Is Your Gear So Gross It's Scary?

Does the dingy condition of your outdoor gear incite shrieks of terror? Do your climbing partners run screaming with plugged noses when you don your belay parka? Do you shrink back in horror and disgust when you unpack your gear the first time for the season? Fear no more. Frighteningly filthy outdoor gear is defeated much more easily than your run-of-the-mill horror villain. Put away your axes and read on to learn how to treat your scary gear.

Note: Always read the care label of your gear before you get started. If it says not to get it wet, or feed after midnight, please defer to those instructions.

Does your down jacket look like it belongs in a cemetery?
Is your down jacket a ghost of its former self? Safely bring it back from the dead. Down feathers lose their loft when they get dirty. Dirt, dust, and your body oils all contribute to your jacket’s depleted state. Sure, down jackets can seem intimidating to wash at first, but there’s an easy solution for the filthy, mangled thing clinging to your shoulders. Wash your down jacket in a front-loading washing machine with Nikwax Down Wash Direct. You won’t recognize your petrified parka afterward. Tumble dry on low with a couple of tennis balls until totally dry, and your jacket will go from limp lurker to fluffy friend in no time.

Are you turning into the swamp thing in your hardshell?
Hardshell jackets are like a trusty sidekick, until they start “wetting out.” Then they become the silent terror on your adventures. “Wetting out” means that they no longer repel water. Instead, water is absorbed into the face fabric. In the case of single-layer jackets, this means water can come right through the jacket ... cue: “Heeeeeeeere’s soggy!” For jackets with a membrane, like GORE-TEX or eVENT, water can’t get through from the outside. You may think you’re safe, but the truth is that the jacket can no longer breathe, and you get wet from the inside. Luckily, by regularly cleaning your jacket with a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash, and occasionally re-waterproofing with a product like Nikwax TX.Direct, you can stave off the watery terror.

Is the scent of your baselayer thick in the air?
It starts innocently enough. You don your active, next-to-skin layers with the intent of gaining moisture-wicking performance. However, as your adventure progresses, your sense of dread grows. Your eyes widen in panic as you scan the scenery, hoping no one will notice your transformation. But alas, when you encounter another human they back away quickly, their mouth frozen in a grimace of disgust. Their eyes dart side-to-side as they desperately seek a way to escape you… and your horrific odor. Defeat your malodorous transformation with Nikwax BaseWash. It swiftly defeats embedded odors, enhances wicking and speeds up drying time.

Now you have the skills to defeat a number of scary gear situations. Remember, please practice gear care regularly. It’s for your own safety. Nikwax makes even more products to treat your tricky gear- check them out at

Photo by Truc Allen Media.