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

March 6, 2014
by cmrandall1

The Nikwax Spring Break Checklist

2palmsIt’s that time of year again: spring break! After drifting drearily through the murky winter months, it’s finally time to get out and go somewhere exciting. You know you want spring adventure, but where to go? Head to the mountains for some spring snow? Catch surf and sun in some tropical country? Wherever it is that you decide to go, we’ve got your gear covered. Here’s our handy checklist to help you prep for your trip:

 Mountain adventures:

  • Re-waterproof your ski skins. You won’t know your skins need this until they fail. Hit ‘em up proactively.
  • Substitute your big, insulated ski jacket with a shell and a light insulated layer for layering versatility. Wash both in Tech Wash to get ahead of the game.
  •  Consider wool for your base layers in the volatile spring weather. Wool is an effective thermo-regulator, keeping you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Plus, since warmer springtime temps mean more sweat, wool is naturally anti-bacterial and won’t stink as much as synthetics. Bonus: Nikwax has a special Wool Wash that will preserve all of these awesome qualities.

 Tropical adventures:

  • Pack enough sunscreen to cover every inch of your lilywhite body. While you’re at it, find your sunglasses and a sun hat. Your eyes and head need as much protection from the sun as the rest of your body.
  •  Go get yourself an ENO Hammock. These super packable little hammocks hang very nicely between two palm trees.
  • Bring a tube of Nikwax BaseWash Travel Gel. It’s packaged to be TSA compliant, and it will come in handy to keep swimsuits, swim trunks, and your other travel clothes from smelling sour. Bonus: no washing machine needed! With the travel gel, you can do your wash in the sink.

General camping and biking adventures:

  • Set up your tent BEFORE you go. Did you lose some stakes? Snap a tent pole? Pack the rainfly when it was wet? Figure it out before you’re racing against nighttime and an incoming storm. While you have that tent up, consider spraying it with Tent & Gear SolarProof. We know you aren’t praying for rain on your vacay, but it never hurts to be prepared for it.
  • Air out your sleeping bags. Though it’s recommended that you store down bags by hanging them up in the open air, who has that kind of space? Pull them out and shake lightly to loft the down. If needed, wash them with Down Wash and Down Proof. The combo will add loft and water repellency, and leave your bag smelling sweet after a winter of exile.
  • If cycling is on the agenda, it’s time for a tune-up. If you rely on professionals for regular maintenance, hit them up before the spring break rush.
  •  They call it “mud season” for a reason. Even if you’ll be exploring a relatively dry area, the shaded areas will likely still have some snow or mud. Waterproof your shoes and boots now, so spring break happy hour can legitimately live up to its name.

Like the wise Helen Keller once quoted, “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” Now get out there and have some fun, you crazy kids!

March 4, 2014
by nikwax

What the wax? Why Nikwax comes with leather gloves and how to use it.

BurtonAKsachetSo, you just dropped a chunk of change on a new pair of leather gloves. You take them out of the packaging and wait, what is this little packet of…Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather? Why is it here? What do I do with it? These are good questions, and we will address them one at a time.

What is Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather? Waterproofing Wax for Leather is a waterbased waterproofing cream for smooth leather. It provides instant durable water repellency (DWR), maintains breathability, and works on wet or dry leather.

Why does it come with your gloves? Glove companies, such as POW, Burton, Dakine, Black Diamond, and FlyLow offer it to help take care of their gloves… or, now, your gloves. The leather is not always waterproof. A waterproof, breathable membrane, like Gore-Tex, is what’s keeping the water/moisture from getting to your hands. Using Waterproofing Wax for Leather will add water repellency to the leather thus providing extra protection from the elements. It will also prolong the life of your gloves!

How do you use it? Well, you can use it sort of like hand lotion. Tear the sachet at the top, put on your gloves, and squeeze about Hershey’s Kiss amount into your palm. Then, like hand lotion, rub the cream evenly all over the gloves. Make sure it is fully absorbed into the leather and pressed into the seams. If you think you missed an area, apply a little bit more.

Now what about cleaning the gloves?

How do you clean them? So you made a snowball and the snow contained… some kind of animal excrement. Or perhaps you dropped the gloves in a mud puddle. Obviously, your gloves need cleaning. The best thing to do is put on the gloves, wet them with lukewarm water and scrub ‘em up with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel. (Yes, we know it’s called Footwear Cleaning Gel, but it’s made to clean leather and all types of fabric and it works GREAT on gloves). Rinse and gently squeeze out the water without twisting.

How do you dry your gloves? Dry them in an upright postion, maybe over an empty beer or soda can. DO NOT dry your gloves with a hair dryer, or next to a heater, or go Kramer style and put them in the oven. If the gloves have liners, remove them for easier and faster drying time.

How often should you clean your gloves? It’s best not to wash them too frequently. If they are muddy, or you spilled your beverage on them, clean them. Otherwise once or twice a year is probably a safe bet.

Back to that little Wax packet, how often should you be using it?

Are you are paranoid about the leather EVER getting wet? You should probably invest in a few tubes of Waterproofing Wax for Leather. Carry one in your ski bag, keep a backup in your glove compartment, and stash yet another at home so that you can attack at the first sign of water absorption.

Are you one to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation? Once a month is the recommended usage for a pair of POW gloves and it’s a pretty safe recommendation for other leather gloves too. One tube of Waterproofing Wax for Leather should set you up for the season. It’s only $8.50 and can be purchased at pretty much any outdoor retailer.

Are you more of a laid back, “it’s cool, I’m sure the gloves will do their job” type? Then at least apply the Waterproofing Wax for Leather the day you purchase the gloves or before their inaugural pow day. The gloves do COME WITH the packet! Sheesh.

Looking for new leather gloves? Check out the selections from our partners: Dakine, POW, Black Diamond, Burton, FlyLow, 686, Howl, Marmot, and Eddie Bauer.

February 28, 2014
by cmrandall1

Meet Helge Pedersen. He May Be Living Your Dream Life.

Ride to Sosusvlei

There’s a map of the world on Helge Pederson’s website that shows what seems to be countries’ borders outlined in red. Then it hits you. The red lines aren’t boundaries; they are a crimson visual of all the miles Pederson has traveled on his BMW R80GS motorcycle.

Over the course of 10 years and 250,000 miles, Pedersen rode his way around the world. Though his circumnavigation was complete, his wanderlust and curiosity were far from sated. Between his original trip and ensuing adventures, he’s visited over 100 countries on six continents on his bike.

Recently, Pedersen joined the Nikwax Faction pro team. With his home base in Seattle, Pedersen still spends plenty of time exploring the world with other travel enthusiasts, via his motorcycle touring company Globeriders. “Enthusiasts” and “touring” are far too subtle terms for the type of riders and adventures Globeriders caters to.

Take for example the first trip Globeriders offers in 2014: Cape Town to Paris. Yes, that Cape Town. South Africa to France via the east side of Africa, a swing through the deserts of the Middle East and on to hug the coast of the Mediterranean Sea before hanging a right to the City of Lights. Pedersen and three other riders will take 115 days to cover 25,000-km. This is not a tour. This is an expedition.

As of this posting, Pedersen is en-route to South Africa. When they start their engines to begin the African-Middle Eastern-European odyssey, you can follow along via a Live!Journal on the Globeriders site.

Nikwax is proud to sponsor Helge Pedersen in his pursuit of modern-day adventure and global understanding. We’ll be following the trip with wonder and fair shake of envy. Safe travels!

February 19, 2014
by cmrandall1

How To Clean and Waterproof Fabric and Leather Combination Gloves

waterproof glovesCleaning and waterproofing your gloves is easy with Nikwax!

Why should you take care of your gloves? Well, it extends their life and saves you money. Think about it—you don’t buy a car and never service it or change the oil! Taking care of your gloves is kind of the same thing.

How, exactly, should you clean your gloves, especially when they’re made of both leather and fabric?

Easy. Grab some Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel (seems odd, but trust us!), wet your gloves and scrub away! Rinse, and there you have it: clean gloves.

Now to the part you were waiting for: waterproofing! Use Nikwax Glove Proof for waterproofing all fabric & leather combination gloves. While your gloves are still wet, apply the Glove Proof all over. Wait a few minutes, wipe off any excess and let them air dry.

Easy, right? Footwear Cleaning Gel to clean, Glove Proof to keep ’em dry.

How frequently should you do this? At least twice a season (beginning and end), but it can’t hurt to do it more regularly.

Your hands will thank you.

February 12, 2014
by nikwax

Nikwax demonstrates that high performance outerwear does not depend upon PCF technology

Páramo-Womens-Andina-700x466Nikwax Waterproofing has until now been best known as a world leader for its waterproofing aftercare products. However, Nikwax is now entering the international world of supplying PFC free water-repellent technology to manufacturers of outdoor clothing.

Nikwax is launching two new garment component products at ISPO 2014: Nikwax Hydrophobic Down, which is being built into Rab Down garments, and the Nikwax Analogy Waterproof System which is being used to construct Páramo waterproof clothing. Both products are completely PFC free, and both have been shown to function at a high level in extreme conditions.

Nikwax Hydrophobic Down is much more resistant to wet conditions than untreated down. Untreated down quickly loses its fill power and insulating properties in damp conditions,  whereas Nikwax Hydrophobic down can maintain its loft, and fill power, even when the outer fabric is saturated. Test results show Nikwax Hydrophobic Down absorbs 13 times less water than untreated down.

The Nikwax Analogy Waterproof System brings a whole new concept of waterproof clothing to the international stage. The system mimics the way that furry mammals keep warm and dry, but without the weight and bulk of a mammal fleece. The Nikwax Analogy System is directional, which means that it forces moisture away from the wearer, pushing out condensation (liquid water) as well as moisture vapour. The Nikwax Analogy System manages condensation much better than membrane systems, and has already been shown to be the waterproof system of choice for Arctic explorers and Outdoor professionals.

Time to start real change away from PFCs

Nikwax invites all outdoor brands to enter the discussion of how to exclude PFCs from our supply chains. Although some manufacturers are claiming that the PFC problem has been solved by the introduction of C6 PFCs, Nikwax knows that this is a short term fix which will not satisfy environmentalists and health authorities in the long term. As an industry we need to start making a genuine change.

Nick Brown, founder of Nikwax, said,

“For years Nikwax has been providing PFC-free high performance aftercare to the world outdoor market, and has attained a world leading position with its technology. We all know that the original water-repellent treatments, PFC or otherwise, need to be replaced because of wear and abrasion after a year or so, and Nikwax does that job very well, easily and safely. Now, justifiable pressure from environmental campaigners is going to drive PFC treatments from the marketplace, first in Europe, and then in the rest of the world. There is both an opportunity and a threat. It is a great opportunity for those who adopt the PFC free technology quickly and a huge threat for those that will get left behind. Overall, the pressure to remove PFCs from our environment will stimulate exciting new developments, and bring innovative new technology; Nikwax wants to be part of that renewal process.”

February 10, 2014
by cmrandall1

Nikwax Quiz: What do your gloves say about you?

glovesIf the eyes are the gateway to the soul, the hands are the passages to… well… doing just about everything else. We’re willing to argue that opposable thumbs have given us the biggest leg up in the evolutionary rat race. Come winter, we need to take care of these babies – for comfort, our outdoor fun and fashion.

Take our quiz to determine what your paws are saying about you.

1)    When Bode Miller burst onto the skiing scene sporting mittens (!!), you thought:

  • a)    Finally! I can be warm and be “cool” at the same time.
  • b)    He looks like a platypus on skis.
  • c)    I wonder if needs help pulling on his speed suit.
  • d)    I don’t know how I feel about that.

2)    You get a professional manicure:

  • a)    Whenever your cuticles need some love.
  • b)    Huh? Never.
  • c)    Every week, with a polish change to reflect my mood.
  • d)    Not often. Keep ‘em short and I’m good to go.

3)    You think the best hand covering in history is:

  • a)    Well… there’s knit gloves for town, down mittens for skiing, full-finger gloves for mountain biking, fingerless for road riding… Err, what was the question?
  • b)    A cold beer.
  • c)    Grace Kelly-esque, over-the-elbow satin gloves.
  • d)    A leather work glove that stands up to wear and tear.

4)    Your hands get cold:

  • a)    Often.
  • b)    Never.
  • c)    Whenever I’m not holding a double, almond milk cappuccino.
  • d)    When it’s cold out.

5)    When your hands get cold and you don’t have gloves, you:

  • a)    Reach to hold hands with my sweetie.
  • b)    Shove them in my pockets.
  • c)    Choose a warmer tone of nail polish.
  • d)    Do 20 jumping jacks.

Tally up your answers to reveal your handsy personality.

Mostly A’s. Practicality is your middle name. You’re always invited on hut trips and adventures because you’re well prepared and never complain. It’s likely that you have minor outdoor gear addiction, considering that you always have the perfect item for every situation. Most likely to wear: Whatever is appropriate for the weather conditions and activity.

Mostly B’s. No nonsense for you, Mr. and Mrs. B. You’re a tough son of a gun who won’t tolerate being babied by things like gloves, hats and down coats. When you find something that works, you stick with it. It’s nice that you never seem to get cold, but don’t let that acclimatized comfort override your compassion for those that feel the chill. Most likely to wear: The same gloves all year round.

Mostly C’s. Fashion-forward. You always look the part, even if that means you must suffer for your art. In the outdoor realm, this may mean that your style trumps your physiological needs, which can be a fast track to doing less in the outdoor realm. Just remember, our crew of C friends, confidence (attained in large part by feeling comfortable) is the sexiest look. Most likely to wear: Trendy arm sleeves and finglerless hand/arm warmers.

Mostly D’s. Steady Eddie: you’re competent and aware. You’ll get by on very little, which is environmentally and economically admirable. Just remember that a little flair goes a long way. It’s possible that you may be trying a bit too hard to make it look like you’re bucking the gear-obsessed world of outdoor play. Most likely to wear: Winter gloves that look like straight-up work gloves.

January 29, 2014
by cmrandall1

Chop wood, stay warm (and other tips to survive the weather)


The Polar Vortex may have come and gone, but we’re still a solid three months out from warm weather in the majority of the continental U.S. Short of packing a flask of whiskey or investing in one of those full down Sasquatch-y outfits, we present cheap and easy ways to stay warm when Arctic temps dance into our temperate existence.

  • Shovel snow. You’ll heat up instantly, plus a 150-lb person will burn 206 calories shoveling snow for a half an hour.
  • Stay hydrated. There’s a logical, if not somewhat expansive, relationship between staying hydrated and staying warm in the cold. In a nutshell, blood vessels constrict in order to moderate body temperature, which results in increased blood pressure. The kidneys counteract the raised blood pressure by producing more urine.
  • On the flip side, go pee when nature calls. The body spends a lot of energy keeping your core warm. A full bladder hogs heat that may otherwise be spent on your limbs and toes and fingers.
  • Free your sleeping bag from its winter slumber and use it as a throw for the couch. You likely sleep under down comforters, why not cozy up under down for your “Breaking Bad” marathon?
  • Eat spicy food. Seriously.
  • Stock up on the $1.99 hand warmer packets. The secret is to put them in your mittens before you go outside. They’re most effective when you never allow your hands to get too cold in the first place.
  • If you’re down to only one hand warmer, place it against the back of your neck – held in place with your T-neck or scarf. There are differing physiological explanations as to why this helps. It won’t significantly affect your comfort level, but it will take away the chill.
  • Not into the store-bought hand warmers? Zap fingerling potatoes in the microwave and stow them in your pocket for warm fingers on short walks.
  • Keep a back-up hat, pair of gloves, pair of socks and extra core layer in your car. They’re there in case of emergency.
  • Invite the dog onto the bed.
  • Let the cat sneak under the covers.
  • Indulge in nostalgic thoughts. According to researchers from the University of Southampton, reveling in pleasantly nostalgic memories can positively change our perception of the current temperature.

Stay dry. There cannot be a more important mantra in cold weather than this one. Keep your gear in shape with Nikwax and keep extra layers close at hand for sweaty activities and accidental slips in the slush.

January 7, 2014
by cmrandall1

For 2014: Our commitment to environmental stewardship continues

Increased temperatures resulting from a warming climate will cause an increase in sea ice melt.

Increased temperatures resulting from a warming climate will cause an increase in sea ice melt. Photo courtesy National Center for Atmospheric Research

While science without passion may be dull, passion without science can tilt dangerously toward ignorance.

As we enter our 37th year, Nikwax remains as dedicated as ever to backing our passion with science for the good of the environment and your family’s well being.

In November 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put out its fifth annual report titled, “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.” This report underscores the impact of a changing climate, and, we hope, will have the effect of increasing awareness of our responsibility to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Consider:

  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.
  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.
  • The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.
  • [There is a very high confidence in the reliability of models that] reproduce observed continental-scale surface temperature patterns and trends over many decades, including the more rapid warming since the mid-20th century and the cooling immediately following large volcanic eruptions.

We cannot debate the earth is in a warming trend. The only conceivable debate – which seems to be driven more by politics than science – is how human behaviors are affecting the rate of change. To this, the IPCC report finds:

  • Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. This evidence for human influence has grown since [the last IPCC report in 2007].
  • It is extremely likely [emphasis provided by IPCC] that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
  • Warming will continue to exhibit interannual-to- decadal variability and will not be regionally uniform.
  • The global ocean will continue to warm during the 21st century. Heat will penetrate from the surface to the deep ocean and affect ocean circulation.
  • It is very likely that the Arctic sea ice cover will continue to shrink and thin and that Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover will decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Global glacier volume will further decrease.
  • Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped. This represents a substantial multi-century climate change commitment created by past, present and future emissions of CO2.

We quote these findings as the deep snow mecca of Lake Tahoe in California is experiencing temperatures in the 50’s and historically low snowfall. Many Washington ski areas are trying to scrape by on fewer than 20-inches of snow. We concede these are but two microclimates and other regions may be at normal snowfall levels. But the inconsistent and dramatic weather patterns year-to-year are impossible to ignore.

It’s a new year and another opportunity to make a difference. As a responsible manufacturer of a global product, we acknowledge that we are part of the problem of increasing carbon emissions and a host of other environmental implications. In accepting responsibility, however, Nikwax remains steadfastly committed to minimizing negative impacts on the environment and human health.

We are:

  • The only major outdoor aftercare company to have never used aerosols or fluorocarbons.
  • Dedicated to making products that are fluorochemical-free, derived from nature-based ingredients, not tested on animals, and biodegradable.

Inherent to our philosophies and, more importantly, our practices as a company is that our environmental ethos has been central to our mission since 1980. For three years (1977 founding – 1980), Nikwax was focused solely on creating the most effective product. With our expanding consciousness regarding global environmental concerns in that time period, we made the deliberate decision to maintain our commitment to quality while only adopting formulations and practices that would not put human health or the environment at risk.

We are passionate about protecting the wild lands of the world and allowing future generations to enjoy them in the same (or better) state of health and well being. Our dedication to producing a product that is safe for your family and non-toxic to the environment is as strong as ever.

Call us fuddy-duddies, buzzkills or science geeks. We’ll take them all – so long as we can be part of the solution to protecting our natural world and encouraging your enjoyment of it.

To a healthy and happy 2014!

Further resources:

IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis

December 30, 2013
by cmrandall1

Nikwax Guide to Winter Glamping


If snow caves have no place in your lexicon of outdoor adventure, you’re in the right place. Don’t get us wrong. Many of us here at Nikwax are avid winter campers. But there are just as many for whom “no camping after Labor Day” is as hard and fast a rule as the “no whites after Labor Day” dictum was for our grandmothers.

Alas, missing out on the night sky for four months out of the year is unacceptable. The derisive chuckles aimed at “glampers” in the heat of summer turn to piqued interest as the winter solstice wanes. Perhaps those pleasure pusses are onto something? Luxuries like heat, feather beds and fully functioning wood stoves seem far less superfluous when the Arctic jet stream bulldozes its way into your weather pattern.

Winter camping? Not so much. Winter glamping? You bet! In the spirit of appreciating the great outdoors from a heated and well-apportioned indoors, here are a few ideas for winter vacation spots that will have you reveling in the beauty of nature without fear of frostbite or freeze-dried beef stroganoff.

Whitepod, in the Swiss Alps. If an opening image of a dome-shaped tent high above the clouds in a snow-covered Alpine valley doesn’t sell this place for you, try the first three tabs of the website: Sleeping, Eating and Having Fun. If you’re up for making a few turns, this luxury eco-resort is smack in the middle of the Alps.

Heli-assisted ski touring. The beauty of a helicopter assist is that your trips begins deeper in the wilderness. Even though you’ll be powering your own adventure from there on out, you can relax in the promise of never crossing another person’s track. Lodges range from rustic to 5-star, but either way you’re living in wintertime wilderness luxury.

10th Mountain Division Huts. Colorado’s 10th Mountain Huts range from rustic to very nice. Since you pack in your own food, libations and sleeping bags, the “glamorous” aspect comes from the romance of your very own cabin in the woods for a night or two.

Bon voyage!

December 20, 2013
by cmrandall1

Waterproof Your Gift Wrap


What’s the latest in chic gift giving? Double duty, reusable wrapping paper, naturally. Do you think Martha or Oprah or the Gwyneth-diva, herself, would EVER be caught in a rainstorm without a sumptuously wrapped hostess gift? Naturally not!

We want to shield you from the looks of disdain when you show up on a sleety December night for the office Secret Santa party toting a sopping, ink-bleeding box of ugly. Why? Because we love you.

Anyone who is anyone is waterproofing their gift wrap.

After all, in a world that puts no pressure on us to be perfect or ideal parents or domestic divas/dudes or wildly successful businesspeople, what’s another 24-hours and 15 bucks to ensure your beautifully adorned package can withstand a little torrential downpour?

We know there’s nothing you’d rather do with that excess time and money!

Very simple steps to waterproofing your festive gift wrap:

  1. Buy festive gift wrap. Don’t worry. The paper you choose is only supposed to represent your level of class, taste, sophistication and socioeconomic standing. No pressure.
  2. Return home and begin a gourmet, five-star meal that your family can eat picnic style. The dining room table will be dedicated to waterproofing printed snowmen this eve.
  3. Cover aforementioned dining room in old sheets or black plastic. Nikwax may be biodegradable and non-toxic, but we are not messy. If the temps are warm enough, you may contemplate setting up shop outside for ease.
  4. Using  Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On, spray one side of the wrapping paper to achieve full, ample coverage. Now, channel your inner, angst-ridden artiste and smooth the TX.Direct with a clean paint brush.
  5. Allow to dry.
  6. Make a martini.
  7. Enjoy the martini.
  8. Flip paper over and repeat steps 4-7.Once both sides are dry, water flicked onto the wrap will bead up – just like your favorite outdoor gear.
  9. Wrap that present and walk through rain, sleet, snow or hail with the glory of your ultimate green fashion on display.
  10. Smile with self-satisfied smugness… and make darn sure nobody rips that wrap when they open the present.

You are the ultimate environmentalista. It only takes time and money. And, who doesn’t have both of those in spades?

Happy Holidays,

Your fashionable green-loving friends at Nikwax

P.S. We may be joking around in this post, but Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On is sincerely an effective waterproofer for paper. If you think you can teach your kids not to rip through gift wrap, this may be a legitimate option to reuse it for many years to come. Better than a holiday-themed landfill, at any rate. Even better, paint your own affordable butcher paper before waterproofing with TX.Direct Spray-On. Now you’ve got an afternoon of fun, gift wrap and frame-able art. Happy Holidays!


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