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Nikwax on the Road from Cape Town to Paris with GlobeRiders


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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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!

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A Four-Stage Plan for Preventing Cold Hands

NW_GloveCareHow can we put this delicately? Cold hands suck.

If our subjective analysis isn’t persuasive enough, check out the medical proof. The ulnar and radial arteries deliver warmed blood to the hands. As ambient temperature drops, vessels constrict and blood flow slows overall. With less blood going to the extremities, they get cold. That is uncomfortable.

If you’re a woman or an athlete, there’s a good chance you may already have lower blood pressure than other folks. If that’s the case, your body auto-corrects in cold temps and directs blood flow to the heart and away from your fingers and tootsies. Warm heart, cold hands.

That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to suffer through frigid extremities. With a little groundwork to find the right mitts and some consistent TLC throughout said mitt’s lifetime, you can keep your digits warm. Warm fingers, happy heart.

Stage 1: Preparation. Armed with medical proof and forgoing the option of eating a bacon-only diet to raise your blood pressure, stage one is simple. Buy good gloves. That means you should not skimp. That means plunking down at least a C-note on the right gloves.

This might seem extreme, but good gloves incorporate high-tech materials, innovative water-proofing, and superior insulation. This matters because if there is anything we can say with more certainty than “cold hands suck,” it’s that wet gloves are a direct route to miserably cold hands.

Stage 2: Proof. After plunking down a small fortune on quality gloves, the next logical step is to make your investment last. It’s not just an investment in sweet gear; it’s an investment in comfort, well-being and the ability to stay out longer and play harder.

We recommend adding your own waterproofing regimen at home using the Nikwax Glove Proof or Waterproofing Wax for Leather.


Black Diamond Kingpin Glove

Stage 3: Play. If this isn’t self-explanatory, please step outside for inspiration.

Stage 4: Prolong. Add years to your mitts (and warmth to your hands) with some easy care tips.

  • After every use, allow them to thoroughly dry in the open air. Don’t overdo the heat (a.k.a. blast them with a hair dryer) if they’re leather.
  • Apply waterproofing as frequently as your climate demands.
  • Before storing for the summer, take a close look. Do you need to clean or condition the leather? While ski gloves rarely need an intense cleaning, some gloves for motorcycles and other activities will highly benefit. Add a deep waterproofing treatment and allow to dry. If possible, store flat without squishing.

Bonus: Daily Tips for Warm Hands

  • When you know you’re looking at a cold day of Arctic proportions, start out with portable hand warmers. The best strategy is to never let yourself get cold in the first place. Warmers keep the edge off.
  • Manage sweat. Nikwax will keep the elements from getting in, but you’re on your own when mitigating sweaty paws. Take gloves off whenever you have a moment to cool and dry hands.

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Style and Substance: Gloves Are the New Ironic T-Shirt or Heavy-Rimmed Glasses

There’s a reason some gloves are designed for work and some are designed for skiing. But why do the former cash in around $20 and the latter around $120?

A few years back, some smarty pants in the ski world picked up a pair of $20 work gloves, slapped some Nikwax (we’re assuming) on them, and forever changed the face of the glove industry. This one audacious act created the perfect glove: comfortable, affordable, durable and now…waterproof.

It didn’t take long for ski glove makers to catch on to the style statement. Check out these beauties from Hestra, a work-inspired design of fine leather, or these Swany mitts that are marketed directly to skiers who are tough on gear.

Without a doubt, the quality of a Hestra or Swany is worth every penny. With an annual application of Waterproofing Wax for Leather, a pair of these gloves will keep your paws warm and dry for years.

Even the finest gloves can’t withstand forever, especially if you’re doing more than just sliding downhill. If your daily winter activity is particularly grueling, you may need a glove whose first name is “work.” This is where we step in.

A work glove may be built for tough conditions, but not necessarily designed to keep you warm in cold, wet conditions. Seeing as that’s the type of weather we live for, Nikwax makes a fabric/leather waterproofer (Nikwax Glove Proof) and two full leather waterproofers (Waterproofing Wax for Leather, Cream and Liquid). As anyone who has spent time in the big, snowy world knows, drier equals warmer. And warmer equals safer.

If you’re digging ditches, loading chairlifts or just appreciate the unexpected in hand fashion, check out something like the Insulated Leather Duck Gloves or Insulated Leather Gloves, from Carhartt. These gloves aren’t your go-to for a day of powder skiing, but they sure are for a day of hard on-snow work or carefree spring skiing. At $20-28, they are affordable and tough. With the proper Nikwax formula, they’ll also stay good and dry.

Far be it from us to drop the “H” word, but as an added bonus for those inclined to style, waterproofed work gloves may just be the gateway drug to on-snow hipster-dom. At minimum, sporting a pair of these bad boys on the hill gives off just enough insouciance to keep your cool vibe. Ski safe and dry, my friends.

**We’re happy to give a shout out to all of the esteemed glove brands mentioned in this post. We’re not directly affiliated with any of them; we’re just outdoors people who know what fits us. The best glove is one that fits you well (and one that’s treated with Nikwax, naturally!).

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Will This Be a Year of Deep, Light and Cold? Ski Area Opening Dates Around the Country

Aspen Highlands, courtesy Megan Harvey

Move over Colorado and Vermont. The mighty Midwest won the crown for having the first ski area to open for the 2012-13 winter season. Wild Mountain, in Taylor Falls, Minnesota, opened on Sunday, October 7th – a mere two weeks after fun-seekers were splashing down the Wild Mountain summer water slides. Not to be outdone in the “early season enthusiasm” department, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in central Colorado fired up a chairlift on October 17th, with one-percent of the mountain open.

It’s the time of year when late season bike rides give way to dreams of knee-deep powder turns – when our hopes of waking up to the sparkling blanket of new snow are as strong as a 12-year old’s excitement at the announcement of “Snow day, no school.”

Nikwax North American headquarters are in Seattle, also known as ground zero for the Pacific Northwest’s epic winter conditions from last season. Across the rest of North America, though, the 2011-12 winter was bleak.

As we roll into crisper nights and cooler days, we’re sending out good vibes for cold, deep snow to all the mountains across North America. With that in mind, we’ve collected a list of ski area resources and opening dates, by region. Pull your gear out of storage and give a hit of TX.Direct® to your ski wear so you’re ready to catch that first chair.

Happy hint: Early season skiing and riding can bring wet, sloppy weather. If your hands are cold, misery will follow. Take that discomfort and multiply it five-fold if your kids’ hands get cold. Help gloves perform to their peak by waterproofing with Nikwax. For leather mitts, nothing is more effective than Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather™. Use Nikwax Glove Proof for fabric or fabric/leather combo gloves. Happy hands = happy day.

Awesome ski and snowboard related resources:

On The SnowSki Net, and First Tracks Online

Pacific Northwest

Collected Pacific Northwest resort info, courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association

Plus a few of our favorites: Mount Baker, Washington (sometime in November); Crystal Mountain, Washington (TBD dependent on conditions); Mt. Bachelor, Oregon (slated for Nov. 21)

The West Coast and British Columbia

Full list of opening days at all Lake Tahoe, California, resorts – courtesy of; Whistler, BC (November 22); Bear Mountain, Southern California (TBD, dependent on conditions)

Utah and Intermountain West

Collected Utah resort info, courtesy of; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Wyoming (November 24)

Colorado and the Southwest

Collected Colorado resort info, courtesy of; Collected New Mexico resort info, courtesy of


Collected resort info, courtesy of the Midwest Ski Area Association


Collected resort info, courtesy of

New England

Collected resort info, courtesy of

Here’s to a cold, snow-filled winter, with Nikwax helping you to stay warm and dry!

Your friends at Nikwax