How long have you been motorbiking and what inspired you to take it up?
I really got into it by accident. My husband kept going on about wanting a motorbike until one day I said, “If you are having one, I am having one”, and that was it, I had no way out and got my license and my first motorbike!

What is your favourite model of motorbike and why?
I started with a Kawasaki ZXR 400, after that a Vulkan S and then a Sportster 1200. I most definitely prefer the cruiser. I like the relaxed riding style and the possibility of loading it with gear for further afield touring. I recently acquired a HD Sport Glide, which I customised to suit my requirements.

What has been your most memorable motorbiking adventure so far and what ones are still on your bucket list?
I have been on quite a few touring holidays in the UK and abroad, and I enjoyed all of them, even those where it rained so much the roads became rivers! The Hardknott pass in the Lake District was a bit tricky. A tour through the Alpine region is on the cards for next year, I think. I have not done the Stelvio Pass in northern Italy, bordering Switzerland, yet, so that will need to be done at some point. A touring holiday in the USA needs to be arranged too! Still so many roads to ride….

How do you stay safe on the roads?
By looking ahead, being aware of my surroundings, always anticipating what other road users might do, and riding within my own capabilities.

 

Why is it important to look after your motorbike kit and what products do you use to keep your leathers, gloves and helmet consistently performing?
Good motorcycle clothing does not come cheap, so it is important to take good care of it. If you look after your gear, it will last and look good for much longer. For my all-season synthetic gear I use Nikwax Tech Wash® for cleaning and TX.Direct® for reproofing. For my leather clothing I use Nikwax Leather Cleaner and Leather Restorer, and for my boots Waterproofing Wax for Leather. For my visor I use Visor Proof and for my gloves, Glove Proof.

What advice would you give to those who are keen to take up motorbiking?
Just give it a go! It is a liberating feeling being out on the open road. You can ride alone or join other bikers. Whatever type of riding you prefer, it is up to you – just always be alert and ride safe.

Motorbike camping is now a popular way to immerse yourself in two great passions – motorbikes and nature. What packing advice would you give to people planning a trip, and what key items should they not leave home without?Make sure your insurance and breakdown cover is up to date, fit for purpose and you have the correct documentation with you when going abroad. Always pack as light as possible, as you do not want to add too much weight to your bike (don’t forget your security devices, which are heavy but necessary). A travel tube of BaseWash® or Wool Wash may help with this, as you can quickly hand wash some items of clothing rather than packing too much if away for longer. Pack evenly to keep the balance of your bike. I always have rain gear, an extra layer of clothing and a tool pouch, including zip ties and tape, in my saddle bag.

Being outdoors is beneficial for all of us. What physical and/or mental benefits do you personally get from motorcycling?
Because I need to be aware of what is going on around and ahead of me on the road I enjoy being in the moment, the countryside and the scenery of where I am at that point in time. It is great for switching off from work and the worries of everyday life.

 

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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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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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Staying dry and warm in base layers

During this current pandemic, the time we get to enjoy the outdoors feels more important than ever. However, during the freezing winter months, you may be tempted to stay indoors because of dreading getting cold or wet if you venture outside. Right now, fresh air is vital for us all in terms of health and mental wellbeing, so don’t be put off. All you need is the right clothing and, at this time of year, it’s all about layers.

Wearing a number of layers traps air between them, providing additional insulation to that provided by the garments alone. The other big benefit is increased versatility: layering enables you to add or remove layers according to changing conditions, ensuring maximum comfort at all times.

What layers do I need?

Every good layering system, when stripped back to basics, is made up of three essential components: the base layer, the mid (or insulation) layer, and the outer (shell/waterproof) layer. Each fulfils a specific role in ensuring you stay warm, dry and comfortable in winter conditions.

Why are base layers so important?

Base layers are often overlooked when it comes to layering systems. Walkers, climbers and even mountaineers frequently focus on insulation or waterproofing pieces when, in fact, many of the most important issues they face can be combatted by a good base layer. Whether you’re cycling, running or just out for a stroll in the hills, moisture management and temperature regulation are key to keeping you comfortable and safe.

So what are the key base layers and how can Nikwax Sweatproofing aftercare keep them performing for you this winter?

Next-to-skin base layers
Layering systems start with moisture management. Base layers are there to help wick away sweat from the skin when you get warm whilst active – they become your second skin. You should ensure that whilst close fitting, a base layer provides enough flexibility for comfortable movement.

If sweat accumulates against your skin, you will get damp and swiftly feel a chill when you stop being active, this will affect the regulation of your body temperature. Merino wool or synthetic next-to-skin base layers are designed to wick moisture away from your skin. Sweat will spread over a large area and then dry fast, to prevent you feeling clammy.

Many people are not aware that fabric conditioners and some laundry detergents leave behind a residue which impairs the wicking performance of base layers, leaving you damp and clammy. This can also lead to the build-up of bacteria on the base layer leaving it smelling of sweat even after it’s been washed. Using the right cleaning and conditioning products on your base layers will keep them performing at their best so that you can enjoy your time outdoors and stay warm and dry on the inside.

Synthetic base layers
Synthetic layers are great for high-energy activities, such as running or cycling, as they are fast drying and lightweight. However, synthetic layers are susceptible to the build-up of body odours and your kit could soon start to smell.

You can banish the odour from synthetic layers by using Nikwax BaseFresh® when you wash your kit. When used alongside your household detergent, BaseFresh ensures that you can clean your layers without the detergent impairing the technical properties of the fabric.  BaseFresh effectively removes body oils from synthetic fabric and prevents the build-up of bad-smelling bacteria, maintaining freshness. Fabric will become more resistant to stains and day-to-day soiling. BaseFresh enhances performance, improving wicking to spread sweat and dry fast. You stay comfortable and your base layers will smell fresher for longer.  

If you use a lot of synthetic base layers and sportswear, we’d recommend Nikwax BaseWash® a specially designed detergent with added conditioner which will clean your base layers effectively, leaving them smelling fresh and performing at their best.

Woollen base layers
Garments made from wool, such as Merino, make for naturally warming next-to-skin layers. Woollen base layers are naturally wicking and antibacterial, whilst also providing insulation in winter and cooling properties in warmer months. Air pockets within wool will pull excess heat away from your skin whilst trapping heat within the natural fibre, so you remain comfortable without either overheating or getting too cold.

You can wash wool less frequently than synthetic base layers, but they still need to be cared for properly. Nikwax Wool Wash will both clean and condition your garments at the same time, caring for the fabric to maintain its natural properties. Wool Wash deodorises your base layers, preventing any odour build-up and keeping you smelling fresh. You can restore performance of older base layers with Wool Wash, with the fabric retaining its natural softness and wicking enhanced, so that sweat can spread and dry fast.

Nikwax Wool Wash is also perfect for other woollen garments such as socks and jumpers, giving them the gentle cleaning care that this delicate natural fibre needs.

All Nikwax products are water-based, and made with care for the environment. They are also super easy to use in your washing machine or by hand!

Care for your base layers with Nikwax Sweatproofing and be safe knowing that you can enjoy your daily exercise this winter without feeling cold or uncomfortable.

 

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Enjoy the outdoors this autumn

Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons, with fields, parks and gardens full of crisp colourful leaves and lawns doused with dew. Now is not the time to stay inside for days on end with the heating cranked up high. Embrace the autumnal freshness and get some exercise, or have some fun in the fresh air. The great outdoors is the best medicine for everyone and best of all its completely free! There really is nothing better than stepping outside to clear your head and to get some fresh country air. We encourage you all to embrace the autumn weather; here are 6 activities you can enjoy in the countryside…

  1. Walking 

Walking is a simple form of exercise but often overlooked! It is one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. One brisk walk a day keeps the doctor away, as the saying goes. You do not have to walk for hours on end: even a brisk 10-minute daily walk has a lot of health benefits. So grab your favourite reliable walking boots, a warm jacket and take time to appreciate your stunning natural environment.

  1. Cycling

Cycling is one of the best ways to take in scenery and nature. This fast-paced activity is sure to draw you in, having the wind in your hair and enjoying the peace and tranquillity that the countryside offers – you will never want to return! Find a path, trail or track and you are guaranteed to stumble upon a beautiful cycling route. All you need is a bike to enjoy the fun, and with so many places you can hire a bike from for the day, no one needs to miss out!

  1. Foraging

There are plenty of berries, seeds and nuts to go round at this time of the year. They will be easy to spot in hedgerows and woodland, and you might find that local parks and your own garden provide foraging hotspots. All you need is something to collect your bounty in. Be mindful and make sure you leave plenty behind for wildlife, so only pick from an area with a plentiful supply. October is great for damsons, walnuts, hazelnuts and, if you are near the sea, it’s also the perfect time for collecting mussels.

  1. Bird Watching

As mentioned above, berries, fruit and seeds are readily available in autumn. It is a time when you will see birds preparing for the cold winter that lies ahead; flocks of birds are also very common sightings at this time of the year. So, it’s the perfect time to grab your binoculars and head outside. As well as bird watching, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot some other wildlife!

  1. Horse Riding

To quote Winston Churchill, ‘no hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle’ and this is the time of year for blissful long canters through soft fields and gentle trots along idyllic bridle paths. No more pestering horse-flies, cough-inducing dust and hard-baked ground, just crisp air, a riot of coppery colours and that gorgeous autumn glow. Notwithstanding the small matter of wet mud (much easier to brush off once dry!) autumn is arguably the ultimate season for equine pastimes.

6 Yoga and Mindfulness

Finally, take some time for yourself this autumn. Roll out your yoga mat in the garden or in a park and move mindfully in the fresh air. It is best to layer up, then, as you get moving you can start to remove some layers as you get warmer. If yoga is not your thing you can still take a mat, towel or blanket outside, sit down and practice meditation or mindful breathing. You might even have time to do this before work whilst the mornings are still light.  

Stay warm and dry this autumn with the Nikwax Sweatproofing range, which cleans and conditions all next-to-skin clothing (think synthetic and woollen base layers), with no loss of performance. BaseWash® and Wool Wash gently clean, remove embedded odours and prevent the build-up of odour-causing bacteria whilst also accelerating the ability of the fabric to dry – to help regulate body temperature when sweating. For maximum enjoyment in the great outdoors, reach for the Nikwax!