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Having the right products to care for your gear goes a long way. Although Nikwax is not the only option on the market, and we also often recommend products from Gear Aid, today we are focusing on a few of our favorite Nikwax products for gear care. The products that we mention below are just the tip of the iceberg. Nikwax offers a wide range of products for cleaning, conditioning, and waterproofing outdoor equipment. 

While gear repair is important to understand and know how to do, gear maintenance is arguably more important in the long run. Keeping your gear clean is easy to prolong its life and prevent dirt, grime, and salt from wearing down materials or compromising fabrics. Other maintenance may include conditioning leather or re-waterproofing after washing. 

See all of their gear care options on the Nikwax website.

For Cleaning: Tech Wash

For Cleaning

Nikwax Tech Wash

The Nikwax Tech Wash is the easiest way to clean outdoor gear and technical clothing. It is a wash-in solution that is safe for synthetic materials. Tech Wash does not damage waterproof coatings like DWR (standard detergents do). This can be used in the washing machine for some items, but for things like tents, add it to a tub of water for hand washing. If you plan to use a waterproof treatment, use the Tech Wash beforehand for the best results. Nikwax Tech Wash contains no PFCs, is water-based, and is biodegradable.

For Conditioning: Conditioner for Leather

For Conditioning

Nikwax Conditioner for Leather

All leather boots should be cleaned and conditioned regularly to ensure the leather does not dry or crack. Nikwax Conditioner for Leather is an excellent option for full-grain leather that is quick and easy to use. It waterproofs the leather while also restoring the boot’s breathability. The sponge-on applicator makes it easy to apply, and we like that it is water-based and contains no PFCs. 

Water-based conditioners are not always the first pick for leather conditioning, so if you’d like other options, consider the Limmer Boots animal-based conditioner.

For Waterproofing: TX.Direct Wash-In

For Waterproofing

Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In

Help restore waterproofing on outerwear and shelters with the TX.Direct Wash-In solution. For best results, wash the item with Tech Wash first and then use TX.Direct. Both solutions are machine wash safe, but keep in mind that not all items are machine washable. This product is designed to be used with synthetic materials. Nikwax offers other waterproofing solutions for different materials and fabrics. Like the Tech Wash, this solution is PFC-free and water-based.


Q: Can you wash a tent in a washing machine?

No, we never recommend machine washing or drying a tent. Top-load washing machines are especially bad as the agitator can easily rip, stretch, and damage the tent fabric. Dryers often are too hot for the fabric and will also damage the fabric. Learn more about how to wash a tent properly. 

Q: Can you use detergent to wash rain gear?

No, detergent leaves a hydrophilic residue behind that ruins rain-repelling properties. Use something like the Nikwax Tech Wash designed to wash rain gear. 

Q: Do you have to condition leather boots?

You shouldn’t condition new leather boots, but with wear, leather does require care. Cleaning and conditioning leather boots regularly prevent the leather from drying out and cracking, helping them last longer and making them easier to resole when needed. 

Q: How do you re-waterproof outdoor gear?

The easiest way to re-waterproof gear like rain jackets and tents is to use a wash-in waterproofing solution. These are a quick and easy way to add a waterproof coating to gear that has lost some waterproof capabilities. Other options include spray-on solutions. Learn how to re-waterproof outdoor gear.