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


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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


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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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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


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Waterproof Your Gift Wrap

Wrapped_gift_water-drops

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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Gear Rehab Can Help Flooded Colorado Residents

boulder_flood_bike

We knew we were in trouble on Sept. 12, when the rain, which had been falling without break for four days, came down even harder. From my second-story home office, I could hear the nearby creek thunder like a herd of galloping clysdales. The street outside our house morphed into a river with water reaching above the wheels of parked cars. Twitter was going mad with the hashtag #boulderflood, texts were coming in from friends whose apartments and houses flooded, and I, a Colorado native more acclimated to hot and dry weather than monsoon torrents, realized I was in the midst of something far beyond my control.

And then our house flooded, too.

It wasn’t that bad, relatively speaking. I live in southwest Boulder in a split-level ranch, and the flood forced us to rip out drenched carpet from our basement. Our couch got wet. Totally manageable.

Surrounding me, though, was devastation. Houses torn from their foundations by waves of muddy water. People buried under the rubble of their homes or swept from their cars by quick-moving waters.

The death toll from the notorious 100-year-flood that slammed Colorado’s Front Range is holding at six, so far. Thousands of people required helicopter evacuations and may not be allowed to return to their homes in the foothills for weeks because the roads going there are trashed and impassable. The mayhem in and around Boulder promises to linger. The city’s bike paths—which, thankfully, also served as flood mitigation—are closed for safety, and the streets are littered with dried mud and rocks. Important bridges are snapped in two.

The bright side, of course, is the community effort rallying behind those hit the worst. Neighbors are taking in neighbors. People are donating clothing, labor, office space, money, and more to help those in need. We are all digging deep to find reserves of patience, perseverance, and humor.

But sometimes, even funny things don’t seem funny in the aftermath of a flood. I’m thinking specifically about my friend, Kate’s, Gore-Tex jacket, which she has had since 1998, and which has been with her to Canada, Thailand, France, California, Colorado, Wyoming, and countless other destinations. This jacket lived in the basement of her Boulder home and was submerged when her basement flooded.

It really might have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” That jacket, already well loved, got it bad. Now it stinks, has an odd texture, and is the last thing you’d want to wear, even in a rainstorm.

But back to that community effort for a moment. Not only are locals helping out. Nationally, people have been offering assistance to those affected by the flood.

One such offer comes from the folks at Nikwax and their “Gear Rehab” program. Granted, this offer was established before the floods. But now there are probably thousands of jackets and gloves and ski pants just like Kate’s. Nikwax wants to make sure my friends and I know we can send in “flooded” gear to Nikwax U.S. headquarters, and they’ll rehab it and send it back to you for free. Check out the details here.

I’ll be the first to say that a stanky jacket is the least of most flood victims’ worries.  But restore that jacket, and there’s one less expense flooded residents have to worry about. That’s really cool. Thanks, Nikwax. Now…about my couch…  —Rachel Walker


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Back to School Lessons in Responsible Thriftiness

Back-to-School-photos

Every good parent knows that raising respectable, upstanding children requires love, integrity and the periodic dose of deceit. Marketing, peer comparisons and shiny, new things influence kids, just as they do adults. This is extraordinarily evident during this period that retailers like to call Back to School.

To hear J.C. Penny tell it, everyone needs a new everything before that first recess bell rings in the classroom.

We at Nikwax welcome all kids – young and old – to be part of the environmental and social solution by investing in the longevity of our purchases. We are proud to be 100% fluorochemical free, thereby providing safe alternatives for your in-home cleaning and waterproofing. With so many formulas to choose from in the Nikwax line-up, your biggest challenge to keeping your kids’ outdoor gear in good shape will be how fast those little people tend to grow. Buy less, experience more.

And in case you need a little help imparting that lesson, read on:

Exhibit A: What once was old is new again.

Aliases: Hand-me-downs, older sister/brother’s stuff, re-runs, saving money

Teachable moment: Look! You finally get to own the rain jacket you always used to “borrow” from your older sister. It’s all yours and she’ll have to ask you if she can borrow it now.

What kids hear: Take your sister’s gnarly old slicker. You’ll never have anything nice.

Positive spin: Restore the piece with some Nikwax gear rehab (we suggest Tech Wash and waterproofing), and then customize it somehow. Sew a sweet patch on it. Write the new owner’s name in permanent marker on the inside. If all else fails, pull a “Portlandia” and put a bird on it.

Lesson learned: Dignity is not found in amassing “stuff,” it’s found in honoring everyone and everything around you. Reusing and repurposing should be the norm, not the exception.

Exhibit B: Yes, dear, of course your beloved [insert item here] is still good.

Teachable moment: If you want [item] to last, you need to care for it. Just like you need to feed Mrs. Goldfish so she stays alive, it’s important to take care of your things if you want them to continue to work.

What kids hear: If something isn’t working mom or dad will fix it.

Positive spin: If you want a puppy, you’re going to have to show me that you can take care of the things you already have. Specifically, please show me that you know how to use the washing machine and how to read your clothing tags.

Lesson learned: It’s easier, less expensive and far less wasteful to care for something well, than to replace it with something new.


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Beat the heat

trailrunningsun

Summer: the one season that has the power to make us suffer and enjoy it at the same time. It’s during these dog days that we have hours and hours of sunlight that lure us outside. The same sun bears down in relentless heat, which can zap the enthusiasm of even the most die-hard athlete.

And for us recreational athletes? Well, we get hot, too! It’s (kind of) tempting to hole up inside, but we don’t really want to. There’s vitamin D to absorb, after all! Blue sky! Sun! Here at Nikwax USA’s Seattle headquarters, those are in limited supply. We want to beat the heat, not escape it.

So, even if it’s hot enough to almost fry an egg on the sidewalk, we’ll take fresh air and scenery every time.

(A side note: always be on the lookout for symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

If you experience any of these symptoms, move to somewhere cooler, sip water, and stop rigorous activity.

Now—when it’s just hot, and not heat-exhaustion hot—here’s how we suggest you  beat the heat and  keep your cool.

  • Do acclimate. Don’t go out for a two hour hike in the heat of the day if you haven’t been consistently working out in the warmer temps. Build your way up time wise, so your body doesn’t go into shock when blasted with that blazing sun.
  • Do take advantage of the extra daylight. The cooler evening and morning temperatures are so much easier on the constitution than, say, high noon.
  • Do wear the right clothing. Clothes that wick and are light in color are the best choices for the summer swelter. Don’t forget that a hat/visor can also do wonders to keep you cool. Make sure you keep those wicking and cooling properties at there max by properly washing and maintaining your workout wear with products like Nikwax BaseWash.
  • Do hydrate properly. Avoid that last beer before bed and caffeine in the morning before that singletrack ride or five-mile run. Keeping on top of your hydration all day long (before, during and post workout) will help keep your body temperature regulated. Not a huge fan of H2O? Try adding some Nuun hydration tablets, or toss a slice of lemon into your water bottle.
  • Do choose your path wisely. Is there shade, access to a water fountain, a sprinkler or two that goes off during your route? Ask yourself what are the cooling benefits you will have access to based on the direction you go and maximize those advantages.
  • Do partner up. Nothing helps more than having a buddy to keep that motivation up, to keep accountability and to keep safe.
  • Do know when enough is enough. If you begin to feel any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion/stroke from dizziness to cramping, stop activity.
  • Do take care of yourself once back indoors. Continue to hydrate by jazzing up water with a slice of lemon, enjoying a coconut water or some green tea with honey, eating water-based fruits and veggies like watermelon, pineapple and cucumber and taking a cold shower.