Nikwax 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.”