Global leader in safe, high performance waterproofing, cleaning and conditioning for outdoor gear

July 18, 2014
by nikwax
5 Comments

Free yourself from funky smelling athletic apparel!

iStock_000003384904Medium

Running, hiking, biking, or even hitting the gym are all activities that leave you feeling energized and refreshed…up until the moment that you catch a whiff of something funky. When you realize that it’s your athletic gear you’re mortified. “How can my clothes smell that awful? I swore I just washed them! I guess I’ll give them to the garbage gods.”

Before you throw out your expensive athletic apparel, hear us out! We might be able to help you. Technical or performance fabrics, like polypropylene or merino wool, do a great job of maintaining body temperature and controlling moisture. These fabrics are highly wicking, fast drying, and breathable and will keep you cool and comfortable while you’re pushing yourself to your limit. However, over time a build-up of body oils, sweat, and bacteria will cause your gear to go sour. Continual washing in detergent can impair wicking capabilities and cause the fabric to retain moisture, this can help more bacteria to grow and fester. Gross, huh?

So how do you save your gear from the garbage? Well, for starters, if you are going to use conventional laundry detergent, throw some Nikwax BaseFresh in there too. BaseFresh works with the detergents to remove stubborn stains without compromising the performance of the fabric. BaseFresh also deodorizes and prevents odor build up when in use. It doesn’t stop there! It also enhances wicking properties and increases breathability. It totally refreshes, revitalizes, and renews your athletic wear!

If you would like to learn more about the wonders of BaseFresh, visit our website.

June 17, 2014
by boulderina
1 Comment

Paddleboarding (and other outdoor activities) While Pregnant

As an active outdoor woman, pregnancy can bring some of your favorite pastimes to a screeching halt. I have found this to be mostly the case, however there are some things you can do to prevent yourself from going totally insane. Paddleboarding was that thing for me.

I did consider, and even try, some other outdoor activities first, but with poor results. (Note to other pregnant outdoor women: your experiences may differ.)

Snowboarding? Nope. I’m prone to plonking on my butt, or straight-up going ass-over-teakettle even on the best of days. Plus, you never know when some punk kid (or adult) might take you out on the slopes. Maybe if I skied I’d take up low-impact touring. That sounded rather pleasant while sitting indoors this winter, re-watching Game of Thrones for the fourth time. In hindsight, snowshoeing would have been a great pregnant winter activity. I’ll remember that for any future pregnancies.

Rock climbing? Some ladies crush it, even when they’re preggo. Of course, stick with top-roping moderate routes, with a belayer you trust (belayer trust is important- even when not pregnant). Also, now is not the time to belay that climbing partner who likes to take massive whippers. You know the one.

Climbing might have worked for me, but I had been out of the game for a while, and starting back up when my body was chock-full of relaxin seemed like a dubious proposition. At around four months I gave it a shot on a 5.9 at Smith Rocks, but I felt uncomfortably like a limp noodle, wobbly and unable to maintain body tension. Halfway up the climb I decided to give climbing a pass. If you’re a rock star, and are interested in climbing through your pregnancy, Mountain Mama teamed up with Mad Rock to make a full-body harness specifically for pregnant bodies.

Kayaking? This seemed like the perfect activity. Seated calmly on the water I could paddle around to my heart’s content. Then I realized I needed to get the damn thing on and off the roof of my car. Mommas to be, if you’re a beast, go for it. However, at six months pregnant, I decided that attempting to (wo)man-handle my 15 foot, 50 pound boat was slightly beyond my capabilities. If you can hack it, or have a buddy, go for it! Renting can also be a great option when you’re pregnant, as you don’t have to deal with the transportation and storage.

That brings me to paddleboarding. Last summer, after being bitten by the SUP bug, I purchased my own board, the Boardworks Raven 10’6″. It is glorious. At 25 pounds I can wave it around like a sword, if I’m so inclined. Getting it on and off the car is no sweat. It’s small and manageable, yet big enough for me and my dog (when she’s feeling adventurous).

Me and my dog on my awesome little board. (Pre-pregnancy).

Me and my dog on my awesome little board. (Pre-pregnancy).

My first time out on my board this season I was just a bit over six months pregnant. Wrangling my equipment was a tad more awkward than before, but still manageable. I did pack a few more things for my trip than I normally would; mainly more snacks and extra water. I find I can get ravenous at the drop of a hat these days. To keep all my necessities accessible, I used SealLine’s Seal Pack Hip Pack. The belt stayed below my belly nicely, and allowed me quick access to my sunglasses, phone, and, most importantly, food!

The Seal Pack- a must for the ravenous preggo paddleboarder.

The Seal Pack- a must for the ravenous preggo paddleboarder.

As I set off, I stayed on my knees for a bit, testing my balance and overall comfort level. Once I felt secure enough, I stood up.

Important note to the preggo paddlers out there: Don’t stand up if you don’t want to! Don’t feel pressured to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Leave your ego at the launch. Kneeling, or even sitting, on the board, is totally acceptable. You’re out on the water, enjoying nature, and getting exercise. If you feel like you might sit the whole time, use a kayak paddle for a more smooth paddling experience. Heck, throw a crazy creek chair on your deck and max your relax (note: I haven’t tried this, but now I’m totally going to).

Back to standing up, I was surprised how stable I felt. Sure, there was a little but of initial squirreliness, but it usually takes me a few minutes to get my sea legs, pregnant or not. After a couple of minutes I was zipping along. Belly? What belly? Truth be told, I did drop to my knees a few times when a big boat threw some sizable wake my way, but remember what I said above about staying comfortable? As I paddled on, I noticed that my ankles were starting to get a bit swollen. To alleviate this, I simply sat down and dangled my feet in the cool water for a bit, then brought them up on deck and did some light stretching.

It was lovely to be out on the water, in the sun, getting some exercise that felt like a treat, rather than an obligation. I highly recommend paddleboarding to pregnant ladies everywhere.

sup-seattle

Like kayaking, renting a paddleboard is also a great way to go while pregnant. Rental companies usually stock extremely stable boards, and once again, you don’t need to deal with toting the thing around.

Get out and have fun!

~Heidi

May 20, 2014
by nikwax
0 comments

Keeping your shoes clean, it’s easier than you might think!

Now, I’m not one to normally clean my shoes with regularity, however, not too long ago I acquired a pair of super cool 5.10 approach/ parkour shoes. I’m no parkour aficionado, but I do get out to climb a bit, so I was psyched for some new kicks. The downside was that these shoes were white, meaning they would stay white for about 5 minutes after I took them out of the box. Sure enough, after an outing or two, they were downright filthy.

My awesome 5.10 kicks, while a stylish white, turned a dirty grey brown.

In order to bring my shoes back to a state that would at least be appropriate for frequenting a dive bar, I turned to my Nikwax arsenal to get them clean. In order to prepare for the overhaul, I removed the laces and insoles in order to get better access to all parts of the shoe. Good thing too, as you can see the tongue was particularly filthy.

removing the laces makes the shoes easier to clean

Remove the laces and insoles.

The next step was to get the shoes good and wet- like wetting your hands before soaping them up.

wetting your shoes help the cleaning gel to work properly

Get those shoes good and wet!

Then, I grabbed Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel and went to town.

Great for all types of footwear!

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel to the rescue!

I scrubbed like a mad person.

Footwear Cleaning Gel gets sudsy!

Scrub your shoes!

Then, I rinsed off the Cleaning Gel suds. I was amazed at how much cleaner they were!

Rinse all the soap off

Sparkly!

Now, these shoes will never be waterproof. As you can see, they have holes all over them and there is no Gore-Tex membrane either. However, in order to help prevent further dirt and mud from corrupting my shoes, I thought, “it couldn’t hurt”! So I grabbed a bottle of Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof Spray-On (as the shoes are of the textured leather persuasion). I sprayed the shoes thoroughly and evenly.

Nubuck and Suede Proof waterproofing

I used the spray-on version.

Then, I set the shoes on a protected surface so they could dry. I also put some paper towel (newspaper works too) inside them in order to help them dry faster and soak up any water that got inside. You never want to accelerate the drying of your shoes with heat, as it can damage the uppers, as well as compromise any glued parts.

Dry your shoes with paper towel or newspaper in them

Drying time!

After a couple minutes I checked on them and removed any excess (pooling, etc.).

Make sure to remove all excess product

Dab to remove excess.

I let them dry over night. the next day gave them a little spritz to check the water repellency- They look great!

waterproof suede

Look at that beading action!

Now to go get them filthy again!

Climbing a dog and a beer

Ready for action!

May 14, 2014
by nikwax
0 comments

What’s Your Rider ID? Take Our Quiz to Find Out

bikers2

Are you a one trick pony, or is your garage a veritable shelter for your bike quiver? Fixie or mountain bike? Do you pedal a state-of-the-art, custom ride? Do you consider brakes “old school”?  Do your besties tell you to wear more natural fiber and less Lycra?

In the words of the great 21st century philosopher, Stephen Colbert, “Facts matter none at all. Perception is everything.”

Face it, if you love bikes, there’s some part of you that can be called a dork. (Trust us, here at Nikwax, we’re all a bit dorky for bikes).

But within that giant cycling umbrella, we all fall into a range of niches. What kind of cyclist are you? Take our quiz to unearth your Rider ID.

First answer the short list of questions, and then add up your scores below to learn your Rider ID.

1. When you dress for a ride, your go-to clothing is:

  1. My full Euskaltel-Euskadi kit. It’s cool because I’m 1/96th Spanish on my mom’s side.
  2. It doesn’t matter, as long as my GoPro is charged.
  3. Dress for a ride? Cycling clothes are so bourgeois. My skinny jeans are all I need.
  4. I opt for the latest in breathable, wicking fabrics. But as long as I have my rear view helmet mirror adjusted, I’m good to go.

…………………………………………………………………

2. When you come up behind another rider, what do you say?

  1. Hold your line! Hold your line!
  2. Dude, on your left.
  3. Talk to another rider? Why?
  4. Hi-da-lee-ho neighbor. Great day to be on the bike, huh?

…………………………………………………………………

3. How do you fuel up for a ride?

  1. A balanced meal of protein and carbs, like two egg whites with steamed veggies and an avocado for healthy fat.
  2. Bacon and Twinkies, which I bought a yearlong supply of on Ebay.
  3. Double espresso
  4. I like to stop by the Farmer’s Market for whatever’s in season.

…………………………………………………………………

4. What about a post-ride recovery meal?

  1. I own every formulation of Hammer Nutrition
  2. PBR – tall boy
  3. The latest pop-up restaurant, or the Thai-Argentine fusion food truck
  4. I like to stop by the Farmer’s Market for whatever’s in season.

…………………………………………………………………

5. On a rest day, how would we find you passing your time?

  1. After a gentle, low cadence spin, I’ll be studying with Rosetta Stone so I can pronounce every European riders’ name without sounding like an idiot! Can you imagine not being able to pronounce Yevgeniy Npomnyachshiy? The horror!
  2. Oh, I do a lot of stuff. I do river trips. I’m starting my own Vimeo channel. You know, the usual.
  3. I’m studying nihilist philosophy and working on a start-up with my roommates.
  4. I like to stop by the Farmer’s Market for whatever’s in season.

…………………………………………………………………

6. What was the biggest after-market upgrade you’ve made to your bike?

  1. Aftermarket? My bike was never prior-market or during-market. Nothing on my ride is standard. I had the frame welded to my measurements and built it out with THE BEST bike builder in town.
  2. An extra 10-mm of travel on my forks.
  3. Removing the brakes and that pesky derailleur.
  4. A hand-woven basket from Bolivia. The trade supports a women’s compound and sales from the baskets bring economic freedom. I found it at my local Farmer’s Market.

…………………………………………………………………

7. If you were to ride a different discipline (road to mountain to track to commuter) – from your preferred discipline – for a day, which would you choose?

  1. Velodrome. I’m not going to waste my time on any discipline that’s not developing more power and a higher VO2 max.
  2. Dude, I’d totally try a fixie.
  3. I don’t live to ride; I ride to live.
  4. Any! The freedom of a bicycle is pure joy, don’t you think?

…………………………………………………………………

8. What’s the best bike movie of all time?

  1. Breaking Away
  2. Breaking Away
  3. Breaking Away
  4. Breaking Away

…………………………………………………………………

9. Who is the greatest cyclist of all time?

  1. Eddie Merckx
  2. Ned Overend
  3. Albert Einstein
  4. My kids

…………………………………………………………………

10.  If I were to plan a cycling-themed vacation, I would… (fill in the blank).

  1. Follow Le Tour de France route, on an Alpe D’Huez year
  2. One word: Moab and Fruita. Oh, that’s two.
  3. Vacations are so bourgeois. But I’d still go to Portland.
  4. Ride across Ireland or wait, maybe a Napa wine tour. No, no. I’d for sure do a philanthropic trip delivering bikes to rural communities.

…………………………………………………………………

Scoring:

If you answered mostly “1,” your bike ID is “Lycra Lovin’ Roadie.”

If you answered mostly “2,” your bike ID is “Dirt Bag Mountain Biker.”

If you answered mostly “3,” your bike ID is “Hipster, Fixie Guy/Gal.”

If you answered mostly “4,” your bike ID is “Safety First Commuter.”

Lycra Lovin’ Roadie:

Lycralovinroadie You know who you are. In July, you wake up at 5:30am to watch the full coverage of the Tour de France before you head out on your training ride. You have little tolerance for “no drop” rides, especially when you’re feeling strong. Criteriums are good training, but the real mettle is in a road race – mano a mano. There’s more science built into your training regime than exists in all of NASA. And speaking of NASA, several of your components were originally conceived of for space missions. Before, that is, they were improved by Campagnolo engineers.

Dirt Bag Mountain Biker:

dirtragMtnBiker You’d hate the “dirt bag” cliché if you didn’t embrace as heartily as you do. No one (save for the hipsters) has ever worked so hard to look like they’ve put so little effort into looking “good.” You love a dirty ride almost as much as you love the BBQ and beer afterward. BMX still holds appeal, with the likelihood of participation in inverse relation to your age. Your dirty little secret is that you’re actually really serious about riding, but that can always be cloaked under your frequent, verbal dismissals of roadies.

Hipster Fixie Guy/Gal:

hipstertumblr_lukbxrms3h1qj1y05o1_500You secretly long for brakes and a derailleur, though the associated social stigma keeps them securely out of reach. Irony runs so deep that you’re beginning to question if it would be more ironic to no longer be ironic… hmm? Your circle of friends looks like they stepped out of Nylon Magazine photo shoot and your Tumblr blog is really taking off. Portlandia was more entertaining before it went mainstream, and Chuck Palahniuk is an under-rated genius. Truth be told, you have wicked good fitness under your scissor-cropped jeans and big-framed glasses.

Safety First Commuter:

commuterYou’re excited about riding and likely have a passable road bike and a mountain bike, along with your commuter. Most of all, you think biking is the most responsible option for the health of the planet and your own body. You’re not too cool to wear a helmet to the grocery store (not to mention in the grocery store) and you volunteer for all the local trail work. You do good things, even if they don’t scream “cool.” You could care less about how fast you are. The feel of the wind in your face every morning on your way to work does more for your sanity and happiness than winning a race ever could.

Regardless of your tongue in cheek Rider ID, the most important thing is that we all continue to define ourselves as bike lovers, riders, cycling geeks and biking advocates. Here’s to you, our two-wheeled friends. Let’s ride.

May 12, 2014
by nikwax
0 comments

Helge Pederson’s advice on how to stay dry on motorcycle rides.

In Norway we have a saying that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. As a motorcyclist I know this to be a wise saying to live by. I can’t afford to dress poorly on any of my adventures. For that reason I pay very close attention to what gear I pick for my journeys and how I treat my gear to have it last for my journeys and beyond.

A good example is my current expedition. I am riding a motorcycle from Cape Town, South Africa to Paris, France. My BMW riding suit had already been used on another trip and, as always, it needed a good cleaning at the end of the journey. This is when Nikwax came to my aid, helping restore my Cordura riding suit for the adventure ahead.Lesotho riding in village

I have been using Nikwax products since my early days as an outdoorsman and am very familiar with the advantages of taking good care of my garments. Cleaning and waterproofing my riding suit helps tremendously in making it resistant to absorbing water and dirt, aiding the GORE-TEX in performing to its maximum potential.

I see it over and over again; riders that take extremely good care of their bikes with regular oil changes and services at given intervals. However when it comes to taking care of their riding gear it’s another story, as their gear more often than not faces neglect. As a result, their riding gear performs poorly and nobody is happy.

Most people think of travels in Africa to be dry and hot. I wish that were the truth.  The reality is that the continent can offer some extreme weather and we have seen plenty on this journey. The sudden changes that occur make my BMW GS Dry riding suit the ideal garment to wear. I do not need to stop and put on raingear, all I need to do is to make sure my vents are zipped up to keep dry.

I used to carry a separate rain suit, but those days are gone. As long as I keep taking good care of my riding suit by treating it with Nikwax products, we will still be able to share many more miles together.

Do yourself a favor and treat your riding gear with Nikwax and you will see for yourself the difference in performance.

Ride Safe – Ride Far!

Helge Pedersen

May 5, 2014
by nikwax
0 comments

How often should I clean my jacket?

Q: How often should I clean my jacket? 

A: Every month.

No really. Even GORE-TEX product experts recommend cleaning your jacket every month. Keeping your jacket clean is one of the best ways to preserve its useful life. Dirt, smoke, and even body oils and sweat can wreak havoc on many aspects of your jacket. Your body oils and sweat can cause the seam tape and lining of your jacket to break down more quickly. Dirt, grime, and smoke can mask the water-repellent coating, making your jacket wet out faster. “Wetting out” is when water soaks into the surface fabric of your jacket. This is bad, as a wet jacket is not a breathable jacket, and you will get wet from the inside. (See image below.)

jacket_sandwich_nodwr_colorBy washing your jacket, you remove all these harmful contaminants, thereby allowing your jacket to perform at its best. Be mindful though! Cleaning with regular detergents can lead to other issues. Household detergents leave behind a water-attracting residue that can cause your jacket to wet out; similar to dirt, oil, and grime. The safest bet is to always clean with a technical cleaner, like Nikwax Tech Wash, or Nikwax Down Wash if your jacket is down-filled. Tech Wash and Down Wash are soap-based cleaners that are formulated to not leave behind any water-attracting residue. They are also biodegradable and never tested on animals.

Almost all jackets are safe to simply wash in your washing machine- it’s easy! However, if your jacket is down-filled, make sure to use a front-loading machine, as agitators in top loaders can bash up the delicate down feathers. Lastly: always check your garment’s care label before washing.

Enjoy your clean, high-performing jacket!

how to clean your jacket

April 28, 2014
by nikwax
0 comments

Dear Professor Nikwax: How do I care for my footwear?

Dear Professor Nikwax,

My summer plans have me climbing several peaks, riding my bike along the California coast, and wearing my sandals to the Farmer’s Market. Of course I’ll also be logging a lot of time in the office. I’ve invested in some good shoes for the different sports, but I want to take care of them so they last through the season and beyond. Help!

-Wanderluster

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dear Wanderluster,

Your instincts are correct; even the highest-quality footwear needs regular cleaning and conditioning to last.

Congratulations on taking the time to learn about the best steps for caring for your kicks.

I’ve put together a handy chart to remind you about what to do for different shoes and when. Print it out and hang it in your gear closet!

Then, read on for a break down by sport.

Back_room_poster_footwearv4

Hiking/mountain climbing

As you know, stable boots or hiking shoes with lateral support, excellent tread, and waterproofing are priority number one when you’re heading to the high country.

Leather: Before you do anything, clean ‘em with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. This gets rid of the dirt and establishes a clean slate for the next step: waterproofing.

Are they pretty beat up? Treat them with Conditioner for Leather, which is absorbed into the leather and helps keep the material supple.

Then, even if your boots come with a waterproof membrane like Gore-Tex, waterproof them. We’ve got both a wax and liquid waterproofing product, and both can go directly onto wet leather. So sit down, clean, waterproof, and leave to dry.

Finally, send me a picture from one of the peaks you climb this summer.

Fabric and leather combo: Whether we’re talking about your ultra light trail runners or your low-top hiking shoes (which is what I use in all but the most epic mountaineering adventures), this leather and fabric combo needs to be cleaned with the Nikwax footwear cleaning gel and then treated with our Fabric & Leather Proof product. I guarantee this will add water repellency and keep your shoes in better condition, longer.

Biking

Until recently, I thought high-end, leather cycling shoes were the purview of professional cyclists. Then I got a pair. Wow. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and they make me feel powerful. I, like you, want to return the affection. So I use the same products on my leather biking shoes that I do for my leather hiking boots: clean, condition, waterproof.

Sandals

The worst thing about sandals is the stench. Sporty sandals with a rubber sole and technical fabric upper can collect stinky bacteria and, put simply, reek. Fortunately the Nikwax Sandal Wash deodorizes and sanitizes those bad boys.

Office/Daily wear

Are your office shoes nubuck or suede? Then treat them with the Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof waterproofing. Leather? See the instructions for leather footwear above.

I hope that answers your questions. Follow these tips and your shoes will last far beyond this summer.

Happy travels!

Best,

Professor Nikwax

April 22, 2014
by nikwax
0 comments

Nikwax Wins Prestigious Queen’s Award for Eco-Friendly Product Innovation and Sustainable Practices.

The Queen's Awards for Enterprise: International Trade 2010 Nikwax, global leader in high performance, environmentally-friendly waterproofing solutions, has become the first outdoor brand ever to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development. The award is the most prestigious British environmental award and is testament to Nikwax’s clean waterproofing technology and its commitment to promote sustainable practice.

As a winner of The Queen’s Award, Nikwax will be invited to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace in London, and will be proud to use The Queen’s Award emblem on Nikwax packaging. The awards are made annually by HM The Queen, and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category.

Nikwax also has been voted number one by users in four recent outdoor industry awards, which recognized Nikwax products as the leader in both ease of use and durable performance. Breathable jackets can be waterproofed in the washing machine at home, using Nikwax TX.Direct in place of normal detergent. There is no need for heat activation – unlike the many treatments on the market that contain harmful perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

Nikwax has been keeping people dry and comfortable in the outdoors since 1977, when current Managing Director, Nick Brown, founded the company. Led by Brown’s vision to protect our beautiful outdoor surroundings, the company has always identified environmental and social responsibility as a priority. Nick Brown-crop “We must stop to think about the fuel we burn to arrive at our walk, the energy and materials consumed in the clothing that protect us from the elements, and even the wear on the pathway,” said Brown. “We may be destroying the very hills that we care so much about. Restoring the waterproofing of your outdoor clothing is in itself a sustainable act; using far less energy and money than replacing equipment; and for us, it all counts.”

Nikwax’s stringent restricted chemicals policy sets it apart from other aftercare manufacturers. Nikwax prohibits the use of flammable and aromatic solvents and potentially persistent materials like PFCs – chemicals widely used by other brandsin the waterproofing of outdoor clothing. In contrast to the industry norm, Nikwax is the only established aftercare business in the world never to have used PFCs, knowing that they persist in the environment and can bioaccumulate, building up at higher ends of the food chain.

As tighter legislation kicks in and environmental awareness heightens, Nikwax is fast becoming the go-to brand for environmentally safe waterproofing technology for leading outdoor gear manufacturers worldwide. The latest Nikwax innovation – Nikwax Hydrophobic Down – is about to hit retail stores in Rab’s new range of down-filled sleeping bags and jackets.

Delivering sustainable processes is a fundamental part of Nikwax’s day-to-day rhythm. The company harvests rainwater for use in the manufacture of core products, and has invested in a solar generation system that provides virtually the entire electrical usage of its main office unit, and is carbon balanced though the World Land Trust. Nikwax’s waste reduction initiative has already seen the company’s proportion of waste recycled go from 16-percent in 2006 to 71=percent in 2013. With an 80-percent target for 2014, the company aims to become waste and landfill free in five years. But it doesn’t stop there.

“Taking the ethical route rather than the easy-money road is a difficult decision for some, but minimizing our environmental impact was always the way for me,” said Brown. “I feel immense pride when I see our product on the retail shelves – it’s a win for the customer and conservation. The Queen’s Award is a great endorsement that says, yes, you’re doing alright, keep going.” Nick Brown with Nikwax 2

April 18, 2014
by cmrandall1
2 Comments

Why You Should Pay Attention to Chemistry on this Earth Day

It's up to all of us to do our part to take care of the earth. Photo: NASA

It’s up to all of us to do our part to take care of the earth. Photo: NASA

Chemistry is hard. That’s why most American students put it off until the end of their K-12 years. That’s why university professors allow cheat sheets. That’s why Nikwax employs a gaggle of white lab-coated PhDs on our research and development team.

Those scientists have dedicated more than 30 years to developing Nikwax formulas that produce effective and non-harmful chemical reactions for waterproofing and cleaning.

By “non-harmful,” we mean intentionally avoiding any chemical content or reaction that may be noxious to humans or the environment.

Nikwax is clear on our stance: we believe fluorocarbons have a deleterious effect on humans and the environment, so we don’t use them in any of our products. We have pages and pages of scientific resources on our website to support our belief.

External studies support our stance. Specifically, a 2012 independent scientific study that was commissioned by Greenpeace found perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), in every piece of name brand rain gear they tested.

The apparel industry uses PFCs for coating and finishing outdoor garments or sporting goods, or for the production of breathable membrane. The report calls these PFCs, which do not occur in nature, “environmentally damaging toxins.” What’s more, the report calls for more stringent regulation of all PFCs.

Conclusions from the 2012 study include the following:

  • There is an urgent need to ban PFCs from outdoor wear production.
  • The outdoor clothing industry must continue to develop safer alternatives [to PFCs] and use them in processing their products.
  • PFCs and other chemicals reach drinking water, food and ultimately human blood and breast milk from such various sources as manufacturing and household wastewater, dust and the disposal of textiles.
  • The outdoor clothing industry can go without using PFC and nevertheless manufacture items that meet most customers’ demands for functionality.

That last one really spoke to us. After all, at Nikwax, we’ve been saying that since our inception. We know it is possible to keep our clients dry and warm without dousing their outerwear with toxic chemicals.

Nikwax is 100% fluorocarbon-free, and we will always oppose the inclusion of fluorocarbons in water repellency formulations.

When it comes to chemistry, it’s okay to be confused by the scientific specifics. We don’t expect everyone to understand the chemical makeup of fluorocarbons and their varied derivatives. You may or may not understand the distinctions between the C8 and the C6 carbon chains.

We get it. But we fervently believe that as a product manufacturer we can’t pass the buck. It’s our responsibility to ask the hard questions and to take a stance when the answers show ever so clearly that we should.

That can be the difference between clean water and polluted water. Or between a sick family and a healthy one.

We leave you, on this celebration of Earth Day, with a quote from a chemistry professor, on the tumblr site Chemagical:

“In the sciences, all of these ideas were developed over decades. If this stuff were common sense, we would have had all of this stuff figured out before the 1800’s. These concepts can be difficult, and it’s a hell of a lot better to ask a question and sort out your (and possibly others’) confusion than to wallow in ignorance.”

Here’s to taking charge of our own health, and taking responsibility for the sustainability of our passions and the well being of the environments we love.

Happy Earth Day!

March 24, 2014
by cmrandall1
0 comments

Nikwax on the Road from Cape Town to Paris with GlobeRiders

Helgeonbike

Nikwax ambassador, Helge Pedersen, is on yet another life list adventure. He’s currently motorcycle touring from Cape Town, South Africa, to Paris, France. Along for the 25,000-kilometer ride are three other riders, a supporting vehicle and several of GlobeRiders technical staff.

La Paz photo shoot and pelicansTo those who know Nikwax from the human-powered, outdoor adventure realm, our motorcycle contingent often comes as a surprise. We have a strong relationship with the motorcycling community; our cleaners and waterproofers are often key parts of their safety kit. Adventure riders wear durable fabric outerwear; apparel that can take a beating, keep riders warm and dry, and shed moisture in torrential downpours. That’s right—it’s not that different from your backcountry skiing kit.

Imagine heading out to play in the heat, the rain, the mud and the dust. Now imagine doing it at 70 mph. Your gear takes a beating.

In order for your gear to bear the burden as opposed to your skin, taking precautionary care of motorcycle outerwear is critical.  If not properly cleaned, dust and dirt can damage the fibers of technical outerwear. Sweat, dust and dirt can also mask the durable water repellent finish, causing garments to attract water rather than repel it.  We recommend cleaning with Tech Wash and using TX.Direct to add water-repellency (spray-on or wash-in, depending on the manufacturers washing instructions).

Currently the Globeriders team is nearing Kirundo, Burundi. The weather there may be warm, but there are rain showers in the forecast for the next week. We hope Helge and crew are staying as dry as possible on the road!

If you’d like to live vicariously through Helge, or if this GlobeRiders’ African odyssey spurs your own trip planning into high gear, follow their adventure on the GlobeRiders Live!Journal web page.

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