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Mountaineering & Expeditions

Nikwax Waterproofing, Cleaning & Aftercare Products Review

There’s one sure fire way of knowing when a product has become successful: when it becomes used as a verb. As in: “Do you need anything Nikwaxing?” Or: “This jacket is due for a Nikwax”. The brand’s ubiquity in the lives of outdoor enthusiasts is clear, and well-deserved.

Nikwax’s many products are designed to enhance the performance of your clothing, your footwear and your equipment. Not only will Nikwax products make these products cleaner and more waterproof, but they’ll also enhance the life of them as well.

No surprise then that many of the products featured in the Outdoor 100, from brands like Rab and Berghaus, recommend product care with Nikwax products – Páramo is a sister company and all of their products are treated with Nikwax. Quite simply, it works.

All of Nikwax’s waterproofing and cleaning products are also really easy to use. Often it’s just a matter of throwing a bit into the washing machine or in some cases spraying it on, and it’s sorted. None of their treatments need heat to be activated, so you don’t even have to wash them hot. You can watch our guides to using Nikwax’s Tech Wash, Down Wash, Tent & Gear Solar Protect and Fabric & Leather Proof below.

If your waterproof jacket is wetting out and the water no longer beads off, the best process is to wash it in Nikwax’s Tech Wash. This will clear the garment making it more breathable for a start, and also revitalise the Durable Water Repellency (DWR). If it’s a bit older then you can re-apply the DWR with the TX.Direct Wash-In.

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As a company Nikwax is constantly innovating. It has worked with clothing manufacturers to develop hydrophobic down, such as that in the Berghaus Ramche 2.0. There’s also a seemingly constantly supply of their own products as well.

Nixwax products fall into three categories: waterproofing, cleaning and conditioning. There are specific products for waterproofing anything from down to cotton, fleece to ropes, softshell to leather. There are cleaning and conditioning products for wool, baselayers, and even sandals.

But perhaps the most important aspect of Nikwax’s products is the indefatigable efforts from founder Nick Brown and his team to highlight the pressures that products using fluorocarbons (PFCs) can wreak on the environment and, some studies suggest, on the human body.

“…the most important aspect of Nikwax’s products is the indefatigable efforts from founder Nick Brown and his team to highlight the pressures that using fluorocarbons (PFCs) can wreak on the environment”

Partly through campaigning and partly through its rigorously scientific approach, Nikwax have become industry leaders in highlighting the effect on the environment that some outdoor products can have. It’s one of the reasons Nikwax won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in 2014, its fourth such award.

Nikwax also recently kitted out Greenpeace researchers looking at the environmental effects of PFCs. Here we’ve picked out some of the products we use the most.

Tech Wash
This cleaner, recommended for Gore-Tex and other waterproof materials, will clean your clothing revitalising the DWR and also making the product more breathable. Also use this before reproofing your jacket.

TX Direct Wash-In
This adds a DWR to your kit meaning that rain will bead off rather than get into the fabric itself that compromises breathability by up to 70 per cent. All DWR will wear off eventually so we’ve always got some in stock. It should be used in a two-stage process after the Tech Wash – with separate washing machine cycles for each – and works best if you hang the jacket out to air dry afterwards.

Down Wash Direct
This is the only cleaner specifically designed for hydrophobic down products. It cleans and restores the water repellency in the down.

Down Proof
Down Proof adds a water repellency to the material and the down in jackets and sleeping bags to fight against water absorption. It should be used in a two-stage process after the Down Wash Direct – with separate washing machine cycles for each.

Tent & Gear SolarWash
Cleans tents and waterproof gear like backpacks, bike panniers and tents effectively before you add SolarProof.

Tent & Gear SolarProof
This clever product not only adds a DWR to to tents but also increases the strength of the fabric and protects against UV. It should be used in conjunction with the SolarWash as part of a two-stage process.

Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel

Cleans your boots and footwear before you use the fabric and leather proof.

Fabric & Leather Proof
It’s important for footwear to shed as much water as possible before it soaks into the leather or fabric, even if there is a waterproof membrane, as it becomes heavy. This products helps with just that. It’s best to let your boots dry naturally after using this.

Waterproofing Wax for Leather
This has an easy applicator which means you can use it anywhere, and adds water repellency to leather instantly on application. It’s one to sling in your backpack so you can give your boots a once-over in camp at the end of a hard day’s hiking.

Nikwax Waterproofing, Cleaning & Aftercare Products Review Stats:

The 100 Best Outdoor Products for Winter 2016 View them all

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Selected for The Outdoor 100 Winter 2016

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