Buying brand new gear is always exciting, but it can be a complete waste of time if you don’t look after it properly. Even the best outdoor gear in the world won’t continue to perform forever, but the quickest way to hasten its demise is to treat it badly between outings. On the flipside, if you give your jackets, boots, tents and backpacks the aftercare and attention they need when you return from a trip, you can get years more use out of them.
For us, outdoor aftercare is synonymous with one company: Nikwax. Founded by Nick Brown in 1977, a keen hiker, this British brand has grown from a kitchen sink operation (literally – Brown mixed his first batch using a discarded tea urn and a primus stove!) into the best-respected maker of aftercare products for outdoor gear anywhere in the world. As our gear expert Daniel Neilson points out in his review, Nikwax is now so widely used that its name has become a verb, like “Google” or “Hoover”.
“Give your jackets, boots, tents and backpacks the aftercare and attention they need and you’ll get years more use out of them.”
Nikwax products are great first and foremost because they work well. But they’re also made to be environmentally friendly. All of the aftercare products listed here are water-based and contain no solvents. Perhaps most importantly, they don’t contain any PFCs either. These harmful flourocarbons have been proven to damage the environment, and some studies suggest they can be seriously harmful to human beings too. By not using them, Nikwax have ensured that when you’re re-waterproofing your gear you won’t have to worry about the state of your garden or about putting harmful chemicals into the water table.
Also, Nikwax’s wide variety of products means that there’s something to suit every bit of outdoor kit you own – from tents and backpacks to down sleeping bags and jackets. We’ve gathered together our favourite ones to create this – the ultimate winter kit bag for aftercare.