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April 6, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “Reviving Your Tired, Leather Gloves”

Guest Contributor: Jeremy Benson

Your gear works as hard as you do, so taking good care of it not only helps keep it in good condition and last longer, but it also improves your experience when it functions as it’s intended to.

Of course, the simple routine maintenance tasks often get overlooked and slip through the cracks, only to be noticed when your gear starts performing poorly (and typically when you most need it to work best). Fortunately, Nikwax makes a variety of products to keep your gear in tip top shape, and using it couldn’t be easier.

Specifically speaking, gloves are often overlooked pieces of gear that require infrequent care to prolong their life and keep your hands warm and dry.

 

I use leather gloves almost exclusively, because I prefer the feel and comfort over synthetic materials. Some leather gloves come waterproof-treated from the manufacturer, but inevitably, that pre-existing wax or treatment breaks down and wears off leaving your leather susceptible to wetting out.

I most often experience this while climbing steep couloirs with one hand plunging an ice axe and the other pressing against the snow for balance. My tired and neglected gloves start to soak up water like a sponge and I find my hands soaked and cold when I’m about to drop into a steep run, deep in the backcountry.

Not ideal…

Luckily this problem can be avoided by regularly treating your leather gloves with Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather.

The application process is simple, and takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Simply squeeze some of the wax onto the gloves and rub it in evenly with your fingers, taking extra care to really get the seams and areas showing the most wear.

 

Let ‘em dry and voila!

It’s like you’ve breathed new life into your favorite gloves.

Quick routine maintenance like this can seriously prolong the life of your gear, save you money, and improve your experience out in the mountains, around your property, or on the job. Nikwax makes everything you need to take care of your gear; after all, your gear works just as hard as you do, and it helps when you’re able to keep a smile on your face no matter what conditions you encounter.

 

Testimonial submitted by Jeremy Benson, a mountain-biking, alpine-skiing, guidebook-writing legend, who lives in Tahoe.

April 5, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “From Casual to Capable”

Guest Contributor: Colin Murchison

A favorite shoe style of mine over the last few years has been Chukkas, and more specifically, Clarks Desert Boots. I find these as my go-to casual shoe, and even wear them in more formal settings. As a Coloradan who spends most my time in the high country, my main issue with these shoes is their inability to function well in snow. From the sole, which has hardly any tread, to the non-waterproof leather, desert boots are probably more apt for, well… the desert.

 

In an attempt to merge style with practicality, I wondered if it was possible to waterproof these shoes enough to wear them year round.

I decided to try Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather, a water based “rub-in” wax, that actually resembles more of a cream or paste. After reading the instructions, the application process seemed as simple as can be: just rub the wax into the leather, wipe off the any excess, and buff.

After a quick rub down, the shoes were looking great! It slightly darkened the leather making them look newer and less worn-down, and it even hid many of the wear marks and scuffs.

The true test was how they would stack up to water, so here are the before and after shots while pouring a half cup of water from 1 foot away.

As you can see, where the water was soaking into the leather, it was now beading straight off!

This certainly doesn’t turn these boots into a winter hiking option, but after seeing the exceptional results with water being poured directly onto the leather, I am more than comfortable throwing these boots on my feet when there’s snow on the ground, now knowing that my socks will stay dry!

 

Testimonial submitted by Colin Murchison, an adventurous, passionate, photo-taking master, who hails from Colorado.

March 26, 2018
by nikwax
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How to Clean and Waterproof Horse Blankets

 

CARING FOR HORSE BLANKETS

Turnout sheets and blankets are essential when it comes to keeping your horse dry and comfortable in the pasture. They repel water but are also breathable and allow your horse to handle temperature changes. During the Spring (mud season!), extra efforts need to be made to make sure you are caring properly for your turnout blankets and sheets. Those extra efforts will ensure the best performance and the most longevity.

Cleaning is key. Dirt and mud on the surface of a turnout sheet will cause it to absorb water, making your horse cold and clammy. Additionally, if your horse has a wet blanket sitting on them for an extended period, it can have negative health effects. Regular cleaning will keep your sheets and blankets in tip-top condition. Spot-cleaning is a great way of keeping your blankets clean through out the year, in between washings, without over-washing them. An end-of-season wash, in addition to the sporadic instances of exceptional dirtiness, is typically best. Heavier blankets may require an initial hand-scrubbing before being sent through the washer.

 

Proper care products and methods are important. Many blanket manufacturers furnish some form of cleaning instructions, which should be the first thing you reference in your cleaning process. Conventional detergents leave behind residues that harm water-repellency. Being a gentle cleaner, Nikwax Rug Wash deep cleans while ensuring the best possible waterproof performance and breathability. Some manufacturers recommend utilizing a wash bag (mesh, etc.), which can prevent the breakage of any straps, pockets, and buckles that are attached to the blanket. Remember to never use fabric softener, as it deteriorates the blanket’s breathability, water-repellency, and wicking capabilities.

Water-repellency isn’t forever. Over time, the factory-applied water-repellency will wear off. When this happens, there is no need to throw out your sheets and blankets! After cleaning thoroughly with Nikwax Rug Wash, use Nikwax Rug Proof to add water-repellency while maintaining breathability. It’s important to use a waterproofing product that maintains breathability, so your horse can regulate their temperature efficiently when the weather changes.

 

Following these proper care steps will not only ensure your horse is healthy and happy, but they will also save you money by helping you to get more seasons out of your turnout sheets and blankets.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can clean and waterproof your horse blankets at home, or by sending them off to a professional laundry service. We recommend Blanket Express, Hoofbeat Blankets, or Tracy’s Clothesline.

 

Want to know more about Nikwax waterproofing products?

Products for leather tack? Products for apparel? Products for boots?

Check out one of our product catalogs HERE.

 

March 22, 2018
by nikwax
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The Nikwax Journal: “Finding A Home Away From Home, In Finland”

Journal Entry Contributor: Emma Walker

I’ve lived in some cold, wet places, but when we started planning a trip to northern Finland in February, I knew I was in for a challenge.

My husband Bix and I started planning our trip to Finnish Lapland more than a year ago, when his mom mentioned she’d always wanted to go. Between the three of us, we had a bunch of goals: we wanted to stand over the Arctic Circle, get aboard an icebreaker ship, ride in a reindeer sleigh, and ski… a lot.

We were somehow able to accomplish them all!

Hard to really know if there were actually trees under all that snow, sometimes…

 

We stayed at an apartment in Helsinki for a night, then took a train another eight hours north, to Rovaniemi, the “official home of Santa Claus,” where we crossed into the Arctic Circle for the first time. In Rovaniemi, we stayed in a little cottage right on the Kemi River. From there, we could ski directly onto the frozen river, which we did each day despite the single-digit temperatures.

Of course, as our host there told us, the heart of any Finnish home is the sauna. We took advantage of the sauna each night, doing a rotation of five or ten minutes spent in the sauna immediately followed by a quick dash out into the snow. (I wasn’t sold on it at first, but Bix eventually convinced me to run outside barefoot. It was definitely invigorating.)

We drove to Kemi one day to board the icebreaker ship, Polar Explorer, which took us on a jaunt around the Gulf of Bothnia. Bix and I have long been fascinated by polar exploration (we’ve both read dozens of accounts and biographies of Antarctic explorers), so we were thrilled to see how the icebreaker actually worked.

Massive and captivating!

For the last leg of our trip, we headed to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, which is a three-hour drive north of Rovaniemi. We’d hoped for a viewing of the Northern Lights, but despite the cold temperatures (negative Fahrenheit temperatures at night, single digits during the day), we didn’t have any luck.

Still, there was no shortage of incredible Nordic skiing, and all three of us took full advantage of it. We were glad we’d waterproofed our softshells, since when it snowed—which it did every day—our bodies were warm enough to melt the flakes and send them beading off our jackets.

After ten days, it was time to take the train back to Helsinki, where we parted ways with Bix’s mom and settled into a hostel for a night before catching a plane back home, to Colorado.

I was sorry to leave Finland (which, by the way, came in at #1 the 2018 global happiness index!), but it’s alright…

…I needed to get home and waterproof my gorgeous new reindeer-skin mittens, anyway.

We’ll be back.

 

How Nikwax helped: We applied a fresh coat of Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather to our hiking boots and gloves (and, in my case, my beloved mukluks). We also waterproofed our softshell ski jackets with SoftShell Proof Wash-In, and refreshed our down parkas with Down Wash Direct, so that they would have plenty of loft to keep us warm when we were above the Arctic Cirle.

 

Journal Entry contributed by Nikwax Ambassadors Emma Walker and Bix Firer, residents of Colorado. Go follow their journeys on Instagram: @bixfirer & @emma.r.walker

March 21, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “Protecting the Important Things”

Guest Contributor: Mike Burnside

When it comes to protecting all of my clothing & gear from winter and the wet weather it brings, I have been trusting Nikwax products for years.

I began using Nikwax products approximately 16 years ago, when I was trying to find a better product for water-repellency, for my footwear. I tried Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof and have been using it ever since; it has done a tremendous job helping to maintain the water-repellency of my footwear, adding years to the life of my footwear as well as making protecting them a breeze!

From there, I began to use Polar Proof wash-in waterproofing for my fleece outerwear, to help maintain the water-repellency. I use the Footwear Cleaning Gel on all of my footwear, and when used in conjunction with the Fabric and Leather Proof, I have a system that holds up to any moisture I encounter.

 

We take our daughter adaptive snow skiing yearly; she typically doesn’t know when her ski clothing is getting wet, so it is important that we don’t have to worry about her clothing getting damp. Treating her outerwear, boots, and mittens with wash-in or spray-on products from Nikwax gives us peace of mind and ensures we don’t have to worry about her outerwear and gear absorbing water during the day. These products have worked great in that respect, allowing her to ski comfortably, and we can enjoy watching her have fun on the slopes.

Thank you Nikwax for making the products that help myself and my family enjoy our time in the outdoors!

 

Testimonial submitted by Mike Burnside, an ageless outdoorsman, loving father, and adventurous resident of Oklahoma. 

March 7, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “You Can Be a Minimalist Backpacker or Hiker, and Still Stay Dry”

Guest Contributor: David Gillogly

My best experience with Nikwax came about a year and a half ago as I was doing some minimalist backpacking. On this trip I was traveling between 25 and 40 miles per day, through Rocky Mountain National Park.

 

A few months before the trip, I had used a couple Nikwax wash-in products.

I used Down Wash Direct and Down Proof.

They were absolutely phenomenal.

As an alpinist, going minimal while backpacking always seems pretty laid back. There’s zero technical gear to carry other than an ice axe. Cutting weight seems pretty easy after my experience with alpine climbing. I decided to leave the bivy sack in the car and hoped for decent weather, even though there were showers expected. I saved fourteen ounces, and I figured it would be worth it.

About four days into the 7-day trip, the weather turned sour. Hiking in poor weather has never bothered me much, but arriving at Odessa Lake in a dense fog, and under the threat of more incoming rain, made me a little bit uneasy. It poured all through the night and into the early morning.

In between sporadic moments of sleep, I hoped my down sleeping bag wouldn’t get soaked. Even though I had found a fairly protected area, I still ended up with the usual river running down my back. I figured the down would be utterly soaked and wouldn’t be fully dry for the rest of the trip. After all, I had heard that dry-treated down only works so well, and from past experience with down, I knew that wet down was practically dead weight.

To my amazement, the next morning, I found the down was perfectly dry.

Sure, the bag itself had quite a bit of water that needed to drip out, but I was blown away that the down itself was dry.

I’ve had down bags get soaked with what seems like a light sprinkle. I hear a ton of ultralight backpackers talk about their “simple” sleeping systems…

They say…

All you need is XYZ’s tarp made of blahblahblah poly-amazium material and hiking poles and…

No.

The simplest, lightest, and fastest system is to use a high quality, treated-down sleeping bag (the Rab Neutrino 400 in my case) with additionally applied Nikwax.

Ultralight/minimalist backpacking is not for everyone. And that is fine. However, for those people that do this activity, I rarely recommend a different system.

The down-fill itself is also very deserving of praise here. Rab Neutrino bags are filled with Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, also known as “NHD.” Essentially, the down feathers are made water-repellent after a factory-applied treatment of Nikwax.

Also, there’s another garment, that despite not being filled with NHD, has been made better by Nikwax wash-in products…

 

The Outdoor Research Transcendent Down Hoody is a go-to layer for general mountaineering and even easy rock climbing. I “down-proofed” this jacket about the same time as the sleeping bag, and I was so glad I did.

A couple of months ago, during an easy multi-pitch climb in Vedauwoo, I was very grateful I had done that waterproofing treatment. While rappelling, our rope became badly stuck, to the point where my partner ascended to sort things out. I waited at the next set of rap rings while the quickly-approaching clouds brought rain, then snow, then small hail, then rain again.

The jacket’s outer shell got wet, but I was super impressed that the Nikwax Down Proof held its own and kept the down insulation dry.

 

Testimonial submitted by David Gillogly, a minimalist-advocating, crampon-wearing, 14er-climbing Geology student, who resides in Wyoming.

March 7, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “Keeping My Favorite Piece of Gear Alive and Well”

Guest Contributor: Leslie Parker

I am a 36-year-old transplant to the mountains, having moved to Jasper from the Saskatchewan flatlands after college. Even though I have since moved into the city, I still spend my weekends skiing (XC, AT, and downhill), hiking, camping, and climbing in the Rocky Mountains.

 

My favorite place to be is in a tent in the backcountry. Although, a nicely-heated hut isn’t bad in winter, either…

For the past few years, I’ve had one loyal companion on all my camping trips – a bright blue, down sleeping bag I’ve nicknamed “Big Blue.”

Throughout his lifetime, Big Blue has been strapped to insolent yaks, slogged through mud, rain, and snow, and even provided for some pretty sweet blanket forts.

However, all good things must come to an end, and one day, I noticed that ol’ Blue was starting to look his age…

My beloved “Big Blue” starting to look a little too well-loved…

The down feathers had formed into a lumpy blob that made for very warm feet, but not a very warm anything else. However, Blue received an 11th hour reprieve from the sleeping bag glue factory when I discovered Nikwax Down Wash Direct.

I was worried that washing my bag, myself, might prove too difficult – the “dry clean only” warnings had me slightly worried that my bag would come out of the washer looking more like a drowned cat than a fluffy eider duck.  After only a few minutes in the dryer (with the aid of a few borrowed tennis balls), the bag was happily rising like leavened dough.

After only a half-hour in my dryer, I had a fully functional sleeping bag yet again. Not only has my bag been re-fluffed, but it is now resistant to rain and snow (which my trips tend to have in spades).

I must say Nikwax has rescued the bag from just about everything…

…including animal waste.

On a recent trip, a pack rat decided to crash our hut party, and left me a lovely “parting gift” on top of Big Blue.

I can now say that Nikwax is 100% effective against packrat poop.

Now, if Nikwax could just create a product to fix my backcountry hat head…

 

Testimonial submitted by Leslie Parker, a mountain-loving and local-retail-store-supporting adventurer, from Alberta.

March 6, 2018
by nikwax
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How to Clean Dirty Hiking Boots

Hiking boots and shoes are meant to get dirty.

A squeaky clean boot is a sign that your adventures are obviously not epic enough.

However, in order to prolong their life, it is important to clean your hiking boots when they get dirty. Dirt and caked-on mud can prematurely dry out leather, and can abrade the fibers of your shoes, making them wear out faster. Luckily, it’s easy to clean your hiking shoes and boots once you know how.

In order to demonstrate a near worst-case scenario, these fabulous Oboz Bridger Mid hiking boots were thoroughly muddied and left to dry out.

How to clean a (very) dirty hiking boot:

1. Knock off or brush off all chunks of dirt. Do this outside or into a garbage bin. Use a stiff-bristled brush to help get into cracks (boot eyelets love to hang onto crud).

2. Remove shoelaces. This will help you clean the tongue more effectively. You can also wash the laces for extra bonus points.

3. Stuff your boot with paper towel or a hand towel. This will soak up any extra water that might find its way into your boots during washing, and thereby help your shoes dry faster later.4. Rinse your boots clear of any debris with water. If you use an indoor sink, be sure you got most of the dirt chunks off first so you don’t clog your drain/anger your housemates. 5. Scrub-a-dub your boots with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. It will help remove embedded dirt and prepare your boots for any waterproofing you might want to add. 6. Rinse Cleaning Gel off boots. 7. Add some waterproofing if you fancy (why not?!)  For these boots Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof  Spray-On was applied while still wet.8. Let dry and Ta DA! Now you have clean and (if you waterproofed them) waterproof hiking boots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 6, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “Tents Can Be Waterproof… and Sunproof!”

Guest Contributor: Brad Carson

Tent & Gear SolarProof is simply amazing!

As a resident of Colorado, I spend a tremendous amount of time in the arid, sun-drenched high-country of Colorado and the deserts of Southeast Utah. As a husband, and as a father of two young kids, I work hard to get my family into the wilderness as much as possible, and I know the importance of “zero failures” when it comes to gear.

 

Without a doubt, the places my family and I go have some of the most inhospitable conditions that a tent can face.

On our high-country trips in Colorado, our tents face a relentless UV pounding. They also face arid heat, coupled with daily torrential downpours, in the late afternoons.

In the desert, the UV pounding increases exponentially, and it’s paired with a wind-driven sandblasting that only places like Moab, Utah can deliver. These conditions lead to UV breakdown of the latest, ultralight fabrics, and also to reduced [failed] waterproofing.

For years, I thought I took care of my tents well enough, but they would only last a few seasons because of the tough conditions.

Then…

…along comes Tent & Gear SolarProof.

Not only does it add protection against the brutality of heat and low moisture, but it also restores the DWR (Durable Water-Repellent) finish so those afternoon thunderstorms don’t soak out the tent.  After using SolarProof, I can sense a revitalization of the strength of the fabric. As a year-round user of my tents, I make it a habit to restore and rejuvenate them with SolarProof on a regular basis.

 

I simply cannot afford backcountry gear failures.

This product keeps my [expensive] tents in top shape longer and delivers great value.

Thank you Nikwax!

 

Testimonial submitted by Brad Carson, an IT consultant, gear-head, longtime non-profit volunteer, father, and husband, who resides in Colorado.

February 28, 2018
by nikwax
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Nikwax Testimonials: “An Ounce of Prevention…”

Guest Contributor: Lori LaBissoniere

My pack and I recently tested out some freshly waterproofed gear in the Wallowa Mountain range in Northeastern Oregon.

Known as “The Oregonian Alps,” this mystical region traditionally experiences pretty heavy winters.

This winter, instead of blissfully falling snow, we found rain.

 

Luckily, we came prepared.

As we took off with our two faithful companions (our Shiba Inu siblings, Yuki & Tajeo), the rain had already started coming down. Once we had started up the steep, lush hillside, we realized that we were entering the eye of the storm.

The sky unleashed her cold, heavy sweat on us for several miles until the mountain became too steep and slick to continue climbing. We made an easy decision to turn around and headed back down the damp slope.

Hmmmm… maybe the next Nikwax product could be a waterproof treatment for Shibas?

Once we made it back to the bottom of the trail, where we snapped this shot of the waterfall, the dogs were soaked, our hands were pruned, but our bodies had remained dry. Thanks to a preemptive cycle of TX. Direct, we were able to endure the storm and enjoy the majestic misty views of the Wallowas. If we hadn’t have treated the jackets before our trip, we would have ended up exactly like the critters…

…soaked to the bone.

 

Testimonial submitted by Lori LaBissoniere, an artistically-gifted, environmentally-conscious veteran of the snowboard industry, who hails from Oregon.

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