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Nikwax celebrates 40 years

This year Nikwax is marking its first 40 years in the outdoor industry.

The award-winning company was founded by mountain walker and traveller Nick Brown in 1977 when – in his north London flat – he produced his own waterproofing wax to keep his leather mountain boots dry.

Four decades later, Nikwax adheres to a set of environmental ethics and is a world leader in the outdoor gear aftercare sector.

The company offers a much-respected line of PFC-free and water-based waterproofing systems, and its products are distributed to 50 countries.

“We have always tried to do 'more than just waterproofing',” said Nick Brown, founder of Nikwax.

“Our product design looks at the whole life of outdoor gear and takes into account the environmental impact and the wear and tear that items receive, and seeks to make them more durable. We want to give gear more useful life and save money and protect the atmosphere”.

The company says this 'more than' philosophy is reflected in innovations such as its latest Tent and Gear Solar Wash. This offers water repellency and increases the fabric's resistance to UV light degradation by 50 percent – extending a tent's effective life by half, just by cleaning it.

As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, Nikwax is highlighting a range of areas in which it says it has been a world leader, including through its ethos of striving to innovate high quality products that cause the least possible damage to our environment.

This includes being the first company to produce a non-softening, waterproof wax for leather climbing boots – enabling footwear to remain both supportive and waterproof. This gave Nikwax its initial competitive advantage.

Nikwax says it was the world's first company to produce a range of home-use, water-based products for restoring waterproofing and that – by using water-based emulsions – it has prevented the atmospheric release of thousands of tons of organic solvents and propellant gases over the past 40 years.

In another first, Nikwax created water-based waterproofing for clothing designed to be used in a washing machine.

Nikwax also says that it is the only significant supplier of waterproofing aftercare to have never used aerosols or PFCs; the only outdoor company to have carbon balanced its operations for 40 years – the entire existence of the company; and the only outdoor company to win the British Queen's Award for Sustainable Development.

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