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The Fine Art of Tailgating

tailgate

The ball crosses into the End Zone. High fives and cheers surround you. Someone picks you up and raises you over the crowd. A cooler full of Gatorade pours down over your head.

Wait a minute.

That’s not Gatorade. You didn’t score the winning touchdown. You’re in the parking lot listening to the big game on the radio with the rest of your fellow coeds who would rather save money for tuition, books or a ski pass.

And don’t fool yourself; that was a can of PBR your buddy shook over your head. Just because you’re not throwing down for tickets at the fifty-yard line, doesn’t mean you’re not going to tailgate with the best of ‘em.

This. Is. College.

Tailgating is an art, albeit an interpretative one. There are a few non-negotiables: a cooler, a barbeque within a three-car range, some body paint, beer (or sodas, naturally, for the parents who are reading) and a die-hard attitude. Tailgaters don’t give up if sun beats down. Tailgaters don’t run for cover when the skies open up. You are a tenacious breed; you are a fan.

For ice, go cubes only, no blocks. The barbeque? Charcoal hibachi all the way. Body paint is up to you, but please remember photos on the Internet are forever.

Where does Nikwax come into the ritual?

Nikwax gives you the confidence of knowing that you’ll be dry and comfortable regardless of what the skies serve up. Whether you show up to campus with the swankiest waterproof/breathable jacket, or you pack your trusty fleece pullover that’s been with you since your Sweet 16. We’ve got you covered.

Since you’re in the mode, here’s a pop quiz:

1. What Nikwax product should you use to waterproof your outerwear?

a)    TX.Direct, for waterproof/breathable fabrics and synthetics

b)    Down Proof, for down jackets and vests

c)    Softshell Proof, for… use your applied logic

d)    Cotton Proof, to add oomph to a fabric not known for it’s water-beading ability

e)    Polar Proof, for fleece

f)      All of the above

2. Is applying Nikwax as easy as running a cycle in the dorm washing machine?

a)    Yes.

b)    No

Answers:

1.    F

2.    A

Let’s hope that’s not a duplicate to your first semester grades.

You are now tested, proven and ready, uber fan! Waterproofing for game day may mean protecting your outerwear for more than inclement weather. We’re just sayin’.

So save money, be confident and suit up. There’s a game going on and a bratwurst with your name on it. Get out there and have fun. Your team needs you to be worry-free, come rain, snow or carbonated adult beverage.


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Tips for keeping kids’ uniforms clean

little-league

Your kid may be good at science, but that doesn’t mean you want to participate in a microbiology experiment in your home this summer. Yep, we’re talking about uniforms—the baseball/soccer/swim/lacrosse/all-around active gear that gets hammered on a regular basis.

If you’re a parent, you know how quickly kids sports gear grimes up. And it’s not just dirt we’re talking about. There are bacteria, mold and fungus that can sprout in less-than-hygienic conditions.

To make sure your kid stands out for their performance on the court or field and not because they smell up the locker room, here are some tips.

1. Air-dry all equipment when wet before throwing it back in a bag or storing it. Drying it outside is OK as long as you avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

2. Wipe down equipment that has direct contact with skin after use. Avoid using odor sprays and products full of chemicals that can break down the plastic and other materials today’s gear is made of. Simply spray hydrogen peroxide on each piece and wipe down with water.

3. Don’t let stinky stained clothes pile up until Mt. St. Odor takes over the laundry room. Create a weekly cleaning routine, teaching your older children where to put their sports apparel post use.

4. That red sticky Popsicle may have been the perfect treat post game but the red stains won’t be a treat to get out when the wrapper and stick go through the wash. Be sure to check the pockets before throwing any uniforms in the wash.

5. Two words: Base Wash. Use Nikwax’s Base Wash each time you wash any uniform made from synthetic material. While you are at it, turn the uniform inside out before throwing it into the wash too.

7. You may think you are saving time throwing in that sportswear with other wash, but for better results, wash it all separately from other clothes. Better yet, throw in a cycle of  BaseFresh to eliminate odors, maintain wicking properties at their maximum, and prolong the uniform’s longevity.

How you take care of and store your equipment is just as important for making it last. While we all would love the crew from HGTV to come over and build us the perfect mudroom/garage, simple to find products from bins and hooks to racks and organizers will also do the trick. Before storing those bats, gloves, sticks etc., follow these tips.

1. Make sure equipment is completely dry before storing.

2. Keep equipment from being exposed to damp environments, excessive heat and excessive cold temperatures.

3. Use Nikwax Leather Cleaner to remove mud from baseball gloves and other leather equipment. To condition the leather, use Nikwax Conditioner for Leather.

4. Shoes stink? That’s a silly question. Of course they do. Use Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel to get those cleats ready for the next game.


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Spring hiking preview

Nkwx Coast-31

It’s officially spring, which means that hiking season is here. Which means it’s time to bust out your boots (and if you didn’t store them properly last fall, time to clean and waterproof).

Got it? Great. Now the fun starts.

Whether you’re heading out for a leisurely stroll or a multi-day wilderness trek, planning your adventure is the first step. If you’re not sure where to go or you’re looking to add to your lifelist, we’re here to help. Check out the following must-dos and get those feet moving.

Easy Day Hike: Mount Independence, Orwell, Vermont

Visit one of the sites from which the British hightailed it back to Canada during the Revolutionary War, and enjoy the lush hillside vegetation on Vermont’s iconic Mount Independence. This family-friendly day hike is 2.9 miles round trip. It gains 200 feet and tops out at 306 feet above sea level. There are even a few nearby trails with wheelchair access. For more info on Mount Independence, click here.

Recommended footwear: Choose a low-top hiking shoe with lateral stiffness, grippy tread, and waterproofed upper like the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 GTX.

Advanced day hike: Three 14ers in a day: Colorado’s Democrat-Cameron-Lincoln Loop

A rite of passage for aspiring mountaineers, summiting a Colorado 14er earns you a spot in a special “club.” But why stop at just one? This three-peak test piece was chosen by Backpacker as the best Colorado Day Hike in 2009. Don’t be fooled by the low mileage (6.95 total) The high alpine exposure and extreme elevation gain will make you work for it. Plan on encountering snow if you attempt this route before mid-July, and absolutely get an early start. Essential info about this route can be found here.

Recommended footwear: A light-weight ankle boot that breathes well will keep your feet going for miles. The La Sportiva Xplorer Mid GTX features great cushioning, lateral stability, a high traction rubber outsole, and an articulated heel cuff to ward off blisters.

Weekend Backpacking Trip: Kibbie Lake, Yosemite National Park, California

A friendly introduction to backpacking, this eight-mile, round trip route winds through some of Yosemite’s most beautiful scenery. Expect multiple stream crossings as you climb up to the lake. Camp at the shore (permits are available through the Yosemite NP permit desk) or head to the granite outcroppings south of the lake to escape mosquitos. More info can be found here.

Recommended footwear: A sturdy ankle boot that offers enough flexibility to keep feet comfortable without compromising stability is a solid choice. We like the La Sportiva FC ECO 3.2 GTX (women) or the FC Eco 3.0 GTX (men).

Multi-day Backpacking Trip: Wonderland Trail, Washington

Circumnavigating Washington’s captivating Mount Rainier, this 93-mile loop takes about two weeks to complete. Hikers log roughly 22,000 feet of elevation gain, and the highest point tops out at the 6,750 feet Panhandle Gap. You’ll cruise through high Alpine and sub-alpine terrain, spruce, pine, and fir forests, and plenty of river crossings. Three non-wilderness and eighteen trailside campsites are available for overnight stays with the proper permit. Visit the National Park Service site for more details.

Recommended footwear: A durable, leather hiker that’s durable, supportive, and protective, such as La Sportiva’s Omega GTX are versatile enough to go the distance and light enough to not weigh you down.

High-Alpine Mountaineering: Gannett Peak, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Wyoming’s highest peak, Gannet, 13,804 feet, lords over the state’s rugged Wind River Range. Not for the faint at heart or inexperienced, the main route summiting the peak is a 40-mile out and back. You read that right. Forty miles. Ropes, crampons, ice axes are essential to ensure safety over the varied terrain. Glacier crossing, scrambling and cross-country hiking is all part of this high-alpine experience. For the best climbing conditions, plan to summit in early summer June/July. More info can be found here.

Recommended footwear: A lightweight, burly mountaineering boot that’s waterproof, and features extensive support and torsional rigidity will get you to the summit. Check out the La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX boot.

Speed Hike/Trail Run: North Valley Trail System, Idaho

Short on time or just looking to get in an intense heart racing workout? Check out Idaho’s North Valley Trail System. This network spans 30-plus miles through the Boulder Mountain Range from Ketchum to the Galena Lodge. Select the length and intensity of your speed hike/trail run while surrounded by meadows, streams and mountain peaks. The trails are also used for XC skiing in the winter. Click here for more info.

Recommended footwear: A neutral, stable, all-terrain shoe with a rock guard in the front and a sticky outsole like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor keeps the miles coming.


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Clean your stinky sandals!

Blog readers, meet Sandal Wash.

Sandal Wash will make your sandals sparkly clean again but, perhaps even more important, it will also remove odor. Yes, you read that correctly. Thanks to a special monoterpenoid (hello, grown-up word!) known as geraniol, it will also remove even the funkiest funk from sport sandals, fashion footwear and anything else you happen to wear without socks (ahem, minimalist runners, this one’s for you!).

The process is simple.

1) Get your dirty, grimy sandals plenty wet.

2) Scrub-a-dub-dub! For sandals with textured foot beds, like the Chacos pictured here, consider attacking them with a stiff bristled brush.

Use the attached sponge scrubber to scrub all over – inside and out!

Don’t be shy – get it all soapy!

3) Rinse!

4) Allow to air-dry. Remember, never rush the drying process when dealing with footwear – tuck some newspaper inside if you HAVE to get them dry quickly.

And remember, this stuff works for ANY type of footwear! Here are a few before-and-afters from the pairs I experimented with. I only wish we had smell-o-vision… then you would REALLY be impressed!!

The black Chacos BEFORE

…and AFTER

How about some stinky red ones? (I can say that because they’re MINE)

No prob, Bob!

“But what if my sandals are leather?,” you say??

Ain’t no thing, chicken wing!

“But what if my stinkiest shoes aren’t sandals, at all?”

Clean AND de-stunk. 🙂

All the minimalist runners out there KNOW that these get stinky!

Allllll better!

For any type of shoes at all!

Best wishes to you in dealing with your very own sandal/stinky shoe collections! Get Sandal Wash for your very own here!

Stay dry! (and clean!)


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End of Summer Sandal Overhaul

I know it’s been awhile since our last post, but, you see, it’s been sunny in Seattle. We’ve only gotten a handful of sunshiney opportunities to get out on the water and up in the mountains and, well, we know you understand.

Anyway, the end of summer approaches (as evidenced by the season mountain pass ads popping up everywhere) and I’m betting you have several pairs of sandals that have put in serious time over the last couple months and could use a little TLC. Blog readers, meet Sandal Wash.

Sandal Wash will make your sandals sparkly clean again but, perhaps even more important, it will also remove odor. Yes, you read that correctly. Thanks to a special monoterpenoid (hello, grown-up word!) known as geraniol, it will also remove even the funkiest funk from sport sandals, fashion footwear and anything else you happen to wear without socks (ahem, minimalist runners, this one’s for you!).

The process is simple.

1) Get your dirty, grimy sandals plenty wet.

2) Scrub-a-dub-dub! For sandals with textured foot beds, like the Chacos pictured here, consider attacking them with a stiff bristled brush.

Use the attached sponge scrubber to scrub all over - inside and out!

Don't be shy - get it all soapy!

3) Rinse!

4) Allow to air-dry. Remember, never rush the drying process when dealing with footwear – tuck some newspaper inside if you HAVE to get them dry quickly.

And remember, this stuff works for ANY type of footwear! Here are a few before-and-afters from the pairs I experimented with. I only wish we had smell-o-vision… then you would REALLY be impressed!!

The black Chacos BEFORE

...and AFTER

How about some stinky red ones? (I can say that because they're MINE)

No prob, Bob!

"But what if my sandals are leather?," you say??

Ain't no thing, chicken wing!

"But what if my stinkiest shoes aren't sandals, at all?"

Clean AND de-stunk. 🙂

All the minimalist runners out there KNOW that these get stinky!

Allllll better!

For any type of shoes at all!

Best wishes to you in dealing with your very own sandal/stinky shoe collections. Just to get you started, for the first dozen people who read this post and send me a message on Facebook or Twitter, I’ll send you your very own Sandal Wash sample along WITH a Nikwax-branded stiff-bristled brush to REALLY get at those footbeds! 🙂

Stay dry! (and clean!)

Kelsey handles Sales and Marketing Operations for Nikwax North America. She travels the country preaching the gospel of gear care as Professor Nikwax. Prior to working for Nikwax, Kelsey spent 7 years working in outdoor industry and footwear retail. She welcomes your gear care questions at kelsey.hulse@nikwax.com. Follow her on Twitter @ProfessorNikwax.


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Not JUST for Outdoor Gear

The Situation:

After a weekend walking around in Seattle’s poor rainy excuse for a summer, I noticed that my favorite black flats were covered in white marks. The marks look not unlike the stains that are common from road salt in the winter – and like road salt stains, these were persistent and refused to be rubbed away. The shoes in question are made by Born of a particularly soft leather, with unfinished seams at the heel. In addition to the change in appearance, the texture of the leather had become somewhat brittle. It was time to put on the ‘ole Nikwax thinking cap.

Note the white lines on the upper near the toe and heel

Note the white lines on the upper near the toe and heel

Nikwax products work best when used as a team (cleaner+proofer), so for this job I chose Footwear Cleaning Gel  to remove the white marks and any additional dirt/grime/grit and Conditioner for Leather to restore softness and flexibility to the leather as well as to waterproof the leather so this wouldn’t happen again. Since these flats are one of my favorite (and therefore frequently worn) pairs of shoes, I also enlisted the help of Waterproofing Wax for Leather in Black to restore color at the toe and heel where it had begun to fade.

The arsenal: Footwear Cleaning Gel and Conditioner for Leather

Almost all Nikwax products are colorless. This product was designed to add color back to black leather goods (look for the black cap at your local retailer).

The Process:

  1. Get the first shoe wet. Nikwax products are all water based (and travel on water), so there isn’t any such thing as too much water/too wet.

    Using the faucet works just fine, but if this makes you nervous you can also use a sponge or wet rag to dampen the shoe - just make sure to get it good and wet anywhere that you'll be applying products

  2. Scrub the shoe with liberal quantities of Footwear Cleaning Gel– feel free to use the sponge applicator, your hands, a soft bristled brush – whatever it takes to get all the grime off (be gentle if your shoes are made of lambskin, suede or anything super soft and scratchable).

    It'll look filmy or soapy - like this!

    3. Rinse the shoe well – again use plenty of water.

    Rinse thoroughly - water temp doesn't really matter, just don't use HOT

    4. Apply Nikwax Conditioner for Leather – use the sponge applicator or your hands to work it into the (still wet) leather. Pay special attention to seams or areas where things have been attached like straps, laces, etc…

    All Nikwax products are non-toxic, so don't be afraid to work the Conditioner into the leather with your fingers

    5. Let the product sit on the leather for a couple minutes (literally, 2 or 3 is fine).

    It'll look milky or filmy - don't panic, this is temporary 🙂

    6. Remove excess product and buff with a soft cloth/rag.

    Wipe off/rub in all visible product. If any remains, it WILL be visible after it's dry

    *7. This was the point at which I applied the Waterproofing Wax for Leather in Black. Generally you won’t be able to apply anything AFTER a waterproofer (because it won’t be able to penetrate). But, since I was applying it to badly scuffed/worn areas, I just used a light hand with the Conditioner and then went back over the same spots with the black. IF you choose to use a colored Nikwax product, be careful, the liquid is runny and it can stain.

    The finished product - the white marks are gone and the leather is soft and flexible again!

    7. Repeat with shoe #2.

    BEFORE - looking pretty sad, indeed!

    AFTER - they look new again! Boo-yeah, Nikwax!

     

Any and all of these products can be found online at retailers like Amazon, REI, Altrec, Backcountry. Or use the Dealer Locator on our website to find a Nikwax dealer in your ‘hood.

And… since we are who we are, I couldn’t resist…

CHECK OUT THAT BEADING ACTION!! 🙂

Have fun! Enjoy the sun! Stay dry.