Why We Chose It: An eco-friendly way to make your gear last longer
Like most outdoor enthusiasts out there, during lockdown I took the opportunity to give my gear a proper clean up and restoration. I’m glad I did as well, because the results have been seriously impressive. And I’ve got Nikwax to thank for that.
As well as cleaning my walking boots using their footwear cleaning and proofing solutions, I also cracked open my Nikwax Techwash and TX.Direct bottles to give my waterproof jackets some love.
“The plastic bottles they use are made from recycled materials and those bottles can go on to be recycled as well”
If you haven’t actually used this stuff yet, do it. Seriously, you’ll wonder why it took you so long. Using the two solutions has brought one of my favourite jackets, a Fjallraven Keb Eco Shell, right back to life, quite literally saving it from the landfill. The water repellent coating had long disappeared and the sky blue material was looking pretty grimy in certain areas. It’s now looking fresh and the water repellent coating is well and truly back in action. To give you an idea of how well it’s working now, I can hold the jacket underneath a tap and the water will bead right off it, without leaving as much as a single damp spot.
Solutions like those offered by Nikwax have a huge role to play in the outdoor industry at the moment. Not only do they help us to get more out of the kit we buy, but they’re also crucial if we want to be able to wear waterproof clothing without PFCs – those nasty eco-hazarduous chemicals that are contained in the durable water repellent (DWR) treatments that were once prevalent in most outdoor wear and are still commonly found.
The problem is that no brand has really managed to find an alternative to these PFC-based DWRs that is quite as effective. You see plenty of new jackets that are marketed as being eco-friendly, but the reality is that they will quickly become saturated after a few uses and therefore almost ineffective.
So I think we’re fortunate to have brands like Nikwax to turn to. So long as we can reproof our garments with their hydrophobic solutions these PFC-free jackets can offer a viable alternative.
Anyway, if you are looking to bring your wet weather garments back to life in such a way, you might want to consider picking up one of the new Nikwax Basics kits. This includes a litre of TechWash, 300ml of TX.Direct and then a handy drybag as a bonus – something to keep your muddy boots in perhaps.
The results from a recent independent test between different technical cleaners revealed Nikwax’s TechWash to be the most effective across a number of different soils. This is the stuff to use when you want to refresh your garment and help to maintain the water repellent coating it came with to allow it to carry on functioning.
The purpose of TX.Direct is to reapply waterproof capabilities to your jacket. Use it and it can genuinely bring an old jacket back to life, giving it a new hydrophobic layer to make it bead away moisture effectively once again.
Both washes are easy to use: just stick your kit in the washing machine and add a capful or two of Tech Wash or TX.Direct, depending on the garment type and how dirty it is. Don’t add detergent, in fact, check there is no detergent residue in the machine, as normal laundry detergent is really not good for outdoor kit. It’s also usually best to wash on a low heat and a slow spin cycle, but check the care labels of your garments.
As a brand, Nikwax continues to work on reducing its impact and is refreshingly honest about its efforts. They even share their environmental performance data online so it can be scrutinised publicly. And in late 2017, they reached a notable milestone by becoming the first company in the world to be completely carbon-balanced. That means they can legitimately claim to have offset all their CO2 emissions produced over 40 years of business.
This year Nikwax also met their pledge to ensure all of the plastic bottles they use are made from recycled materials and those bottles can go on to be recycled as well. Lots and lots of stuff to commend the Kent-based brand for in terms of their eco efforts then. That’s why they’ve made it into our Green Gear Guide for two years on the trot now.
More info: nikwax.com