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


We can sum up the story of Nikwax as '40 years of outdoor innovation'. We have a long list of outdoor industry 'firsts', as well as a few 'onlys'. We set out to think, act and work differently from everyone else, and we've consistently applied innovation to minimize our environmental impact.


“In 1977, for us to make environmental protection a specific business objective and stated brand value was positively radical and ahead of its time”

Nick Brown, CEO


When we launched Nikwax in 1977, the environmental movement as we know it today – active, outspoken and dedicated to putting direct pressure on governments, polluters and other vested interests - was still in its infancy: Greenpeace was barely six years old.

The term ‘global warming’ had only just been coined, and it would be almost two decades before people started talking about their ‘carbon footprint’.

Against this background, for us to make environmental protection a specific business objective and stated brand value was positively radical.

We set out to think, act and work differently from everyone else.

And I’m proud to say that, this at least, hasn’t changed.

We can sum up the story of Nikwax as ‘40 years of outdoor innovation’.

We have a long list of industry ‘firsts’, as well as a few ‘onlys’, some of which are summarised on this page. We were, for example, the first company to produce a non-softening waterproof wax for leather climbing boots, so footwear would retain its shape and remain supportive, as well as being waterproof, which also happens to be where we started.

We’ve never used PFCs or aerosol propellants in any of our treatments: indeed, we were the first outdoor business to actively oppose and eliminate PFCs from its entire product range and supply chain. All our waterproofing products are entirely water-based, and for 40 years, our business has been operationally Carbon balanced by forest regeneration.

We’ve consistently applied innvovation to minimise our environmental impact

Importantly, our products always offer benefits over and above the direct and obvious. We develop integrated systems that transform performance AND extend service life.

This ‘more than’ philosophy’ is perfectly embodied in our latest innovation. Our NEW Tent & Gear Solar Wash is a water-based cleaning spray for tents and outdoor equipment. But as well as cleaning, it revitalises water repellency and increases the fabric’s resistance to UV light degradation, extending the life of the tent by up to 50 percent.

We’ve spent 40 years thinking radically, constantly innovating and striving to change the way the industry interacts with the wider world. An approach that has supported us, our customers and the environment.

Long may it continue.

Nick Brown


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST OUTDOOR COMPANY... to produce non-softening waterproofing wax for leather mountain boots...

Problem: Existing waxes softened leather too much, so it lost its shape and support.

Innovation: A non-softening waterproofing wax.

Benefit: Treated boots keep their shape, so are waterproof yet supportive, improving comfort and performance, and extending their useful life.


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST OUTDOOR COMPANY... to develop water-based waterproofing for clothing that can be used in a washing machine...

Problem: Aftercare waterproofing products were difficult to use, wasteful and time-consuming to apply; many also required heat to activate them.

Innovation: An aftercare waterproofing treatment applied by simple washing in a standard domestic washing-machine, with no requirement for heat activation.

Benefit: Easy application, encouraging regular maintainence, and resulting in improved product performance, with reduced time and product wastage for consumers.


NIKWAX IS THE ONLY OUTDOOR COMPANY... to manufacture an entire range of water-based waterproofing products and has never used aerosols...

Problem: Existing waterproofing products contained solvents or aerosol propellants, which are known to have a damaging impact on the environment.

Innovation: Develop a range of high performance, solvent free, water based water proofing products, that can be easily applied without using harmful aerosol propellants.

Benefit: A range of waterproofing products that are totally safe to use and store, and present minimal environmental impact.


NIKWAX IS THE FIRST AND ONLY OUTDOOR COMPANY... to carbon balance its operations for forty years...

Problem: Human industrial activity emits huge amounts of CO2, contributing to climate change and long-term environmental damage.

Innovation: Balance the operational* carbon footprint of the business through reforestation schemes operated by the internationally recognised World Land Trust.

Benefit: Nikwax is able to expand its operations while limiting its overall environmental impact.

*"Operational" means the carbon emitted in producing and selling Nikwax products


NIKWAX IS THE FIRST AND ONLY OUTDOOR COMPANY... to win the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development...

Problem: Very few outdoor brands championed sustainable development, and outdoor enthusiasts had no real alternatives to products made from materials that were harmful to the environment.

Innovation: A business model centred specifically around sustainability and environmental protection.

Benefit: An entire range of innovative products and materials developed for high performance but with low environmental impact.


NIKWAX IS THE ONLY COMPANY... to develop PFC-free hydrophobic down that withstands a 1000+ minutes IDFB 18A shake test...

Problem: Down jackets and sleeping bags normally lose their insulating properties when they become wet, rendering them almost useless and potentially exposing the user to the risk of hypothermia.

Innovation: The world’s only PFC-free water-repellent down insulation that has undertaken the 1000+ minutes IDFB 18A shake test and the best at maintaining thermal qualities and loft, even when wet.

Benefit: Users stay warmer, safer and drier in all weathers.


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST OUTDOOR COMPANY... to use guaranteed PFC-free chemicals in its entire range of products...

Problem: PFCs, commonly used in waterproofing products and clothing caused (and are continuing to cause) long-term damage to the environment, human and animal health.

Innovation: A range of entirely PFC-free waterproofing products, fabrics and materials.

Benefit: High performance waterproofing, with low environmental impact.


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST OUTDOOR COMPANY... to be listed in The Sunday Times Green List...

Problem: Many businesses make misleading claims about their green credentials or ignore environmental issues completely.

Innovation: Leading the industry by being the first outdoor company to be listed in the Green list, which acknowledges businesses that are making fundamental changes to the way they operate for the good of the planet.

Benefit: Independent, accredited recognition of our business approach to addressing the issues facing the planet.


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST COMPANY... to manufacture high performance directional waterproof fabric systems that do not require a membrane or coating...

Problem: Membranes get clogged by dirt and other contaminants, preventing condensed sweat from moving away from the body, leaving users cold, wet and uncomfortable.

Innovation: Development of the only fabric system that actively directs both water vapour AND liquid water away from the body inside the garment, whist maintaining waterproofing on the outside.

Benefit: Outdoor clothing that keeps users drier and more comfortable, is lighter and quieter, yet exceptionally tough and durable.


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST OUTDOOR COMPANY... to manufacture PFC-free waterproof, breathable and directional fabric systems...

Problem: Existing high-performance, waterproof outdoor fabric systems had significant environmental impact as they used hazardous chemicals in their manufacturing process or supply chain.

Innovation: Nikwax Analogy - a high performance, PFC-free and sustainably manufactured waterproof outdoor fabric system.

Benefit: High performance, waterproof clothing that is also environmentally friendly.


NIKWAX WAS THE FIRST COMPANY... to develop a tent cleaner that revitalizes water repellency and provides UV protection...

Problem: Tent fabrics deteriorate when exposed to UV light. They also require regular cleaning and waterproofing to maintain performance.

Innovation: A single PFC-free product that cleans, revitalises water repellency and provides UV protection.

Benefit: Up to 50% increase in the serviceable life of a tent with a single, easy application.



Judges Special TGO Award
Sustainability product of the year
Outdoor Industry Award
Nikwax Down Wash Direct in the Sustainable Innovations category
The Queen's Award for Enterprise
Sustainable Development
Walk magazine Reader Awards
Gold 'Best Other Walking Product'
What Mountain Bike magazine
TX.Direct voted best wash-in
Sunday Times Green Award
Best Green Companies